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Suraya in Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighborhood
Melissa Alam

Where to Eat Middle Eastern Food in Philly

Creamy hummus, crunchy falafel, tender kebabs

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Suraya in Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighborhood
| Melissa Alam

Though often relegated to cheap eats lists — and there are certainly affordable eateries here — Philadelphia’s Middle Eastern restaurants range in price and atmosphere, from low-key neighborhood spots serving kebabs for decades to buzzy newcomers with modern takes on ancient cuisines, like Zahav, an Israeli restaurant racking up national awards.

Some of the restaurants here are halal, and some offer an array of vegetarian and vegan options. You’ll also spot a few that aren’t strictly Middle Eastern, but have enough similarities to make sense on this list, and will hopefully satisfy any grilled lamb, baba ghanoush, or pita craving.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Caspian Grille

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539 Germantown Pike
Lafayette Hill, PA 19444
(610) 834-7660
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Lafayette Hill’s Caspian Grille has been serving Persian fare for over three decades. Kebabs — including lamb, salmon, and Iranian-style ground meat — are available on platters with rice or packed into pitas, and for dessert there’s rice pudding with rose water. Along with the restaurant, there’s an outpost inside the Flourtown Farmers Market in Flourtown, Pennsylvania.

2. Suraya

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1528 Frankford Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19125
(215) 302-1900
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In the morning, head to Suraya in Fishtown for Lebanese flatbreads and pastries, like the light-as-air pistachio cruller. Evenings bring dinner service featuring hummus, kebabs, whole fish, arak cocktails, and dessert drizzled with rose blossom syrup. Walk through the attractive restaurant to the sprawling al fresco space, which feels a world away from Philly.

baba ganoush with pomegranate seeds Melissa Alam

3. Apricot Stone

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1040 North 2nd Street #601 GPS 1040, N American St
Philadelphia, PA 19123
(267) 606-6596
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Chef Fimy Ishkhanian made a name for herself on the Main Line before heading to Northern Liberties with Apricot Stone, a relaxed BYOB serving a blend of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and Armenian dishes, like manti, beef-stuffed grape leaves, fattoush, and lamb kebabs.

4. Manakeesh Cafe Bakery & Grill

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4420 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 921-2135
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First-timers at this Lebanese cafe in University City should start with the breakfast flatbread, baked over an open flame and topped with meat or prepared vegetarian with cheese or yogurt and veggies. Another must-try is anything from the assortment of sweets, like baklava, sticky basboosa, or dairy-free halwa.

5. Saad's Halal Restaurant

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4500 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19139
(215) 222-7223
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Ignore the American side of Saad’s menu — full of burgers and cheesesteaks — and go for the bevy of Middle Eastern options at this counter-service spot in University City. In addition to a few kinds of kebabs and shawarma, there are dozens of meat-free offerings. Falafel comes topped with baba ghanoush, tabbouleh, feta, or hummus.

6. Kamal’s Middle Eastern Specialities 

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(215) 925-1511
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For more than 30 years, the Albarouki family has been soaking chickpeas every night and turning them into fresh falafel every morning for their Reading Terminal Market stall. Kamal’s is also known for its fresh juices and smoothies, like the lemonana, a minty lemonade with rose water.

7. Dizengoff (multiple locations)

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1625 Sansom St
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 867-8181
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What started out as Philly’s favorite hummus at Zahav is the star at counter-service spot Dizengoff. Michael Solomonov’s recipe includes a healthy dose of tahini, creating an extra-creamy texture and nutty flavor. Toppings rotate daily and often include lamb and vegetables like carrots or cauliflower, all scooped up with hearth-baked pita.

hummus
Dizengoff
Dizengoff [official photo]

8. Goldie (multiple locations)

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1526 Sansom St
Philadelphia, PA 19102
(267) 239-0777
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Falafel shop Goldie keeps the menu short and sweet. There’s a falafel sandwich, a salad topped with falafel, shawarma-spiced fries, and the city’s coolest vegan milkshake. In fact, everything here is vegan.

fries, shakes, and falafel in a pita Michael Persico

9. Spice Finch

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220 S 17th St
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 309-2238
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At the Warwick Hotel in Rittenhouse, chefs Jen Carroll and Billy Riddle’s Spice Finch pulls from Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines for dishes like farro-stuffed grape leaves and date-braised lamb shank. The restaurant opens early for breakfast and stays open late (there’s a roomy bar).

Justin Blasi

10. Sahara Grill

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1334 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 985-4155
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In Center City, Sahara Grill serves up affordable platters of hummus, falafel, kebabs, and shawarma. The mixed-grill entree with a variety of meats and sides is a good place to start, or go for the Lebanese-style sandwiches, which come stuffed with fries and pickles.

