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Monday, January 23, 2023

Middle Eastern Food In Chicago

Fahsa Lamb At Shibam Restaurant

Chicago’s Best Middle Eastern Cuisine: Al Bawadi Grill

Fahsa Lamb at Shibam Restaurant.

Order the fahsa lamb , and youll get screaming hot black bowl of stew that bubbles furiously for minutes after hitting the table. Fahsa is a traditional Yemeni dish featuring stewed lamb in a broth bulked out with okra and laced with fenugreek. It also has a legit heat, so even after you let the stew cool, watch out for the heat from the chiles. You could dig in with a spoon, or you could use some of the restaurants wonderful khubz bread to scoop up a mouthful. 4807 N. Elston Ave., 773-977-7272, shibam.com

Turkish Coffee At Four Letter Word

Turkish coffee at Four Letter Word.

Turkish coffeehouse Four Letter Word has two locations: one on Diversey Avenue in Chicago, and another its flagship in Istanbul, Turkey. Historically speaking, coffeehouses have long been part of Turkish culture, given that Turkish coffee is traditionally served as a patient, sit-down ritual. The ceremony isnt quite as elaborate at Four Letter Word, but the prep and product are. The small vessel of coffee packs potent flavor. The grinds come in the coffee, where theyre combined with sugar, given a single good stir, then left to brew over heat. The grinds sink to the bottom while the liquid rises, and a soft froth forms across the top. The remaining heterogeneous beverage is sweet, tangy and rich with bean flavor making for a rich enough cup of coffee that you might wind up staying awhile anyway. Turkish coffee, available in-store only, $6. 3022 W. Diversey Ave., 773-360-8932.

Adam Lukach

Which Middle Eastern Delivery Spots In Chicago Are Available On Uber Eats

There are around 80 places offering Middle Eastern delivery in Chicago, including Crave Kabob in Near West Side, Shawarma Inn I in Budlong Woods, Middle East Grill in Andersonville, Rajun Cajun in Hyde Park, and Zam Zam Middle Eastern Grill in Lakeview. So, skip a visit to W Devon Ave or N Milwaukee Ave or your go-to spots and order takeout online.

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best falafel in ChicagoTestimonials

“Who knew this little place in a tiny strip mall would have the best Falafel? I wanted to order from some place close to my house and found them online. I just ordered a salad, Falafel and hummus w pita. It was all good. I will be visiting the actual restaurant soon!”Bernadette I.

Spicy Spinach Pie At Alwatan Bakery

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Spicy spinach pie at Alwatan Bakery.

Walk into Alwatan Bakery in suburban Bridgeview, and its not hard to feel happily overwhelmed by the number of baked goods. To the left, watch as pita after pita tumble off the large conveyor-belt machine. Straight ahead, youll can spy a large oven where larger loaves are continuously pulled out. The glass case in front of you is stuffed with all manner of enticing things, from intricately decorated desserts, plump stuffed pies and numerous varieties of manaeesh, which are flatbreads often topped with spice mixes. Fortunately, theres no wrong way to shop here. I left with a with a manaeesh sprinkled with aromatic zaatar spice blend and a couple of pies. I was especially taken with the one stuffed with a spicy spinach mixture. $2. 7279 W. 87th St., Bridgeview, 708-907-5681

Nick Kindelsperger

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Oozi Breakfast At Oozi Corner

Oozi breakfast at Oozi Corner restaurant in Bridgeview, southwest of Chicago.

Oozi Corner opened quietly five months ago in Bridgeview, the village southwest of Chicago thats home to a diverse community including Middle Eastern immigrants. The modern Mediterranean restaurant, inspired by ancient Syrian, Lebanese and Turkish cuisines, is named for oozi , savory pies with puff pastry filled with lamb, green peas, nuts and rice. But I wanted breakfast, the signature Oozi breakfast, served zaman style so says the menu. Zaman means time in Turkish and thats what youll need with the lavish spread that starts with long, crisp house-baked pita with a spicy feta cheese spread. A pot of strong black tea precedes the feast. Tear into soft rounds of pita destined to be dipped into olive oil and zaatar, the dry spice condiment. Little dishes filled with house-cured olives, makdous , feta cheese, butter, halva , jams and labneh sidle next to fresh slices of tomato and cucumber. Breakfast is served daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., but you may be tempted to stay, zaman style, for lunch and dinner too. $12.95. 9115 S. Harlem Ave., Bridgeview, 855-669-4246, oozicorner.com

