Best Middle Eastern Restaurants in London
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Best Middle Eastern Restaurants in London

It's labneh, halloumi and mezze galore at these hotspots

Hot for harissa? Obsessed with hummus? You’re in luck. Middle Eastern food is having a moment, with numerous restaurants across London drawing on different elements of the diverse cuisine. Read on for our top picks, from shawarma bars to Israeli food stalls and vegetarian neighbourhood eateries.

Best Middle Eastern Restaurants in London

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A relatively recent addition to High Street Kensington is Pascor, a Levantine restaurant from The Palomar’s Tomer Amedi. It’s a celebration of open fire cooking, influenced by cuisines from North Africa through to the Middle East and Turkey, with dishes served tapas-style. Begin with some challah bread with whipped za’atar butter and smoked black tahini before getting stuck into a selection of small plates from the three sections: sea, land and garden. All dishes are creative, featuring interesting spices and unique flavour combinations. Juicy samneh butter scallops are paired with chard leek cream, halibut is served with pickled kohlrabi and tarragon, and charcoaled wagyu is cooked with bone marrow and topped with chimichurri. From the garden section, don’t miss the burnt aubergine, or the burrata with dried apricots and coriander seeds. There’s also a great wine selection which includes some orange varieties, plus twists on classic cocktails, including a Cosmopolitan spiced with sumac.

221 Kensington High St, London W8 6SG,

Imad's Syrian Kitchen

Imad’s Syrian Kitchen

After being forced to flee his country in search of safety, Syrian chef Imad Alarnab travelled through Europe cooking for other refugees. In 2015 he settled in London, and began organising charity supper clubs, which quickly grew in popularity. Last year, he found a permanent home for his cooking in Soho’s Kingly Court, Imad’s Syrian Kitchen. Here you can enjoy updated versions of traditional Middle Eastern dishes: think Shish Tawook (grilled chicken strips), minced lamb kebabs, fattoush salad, falafels, and a whole host of dips with pita bread for dipping. He hasn’t stopped the supper clubs though: stay tuned for upcoming events via our pop-ups guide.

2.14 Top Floor, Kingly Court, Carnaby St, London W1B 5PW,

Berber & Q

Berber & Q

The brainchild of ex-Ottolenghi chef Josh Katz, Berber & Q was born in an old taxi repair shop tucked under a railway arch in Haggerston back in 2015. This grew into Berber & Q Grill House, which specialises in smoked and grilled dishes. When coming up with the menu, Josh drew upon his early years exploring the falafel shops and shawarma houses of north London – plus time spent travelling in the Middle East. Vegetables are just as important as meat here: harissa-spiced slow-roasted lamb and coffee-rubbed pork belly are standout dishes, but the cauliflower shawarma is also a must. A second branch followed the original, this one a Shawarma Bar in Exmouth Market, with a focus on slow-cooking on a rotating spit over hot coals. Sharing dishes take centre stage on this shorter menu, with a whole rotisserie chicken, aubergine bayaldi and kofte kebab all up for grabs alongside some excellent mezze plates.

338 Acton Mews, London E8 4EA,

Bala Baya

Bala Baya

Vibrant Israeli cuisine sits at the heart of Bala Baya, a buzzy eatery found beneath the Union Street railway arches in Southwark. It’s the first solo project from chef Eran Tibi, with a menu focused on family-style small plate dining. Everything is packed with flavour, with ingredients like harissa, tahini, sumac and oregano featuring heavily. There’s blackened aubergine with pomegranate, lamb dumplings with shawarma spice, sea bream ceviche and a fried cauliflower steak which gives ribeye a run for its money – alongside lashings of hummus and pita to mop it up. For dessert, the hazelnut and dark chocolate babka is a must. On the drinks side, the ‘Gazoz’ infusions are the star of the show. These old school Israeli sodas come in a range of fruity, herbal flavours and can be mixed with prosecco, vodka, gin or arak. The restaurant’s surroundings are equally lively, with minimalist décor combined with pops of colour, plus a mezzanine well suited to groups.

Arch 25, Old union yard arches, 229 Union St, London SE1 0LR,



This veggie Spitalfields gem – which now has a sister venue in Soho – will persuade any meat lover to leave their carnivorous inclinations at the door. Located just a three-minute walk from Old Spitalfields Market, the neighbourhood restaurant has an intimate and exotic feel; think peach washed walls, a sprinkling of plants, and an emerald green-tiled bar where you can also sit, eat and soak up the buzzy atmosphere. Founded by Marc Summers (formerly manager at Berber & Q) and head chef Helen Graham – both with a background in Middle Eastern food – the restaurant’s warm and inviting ambience is only surpassed by its outstanding food and drink offering. From delightfully thick and chewy Laffa bread to tender halloumi in a sweet black seed honey, the ‘Bubala Knows Best’ set dinner menu is a culinary work of art. Expect the likes of creamy labneh (a thick yoghurt-like dish) with confit garlic and za’atar, indulgent fried aubergine with zhoug and date syrup, and a refreshing plate of vesuvio tomatoes and watermelon showered with curry leaf, basil, coconut and tamarind.

65 Commercial St, London E1 6BD,

Read our full review here



Kebabs often get a bad rap, but eateries like BabaBoom are changing perceptions. The low-key restaurant in Battersea promises to make the best kebabs you’ve ever tasted, which means cooking top-quality ingredients over charcoal and being creative with flavour combinations. That’s not all there is though: if you’re after something lighter there are colourful salads packed with za’atar croutons, sweet potato hummus, couscous and your choice of chicken shish, falafel, beef brisket or crispy halloumi. The whipped feta fries are also a must, as are the frozen margaritas. Peckish after a night out? BabaBoom is open late, making it the perfect post-night out dining spot.

30 Battersea Rise, London SW11 1EE,

Image from Instagram @bababoomlondon

Shuk, Borough Market


Gorge on Israeli food at food stall SHUK in Borough Market, which serves up stuffed pitas and salads under head chef George Haslan, previously of Gordon Ramsay’s Maze Grill and Boundary London. Tel Aviv-style hot pitas are filled with the likes of lamb sofrito and pickled red cabbage; beef brisket and kimchee; or fish tagine and amba tahini – all topped with chilli yoghurt, mint and coriander. Alternatively opt for cold pitas, featuring everything from smoked salmon to aubergine to confit potato, or keep it healthy with a colourful salad, packed with bold ingredients including fennel, kohlrabi, beetroot, Pecorino and horseradish mascarpone.

Borough Market Kitchen, Jubilee Pl, Winchester Walk, London SE1 9AG,

Image from Instagram @shuklondon

The Palomar, Soho

The Palomar

There was a huge buzz surrounding The Palomar when it opened in Soho back in 2014 – and eight years on, tables are still booked up weeks in advance. For more spontaneous diners, though, there’s a 16-seat kitchen bar where you can watch the chefs in action. The Palomar’s vibrant menu draws on the cultures of southern Spain, north Africa and the Levant, with dishes designed to be shared. Begin with some pita and dips from the ‘rip and dip’ section – there’s zucchini tahini, green olive labneh and harissa zhug. The menu is then split up into fish, meat and vegetables, all boasting interesting flavour combinations: bream comes with Israeli kimchi, for instance, while prawns are served with a slow-cooked leek salad and preserved lemon yoghurt. On the vegetables front, the aubergine is a winner, grilled with tahini and topped with cucumber yoghurt and cherry tomatoes. Founders Layo and Zoë Paskin have since opened a number of sister venues, including The Barbary in Seven Dials – also well-worth a visit.

34 Rupert St, London W1D 6DN,