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Celebrate Middle Eastern and North African Heritage Month at these delicious Austin restaurants.
April is Middle Eastern and North African Heritage Month! While Congress officially recognizes April as Arab American Heritage Month, many communities are embracing the month as MENA heritage month to include the immense diversity of the region, and to account for people that don’t speak Arabic.
Especially in the United States, the term Mediterranean food can sometimes be a broad category that includes Middle Eastern food, though they do vary. Celebrate the flavors of the region by dining at one of these delicious Middle Eastern restaurants in Austin!
Middle Eastern Restaurants in Austin:
- The Kebab Shop
- Kabobzi Mediterranean Grill & Phoenician Resto Cafe
- Beirut Restaurant
- Caspian Grill
- Lazeez Mediterranean Cafe
- Kismet Cafe
- Leyla’s Kitchen
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 up 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
2909 Guadalupe St, Austin, TX 78705
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 new 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.
3225 Amy Donovan Plaza, Austin, TX 78758
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
534 E Oltorf St, Austin, TX 78704
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.
12518 Research Blvd ste j, Austin, TX 78759
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.
1011 S Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78704
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.
2401 E 6th St #1004, Austin, TX 78702
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
6812 N FM 620, Austin, TX 78732
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.
1000 E 41st St Suite 200, Austin, TX 78751
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 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.
111 Congress Avenue Fareground #7, Austin, TX 78701
If you haven’t had the chance to check out the Fareground Austin food court, you should definitely add it to your list of things to do in town. The massive space is the city’s first food hall, and it houses six different restaurants and two bars. One of the most popular spots is TLV, an Israeli eatery with a menu inspired by the market stalls and street stands of Israel.
Owner and chef Berty Richter was born and raised in Israel to an American-Hungarian father and a Turkish mother, and his family instilled a love of food in him from a young age. When he moved to Austin, he noticed a lack of Middle Eastern restaurants, which led him to open the popular food truck Hummus Among Us.
In 2019, he opened TLV. When you order at the Fareground, you pick up your food and then enjoy it at one of the many tables. A tip is to go sit in the courtyard outside on a nice day to soak up the city.
17499 Hamilton Pool Rd, Austin, TX 78738
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.
As originally published in Austin Local.