Louisa Chu

Best Middle Eastern Restaurants Chicago

Caspian Kabab Fine Persian Cuisine Chicago

Caspian Kabab Fine Persian Cuisine Description: Persian restaurant & bar with hookahs. Middle Eastern eatery & bar with exotic decor, hookahs & belly dancers on the weekends. Address: 1413 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60622, United States Phone Number: +1 773-666-5767 Website: https://caspiankabab.com/ Store Hours: Sunday: 11:30AM-9PM | Monday: Closed | Tuesday: 3-10PM | Wednesday:

Pars Cove Restaurant Chicago

Pars Cove Restaurant Description: Persian & Mediterranean fare since 1976. Decades-old restaurant dishing out traditional Persian & Mediterranean plates in a casual setting. Address: 435 W Diversey Pkwy, Chicago, IL 60614, United States Phone Number: +1 773-549-1515 Website: http://parscove.com/ Store Hours: Sunday: 4-8:30PM | Monday: 4-9:30PM | Tuesday: Closed | Wednesday: 4-9:30PM | Thursday: 4-9:30PM

Tiba Restaurant Chicago

Tiba Restaurant Description: Informal pick for Mediterranean eats. Unfussy, bare-bones eatery serving an array of Mediterranean dishes such as salads & kebabs. Address: 2721 W Lawrence Ave, Chicago, IL 60625, United States Phone Number: +1 872-208-6660 Website: http://www.tibarestaurantchicago.com/ Store Hours: Sunday: 10AM-11:30PM | Monday: 10AM-11:30PM | Tuesday: 10AM-11:30PM | Wednesday: 10AM-11:30PM | Thursday: 10AM-11:30PM |

The Little India Chicago

The Nile of Hyde Park Chicago

Kabobi Persian and Mediterranean Grill Chicago

Cedars Mediterranean Kitchen Chicago

Galit Chicago

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Tahini Cocktail At Aba

The the fruit-forward Not Mad, Just Impressed cocktail at Aba is flavored with a tahini-honey blend.

This California-influenced Middle Eastern restaurant has a decidedly nontraditional beverage program, thanks in large part to cocktail maven Liz Pearce, whose offerings include a Mediterranean Mule made with herb-infused vodka, pistachio and Galliano. When challenged to create a whiskey cocktail that would complement Middle Eastern flavors, Pearce came up with the fruit-forward Not Mad, Just Impressed , a play on a Ron Burgundy line. It starts with 12-year-old scotch and Amaro Montenegro, softened by tangerine, lemon and a bit of tahini, or sesame paste. Tahini is tricky, to say the least, Pearce said. It can come across as too gummy or grainy. I blended tahini into honey syrup with a bit of turmeric it blends naturally with the tangerine, and gives a savory backbone to the scotch. The finished product is fruity and summery Pearce jokingly calls it a Babys first scotch cocktail. A float of bitters at the end adds a visual effect similar to a Tequila Sunrise. 302 N. Green St., abarestaurantchicago.com

Phil Vettel

Best Middle Eastern Food In Chicago

Snag traditional Palestinian dishes at Yaba’s Middle Eastern Grill in Logan Square

Best known for their flat bread, Zaytune brings Chicago some of the best Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food. They take pride in the freshness of their food and ingredients and use no trans-fat or preservatives. The menu is simple, but each dish is full of flavor. Your orders are cooked over an open flame to add to the flavor.

Afghan Kabob brings out the best of their menu with their well blended combinations of herbs and spices. Whether you want beef, lamb, salmon or chicken, you’re sure to taste the full flavor of the middle-east. Come hungry as they serve you large portions for a small price.

If you’re looking for that middle-east taste and want to include your vegan friends, Salam is a spot that won’t disappoint. Salam only uses fresh meats and vegetable from the farmers market. Their diverse menu includes traditional appetizers such as Hummus, Mosabaha, Spinich pie, Falafil, and Babaghanoug and main dishes such as Chicken kabob, Grilled shish kabob, Kalayas and more. As mentioned above, there is also a large selection for vegetarians.

