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Aug 22, 2010 08:48 AM

Best traditional Middle Eastern restaurant in DFW?

My husband has served overseas in Iraq twice now, and he is really wanting to take me to a Middle Eastern restaurant that serves food like he ate over there: traditional food (lamb), chai tea, hummus, and maybe even a hookah lounge. We're willing to drive anywhere in DFW, and price is not important. What is the best place for us to try?

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  1. Beirut (Rock) Cafe just south of the UTA parking lot on Cooper st is the best I have had in town. Eventhough it is a buffet it is done very well.

    Cubed Lamb with Okra and Tomatoes had a well banaced flavor and was my favorite
    Tabouleh was the best I have had in Dallas. Not over burdened by lemon or bulgur. Perfect on the amount of parsley
    Lamb Kofta had a tomato sauce with a faint cinnamon taste
    Lamb Shank and Pilaf. Lamb was that nice gamey flavor but oh so tender
    Cracked Lentil soup was blanded smooth and was nicely flavor with toasted cumin
    Hummous were both a cut above other places (most used canned garbanzos).

    There are more items on the buffet but those were items that stood out.

    Price was $10.99 and my wife and I were stuffed to the gills on two medium sized plates and a salad plat of baba ganouj, hummous, and tabouleh.

    I went this past Thursday and it wasn't a soul in there until after 8:03 (sundown = Ramadan fasting seasaon). Service was good and kept our water filled and the buffet was much better than a good majority of the menu items around town.

    As we were leaving we were complimenting the food to the Nepali waiter and a regular customer overheard. The customer was from Lebanon and he said it was as close to what was in Lebanon as you could get here in the Metroplex. I tend to agree with him. The owners are a husband and wife team that have had the place for about 6-8 years now.

    1. If you want to take your huaband somewhere nice, you must go to SAMAR. They have a world class chef who researched in Lebanon and Morocco and the hookah patio is killer!

      1. This place doesn't look like much from the outside but everything I've ever eaten in there has been fresh and tasty. Excellent lamb, baba ghannouj and tabbouli.

        Keep in mind, as this is a place with mainly Muslim customers, they do not serve alcohol nor are you allowed to bring any with you.

        Afrah Mediterranean Restaurant & Pastries
        314 E Main St
        Richardson, TX

        10 Replies
          1. re: Scagnetti

            Afrah has a lunch buffet for around $10 and has hookah as well. When they have molokiyah I eat till I hurt. The pistachio baklava are a favorite among our group although I'm not much of a fan of the gelato. Not really much on atmosphere.

            I want to try LHs Beirut Cafe now too

            1. re: amokscience

              +1 for Afrah. The freshly baked Pita is something one doesn't find often around here. Never had a bad meal there, either.....If only I could bring a little red for my lamb....... oh, well.

              1. re: J.R.

                I like Afrah too. I avoid the lunch buffet and prefer the regular menu.

                  1. re: twinwillow

                    +1 for Afrah, from a Lebanese girl :)

            2. re: Scagnetti

              I have been to Afrah and while I like it I have noticed some slippage in the quality of food. The one item I thoroughly enjoyed on the buffet is not on the menu, dolmas, which are veggies stuffed with meat and rice and simmered in a tomato sauce. I still have yet to make it when they make molokiya.

              Afrah is good for their baklava but on several instances I have had a piece where the nuts were not the freshest.

              The pita is good at Afrah. Afrah is now my second favorite overall. Third would probably be a tie between Ali Baba and Jericho in Irving. Jericho has the best falafel that I have had in the metroplex. Ali Baba just has one or two great dishes on their buffet.

              Ali Baba Cafe
              1901 Abrams Pkwy, Dallas, TX 75214

              1. re: Scagnetti

                Right now during Ramadan Afrah has their buffet at dinner, probably starting around sundown. Maybe you can go in earlier and beat the rush (if the buffet is open then) or otherwise wait until about 9PM. It's like $15, it's pretty good but I don't think I'd say its great, I mean it is a buffet. Still, you can get a good variety. I believe last night was the halfway point of Ramadan so you have 2 weeks left if you want to try it.

                1. re: luniz

                  I am not a fan of Afrah. I've been a couple of times for lunch (had the buffet twice and shwarma once). I wish I could name a place I like more but I'm still searching. For sheesha my favorite place is Sultan Cafe. It is owned/patronized by Egyptians and it's right next to King Noodle (great Taiwanese beef noodle stew) on Greenville. They have food at Sultan Cafe but I haven't tried it yet.

                  1. re: demigodh

                    For Afrah I think it's a matter of ordering what they do well if not getting the buffet. Everything else is kind of ok. imo there's not one great Arabic place in town that's head and shoulders above the rest, but I haven't been to this Beirut place.

              2. We tried Afrah last night and really liked it! My husband and one of his friends enjoyed their hookah/shisha, and we all had kebab plates. The lamb was really good, and we LOVED the fresh pita bread. Unfortunately, we were not able to time our visit to try the Ramadan buffet, but DH and I are going to try and make it back over there another evening to enjoy it.

                Afrah Pastries
                314 E Main St, Richardson, TX 75081

                1. Hi Christie! Did you ever try any of these restaurants out? I came to this website looking for authentic Iraqi cusine as well (for a suprise date night). My boyfriend has also spent two tours in Iraq and has always said he'd love for me to try the food. I want it to be authentic... did you two find a 'winner'?