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Mezze plates at Layla
Layla

Where to Find Miami’s Top Middle Eastern Food

Creamy hummus, warm shawarma, and more

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Mezze plates at Layla
| Layla

The intersection of Africa, Asia, and Europe makes the Middle East one of the most culturally intriguing regions in the world. The food is no different: rich and diverse, every dish a potent blend of spices, mixed textures, and aromatic herbs. From Aventura to Pinecrest, Miami’s Middle East restaurants whisk diners away with their own tales of fusion and cross-cultural interaction, served up with a unique culinary spin. The spots below are the best to visit now.

Editor’s Note: The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is here; dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers. Please be aware of changing local rules, and check individual restaurant websites for any additional restrictions such as mask requirements. Find a local vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Etzel Itzik Deli

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The breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus at this Aventura eatery feature Israeli food at its best. Bourekas (baked pastry) are filled with egg, hummus topped with mushrooms, and all meats are kosher, including lamb shoulder, sweet breads, chicken liver, and the chicken fingers on the kid’s menu. Saturday specials include Jewish specialties, like jachnon and cholent hamin shena.  

Subres Grill

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Israeli wife-husband duo Etty and Eli Weinberg run this convivial eatery in North Miami, where silky smooth hummus is whipped up at least twice a day, topped with beef or chicken, and served with soft pita bread. Hearty shareable dishes here are cooked under the supervision of a full-time kosher supervisor, amongst the Middle Eastern creations are crispy Moroccan cigars doused with nutty tahini sauce, hearty chicken shawarma bowl, and kofta kabob. Order one of the many Israeli wines on the list to complement the meal. 

Inside the first Kayak hotel concept, along the Collins canal, diners will find Layla and its modern Middle Eastern fare. Inspired by Layla & Majnun — the Middle Eastern Romeo and Juliet — this casual eatery serves hearty mezze portions as well as wholesome entrees of whole branzino, accompanied by caramelized fennel and zhug (a Yemenite version of chimichurri), and braised lamb, showered in demi-glace and sparkling with jewel-like pomegranates. From Thursday through Saturday, diners can enjoy the live DJ action at the rooftop over bites and Jenny’s Genie, a special cocktail poured from a genie lamp. 

Byblos Miami

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Byblos’s enchanting decor is enough to draw guests in, but its happy balance of many Levantine cuisines is also worth the visit. Sprawling three different dining areas and a cocktail lounge at the Royal Palm hotel in South Beach, this eatery serves a must-order duck kibbeh with dried fig in a date molasses and tahini sauce, along with a refreshing hamachi crudo bathed in a mix of jalapeno labneh, sweet red onion, cucumber, and lime. To share, order the lamb rack and the sweet jeweled rice piled with carrots, barberries, and almonds. Don’t leave without a sip of one of the restaurants aptly named cocktails, such as the whiskey-based Sultan’s Privilege or the refreshing Marrakesh Garden with gin and mint. 

Motek - Mediterranean Cafe & Restaurant

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Tessa Levy and chef Einat Admony opened Motek (sweetheart in Hebrew) in Downtown’s historic Seybold Building in the height of the pandemic, offering much-needed comfort food. The list of Israelian dishes includes Jerusalem grilled cheese, lahmajun chips, customized majadra rice bowls, and tempting crispy chicken schnitzel. Glasses of refreshing limonama and challah bread pudding are the perfect final touches. 

Abbale Telavivian Kitchen

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Abbale is one of the newest entries in Miami’s Middle Eastern culinary scene, and it is definitely an exciting one to watch. For a small restaurant, it packs a powerful punch, with a Telavivian menu of preparations that are all done well, including the Arak-cured salmon, the sumac chicken shashlik served on fire-baked laffa (thin flatbread), and the popular avo egg feta, an open-face Jerusalem bagel packing hummus, arugula, tomato, tahini, aleppo pepper, olive oil. The soundtrack will make you want to sing along and the sunset menu features intriguing bakery items, such burekas filled with egg and Bulgarian feta and an olive oil, lemon, and rosemary pound cake. 

