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15 Places Everyone Must Eat Middle Eastern Food In London

From quick takeouts to fine dining, Middle Eastern cuisine has it all.

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1. Beyrouths in Balham

Beyrouths / Via beyrouths.com

Beirut meets Balham at this cosy Lebanese dive. Do not miss out on the grilled classics: Spicy chicken kofta or mouth-watering kebab skewers will take you back to the heart of Lebanon. Be careful not to neglect the veggie menu. From well-seasoned okra curry to the restaurant's very own spinach kibeh, there's something for everyone.

2. Behesht in Kensal Green

Allan Hennessy

Traditional tapestry and Persian rugs set the scene for a delightful dining experience at one of London’s finest Iranian joints. Friendly staff serve up a selection of hot and cold mezzes; the baba ghanoosh is to die for – grilled aubergines and sesame seeds in a rich yogurt sauce. Feeling healthy? Be wowed by the paneer sabzi: a light spinach salad mixed with fresh green herbs, tarragons, spring onions and crunchy walnuts. Don’t forget to clear your palate with a steamy cup of peppermint tea.

3. Ali Baba in Queen's Park

Allan Hennessy

Question: Does doner kebab have to be drunken food?

Answer: Absolutely not.

London’s best Turkish takeaway by a country mile, Ali Baba is the man you’re after if you’re looking for a quick bite to eat. From mixed grills to doner kebab patties, prices are cheap without sacrificing quality.

4. Kazan in Victoria

Kazan restaurant / Via kazan-restaurant.com

A Turkish delight nestled in the heart of London, Kazan offers a unique fine dining experience. Restaurateur and owner Bulent has been at the helm for 14 years. With organic ingredients and the best chefs in town, he has worked to create some refined, avant-garde wonders. From spicy Turkish sausage to crunchy falafels, Bulent’s chefs capture the interplay between European and Middle Eastern flavours. The Kazan Delight will have you basking in joy – an apple and pomegranate juice with fresh pomegranate seeds and rose petal syrup. Yum!

5. Berber & Q in Dalston

Berber & Q / Via berberandq.com

“Mezze from the East, music from the West” is B&Q’s motto. Tucked away in a quiet backstreet in Haggerston, this hip Middle Eastern eatery stretches experimental cuisine to its limits. Do not be put off by the thought of burnt onion and smoked labneh; you know what they say – never judge a book by its cover. If you’re looking to play it safe, hummus and pine nuts smothered in virgin olive oil sounds right up your street. And for the meat lovers, free-range and naturally reared cumin lamb chops or smoked chicken thighs glazed in apricot and dukkah will keep you coming back for more.

6. Yalla Yalla in Soho

Instagram: @mydelishpix

Yalla Yalla – "Come on! Come on!" in English – prides itself on bringing Beirut's street food to the capital. Its main branch is to be found down a dingy Soho alley. The rustic wooden décor contrasts with the colourful dishes on offer. Grilled thin slices of marinated chicken shawrma sit seductively on a bed of red pepper salad and basmati rice. If you're feeling naughty, sip on a Beirut Sangria or a saucy Yalla Baby Yalla cocktail. We won't tell if you won't.

7. Le Chef Masgouf in Marble Arch

Instagram: @narjisbaraka

This Iraqi bistro serves a mean barbecued sea bass accompanied by biryani and a mixed leaf salad drizzled in olive oil. The salty mint yogurt cocktail complements the smoky, aromatic flavours of the Iraqi heartland.

8. Gokyuzu in Green Lanes

Gokyuzu / Via gokyuzurestaurant.co.uk

Chef Veysel is "passionate about the principle of never serving anything in the restaurant that he wouldn’t sit down and eat himself". There is certainly something quite nostalgic about the hustle and bustle of this Wood Green eatery. Indulge in a spiced aubergine and chargrilled lamb kebab in this mini Istanbul.

9. Maroush on Edgware Road

Instagram: @sujis_kitchen / Via maroush.com

This is a classic Lebanese restaurant and takeout. From hot lamb covered in onion and pine nut hummus to stuffed vine leaves, a night at Maroush provides a rich cultural experience filled with great food and lively music.

10. Kish in Kilburn

Kish / Via kishpersianrestaurant.com

Located in northwest London, Kish is the perfect place to go for an admirably cheap yet wonderfully tasty Persian meal. The Kish specials are not to be missed: the Dizi, a potato and lamb stew, or the Zareshk, lemon and herb chicken served on a bed of saffron rice, are high achievers.

11. Mr Falafel in Shepherd's Bush

Instagram: @bethaskelton

The best falafels in London are to be found in this quiet and candid Palestinian joint. The minimalistic décor allows the falafels to do all the talking. And boy do those wraps talk; a personal favourite among the locals is the Supreme Falafel: humus, fried aubergines, tomatoes, feta cheese, avocado, olives, and mint leaves topped with tahina sauce and pomegranate syrup come together to produce a tantalising mix of flavours.

12. Slemani in Marylebone

Allan Hennessy

A Kurdish wonder in west London, Slemani serves tasty and wholesome dishes. Veggies will love the spicy aubergine curry while meat lovers will not be disappointed with the juicy Iraqi kebabs on offer.

13. Sesame in Piccadilly Circus

Sesame / Via sesamefood.co.uk

Sesame is proud to serve street food from all over the Middle East. Whether you’re looking for a pita sandwich or a warm, hearty meal such as the Turkish dumplings and couscous, disappointed customers are hard to come by. Why not top off your main with a soft rose walnut brownie? Go on, you know you want to.

14. Queen of Sheba in Paddington

Queen of Sheba

Yemeni cuisine is somewhat forgotten about when it comes to Middle Eastern eats. But Queen of Sheba is a place to remember: Kabsa, Yemen's national dish, is the chef's special – chicken and saffron rice infused with cumin, black thyme, and bay leaves will leave you wondering how you've only just discovered the food of this forgotten region of the Middle East.

15. Levant in Oxford Circus

Levant

Stop off for an express lunch at this Lebanese gem in the heart of London. Start with some fattoush: parsley, mint, cherry tomatoes, radishes, cucumber, spring onion, lemon juice, red malt vinegar and olive oil, served with crispy bread and sumac. You'll want more and, fortunately for you, there are a number of main courses to choose from. Perhaps you might opt for the chicken and aubergine tagine served with rice or couscous. Or maybe you'll go for the fattet kibbeh – minced lamb wheat parcels in a yoghurt, tahini, and garlic sauce, with crispy pita and fried onions.

16. Tatreez in Stoke Newington

Tatreez

Tatreez's sumptuous Palestinian egg breakfast puts a full English to shame. This cute dive in Stokey boasts an unparalleled veggie lunch menu too: Go for the tart makdous – pickled baby aubergines stuffed with walnuts and chilli. Delicious!

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