When you’re far away from home, sometimes the best thing you can do, other than cry over pictures of your beautiful country until you’re over it, is eat. And by ‘eat’ I don’t mean stuffing your face with Pringles or whatever the hell Lay’s chips are. I mean eat the real stuff. The mouthwatering food that reminds you of your friends, your home, and most importantly, your mama. Here is a list we’ve made of the best Middle Eastern restaurants in Dublin so you don’t have to look for them yourself. Give them a try and let us know what you think!
This little haven of fresh vegetables, bright colours and cushions creates the warm and friendly ambiance that its name suggests. The word shouk, meaning market or market places in Hebrew, is the perfect place to graze on mezze, hummus, falafel or those intoxicatingly delicate blends of Middle Eastern spices that are hard to find here in Ireland. The owner, Alon Salman, who was born near Tel Aviv to an Irish mother and Israeli father, created this little haven with his own hands – and you can feel that love and devotion in every aspect of Shouk.
Where: 40 Drumcondra Rd Lower, Drumcondra, (a little tricky to find but worth it) – you can enter through the courtyard of the chip shop next door
Price: € and BYOB (€4 corkage)
Veg Factor: Not only can a huge selection of food on the menu be made vegetarian, but also vegan
Jerusalem is a fusion of Palestinian and Lebanese food, owned by Palestinian born Basil Ziadeh, who is also the owner of the popular Middle Eastern restaurant, Damascus Gate. Everything in this Middle Eastern restaurant is made from scratch and with fresh ingredients. Try one of the house specialties, the manakessh bilzatar, which gives a nod to its Irish location with its pizza form, but is loaded with aromatic thyme and sesame seeds. The food may not be the most meticulously presented, but it truly is delicious.
Where: 77 Lower Camden Street
Price: €€, BYOB option and 51% off here
Veg Factor: Whilst Jerusalem boasts of a moderate amount of vegetarian options, unfortunately none of the house specials are vegetarian.
Shakshuka, formerly known as Little Jerusalem
Shakshuka is another cosy Palestinian joint whose proclaimed aim “to preserve, maintain and promote the Palestinian culture through food, art and music”. This is reflected by the vibrant wall art, comfy cushions and twinkling light features. This Middle Eastern restaurant bases its look on Bedouin tent culture, and is deliciously comforting to be inside. The owners are also responsible for the successful Middle Eastern restaurant, The Silk Road Café, so you know that you’re in good hands food wise.
Price: €€, BYOB free corkage, Groupon deal available
Veg Factor: A large selection of vegetarian options available
Umi, the Arabic word for mother, may help you understand what Umi Falafel is all about. Fresh falafel is prepared every day with a loving mix of onion, garlic and rich spices. This cheap Middle Eastern eatery is perfect for some wholesome, filling and delicious flavours from home.
Veg Factor: Vegetarian and vegan friendly
This friendly Lebanese restaurant was opened by Mohammed Abuissa in 2008 and quickly became one of Dublin’s most popular Middle Eastern restaurants. Whilst it is well known for its mouth watering falafel and homemade baklava, Rotana has amazing reviews across all platforms. They even have a shisha lounge on the outside terrace, now how’s that for a taste of home?
Price: €€ with BYOB, free corkage
Veg Factor: Vegetarian friendly with vegan options
The Cedar Tree
Sitting in this Lebanese restaurant, with its understated marble walls and mosaic floors, you feel like you could be chewing on dolmades anywhere in the Middle East. With its generous portions and its relaxed atmosphere, The Cedar Tree is a credit to family style Lebanese food well done. Lebanese wines are available at competitive prices and even has a little bit of bellydancing on Saturdays for entertainment.
Veg Factor: Not fantastic
The Damascus Gate
The warm welcome that awaits you and the fresh baklava decorating the counter is enough to create a great first impression when you walk through the doors of Damascus Gate. Known affectionately as the little sister (despite being an older establishment) to Jerusalem, this Middle Eastern restaurant beautifully captures the flavours of Syria. With their generous portions and a microphone on standby for Middle Eastern karaoke nights, this place is a can’t-miss.
Price: €€ plus BYOB
Veg Factor: Vegetarian friendly
This Persian grab-and-go restaurant is perhaps one of the only places in Dublin, let alone Ireland, that can boast of Persian food. This Middle Eastern restaurant proudly uses fresh ingredients, Irish suppliers and never freeze or fry their food. Started by fellow Iranians and best friends, Jamshid Kamvar and Azad Shirazi, you can taste their synergy and passion in their creation. Leave your guilt at the door, they say. They are healthy and use eco friendly packaging. Noosh-e-jan!
Veg Factor: Lots of vegetarian options
Here is another grab-and-go Middle Eastern restaurant that definitely satisfies the quota for Middle Eastern comfort. It’s cheap, tasty and the people who run it are known for their hospitality and kindness. What’s not to like?
Veg Factor: Lots of vegetarian options
Although Egyptian cuisine is more traditionally regarded as North African, this place claims to do a little bit of both, serving as a bridge between North African and Middle Eastern cuisine. While it may not be the cheapest, it definitely does not disappoint with its large portions, informal atmosphere and flavoursome dishes.
Veg Factor: Vegetarian options available
Be sure to check out our other featured restaurants and let us know what you think in the comments below!