Top 5 Middle Eastern Restaurants

Categories: Top Five

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Fadi's.
These places may go by many names - Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Lebanese, Persian - and though it is clearly not possible for all of these titles to be correct, in Houston we usually have a general sense of what the person is talking about when they mention any of the above cuisine styles: a menu dominated by grilled meats, pillowy flat breads, creamy dips, and fresh herbs. For the sake of fairness, the focus of this list is only Middle Eastern venues, with the exclusion of other forms of Mediterranean fare. Here are my top 5 picks for Middle Eastern restaurants.

5. Fadi's Mediterranean Grill
Although I have never had a bad meal at any Fadi's location, the one on Westheimer is by far my favorite. First, they have a drive-thru, which means I can enjoy a real meal without even having to get my lazy butt out of the car. Second, this place probably has the best pita in town, baked up like a pizza crust in their amazing brick oven. Do yourself a favor and start off with some savory dolmas before trying the succulent kebabs.

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Daniel Kramer
Mary'z.
4. Mary'z Lebanese Cuisine
Mary'z is one of those cool little joints that may not have the absolute best food in town, but where you still find yourself drawn there time and time again. It is an especially good choice for bringing large groups of friends to split plates of smooth, almost buttery hummus and big platters of hot-off-the-grill meats. Perfect for nights when you want to see and be seen, the patio is always filled to capacity with people relaxing and smoking hookah.

3. Bijan Persian Grill
Deep in the heart of the Mahatma Gandhi district, Bijan stands out as a delicious Persian grill in a sea of Indian and Pakistani joints. The lush patio is an opulent setting for dates, and the platter of feta and herbs that accompanies the big disc of taftoon makes for a refreshing palate cleanser between bites of lamb and beef chunks served over some of the fluffiest rice around.

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Troy Fields
Kasra.
2. Kasra Persian Grill
Though I only recently discovered Kasra, it has quickly climbed the list to one of my favorite new places to grab a bite. I insist on starting off with silky-smooth, garlicky hummus, and I don't think I have ever left a bit of it on the plate. The shrimp kebabs served atop dill rice are the embodiments of both simplicity and perfection, as are the grilled meats. And the exceptionally helpful servers add a charm often lost at many of today's restaurants.

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Abdallah's Bakery.
1. Abdallah's Bakery
Three words: best shawarmas ever. My best friend, and one of the pickiest eaters I know, insists on visiting this place as often as possible to load up on crispy falafel and fork-tender meats, topped with house-made pickled veggies and enveloped in elegantly thin pita bread. With a fun, casual vibe, Abdallah's is perfect for grabbing a quick lunch on the go or hanging around enjoying a delicious, inexpensive plate of food. And since it's a bakery, you would be seriously remiss to skip the baklava with a cup of hot mint tea.



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Location Info

Fadi's Mediterranean Grill

12360 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant


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46 comments
Lily
Lily

Kasra is AMAZING!

Grocerylist
Grocerylist

Darband Shishkabob is better than Bijan and Kasra without the inflated prices.

Reile
Reile

Trivia: Does anyone know Fadi's last name?And the story of the family and the restaurants here in Houston?Trust me, it's very interesting.

My vote is for Fadi's. And the jolly fellow from Aladdin is a nice guy.

ET
ET

Can't believe you missed Cafe Rita on Dairy Ashford. Not only is the "Middle Eastern" food THE BEST in town, the owners are great - it's like having lunch at a relatives...

Though I live in the Heights, it's worth the drive to Dairy Ashford!

Brent Jatko
Brent Jatko

Uh, Afghanistan isn't in the Middle East.

Tim
Tim

Clearly, the adjective we need here is 'Ottomanian' cuisine. C'mon, people! We can make it happen.

Hammad
Hammad

Zabak's freakin' rules. I love that place, the people that work there are very friendly and the food is awesome.

SirRon
SirRon

The only way to end these inane Top 5 lists is to boycott commenting on them. Eh, never mind. {/}

kylejack
kylejack

Phoenicia Deli is excellent. Zabak's too.

stwilhelm
stwilhelm

Ok -- I do realize the list is subjective, but I personally don't see how you cannot include Cafe Lily! Thier kabobs are the best!!!

Cyboar
Cyboar

Lebanese and Persian restaurants have different enough menus that they shouldn't be compared...

Doc Ricky
Doc Ricky

The usual pride of a Persian kitchen is the quality of the rice (polo), and the much prized crust (tahdig). This mish mash of the "middle eastern" judgment of course conveniently sees this as an aside to the meat.