11. Mamoun’s Falafel

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300 Market St
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 351-5400
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Mamoun’s, a New York City-based falafel chain that dates back to the early 1970s, now has a location in Philly. The Old City outpost has quickly become a staple for quick-serve pita sandwiches stuffed with falafel, shawarma, or lamb.

three pita sandwiches in yellow basket Mamoun’s Falafel [official photo]

12. Ariana Restaurant

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134 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 922-1535
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In Old City, Ariana is a favorite for flavorful Afghan dinners (it’s an especially good option before a movie at the Ritz). Along with a number of kebabs, rice dishes are popular at this BYOB. Try the norange palow, a rosewater-scented combination of lamb, saffron rice, nuts, and orange peel.

13. Zahav

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237 St James Pl
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 625-8800
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Book well in advance for a table at the always-buzzing Zahav, Mike Solomonov and Steve Cook’s standout Israeli restaurant. Diners can order al la carte or opt for the $48 tasting menu, which includes hummus, laffa, mezze, a grilled dish (like hanger steak), and dessert. Or go for the mesibah prix fixe meal, which comes with one of Philly’s most iconic dishes: a whole lamb shoulder, hardwood-smoked and braised in pomegranate molasses, served over Persian wedding rice.

lamb dish with chickpeas Michael Persico

14. Sansom Kabob House

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1300 South St #1823
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 751-9110
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Sansom Kabob House, relocated from Sansom Street to bigger, brighter digs on South Street, serves up Afghan cuisine with options for carnivores, vegetarians, and vegans. Every dish comes with rice, salad, and bread — the bread recipe was passed down from the chef’s great-great grandfather, who was a baker. The restaurant is BYOB.

15. Isot Restaurant

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622 S 6th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(267) 457-3622
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This small, stylish BYOB off South Street serves Turkish dishes diners won’t find in too many other Philly restaurants, like ali nazik (lamb and eggplant in a yogurt garlic sauce) or kasap kofte (charbroiled ground beef and lamb patties). It’s also a solid option for brunch — try the flaky spinach gozleme.

16. Al Zaytouna

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906 Christian St
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 574-5040
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Fans of the tart yogurt dip labneh will be happy to find it on the appetizer menu at Al Zaytouna, served with warm pita for under $6. The warm stuffed grape leaves are another good choice. Other hits at this low-key spot also include the chicken kebab, shawarma, and hummus. Bring a bottle of wine or some beer if you plan to dine in.

17. Bitar's

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947 Federal St
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 755-1121
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Casual corner spot Bitar’s has been selling Lebanese dishes and groceries in South Philly for decades. Try a za’atar-dusted flatbread topped with tomatoes and feta — called a “bitzza” in a play on pizza — or go sweet with a thick piece of pistachio baklava.

1. Caspian Grille

539 Germantown Pike, Lafayette Hill, PA 19444

Lafayette Hill’s Caspian Grille has been serving Persian fare for over three decades. Kebabs — including lamb, salmon, and Iranian-style ground meat — are available on platters with rice or packed into pitas, and for dessert there’s rice pudding with rose water. Along with the restaurant, there’s an outpost inside the Flourtown Farmers Market in Flourtown, Pennsylvania.

539 Germantown Pike
Lafayette Hill, PA 19444

2. Suraya

1528 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125
baba ganoush with pomegranate seeds Melissa Alam

In the morning, head to Suraya in Fishtown for Lebanese flatbreads and pastries, like the light-as-air pistachio cruller. Evenings bring dinner service featuring hummus, kebabs, whole fish, arak cocktails, and dessert drizzled with rose blossom syrup. Walk through the attractive restaurant to the sprawling al fresco space, which feels a world away from Philly.

1528 Frankford Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19125

3. Apricot Stone

1040 North 2nd Street #601 GPS 1040, N American St, Philadelphia, PA 19123

Chef Fimy Ishkhanian made a name for herself on the Main Line before heading to Northern Liberties with Apricot Stone, a relaxed BYOB serving a blend of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and Armenian dishes, like manti, beef-stuffed grape leaves, fattoush, and lamb kebabs.

1040 North 2nd Street #601 GPS 1040, N American St
Philadelphia, PA 19123

4. Manakeesh Cafe Bakery & Grill

4420 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19104

First-timers at this Lebanese cafe in University City should start with the breakfast flatbread, baked over an open flame and topped with meat or prepared vegetarian with cheese or yogurt and veggies. Another must-try is anything from the assortment of sweets, like baklava, sticky basboosa, or dairy-free halwa.

4420 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104

5. Saad's Halal Restaurant

4500 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19139

Ignore the American side of Saad’s menu — full of burgers and cheesesteaks — and go for the bevy of Middle Eastern options at this counter-service spot in University City. In addition to a few kinds of kebabs and shawarma, there are dozens of meat-free offerings. Falafel comes topped with baba ghanoush, tabbouleh, feta, or hummus.