Shawar Al Basha

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Little Havana has its own share of tasty hummus, shawarma, kebabs, and falafel, some of which can be found daily at this Lebanese gem. Park in the rear and enjoy hearty, tasty meals served by the owner in a small, pleasant space. Keep an eye out for specials and make sure to order the garlic cream sauce.

The Middle East Best Food

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The Middle East Best Food has been warming Coral Way since 1989. It is small shop selling spices and other staples where owner Ali Aziz’s also showcases his Palestinian heritage through nutty pastries and colorful cuisine. He’s present daily, greeting visitors with a well-priced rotating menu of mezze, sandwiches, pies, and a variety of baklava. 

Maroosh

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Lentil soup, bamia stew, lemon chicken — they are all on this large Lebanese eatery’s menu, along with other traditional Middle Eastern dishes served by a bilingual staff. The atmosphere in the two-story building is relaxed and inviting and belly dancing shows are hosted every weekend. Leave room for a dessert of milk pudding, kanfeh, or mini roses. There is also an extensive list of Middle Eastern wines. 

The Original Daily Bread Marketplace

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When a restaurant has been around for 45 years than you know you are in for a treat. And what treat this family-owned eatery is. The Mazzawis celebrate their love of food with generous portions of lamb kafta, falafel, fatoush, richly spiced shawarma, and various platters, which you can savor at the charming Middle Eastern building the restaurant inhabits, or order at the food counter to take home. You won’t be able to choose just one pastry from the delightful array of offers here, so you really ought to try them all. Make time to sort through the Middle Eastern, Turkish and Greek specialties the eatery’s marketplace.

Shaddai Fine Lebanese Cuisine

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This upscale restaurant in Pinecrest takes guests on a journey through Lebanon with 

traditional kebabs, a raw version of kibbeh, and Jawaneh, its own iteration of adaptation fried chicken wings. Vegetarians will also find plenty to indulge in, including hearty mezze, fattoush, stuffed grape leaves platter, and lentil soup. 

Rumi Persian Grill

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Iranian cuisine is big on flavors, and this family-friendly Pinecrest eatery pays homage to them with traditional tadig (stew) atop sizzling crispy rice, green basmati rice, cucumber yogurt and all sorts of kabobs. End the meal with a cup of hot Persian tea and falodeh, the Iranian version of sorbet. 

Etzel Itzik Deli

The breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus at this Aventura eatery feature Israeli food at its best. Bourekas (baked pastry) are filled with egg, hummus topped with mushrooms, and all meats are kosher, including lamb shoulder, sweet breads, chicken liver, and the chicken fingers on the kid’s menu. Saturday specials include Jewish specialties, like jachnon and cholent hamin shena.  

Subres Grill

Israeli wife-husband duo Etty and Eli Weinberg run this convivial eatery in North Miami, where silky smooth hummus is whipped up at least twice a day, topped with beef or chicken, and served with soft pita bread. Hearty shareable dishes here are cooked under the supervision of a full-time kosher supervisor, amongst the Middle Eastern creations are crispy Moroccan cigars doused with nutty tahini sauce, hearty chicken shawarma bowl, and kofta kabob. Order one of the many Israeli wines on the list to complement the meal. 

Layla

Inside the first Kayak hotel concept, along the Collins canal, diners will find Layla and its modern Middle Eastern fare. Inspired by Layla & Majnun — the Middle Eastern Romeo and Juliet — this casual eatery serves hearty mezze portions as well as wholesome entrees of whole branzino, accompanied by caramelized fennel and zhug (a Yemenite version of chimichurri), and braised lamb, showered in demi-glace and sparkling with jewel-like pomegranates. From Thursday through Saturday, diners can enjoy the live DJ action at the rooftop over bites and Jenny’s Genie, a special cocktail poured from a genie lamp. 

