The UK's best Middle Eastern restaurants

Transport your tastebuds to the Levant and North Africa with these top eateries, serving an array of delicious fare from across the regions

(Image credit: Helen Cathcart)


Perhaps the name most synonymous with Middle Eastern food in the UK is Yotam Ottolenghi, and with good reason. His eponymous culinary empire started off with a deli-cum-restaurant in Notting Hill in 2002 and has since spread to three further destinations across the capital. The jewel in the crown, however, is the Soho-based Nopi. Offering a more formalised dining experience, like all of Ottolenghi's outposts it features seasonal cuisine heavy on fresh and vibrant vegetable dishes, with signatures from head chef Ramael Scully including courgette and manouri fritters and coriander seed-crusted burrata with blood orange.

21-22 Warwick St, Soho, London, W1B 5NE;

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Falafel, Honey & Co. cookbook
(Image credit: © Patricia Niven 2013)

Honey & Co

This cosy and compact restaurant from husband and wife team Itamar Srulovich and Sarit Packer (previously Ottolenghi's pastry chef) is well worth the wait to get a table. While the Levantine menu follows the traditional starters, mains and desserts format, the best way to begin the meal is by ordering mezze to share, which reflect a huge part of the food culture in the Middle East. Here platefuls of warm homemade bread, olives and pickles are accompanied by creamy hummus, tahini and inventive salads. Its success has led it to expand to grill-focused restaurant Honey & Smoke and dedicated food store Honey & Spice, both just a short stroll away.

25 Warren Street, Bloomsbury, London, W1T 5LZ;

(Image credit: Helen Cathcart)

The Palomar

If you're looking for a sign of authenticity, then it's promising that The Palomar belongs to a restaurant group that found popularity in Tel Aviv before spreading its reach to the UK. Here the food on offer reflects the melting pot that is modern Jewish cuisine, with nods to influences from Southern Spain, North Africa and the Levant. Treat the table to a number of small dishes, including kubaneh (a Yemeni pot-baked bread, served with velvety tahini and tomatoes), burnt courgette tzatziki or pickled okra before moving onto meaty mains of generously spiced chicken thighs or shakshukit, a deconstructed and elevated take on a kebab.

34 Rupert St, London, W1D 6DN;

The Barbary

Sister to The Palomar, this restaurant has looked to what was once known as the Barbary Coast – now home to Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya – for gastronomic inspiration. These countries' rich culinary traditions come together in a diverse menu based around age-old techniques of baking and grilling on coals. Here you'll find speciality recipes such as zhug – a hot sauce derived from Yemeni cuisine – served with harissa and burnt and pickled chillies, monkfish slathered with chermoula marinade and octopus with mashawsha, a variant of hummus popular in the Levant. To finish, the knafeh is a must-have; this decadently sweet dessert sees Middle Eastern cheese encased in pastry and soaked in sugar syrup.

16 Neal's Yard, London, WC2H 9DP;


This Shoreditch favourite takes its cues from founder Selin Kiazim's Turkish-Cypriot heritage, presenting a modern and creative take on the cuisine. At the heart of the restaurant is the stone oven and charcoal grill (mangal), from which emerge platefuls of tempting seftali kebab (a type of Cypriot sausage), pomegranate-glazed lamb breast and garlic and chilli prawns. Go all-out with the Sunday feast, where these dishes, among others, are preceded by a generous meze of aubergine, cold meat, pastries, cheese and dips to be mopped up with delicious flatbreads.

74 Luke St, London, EC2A 4PY;

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