Greg Burland
Greg Burland

House Of Kabob on Westhiemer just east of Hilcroft: best Hummus, Baba Ghanoush, Falafel & Shawarma in the city, and really cheap to boot.

Matthew
Matthew

i'm impressed that Fadi's oven master still has that impressive arm fur. looks like it would be primed for a singe-in'!

KP
KP

I'm aghast at Fadi's being chosen over Aladdin -- aghast!!

Bruce R
Bruce R

You should have picked either Bijan or Kasra (I love Kasra but have never been to Bijan) and then included Istanbul Grill. Some folks might suggest Cafe Pita+ but I was extremely disappointed with the food.

Candacefille
Candacefille

Not sure about grouping Persian with the others. It's a different animal pretty much.

Thaq
Thaq

Definitely like the lower prices, however the taftoon is atrocious...

GMH
GMH

Never tried Cafe Rita. Will do so soon!

SLDB
SLDB

I was just about to say...2 words: Cafe Rita!

Wuwu
Wuwu

Its criminal Cafe Lili not on this list...

Scribbnersn
Scribbnersn

according to the wiki up top in jay's post it is; whey not include greek food here as well? it has more in common with lebanese than the persian places mentioned.

back to the drawing board with this list....

Raviolis
Raviolis

The felafel is very good there, the family is nice, but most of the food is mediocre. One thing I do like much: the pickled veggies cannisters.

Bruce R
Bruce R

Cafe Lili is Lebanese. I made that mistake earlier when I mentioned Cafe Pita+.

Sullyvan
Sullyvan

Agree. This topic needs to be redone. Persian and what we consider "Middle Eastern" areso different that this is silly.

Johnshopkn
Johnshopkn

that's a good tip...tried it last week.

TQro
TQro

Cafe Pita+ is Bosnian. I agree though, most of the menu hasn't impressed me. There is room for love of the lepijna, ajvar, feta.

Gerimariaharris
Gerimariaharris

With my head in my hands, I admit I have not tried Cafe Lili. It sounds like it must be good for all the support it has gotten. I will go there shortly and report back :)

Bruce R
Bruce R

Whoops. I confused Bosnia with Lebanon. So Lebanon definitely counts as Middle East. Maybe it's me, but for some reason when I hear the word Lebanese I imagine two girls kissing each other.

Cyboar
Cyboar

This could only make sense if it was a "best kabob" list, since that's the one thing that you find in common across Lebanese, Persian, and Turkish restaurants. And I have to say, the Persian restaurants win that one (though I love Istanbul Grill). As noted by Candacefille, just about everything else is different... the bread, the salads, the entrees, and sometimes the rice.

KP
KP

Well, a) I'm dramatic, and like to use words like "aghast," and b) Aladdin and Fadi's have the same owner, but in my experience, Aladdin has fresher produce, tastier grilled meats, even better pita (hard to believe, I know), and way-more-killer garlic sauce (it's light and airy, not heavy like mayo). I live right by a Fadi's, but I make the drive to Westheimer/Montrose for my Middle Eastern fix :)

Candacefille
Candacefille

I'm not talking geographically. I grant you Iran is in the Middle East somewhere.

ReginaDupuis
ReginaDupuis

Sucking down food and never questioning things is no way to go through life, whatever your hair color, mon amie blond ; )

KP
KP

Candacefille, if that's true, my apologies for stating something as fact that wasn't. I've heard from several sources over the years that the owner was the same, and never doubted it. I still think Aladdin is better and deserving of a spot on the list, however.

In regards to your other thought--yes, that's entirely possible. I'll look into it.

Candacefille
Candacefille

Actually Regina's right. The owners are not the same at Fadi's and Aladdin.Perhaps blonds have more imagination, as well as fun.

KP
KP

Aw man, Regina's back. I'm busy today, friend. Go pick on someone your own hair color.

ReginaDupuis
ReginaDupuis

You're dramatic, I grant you that. But you're dramatically high if you think that Fadi's and Aladdin have the same owners. That's just wrong.

As well as about the other part.

Candacefille
Candacefille

The food in Canada is different from the food in Mexico, but it's still all North American food.

(That's why. Because it starts to become meaningless.)

kylejack
kylejack

The food in Oaxaca is dramatically different from the food in Tamaulipas, but it's all Mexican food. I don't understand what your resistance is to calling a Persian dish Middle Eastern food. There can be a great deal of variety within a genre.

Candacefille
Candacefille

Maybe it's not. Have you been to both? Do see Persian stews at Lebanese places? Tajeek? Are the breads the same? The rice? No.

The food, like the language is way different.

kylejack
kylejack

Maybe your definition of "Middle Eastern food" just isn't broad enough.

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