Exotic, fragrant, and made to share: Middle Eastern food is definitely a hot new trend that’s not going anywhere soon, especially in Melbourne. A perfect blend of tradition, opulence, and flavour, there’s nothing a good Middle Eastern restaurant can’t do. Add to that the inviting atmosphere and family-friendly style of many Middle Eastern restaurants, and you’ve got a great experience on your hands. Melbourne is full of fantastic Middle Eastern spots with great meals, drinks, and dine-in experiences, so read on for my favourite recommendations around town!
Topping the list is my personal favorite, Dukkah. Their menu is one of the most authentic yet diverse around, catering to vegan, vegetarian, halal, and celiac diets; this is some of the best halal food that I’ve ever had. Their chicken shawarma tagine is to die for, but their pride and joy are their Middle Eastern food fusion dishes, arising from decades of traditional recipes the owners and chefs have tweaked to make entirely their own. Their fine wine selections and beer offerings make their bar almost as good as their food (if that’s even possible), and their relaxing yet energetic atmosphere creates an exciting experience that guarantees you walk away satisfied. Dukkah is the perfect homage to both Middle Eastern restaurants and Melbourne heritage, making it a great stop for any and all to enjoy.
Another Middle Eastern classic, this Israeli inspired restaurant offers knockout foods with every meal. The best spot to experience this bustling Israeli party is perched at the bar, watching dozens of cauliflowers being lovingly tended to in the oven. Staff shout orders around you, such as “Bag of meat!” ( their shredded brisket) or “Saq de coq!” (self-contained roast chicken, herbs and potato) and belt out ’80s pop loudly for all to enjoy. This is a great place that’s overflowing with sound and life, making it another fun stop for Middle Eastern fans.
For years Rumi has served up vibrant, modern, Middle Eastern cuisine such as delicate haloumi, feta and kasseri “cigars”, tissue-thin golden skins dimpled in the fryer, the ends forming gorgeous brown spirals. Tahini is mixed with Turkish red pepper paste on tender chicken shish kebabs, dusted with tangy sumac. No matter what you order here, you’re sure to come away satisfied, although be careful not to get too carried away or your wallet will definitely be hurting at the end of the night!
This is not your standard suburban Turkish joint. It’s South Yarra, so your table is precisely spot-lit with flattering lighting (could we expect anything less?) Sample duck cigars in dinky glass jars, the bubbled pastry ends dipped in ash-like isot pepper, then make your way through share-friendly plates. Sandwich grilled ezine cheese between yufka pastry sheets makes for a savoury treat that’s a great final course for anyone!