By Anton Constantinou
Good Middle Eastern food is everywhere in London. From hummus to fattoush, you don’t have to have to travel very far to find it, and, more often than not, it won’t cost you much either. Few cuisines are more colourful or tantalising. There’s something really photogenic about a plate of tabbouleh or a glass of Moroccan mint tea poured slowly from an ornate silver teapot.
We love Middle Eastern cuisine so much that we thought we’d shine the spotlight on some of the best places to get it. We give you the top Middle Eastern restaurants in London.
Address: 75 Westbourne Grove, London W2 4UL
Nearest train station: Royal Oak
Al Waha is an award-winning Lebanese eatery in Notting Hill serving delicious mezze-style dishes. The place is filled with plants and welcoming with affordably priced meals that are vegan and vegetarian friendly. Al Waha means “oasis” and the atmosphere here is certainly that.
Arabica Bar & Kitchen
Address: Borough Market, 3 Rochester Walk, London SE1 9AF
Nearest train station: London Bridge
Starting life as a food stall in Borough Market, Arabica is now a full-fledged restaurant known for its proper Middle Eastern cooking. The setting is fantastic – a charming brick-line space tucked inside a Victorian railway arch. Its dishes range from traditional fare like whipped tahini and stuffed vine leaves to a more sensational offering of lamb cutlets with za’atar or slow roasted goat.
Honey and Co
Address: 25 Warren St, Fitzrovia, London W1T 5LZ
Nearest train station: Great Portland Street
This Israeli-run cafe gives us bright salads, pastries and mezze in a chic, casual venue. Owners Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich are a husband and wife team who’ve been operating since 2012, and make everything fresh on-site. Many of the dishes they serve hark back to their childhoods, and borrow heavily from Jewish street food.
Address: 287 Upper St, London N1 2TZ
Nearest train station: Highbury & Islington
Ottolenghi’s flagship restaurant in Islington brings together flavours across the world in a cosy, communal setting. The Israeli/British chef co-owns a total of five delis and restaurants in London, and his cookbooks are world-famous. His Islington haunt is tasteful and informal, and the dishes are international and imaginatively thought-out.
Berber & Q
Address: 338 Acton Mews, London E8 4EA
Nearest train station: Haggerston
It may have the look of an American BBQ joint, but Berber & Q is anything but. Its dishes take influence from North Africa and the Middle East, and are smoked to perfection over a charcoal grill. The restaurant can be booked for small and large groups, as well festive occasions like Christmas and birthdays. Recommended dishes include the beef adana kofta, and whole sea bream.
Address: 34 Rupert St, London W1D 6DN
Nearest train station: Leicester Square
Palomar is an Israeli restaurant in Chinatown run by two Jewish entrepreneurs that operates on a first come first served basis. Its non-kosher menu mixes seafood, meat, dairy and typical Mediterranean ingredients, and is divided up in terms of where its dishes originate from, be it the garden or the ocean. Our choice recommendations are the confit duck siske and Persian pappardelle.
Address: 5 Warwick Pl, London W9 2PX
Nearest train station: Edgware Road
Kateh is a small, unpretentious sort of place with an intimate basement and a cheery upstairs area, serving everything from fish stews to grilled lamb. It’s located on a pretty residential street in Maida Vale, close to Notting Hill, and overlooks a canal. Expect familiar chargrilled favourites and mouth-watering salads.
Address: 21 Edgware Rd, London W2 2JE
Nearest train station: Edgware Road
The famous restaurant group Maroush has been operating since 1981, has 16 eateries in west London, and prides itself on bringing the finest Lebanese food to the capital. Their Edgware Road branch has two floors and an energetic vibe about it, with live music, belly dancing and affordably-priced food.