Whether you’ve never had Middle Eastern food before or you love it, the best Middle Eastern restaurants in Melbourne are something you need to experience. These restaurants I’m about to detail are my favorites for this type of cuisine. They also fit the bill for gathering with friends or even for a table for two. The warming and rustic foods of the Middle East are ideal to satisfy any appetite.
Ready to tuck in? I know I was! Here are the 5 absolute best Middle Eastern restaurants in Melbourne!
- The Moroccan Soup Bar
The Moroccan Soup Bar is more of a casual place yet features stunning décor the owner put together herself. It’s hospitable, sustainable and simply scrumptious. Fully vegetarian and alcohol-free, it might not be for some people. I loved the concept of fueling the community and the environment, but even more, I loved the chickpea bake. That was truly special, though I have to be honest, I’d prefer a place that offers alcoholic beverages. Nothing beats a toast amongst friends or lovers.
- Teta Mona
Now on to Teta Mona which features homestyle Lebanese food. This neighborhood eatery on Lygon Street has a cozy atmosphere and plenty of options for vegetarians, vegans, and meat-eaters alike. While alcohol isn’t served, BYO is permitted so you can get a little tipsy if you like. Why it’s on my best Middle Eastern restaurants list: nice and shady courtyard out back plus the trio of dips. The DIY falafel is also an interesting twist that can make for a unique dining experience.
Quite simply, Rumi has that hint of glamour without any pretensions. It gives off just enough Arabian flair to impress. The à la carte menu is fine though the banquet is best to get a taste of everything. It starts with pickled veggies, labne, and almond tarator to lead into some of the most heavenly lamb meatballs you’ll ever taste. The cocktails here are unique too with flavors that include rose syrup and Turkish delight that definitely spark that adventurous feeling.
Do you really want to impress with one of the most upscale restaurants in town? Go to Maha. It’s beautiful in style and in cuisine, a creative place for the best Middle Eastern food with an opulent expression. Indulgently spectacular, Maha is the place you go for a special occasion. That anniversary date, her birthday…things like that. The course-style dining is presented in options for vegetarians and vegans too. From olives to hummus onward to slow-roasted lamb shoulder, every bite was divine. Impressive menu options like harissa-braised chickpeas and red lentil Turkish dumplings on the vegan menu make going meatless a treat. Unfortunately, due to the cost, it’s not a place I can frequent as often as I’d like.
- Dukkah Restaurant
If Maha is so grand, why is Dukkah first? Simple…I’d go broke eating at Maha every time I wanted the best Middle Eastern food. Over in the inner west in Spotswood, you’ll find Dukkah to be your any-night date or friendly gathering place. It’s intimate and cozy without being too fancy or casual. Somewhere right in the middle, complete with chill music in the background. There’s plenty of wine, 4 beers on tap, and the kind of service you’d expect from a fine dining place (like Maha) but with much more affordable prices. Dukkah’s food is creative and inspiring, catering to all kinds of eaters from vegan to those with celiac disease. We particularly loved the cheese cigars and the mixed grill of lamb kofta, spicy beef sausage, lamb cutlet and chicken shish tawook(not to mention the rice and salad) were so abundant we couldn’t finish. Still, we made room for the kunafa and were glad we did.
Dukkah is definitely my pick for best Middle Eastern restaurant in Melbourne simply because it has the right atmosphere, service, food, and prices that can work for a romantic date night or even for an evening among friends. Definitely check it out!