For fans of baklava, baba ganoush, falafel and other Middle Eastern dishes, Phoenix can, surprisingly, be a goldmine of restaurants and eateries that dish out delicious specialties of the region.
From the comforting classics of India, to Afghani dishes rich in tradition and culture, to the flavorful feasts of Greece and the Mediterranean, these restaurants bring a true taste of the Middle East to the table.
Owner Isam Saed says “when you’re here, you’re family” of his bakery and deli located in central Phoenix. Specializing in Lebanese cuisine—with a few Israeli and Grecian offerings sprinkled in for good measure—the restaurant-slash-bakery-slash-deli serves a full menu of apps, salads and combo plates, including a variety of kebabs, ranging chicken to beef to lamb. Traditional dolmades (grape leaves), shawarma (grilled meats), imjadara (lentil and rice pilaf), falafel and gyros are also served, but it’s the house made baklava that makes this spot so special.
3052 N 16th St, Phoenix 85014
Global flavors come together at this central Phoenix, family-owned restaurant where the traditional foods of Pakistan, Afghanistan and India give diners a diverse mix of cuisines. Indian dishes run the gamut from the curry-centric chicken tikka masala to the goat biryani. Karahi is a favorite Pakistani dish made with flavorful meats (either chicken or goat) mixed with tomatoes, onions, green chilis and spices. The restaurant also serves the national dish of Afghanistan, kabli pulao made with rice, carrots and raisins, topped with a beef shish kabob.
4030 N 24th St, Phoenix 85016
When it comes to Afghan cuisine, husband-and-wife chef-owners Mohammad Safi and Mamoona Hilal are passionate about sharing foods from their native land. Formerly Tahoora Grill, the restaurant serves a variety of Indian, Pakistani and Afghani dishes made with meats and seafood. Vegetarians, however, have a wide range of delicious options, including the Afghani gulpi (cauliflower), sabzi (spinach), badanjan (eggplant) and bamya (okra). The restaurant is also known for its naan and breads, especially the aloo paratha, a flatbread stuffed with mashed potatoes and herbs.
1638 N 40th St, Phoenix 85008
For Middle Eastern cuisine quick, easy and at a decent price, this north Phoenix spot won’t disappoint. The mostly Greek menu features hummus and falafel for appetizers, as well as gyros, kabobs and salads for entrees. But it’s their combo plates that give you the most bang for your buck. Choose the two- or three-meat combo and you’ll get a plate heaping with skewers of marinated chicken, beef or steak, along with generous helpings of rice, pita bread and fresh slices of tomatoes and onions.
15414 N 19th Ave, Phoenix 85023