10 Favorite Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Restaurants in Metro Phoenix
Whether you're looking for authentic kebabs or just a healthy option for dinner, the Valley has plenty to offer when it comes to Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food. From restaurants tucked into sprawling markets to a chain of eateries that started in Tempe, here are some of our favorite spots for fresh pita, hot gyros, excellent hummus, and more.
This family owned and operated market and restaurant serves what may be the Valley's only Mediterranean breakfast menu. You can start your day at Princess Market with an affordable pita-wrapped breakfast burrito or a rich tomato-beef stew, then swing by for lunch to enjoy a full menu of kebabs, falafel, and more. One of the most popular entrees is the Kebab Combo, which includes a beef kabab, chicken kabab, kofta kabab, hummus, and a side for just $13. Though the meats are always incredible, the real treat might be the hummus — light and fresh, it's some of our favorite in town.
For years Cafe Istanbul has been a go-to spot for Tempe diners seeking excellent Middle Eastern fare. The restaurant, market, and hookah lounge serves everything from musaka and schwarma to lamb tongue and falafel with one of the biggest draws being the giant Al Amir Combo. Loaded with hummus, tabouli, grape leaves, feta cheese, baba ghaouj, mujadara, loubieh, falafel, lamb, chicken, and kata kabob this oversized entree satisfies two hungry diners for $29.95 during dinner or $22.95 at lunch.
Tucked inside Central Phoenix's Baiz Market, Al-Hana Restaurant isn't the fanciest spot on our list. But that doesn't change the fact that this counter service restaurant is a go-to spot for lunch and our favorite place for a falafel sandwich. For under $5 the restaurant wraps hot, fried falafel in freshly-made pita along with lettuce parsley, tomatoes, pickled turnips, and tahini. Other popular options include the bright tabbouleh salad and the restaurant's selection of savory pies. Available filled with your choice of meat, cheese, or vegetables, they make a great snack, starter, or light meal.
Located on 15th Avenue and Indian School Road, Crazy Jim's is something of a cult classic when it comes to Mediterranean food in Phoenix. The restaurant, which has been open since 1985, serves pita sandwiches and salads — along with subs, pizzas, pasta, and much more. To satisfy your pita itch we suggest the Gyro Feta Pita. Served on housemade pita bread and stuffed with meat, tomato, onions, feta cheese, and homemade tzatziki sauce, it's simple creation but one that's sure to please.
This south Chandler restaurant is a real gem and offers a cozy side patio in addition to a handsome dining room. Pitta Souvli's entrees — hearty meals such as the Angus Beef Souvlaki Platter or the Pitta Souvli LamBurger — are filling and fresh, but for lighter appetites the pita sandwiches are a safe and affordable bet. We enjoy the lamb souvlaki sandwich, which comes with tender pieces of meat and an abundance of vegetables. The $8 price tag doesn't hurt either.
For more than a decade, Eden's Grill owners Marcus and Shalem Narsa have been putting out heavenly Middle Eastern cuisine at this North Phoenix restaurant. The menu's chock full of worthwhile entrees, including the housemade gyro (made from a mixture of pressed beef and lamb that's broiled then sliced thin) and the kebabs (in particular the chicken and ground beef varieties). But don't worry, vegetarians have plenty of options, too such as the restaurant's freshly-made falafel and dolmeh, or rolled grapes leaves stuffed with dill weed, olive oil, and rice.
Tempe's Hummus Xpress proves that authentic Mediterranean food doesn't have to be complicated or unapproachable. Every day chef Ahmad (Eddie) Hantas, who comes to the Valley by way of Lebanon, creates a rotating menu of salads, hummus, sauces, vegetables, and meats that diners can use to create their own pitas, bowls, or plates. Think, Mediterranean food done Subway-style. A filling meal at the fast-causal restaurant will usually cost you less than $10 — not a bad price for excellent falafel and freshly roasted vegetables topped with Yemeni hot sauce called shug.
Middle Eastern Bakery and Deli
Looking for excellent baklava in at least three different varieties? Well, you can find it at Middle Eastern Bakery and Deli, a Central Phoenix restaurant and market that serves food from Lebanon, Israel, and Greece. In addition to a few rows of Middle Eastern groceries, the restaurant boasts some of the city's most famous lemonade (it's made with lemon juice, water, honey, and rosewater) and a well-loved entree of Lebanese Chicken. The platter of food feature grilled chicken breast marinated in a garlic and lemon herb dressing with a side of rice, tatziki, and Greek salad.
Located not far from Arizona State University's Tempe campus, Haji-Baba has long been a popular dining spot for hungry students on a budget. The market and restaurant serves excellent hummus and baba ghanouj, as well as falafel, foul mudammas, and gyro sandwiches. For under $5 Haji-Baba's gigantic sandwiches are basically a steal.
It started as a simple, single eatery in Tempe, but has since grown to become a chain of healthy Mediterranean restaurants throughout Arizona and Southern California. With a menu that''s sensitive to diners' allergies and other dietary restrictions (it even features an allergen chart and nutritionist's bio), Pita Jungle makes eating health both easy and fun. It's not the most authentic place for Mediterranean fare, but who cares when the Pesto Pizza, made with pesto, tomatoes, spinach, feta cheese, and mozzarella, tastes so darn good?
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