Check Out These 10 Arab Restaurants in the DMV
By: Emily Tain/Arab America
While DC isn’t necessarily known for its Arab food, there still are a myriad of great options in the Washington DC Metropolitan Area. Below, are ten different restaurants that offer Arab food, varying in price from affordable to luxury.
Created by Mama Ayesha Abraham in 1960, Mama Ayesha is a Middle Eastern cafe just south of the Smithsonian Zoo in Lanier Heights. The establishment offers dine-in, catering, and also hosts parties and events. One can expect to pay an average DMV price for a wide variety of mezzas, main dishes, and desserts.
Lebanese Taverna is a chain of restaurants in the DMV created by a Lebanese family in the 1970’s. With 12 different locations, the restaurant is sometimes abbreviated to LebTav and can be found both in and outside of the district. LebTav also has a market where one can purchase grab-and-go dishes and ingredients.
In the heart of Chinatown is Zaytinya, a Mediterranean restaurant that blends the flavors of Greece, Lebanon, and Turkey. The menu consists of mezzes, flatbreads, spreads, and desserts, and is reasonably priced for DMV food. Especially notable is their brunch, available until 3pm, that heavily features their rosé.
The Maydan in Cardozo is not a traditional dining experience: “[their] Tawle experience is reminiscent of feasts shared by our team during their travels to the Middle East, North Africa and the Caucuses.” Their other dining experience, Corniche, is even more elusive. “Corniche is a relaxed, limited contact service that is meant to feel like coming together with family and friends for snacks and drinks.” This spot is much pricier than those previously mentioned.
Right off the Farragut West metro stop is Shawarma District, a Lebanese restaurant known for its bowls and wraps. Similar to Chipotle, the customer is able to fully customize their meal, choosing between different proteins and toppings for a unique dish. Less expensive than traditional sit-down restaurants, Shawarma District also offers appetizers, salads, and desserts.
Next to American University one can find Shemali’s, a Lebanese restaurant with both dine-in and market options. More versatile than other Middle Eastern restaurants, Shemali’s offers traditionally American and Greek dishes as well. Pricing is modest and affordable for the college students that reside a few blocks away.
Mejana is a stone’s throw away from the Courthouse metro stop and next to a plethora of other shops in Arlington, Virginia. Started by two Lebanese cooks, the establishment offers gluten free, vegetarian, and vegan options, making it accessible to those with food allergies and restrictions. In terms of pricing, the cost of meals is right around the middle.
Located in Brockwood, Layalina is a Lebanese and Syrian restaurant opened in 1997. What separates Layalina from many of the other restaurants on this list is its shisha and late night menu, making it a great late night hangout. Their menu is extensive and prices are as one would expect in the DMV.
Fettoosh is a Moroccan and Lebanese restaurant a few blocks away from the Ballston metro stop. The menu has one section for Moroccan food and another for Lebanese food, which later meet for a combined general menu. Pricing varies greatly between dishes, so affordability is subject to the customer. Fettoosh is unique on this list because authentic Moroccan restaurants are rare in the DMV.
Last but not least is Bacchus of Lebanon in Bethesda, Maryland. Despite its Roman-sounding name, Bacchus serves traditional Middle Eastern cuisine and boasts an extensive menu. This wide range of options lends itself to both inexpensive and expensive options, but nothing is outrageous in terms of typical DMV pricing.
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