Five Best Modern Middle Eastern Restaurants in LA
Middle Eastern restaurants have been an integral part of Los Angeles dining for decades. But it is only in the last ten years or so that we have seen restaurants pop up that combine traditional Middle Eastern flavors with modern influences from North America and other countries. If you have not yet sampled the delicious dishes from any of the following LA restaurants, you don’t know what you’re missing.
You will never be short of things to do in LA. From museums and observatories to clubs and casinos, the entertainment in LA never stops. And if you are hungry after hitting bars or poker card rooms, the city is host to a plethora of fantastic restaurants. One of the best modern Middle Eastern eateries is Kismet. Located near the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and the Sunset Strip, the all-day restaurant is a casual restaurant where you can enjoy traditional Middle Eastern cuisine with a modern Californian twist. And if you are still in the mood for casino games, you can check out an online casino like Casumo on your phone while you wait for your food to arrive. The small and narrow space of Kismet is bright and inviting with an intimate and cozy atmosphere. You can choose from delicious delights such as shakshuka, savory pies, toasts, and salads. But the best dish is arguably the rabbit with greens, pickles, flaky bread, tahini, and yogurt.
By walking into Bread Lounge, you will forget you are in Los Angeles, as the scents and sites are straight out of an authentic Israeli bakery. Bread Lounge in the Downtown LA Arts District originally opened as a wholesale bakery. But it now includes a café where you can try out the establishment’s famous breads and other dishes like salads and soups. Bread Lounge is the brainchild of Israeli-born Ran Zimon. His breads combine European bakery techniques with Middle Eastern ingredients, such as olives, feta cheese, harissa, sesame seeds, pistachios, za’atar, and sweet pastries. While you sit either indoors or outside sampling the gorgeous breads, you can watch the bakers at work through a large window. The Jerusalem bagel with sesame seeds comes highly recommended.
If you are looking for a vegan restaurant on Sunset Boulevard, you are in luck. This fabulous meatless café was opened by former musician Scott Zwiezen and his bandmates. Elf café was one of the first establishments in LA to feature modern Middle Eastern cuisine. The clean and fresh food is inspired by traditional Middle Eastern dishes and mixed with innovative blends of grains, vegetables, and pastas. Check out the house Bolognese which features ingredients like lentil oyster mushroom ragout, San Joaquin gold cheese, and allspice tomato sauce. Elf Café also has a fantastic sustainable wine list.
Spread Mediterranean Kitchen
First-time restaurant owners Dan Coury and Brandon Parker teamed up with the former chef of The Roof at the Peninsula Beverly Hills, Brandon Weaver, to bring diners some of the best modern Middle Eastern dishes in LA. The stylish but casual restaurant is located on Main Street in the Central Downtown area. Various daytime and evening menus include familiar Middle Eastern foods like hummus, Israeli salads, flatbreads, fig-infused rye, falafel, lamb meatballs, za’atar fried chicken, roasted mushrooms, and harissa braised beef. And you will not be short of sumptuous beverages to wash down your food, as Spread Mediterranean Kitchen has a significant craft cocktail menu and international wines and beers.
This small corner restaurant features an open kitchen and colorful decorations of jarred pickled vegetables and edible flowers with vibrant scents. The self-taught chef and owner of the establishment, Conor Shemtov, is the son of an American mother and an Israeli father, so he is perfectly placed to combine traditional Middle Eastern dishes with a modern American twist. He describes the restaurant’s food as “Tel Aviv meets Los Angeles.” The eclectic menu is not just inspired by Israeli cuisine, though. Influences come from a wide array of places such as Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Italy, Spain, and France. There is a beautiful rustic charm to Mh Zh, too. For example, the menu is handwritten on brown paper bags, and the dishes are served on recyclable butcher-block paper. If you only try one dish here, check out the lamb with grilled beets, hazelnut, and molasses.