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Mar 21, 2010 07:31 PM

authentic middle eastern food

hi everyone,

i have a mini-mission to find good, genuine middle eastern food in this city. i'm from dearborn, mi and i am middle eastern, so i'm sort of a food snob when it comes to this cuisine. i've been to balade and found it bland and not super-authentic. plus, i'm more used to dive-y middle eastern restaurants anyway. i've also been to mamoun's and kebab garden and had the falafel and chicken schwarma, respectively... again, not quite. i'm looking for a place that has a broad menu that does the standards (fattoush, tabbouleh, hummus, babaganoush, pilaf, kibbi, dolma, lentil soup, chicken and lamb schwarma, lamb kebab, etc) and does them well. i'm more than willing to trek to queens or brooklyn, but if you know places in manhattan, that'd be awesome.

thanks so much!

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  1. Gazala Place - authentic Druse food
    Beyoglu - Turkish mezze restaurant

    200 E 81st St, New York, NY 10028

    Gazala Place
    709 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019

    1. If you have made it from Dearborn, you can make it to Brooklyn. Ask on the Outer Boroughs board.

      1. I am by no means an expert on the cuisine of the Middle East but you could look into Taboon on 10th. It is quite good and touches on most of the things you are looking for.

        773 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10019

        1. Try Moustache. The food is wonderfully fresh and bright, and I always have a sense that each dish was made by someone who really cares about what's being sent out into the dining room. I'm partial to the East Harlem location (Lex at 102).

          2 Replies
          1. re: big o

            I have given Moustache a couple chances and really didn't care for it. It seemed more like a vague interpretation of Middle-Easterny food than the actual thing. IIRC they didn't even have yogurt in the restaurant the last time I was there.

            You're not going to find a lot of the subtle complexities of well-made Levantine food in Manhattan. For what it's worth, I like most of what I've had at ilili and Naya, particularly their kibbe bi laban. The boureki I've had at Beyoglu beat any fatayer I've had and the hummus bi tahini is very good at Hummus Place. Tabbouleh is a very idiosyncratic dish, one I prefer homemade along with kibbeh qrass.

            200 E 81st St, New York, NY 10028

            1057 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10022

            1. re: JungMann

              Have to agree, Moustache isn't going to cut it.

          2. If you're from Dearborn the only place guaranteed to knock your socks off is Tanoreen. It's all over the Outer Boroughs board.


            2 Replies
            1. re: Peter Cherches

              I second Tanoreen. Authentic, but more importantly it is FANTASTIC. Blows away anything in Manhattan. I know this is the wrong board, but it is the true answer to this question!

              1. re: Peter Cherches

                Tanoreen is the place for authentic Middle Eastern food - hands down.