Semiramis serves up some of the best falafels in Chicago, having been voted the best in 2009 by Chicago Magazine. Everything they serve is prepared fresh daily, including their house-marinated olives and pickled turnips. They marinate their chicken, lamb, and beef with traditional, middle-east spices to bring out the fullest flavor.

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Middle Eastern Restaurants In Downtown / The Loop

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Adana Kebab At Cafe Istanbul

Adana kebab is served sandwiched between sheets of flatbread, here with the top piece pulled away to show the lamb skewers.

The most important ingredients served up at Istanbul Grill are warmth and welcome. OK, kinda corny, but hospitality should always be like this. You cant sit down to wait for your to-go order without someone insisting on bringing you a cup of tea. At lunch one visit, I politely refused tea four times, so they brought free dessert instead. The chef calls over from the grill to make sure you liked everything. And you do. A recent weekend lunch started with a gratis yogurt-and-carrot dip, lovely with the crackle-crusted bread. My adana kebab chopped lamb patted by hand into patties and carefully formed onto long flat skewers, then grilled was a generous dish, served with flatbread, rice and salad. Kebabs of chopped meat, instead of ground, offer a much better texture, and these were tender with a bit of heat from chile flakes. A cup of tea showed up, unbidden. And for dessert, a creamy custard glazed with sweet-bitter caramel. All in all, Cafe Istanbul is more like eating at someones home than a neighborhood joint. $15. 3037 N. Clark St., 773-698-6995, myistanbulgrill.com

Joe Gray

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Grilled Squid At Cafe Istanbul

Wicker Park’s Cafe Istanbul is serving up delicious Turkish food like grilled calamari.

A dish common to Turkish restaurants is octopus, served simply with a wedge of lemon or as a salad. At Cafe Istanbul, another cephalopod steps in. Instead of grilled octopus, grilled squid comes on a bed of greens with sliced avocado, cherry tomatoes, onion and capers, with a side of salsa verde. The dish is bright and light, with a slight smoke and char finish from the wood-grilled squid. The avocado adds a creamy note while the capers add a salty zing. Cherry tomatoes contributed sweetness while the salsa verde amped up the garlic and spice. $10. 2014 W. Division St., 773-661-9487, mycafeistanbul.com

Grace Wong

Masabacha Hummus At Galit

The 12 Best Middle Eastern Restaurants in Chicago

Masabacha hummus, defined by whole chickpeas, and pita by chef Zachary Engel at Galit .

James Beard award-winning chef Zachary Engel opened Galit just four months ago. The local, seasonal Middle Eastern and Israeli immigrant-inspired restaurant earned three stars from Phil Vettel, I think before the signs even went up on the sun-drenched storefront. Engel says their brisket hummus has become the signature in the Lincoln Park area. For him personally, though, its the mushroom. I suggest starting with his masabacha hummus, defined by whole chickpeas swimming in a luminous pool of golden olive oil. Tear off a piece of warm house-baked pita to swipe through a cloud of green herbed tehina sesame paste and a generous sprinkle of smoky red Aleppo pepper. You will understand why this silky spread is the standard to which all others should be compared. $12. 2429 N. Lincoln Ave., 773-360-8755, galitrestaurant.com

Louisa Chu

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Beef Koubideh Lunch Special At Kabobi Grill

Beef koubideh lunch special at Kabobi Grill.

No matter whether you visit Kabobi Grill at lunch or dinner, you can score a satisfying meal made of freshly grilled meat and crunchy vegetable sides. But if you drop by for lunch, you can order this enormous platter of food for only $7.95. That includes one very long piece of beef koubideh , which is made of ground beef mixed with herbs and onions. Its served atop a sizable stack of dill rice, with a scoop of hummus and salad of cucumbers and tomatoes. Oh, and dont forget about the pita bread dished out for free. 4748 N. Kedzie Ave., 773-583-1400, kabobigrill.com

Nick Kindelsperger

Istanbul Market And Cafe

What started as a grocery is now also a cafe in suburban Mount Prospect that serves simit, lahmajoon, menemen, borek, and more. Dine on heaping portions amid shelves of Turkish ingredients and baked goods to-go. Its a bit of a trek, but worth a stop if youre headed to or from OHare International Airport.

