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Middle Eastern Restaurants?

Anyone know where to get good authentic middle eastern food in the area? Am curious about everywhere but would prefer the brighton, brookline, or back bay area. thanks!

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  1. The best middle eastern style food for my money is at the Helmand if you want a nice sit-down place (Cambridgeside galleria). It's Afgahn food if that's close enough. For quick snack you should try Reef in Brighton or Sabra Grill in Harvard Sq.

    1. my recommendations are really dated, but back when i was eating in boston all the time, my favorites were:

      1. moby dick (scruffy fast-ish food iranian with excellent ground meat kabob and surprisingly good rice for a scruffy fast-ish food place).

      2. schwarma king. haloumi sandwich. mmm.

      3. helmand

      4. fresh, excellent iranian cookies at tabrizi bakery in watertown http://www.tabrizibakery.com/
      (sorry, not a restaurant, but i'm on a middle eastern food reminiscing extravaganza


      i'd love to know if these places are still good, or what's better

      1. Would Karoun in Newtonville be too far for Armenian food?

        Brookline Family Turkish Restaurant is a very nice place for Turkish.

        Haven't been to reef in a long while and want to go back soon.

        1. Reef Cafe is lovely--the vegetarian kibbe sandwich with pickled turnips is my favorite, though they do good stuffed peppers and other homey Lebanese food.

          1. I second Karoun. Delicious food; good entertainment. Bring money! Enjoy!

            1. If you consider Turkish food Middle Eastern, then maybe you
              consider Persian food, too? In which case I'd say Lala Rokh
              (Beacon Hill), Molana (Watertown Square), or Kolbe of Kabob
              (outskirts of Inman Square, Cambridge). None are quite in your
              radius of Brookline, Brighton, Back Bay, but not so far away,
              and I don't claim to be a connoisseur of Persian foods, but
              enjoy all three.

              For a nice, simple falafel sandwich, you have Rami's in
              Coolidge Corner. I do like Reef Cafe, too, in Allston/Brighton.
              But both (like Schwarma King, which is also good, on Beacon
              around Coolidge Corner) are more casual places, just fyi.

              1. oh--and Sultan's Kitchen downtown on Broad Street is excellent for Turkish food.

                1. There's Sabra in Newton Centre; anyone tried it?

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Maxinella

                    Yes, one too many times. It's gone from bad to worse. Really quite undistinguished in any way except for it's blandness.

                    1. re: Robbie711

                      How does Sabra stay in business? Once in a blue moon I'll eat there to satisfy a craving when I'm too lazy to go elsewhere, and it's always empty. The only thing I can imagine is that they must do a good weekday lunch business; I don't know how else they can survive. (And they've been there for over 25 years.)

                      1. re: Blumie

                        You're probably right--they must do a bang-up lunch business, because when I've gone there, as well, it's dead. Although, it's a bit strange b/c so many better restaurants can't make a go of it--hard to know why Sabra survives.

                  2. I'm surprised nobody mentioned Cafe Jaffa, on Gloucester St. in the Back Bay. I've always enjoyed my meals there, and it's very reasonable for the amount of food you get. The schwarma is especially good.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: mwk

                      That's probably because no one else knows about Cafe Jaffa. :-) I know maybe 2 or 3 people who have been there.

                      I went once and I really liked it. Been meaning to get back there, but always end up someplace else for Middle Eastern food, perhaps because they are more convenient for me.

                      1. re: hiddenboston

                        I've been a few times, and liked it :). I was even going to post it, but then I would have sworn someone already had...but re-reading apparently I was mistaken. Anyway, I've had schwarma and some appetizers (hummus I remember, something else I don't) and liked it all.

                        1. re: hiddenboston

                          You can bump that up to 4. When I worked in the Back Bay, it was a place I enjoyed going to for lunch. Actually a number of people in my office frequented the place. I enjoyed their food quite a bit too, especially their chicken kabob wrap, and the pickles they tucked inside.

                      2. Cafe Apollonia in Roslindale:


                        Albanian food at great prices. Service is slow but friendly.

                        1. Rami's, Shwarma King and Family Restaurant all in Brookline, others that posters mentioned. I don't love Sabra but I do love their baba ganoujh...Oh and what's the place across from MGH on Cambridge Street. I've had some nice experiences there. And another senior moment here, the name of the place on Centre Street in West Rox. Mostly take out but a few tables too. great dolma and fattoush.

                          There used to be a little hole in the wall in Brookline Village called King Tut's run by a man named George. Anyone know what happened to it?

                          3 Replies
                            1. re: tomaneng

                              The place by MGH is Phoenicia I think. And King Tut's is now Cafe Kookoo or something like that. I think it still has falafel nd stuff but there are a few seats now.

                            2. I second Cafe Jaffe. Good food, fair prices, can't go wrong on the felafel. Its great when you want a cheap bite on Newbury (not many cheap places left down there)

                              We also get take out from the the markets in watertown...Sevan's especially has great salads, and I LOVE the bagelach filled with olive paste (there's another arabic name, but i don't know it-in Bagelach is hebrew!) The stuffed grape leaves, and mudjarrah are wonderful! The borekas (borek) at Sevan are also REALLY good....

                              Its been a while, but we had a great meal at Oleana in Cambridge. Its upscale, elegant but very good food.

                              Helmand is also great option for more formal diningroom

                              Karoun.. food was ok, rather overpriced. Go for the belly dancing...its fun in big groups.

                              BTW -- Where did Samia go to? i remember it on RT 1, just beyond home depot.

                              I do wish there was an Israeli restaurant -- that served more than just felafel...there are some foods, like the classic dairy Yotvah casaroles, salads, veggies, that are classic Israeli - different from Persian, Iranian, etc... odd foods like borekas with mushroom soup sauce... Many classic yemenite foods are now "Israeli"...like melawach...YUM!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: cheesehead in recovery

                                Samia's is on Centre St. in West Roxbury by the corner of Hastings. If you were coming from Home Depot on the VFW (on your right), take a left onto Spring, bear right onto Centre, and Samia's is on your right.

                                She makes WONDERFUL falafel and hummos sandwiches.

                              2. Only been once but I really liked the Red Fez on Washington St. (south end).