Middle Eastern Restaurants to Try in Austin
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Middle Eastern Restaurants to Try in Austin

Austin has a vibrant food scene with a variety of delicious dining options, including many Middle Eastern restaurants that offer a diverse range of cuisine. Check out some of the best ones in the area below.

The Halal Corner

In 2015, the owners of the Kismet Cafe, a well-established restaurant on the UT Campus Drag, founded The Halal Corner. The restaurant has earned the top spot as the best Mediterranean restaurant in Austin and has been providing the city with wholesome and nutritious Mediterranean cuisine. Their dishes are made with care and affection, using only locally sourced and freshly purchased ingredients, which are prepared from scratch. Unlike other Mediterranean eateries, Halal Corner offers a vast range of options, including meat, vegetarian, and vegan plates, wraps, and various types of salads.

The Kebab Shop

A common misunderstanding of Middle Eastern food is how often kebabs are actually eaten. According to an article by Spoon University about misconceptions about Middle Eastern food, they’re mainly eaten at outdoor events like barbecues. If you want to get in on the fun, order some tasty options at a local spot in Austin. The Kebab Shop serves up delicious meat seasoned and hand-carved from a vertical rotisserie or grilled above an open flame for delicious flavors. They also make almost everything, from their fries to their sauces, in-house. You can get some great kebabs at this popular spot that has multiple locations across town.

Kabobzi Mediterranean Grill & Phoenician Resto Cafe

While the regions that offer Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine are distinct, this building houses two restaurants that blend them both. The Phoenician Resto Cafe offers delicious Lebanese specialties like Shanklish, which is a type of cheese aged and rolled into balls. At the Guadalupe location, the space also houses KabobZi, which is a family-owned Mediterranean restaurant. The restaurants share a menu, so you can find everything from hummus to shawarma and more. Another plus is that they are so close to the University of Texas at Austin, and they offer 15% off on dine-in orders when you present your student ID.

Beirut Restaurant

This Lebanese food truck has plenty of picnic tables to grab your meal and enjoy a bite. It’s located near The Domain, so it’s a great place to enjoy a bite during a day of shopping. The spot serves up large portions of some of the best Lebanese food in Austin. You’ll find street fare with vegetarian, vegan, keto, and paleo options. Stop by for some shawarma marinated in warm spices (they even serve shawarma fries) or a tasty Kafta plate and cool off with some rose lemonade. Fans say that the rose lemonade even tastes like a melted faloodeh, which is a traditional Iranian sorbet.

Tarbouch Lebanese Grill

This family-owned restaurant was created to bring Lebanese culture and food to Texas, and the restaurant serves a mix of Lebanese and Mediterranean food. They have a full bar, vegetarian and gluten-free options, and hookah on the patio. The environment is lively but laid-back, and they have some of the best Lebanese food in Austin. Tarbouch is also known for having high-quality eats for a good price, and all of their plates are served with pita bread and can be made spicy.

Almarah Grill Mediterranean Cuisine

Almarah Mediterranean Cuisine is a family-owned restaurant in Austin that provides an authentic Mediterranean dining experience. They offer traditional entrees bursting with rich, authentic flavors reminiscent of the street food in Jerusalem. The restaurant prides itself on using the freshest, best quality ingredients and serving warm pita bread straight from their oven. Guests can indulge in internationally-inspired plates and experience the passion for delicious food that Almarah Mediterranean Cuisine is known for.

Caspian Grill

This restaurant serves Persian, Iranian, and Mediterranean food alongside vegan options. Persian cooking has something for everyone with a wide variety of flavor combinations and dishes. Try refreshing tropical options in the summer or warm hot pots for a cozy option on a cold day. Caspian Grill merges Persian cooking with the fresh herbs and vegetables of Iranian cooking to make hearty and healthy meals. Stop in for some fan-favorite dishes, like their roasted eggplant or lamb shank. The owner tested his recipes for three years at the Austin Persian Center before opening the restaurant, so you can rest assured that you’re getting flavors and dishes that have been perfected.

MezzeMe

MezzeMe is a restaurant that serves locally sourced and farm-fresh food with Turkish spices and Mediterranean flavors. The founder, Mahmud Ugur, learned his passion for cooking in his grandmother’s kitchen in Turkey. He opened MezzeMe in Austin to share his love for family and flavor. The restaurant offers unique dishes with a blend of old-world Turkish cuisine and local flair. MezzeMe uses 100% halal-certified meat and supports local farmers to deliver nutrient-rich and diverse foods.

Aba

Aba is named after the Hebrew word for father, and the cuisine at Aba draws on influences of Mediterranean cooking combined with culinary cues from Israel, Lebanon, Turkey, and Greece. Aba started in Chicago’s historic Fulton Market District but expanded to Austin in 2020. The food follows the lead and lighter cooking style of their very own Top Chef participant CJ Jacobson. The restaurant has exciting drink options as well, crafted by Aba’s lead mixologist Liz Pearce. The cocktail options draw on Middle Eastern ingredients to put a twist on classic options. Try a Bloody Mary with harissa or a Moscow Mule with herb-infused vodka.

Ararat

Ararat has existed in many forms in Austin since 1994. They have moved locations a few times and the reins were even passed down to a longtime waitress. After they lost the lease at their North Loop location, they moved to Hot Mama’s, which sadly closed in 2017. But Ararat’s unique Middle Eastern fusion was still in high demand, so they pivoted to catering. Now you can order your old favorites for your next event! If you want to check out their newest venture, head to the Ararat toGo food and coffee window. This quick stop is your go-to for coffee, lattes with baklava spices, pistachio bubble tea, pastries, frozen hummus, and more.

Lazeez Mediterranean Cafe

This restaurant harmoniously combines Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine with options like kebabs, chicken, gyros, and vegetarian options. This small business is one of the newcomers to the food scene, having opened in late 2020. Most of the menu items at this North Austin restaurant are under $10 as well, making it a great place to branch out and try different flavors. Additionally, they offer catering if you can’t get enough of their food.

Kismet Cafe

This eatery has been serving UT students for more than 20 years, and they stay open late so you can answer your cravings for delicious halal Mediterranean food in the evening. They serve the meat over rice plates, vegetarian and vegan plates, meat and vegetarian wraps, soups, salads, and desserts. They’re an over-the-counter spot, so you walk up and place your order. When a place has been around and cooking up great food since 1994, you know it’s going to be great. On top of their long run, they have over a 4.0 score on all review platforms, and they’re considered one of the best places to get Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food in town.

Leyla’s Kitchen

The goal of this family-run food truck is to transport diners to the mountains of Lebanon and the streets of Beirut with their authentic flavors. They use traditional recipes to create delicious Lebanese and Mediterranean food to delight the people of Austin. Leyla’s serves up a variety of vegetarian options, pita wraps, plates, and even a cheeseburger. To top it all off, they have a fantastic Google rating of 4.9, and people are buzzing about their affordable and filling options.

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