For fans of baklava, baba ganoush, falafel and other Middle Eastern dishes, Phoenix can — perhaps, surprisingly — be a goldmine of restaurants and eateries that dish out delicious specialties of the region.
From the comforting classics of India and dishes rich in Afghani 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.
Al-Hana Restaurant at Baiz Market
At Baiz Market in central Phoenix (and a second location in Mesa), come for the specialty produce, fresh meats, and hard-to-find international brands…but stay for the fresh-made, authentic Middle Eastern fare.
Tucked in a corner of the market, the counter service spot is perfect for the on-the-go lunch crowd, especially those looking for a savory shawarma, deep-fried falafel or Mediterranean pie filled with meat, cheese, thyme, or spinach. And because no meal is complete without a sweet ending, Al-Hana offers an array of Middle Eastern pastries, from baklava sticky with honey, to date-filled cookies dusted with sugar.
523 N. 20th St., Phoenix
1858 W. Baseline Road, Mesa
Owners Marcus and Shalem Narsa ran a Mediterranean restaurant and bakery in Chicago for 25 years prior to relocating to Phoenix. And, considering this gem has been a local favorite since the early 2000s, that's a lot of experience.
But don't take our word for it. Here, recipes that have withstood the test of time include the Adam and Eve, a combination of chicken and beef kabobs served atop "Mom's rice," which is saffron-infused basmati with roasted vegetables, toasted raisins and almonds.Of course, you can expect all the classic dishes and sides, too.
13843 N. Tatum Blvd., #29, Phoenix
Good Fellas Grill
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
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
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
Middle Eastern Bakery & Deli
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
Decidedly the swankiest spot on the list, Scottsdale's Persian Room is a sight to behold (and that's well before your dishes arrive). For more than 30 years the Persian Room has paired exquisite cuisine with its exotic dining atmosphere. Ornate chandeliers, carved pillars and water fountains complement the inspiring menu of beef, chicken, lamb and variety of vegetarian dishes. Start with homemade, clay oven bread and basil as you decide between 30 unmistakable entrees fit for ancient Persian royalty.
17040 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale
Saba’s Mediterranean Kitchen
While Middle Eastern cuisine runs the gamut from Persian to Israeli to Turkish, Saba’s is known for its mostly Greek-inspired cuisine. Translation: If you’re looking for a tasty gyro stuffed with shaved meat or chicken; crispy spanakopita filled with spinach and feta; or dolmades, rice and spices wrapped in grape leaves, this north Phoenix spot is the place for you. Chef-owner George Shankool and his family have been serving authentic Middle Eastern cuisine since 1995, making Saba’s a favorite Middle Eastern spot for nearly 25 years.
4747 E. Bell Road, Phoenix