4500 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19139

6. Kamal’s Middle Eastern Specialities 

Philadelphia, PA 19107

For more than 30 years, the Albarouki family has been soaking chickpeas every night and turning them into fresh falafel every morning for their Reading Terminal Market stall. Kamal’s is also known for its fresh juices and smoothies, like the lemonana, a minty lemonade with rose water.

7. Dizengoff (multiple locations)

1625 Sansom St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
hummus
Dizengoff
Dizengoff [official photo]

What started out as Philly’s favorite hummus at Zahav is the star at counter-service spot Dizengoff. Michael Solomonov’s recipe includes a healthy dose of tahini, creating an extra-creamy texture and nutty flavor. Toppings rotate daily and often include lamb and vegetables like carrots or cauliflower, all scooped up with hearth-baked pita.

1625 Sansom St
Philadelphia, PA 19103

8. Goldie (multiple locations)

1526 Sansom St, Philadelphia, PA 19102
fries, shakes, and falafel in a pita Michael Persico

Falafel shop Goldie keeps the menu short and sweet. There’s a falafel sandwich, a salad topped with falafel, shawarma-spiced fries, and the city’s coolest vegan milkshake. In fact, everything here is vegan.

1526 Sansom St
Philadelphia, PA 19102

9. Spice Finch

220 S 17th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Justin Blasi

At the Warwick Hotel in Rittenhouse, chefs Jen Carroll and Billy Riddle’s Spice Finch pulls from Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines for dishes like farro-stuffed grape leaves and date-braised lamb shank. The restaurant opens early for breakfast and stays open late (there’s a roomy bar).

220 S 17th St
Philadelphia, PA 19103

10. Sahara Grill

1334 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

In Center City, Sahara Grill serves up affordable platters of hummus, falafel, kebabs, and shawarma. The mixed-grill entree with a variety of meats and sides is a good place to start, or go for the Lebanese-style sandwiches, which come stuffed with fries and pickles.

1334 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

11. Mamoun’s Falafel

300 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19106
three pita sandwiches in yellow basket Mamoun’s Falafel [official photo]

Mamoun’s, a New York City-based falafel chain that dates back to the early 1970s, now has a location in Philly. The Old City outpost has quickly become a staple for quick-serve pita sandwiches stuffed with falafel, shawarma, or lamb.

300 Market St
Philadelphia, PA 19106

12. Ariana Restaurant

134 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

In Old City, Ariana is a favorite for flavorful Afghan dinners (it’s an especially good option before a movie at the Ritz). Along with a number of kebabs, rice dishes are popular at this BYOB. Try the norange palow, a rosewater-scented combination of lamb, saffron rice, nuts, and orange peel.

134 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19106

13. Zahav

237 St James Pl, Philadelphia, PA 19106
lamb dish with chickpeas Michael Persico

Book well in advance for a table at the always-buzzing Zahav, Mike Solomonov and Steve Cook’s standout Israeli restaurant. Diners can order al la carte or opt for the $48 tasting menu, which includes hummus, laffa, mezze, a grilled dish (like hanger steak), and dessert. Or go for the mesibah prix fixe meal, which comes with one of Philly’s most iconic dishes: a whole lamb shoulder, hardwood-smoked and braised in pomegranate molasses, served over Persian wedding rice.

237 St James Pl
Philadelphia, PA 19106

14. Sansom Kabob House

1300 South St #1823, Philadelphia, PA 19147

Sansom Kabob House, relocated from Sansom Street to bigger, brighter digs on South Street, serves up Afghan cuisine with options for carnivores, vegetarians, and vegans. Every dish comes with rice, salad, and bread — the bread recipe was passed down from the chef’s great-great grandfather, who was a baker. The restaurant is BYOB.

1300 South St #1823
Philadelphia, PA 19147

15. Isot Restaurant

622 S 6th St, Philadelphia, PA 19147

This small, stylish BYOB off South Street serves Turkish dishes diners won’t find in too many other Philly restaurants, like ali nazik (lamb and eggplant in a yogurt garlic sauce) or kasap kofte (charbroiled ground beef and lamb patties). It’s also a solid option for brunch — try the flaky spinach gozleme.

622 S 6th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

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16. Al Zaytouna

906 Christian St, Philadelphia, PA 19147

Fans of the tart yogurt dip labneh will be happy to find it on the appetizer menu at Al Zaytouna, served with warm pita for under $6. The warm stuffed grape leaves are another good choice. Other hits at this low-key spot also include the chicken kebab, shawarma, and hummus. Bring a bottle of wine or some beer if you plan to dine in.

906 Christian St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

17. Bitar's

947 Federal St, Philadelphia, PA 19147

Casual corner spot Bitar’s has been selling Lebanese dishes and groceries in South Philly for decades. Try a za’atar-dusted flatbread topped with tomatoes and feta — called a “bitzza” in a play on pizza — or go sweet with a thick piece of pistachio baklava.

947 Federal St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

Related Maps