Byblos Miami

Byblos’s enchanting decor is enough to draw guests in, but its happy balance of many Levantine cuisines is also worth the visit. Sprawling three different dining areas and a cocktail lounge at the Royal Palm hotel in South Beach, this eatery serves a must-order duck kibbeh with dried fig in a date molasses and tahini sauce, along with a refreshing hamachi crudo bathed in a mix of jalapeno labneh, sweet red onion, cucumber, and lime. To share, order the lamb rack and the sweet jeweled rice piled with carrots, barberries, and almonds. Don’t leave without a sip of one of the restaurants aptly named cocktails, such as the whiskey-based Sultan’s Privilege or the refreshing Marrakesh Garden with gin and mint. 

Motek - Mediterranean Cafe & Restaurant

Tessa Levy and chef Einat Admony opened Motek (sweetheart in Hebrew) in Downtown’s historic Seybold Building in the height of the pandemic, offering much-needed comfort food. The list of Israelian dishes includes Jerusalem grilled cheese, lahmajun chips, customized majadra rice bowls, and tempting crispy chicken schnitzel. Glasses of refreshing limonama and challah bread pudding are the perfect final touches. 

Abbale Telavivian Kitchen

Abbale is one of the newest entries in Miami’s Middle Eastern culinary scene, and it is definitely an exciting one to watch. For a small restaurant, it packs a powerful punch, with a Telavivian menu of preparations that are all done well, including the Arak-cured salmon, the sumac chicken shashlik served on fire-baked laffa (thin flatbread), and the popular avo egg feta, an open-face Jerusalem bagel packing hummus, arugula, tomato, tahini, aleppo pepper, olive oil. The soundtrack will make you want to sing along and the sunset menu features intriguing bakery items, such burekas filled with egg and Bulgarian feta and an olive oil, lemon, and rosemary pound cake. 

Shawar Al Basha

Little Havana has its own share of tasty hummus, shawarma, kebabs, and falafel, some of which can be found daily at this Lebanese gem. Park in the rear and enjoy hearty, tasty meals served by the owner in a small, pleasant space. Keep an eye out for specials and make sure to order the garlic cream sauce.

The Middle East Best Food

The Middle East Best Food has been warming Coral Way since 1989. It is small shop selling spices and other staples where owner Ali Aziz’s also showcases his Palestinian heritage through nutty pastries and colorful cuisine. He’s present daily, greeting visitors with a well-priced rotating menu of mezze, sandwiches, pies, and a variety of baklava. 

Maroosh

Lentil soup, bamia stew, lemon chicken — they are all on this large Lebanese eatery’s menu, along with other traditional Middle Eastern dishes served by a bilingual staff. The atmosphere in the two-story building is relaxed and inviting and belly dancing shows are hosted every weekend. Leave room for a dessert of milk pudding, kanfeh, or mini roses. There is also an extensive list of Middle Eastern wines. 

The Original Daily Bread Marketplace

When a restaurant has been around for 45 years than you know you are in for a treat. And what treat this family-owned eatery is. The Mazzawis celebrate their love of food with generous portions of lamb kafta, falafel, fatoush, richly spiced shawarma, and various platters, which you can savor at the charming Middle Eastern building the restaurant inhabits, or order at the food counter to take home. You won’t be able to choose just one pastry from the delightful array of offers here, so you really ought to try them all. Make time to sort through the Middle Eastern, Turkish and Greek specialties the eatery’s marketplace.

Shaddai Fine Lebanese Cuisine

This upscale restaurant in Pinecrest takes guests on a journey through Lebanon with 

traditional kebabs, a raw version of kibbeh, and Jawaneh, its own iteration of adaptation fried chicken wings. Vegetarians will also find plenty to indulge in, including hearty mezze, fattoush, stuffed grape leaves platter, and lentil soup. 

Rumi Persian Grill

Iranian cuisine is big on flavors, and this family-friendly Pinecrest eatery pays homage to them with traditional tadig (stew) atop sizzling crispy rice, green basmati rice, cucumber yogurt and all sorts of kabobs. End the meal with a cup of hot Persian tea and falodeh, the Iranian version of sorbet. 

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