The Best Middle Eastern Restaurants In Mexico City
Middle Eastern spices | Pixabay
You might be surprised to know that Mexico City has a booming Middle Eastern cuisine scene, especially focusing on countries like Lebanon but with a few choice spots that offer Greek and even traditional Israeli dishes. If you fancy breaking away from Mexican street food for a period, then these are the top ten internationally influenced, Middle Eastern restaurants you should be dining at in the capital.
One of the many Lebanese restaurants in Mexico City, Al-Andalus is also one of the best places to visit if you want great Middle Eastern food. Situated in a grand 17th century building right in the heart of the capital, the ingredients are incredibly fresh given Al-Andalus’ proximity to numerous markets and tianguis. If you’re feeling hungry, or are dining with friends, order the mesa libanesa mixed platter that will leave everyone satisfied. Alternatively, go back to basics and try a simple shawarma.
They have Arabic food down to a fine art at Sajten Express, where you can also enjoy a handful of Israeli dishes and kosher treats – not an easy thing to come by in meat-loving Mexico City. So, if you’re looking to break out of the old tacos and tamales routine while in the Mexican capital then Sajten Express, with its excellent and friendly service, comes highly recommended. However, if you’re still craving tacos then why not give the Arabic version a try with a shawarma kebab.
Authentic Lebanese food can be found at the well-known and long-standing establishment of Gruta Ehden. The wheels for this restaurant were put in motion by Lebanese immigrants in 1930, with Gruta Ehden welcoming its first customer way back in 1976. It has since remained in the family and continues to churn out the traditional recipes of their grandparents. We recommend this spot for families searching for somewhere with a relaxed dining atmosphere, or dessert lovers; you won’t regret trying the knefe (a cheese pastry).
From one excellent Lebanese restaurant to another, the incredibly highly rated Asador Libanés is considered one of the city’s top dining destinations. Prepare to tuck into some gut-busting plates featuring their super tender cuts of lamb seasoned with Middle Eastern spices or enjoy the coming together of Arabic and Mexican flavours with their delicious jocoque. Although the restaurant is small, the service remains second to none and they also offer home delivery to certain areas of the city if you just can’t face heading there in person.
Tacos árabes are the order of the day at the Tlalpan-based restaurant Don Eraki. With roots dating back over 80 years, these Arabic tacos were created in Puebla by Iraqi immigrants and have remained a firm favourite of both the street food and restaurant scene in the area since then. Using Arabic grilling techniques, the meat is perfectly roasted before being sliced, piled into Arabic bread and served. Beyond Arabic tacos, there are plenty of other equally delicious options for a quick Don Eraki lunch.
Meat skewers are a house specialty | Courtesy of El Árabe
Perhaps the least well-known, most wild card option of our guide to Middle Eastern cuisine in the Mexican capital is the not-so-central El Árabe. This small comida corrida spot can be found way out in the metaphorical sticks of Mexico City, Santa Fe. However, if you do find yourself in the area the Middle Eastern options you can find there – from hummus to shawarma to baba ganoush – are divine, and extremely reasonably priced. Big eaters on small budgets will be well-served here.
Next we move onto Greek cuisine – of which there isn’t exactly a wide selection in Mexico City – with Agapi Mu. Since they opened practically 25 years ago to the day, Agapi Mu has gone from strength to strength by serving up traditional dishes from the Greek islands in the pleasingly blue and white surroundings of the restaurant itself. You’ll be transported to the warmth of Greece with every dish, especially their beef filled pita breads and the spanakopita.
Another Greek option for feta fans is the brilliantly named Ouzeria in the upmarket Polanco area of the city. Gyros abound, the ouzo flows freely and sweet-tooth customers will be satisfied by the sticky, honey-bathed loukoumades for dessert. As is to be expected from the location, this may not be the cheapest option for Middle Eastern food, but it is certainly one of the best Greek restaurants in the city that you just can’t miss if you’re a fan of the cuisine.
Tucked away in the underrated but up-and-coming neighbourhood of Narvarte (a favourite with in-the-know foodies) is the Arabic fusion restaurant Pitas Sâleh. While it may look unassuming from the outside, the steady stream of customers will tell you that the food speaks for itself. Anything from falafel to Arabic inspired milkshakes can be found within the walls of this restaurant, and we wholeheartedly recommend you try the kofte or one of the tasting platters.
Finally, we round off our guide to Middle Eastern cuisine in the heart of Mexico with the rather appropriately named La Casbah. This is an option for diners who are looking to delve into the world of Middle Eastern cuisine, but also like to keep their options open. This is because at La Casbah you’ll also be met with spectacular Moroccan, Tunisian and even Mauritian dishes like couscous. All in all, the mix of modern and traditional makes it a must-visit.