This Lebanese restaurant has one of the more extensive menus on the list, including regional specialities like sfihaa flatbread with a spiced minced meat toppingand fattehchickpeas over toasted pita bread with yogurt, tahini, garlic, sumac, and melted butter. All of the mezzes are excellent, but the baba ghanoush is especially good, with the level of smokiness you find in Beirut. Thats no surprise, as the restaurant originally opened in Raouche, Beirut in 1935. Though the family immigrated to Chicago, they still source spices from Turkey and make their own zaatar, which is fresh and tangy and should be added to every order.

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The Best Of Mediterranean Restaurants In Chicago

The Nile of Hyde Park was founded in 1991 by owner and chef, Abed Moughrabi. This marked the beginning of a long journey to bring the best in Middle Eastern cuisine to the people of Chicago. The Nile of Hyde Park is a family owned and operated institution that has been serving the community with a strong emphasis on consistency, quality, value, and sincerity.

We have an extensive catering and in-house dining menu with a variety of choices for the meat lover, vegetarian, and anyone with a palate for fine dining.

After 26 years in the Hyde Park community, customers have become family with multiple generations sitting at our tables. It is a sincere pleasure and an honor to serve the familiar and new faces of our guests, young and old, as we continue our culinary journey with Chicago and the Hyde Park community. In addition to authentic, homemade cuisine, you will find competitive prices and a willing staff dedicated to the needs of their customers. We look forward to many years to come.

Ghormeh Sabzi At Noon

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Ghormeh sabzi, an Iranian herb stew, on July 27, 2019 at Noon-O-Kabab, the Persian restaurant in the Albany Park neighborhood on the Northwest Side of Chicago.

When a Persian-French chef friend made ghormeh sabzi, the herb stew considered the national dish of Iran by some, he insisted on using parsley leaves only, never the stems. At Noon-O-Kabab, the Persian restaurant in Albany Park on the Northwest Side, they offer a comparably beautiful bowl. Alluring dried black limes, fenugreek and time transform the parsley with cilantro, scallions and spinach into a deeply verdant pool, further enhanced with tender kidney beans and chunks of lamb. The Naghavi family opened Noon-O-Kabab in 1997, what was then a modest cafeteria-style storefront in the diverse neighborhood. Now two restaurants side by side, the casual counter service and white tablecloth establishments offer the herb stew, served with rice. Get the long grain basmati steamed white with a few saffron grains or the rice flecked green with dill. Choose one or both, but I highly recommend extra. $15.95 and $18 . 4701 N. Kedzie Ave., 773-279-8899, noonokabab.com

Louisa Chu

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Best Middle Eastern Restaurants In Chicago

So how does this work?

We pick our top choices based on the quality of the food, service, and consistency over time. Well start off by giving you the best options overall for dining in Chicago and then follow up with links to different types of restaurants in different neighborhoods at the end of this page.

Mixed Grill At Al Bawadi Grill

Mixed grill at Al Bawadi Grill

This colorful restaurant, open since 2008, is as welcoming as they come servers seem positively thrilled to provide explanations and recommendations for the vast menu. The easy option, a sort of Middle Eastern 101, is the signature mixed grill. It includes three skewers, one each of lamb, kufta and chicken, along with a few strips of shawarma, grilled tomato and rice. As if that werent enough, it includes a starter plate of hummus. And because the restaurant is alcohol-free , you wont spend a great deal of money on your visit. $19.99. 7216 W. 87th St., Bridgeview, 708-599-1999 albawadigrill.com

Phil Vettel

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Yogurt Iskender Kebab At I

Yogurt Iskender Kebab.

The yogurt iskender kebab from I-Cafe Sukurs Place is a showstopping behemoth of a dish. The first thing you see when it hits the table is the bright, red tomato sauce, generously slathered over the entirety of the dish. Tucked under it are thin slices of savory lamb and beef doner kebab, generously spiced and fragrant, sitting on a layer of tart and bright yogurt. The base layer is made up of chunks of spongy bread that catch the liquid from the meat, yogurt and tomato sauce. Its incredibly fragrant and comforting and youll definitely want to bring a few friends or family to help you finish it. $13.99. 1814 W. Irving Park Road, 773-755-4022, sukursplace.com/icafe

Grace Wong

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