The 10 best Middle Eastern restaurants on Long Island in 2017.
Note: Most dishes mentioned are samples of the restaurants’ menus and may not be available at all times. Seasonal changes and dish substitutions are common.
Ahuva's Grill (1326 Peninsula Blvd., Hewlett): Exotic and refined in equal portions, the Yemenite-inflected Israeli cuisine at Ahuva's Grill will amaze diners whose Middle Eastern culinary experience begins with hummus and ends with falafel. Both these stalwarts are terrific here, but so are the vibrant vegetable salads, the hauntingly spiced Yemenite chicken soup and the baby chicken kebab. Laffa, the puffy, fresh-baked and entirely swoon-worthy flatbread that accompanies all of Ahuva's cold appetizers, is a fine excuse to order every dip on the menu: creamy hummus, babaganoush, spicy eggplant and matbucha (cooked tomatoes and roasted red peppers). Kosher supervision: Vaad HaKashrus of Five Towns and Far Rockaway. More info: 516-341-0400, ahuvasgrill.com
The appetizer platter at Ahuva's Grill in Hewlett features freshly cooked falafel, tabouli, Turkish salad, hummus and babaganoush, served with a side of traditional lafah bread.
The Cottage by Colbeh
The Cottage by Colbeh (1 The Intervale, Roslyn Estates): Last year, the 10-year-old Persian restaurant Colbeh got a makeover. The fusty decor was replaced by robin's-egg-blue walls, a reclaimed wood bar, glossy white trim and contemporary lighting. This is now Long Island's swankiest Middle Eastern restaurant. The menu still features traditional Persian salads, kebabs and stews, but also boasts such modern appetizers as boneless short ribs with Yukon Gold potato pancakes and horseradish cream, and duck taco with enoki mushrooms and daikon radish in a sweet-potato shell. Your party can dine like kings with the sultan's plate, heaving with three savory kebabs, onions and grilled tomatoes and served with two types of fragrant steamed rice. Kosher supervision: Vaad Harabonim of Queens. More info: 516-621-2200, colbeh.com
Olivieh salad, a traditional Persian appetizer with potato, chicken, egg, peas, and pickle, served at Cottage by Colbeh in Roslyn, Nov. 5, 2016.
Ephesus Mediterranean & Turkish Cuisine
A plate of manti, tiny beef-filled Turkish dumplings, is served at Ephesus, topped with yogurt, browned butter with paprika and pine nuts, and a dusting of dried mint and pepper flakes, March 10, 2014.
The large combination plate of cold meze is eight tastes, one of which is a surprise and changes regularly at Ephesus restaurant in Massapequa. Left plate from left, clockwise, are babagannus, beet salad (that day's surprise), hummus, and sauced eggplant, and right plate, from left, clockwise, are stuffed grapeleaves, lebni (strained yogurt with walnuts, dill and garlic) eggplant salad, and spicy vegetable salad. At bottom is an olive paste that comes to every table along with fresh-baked Turkish bread.
Kabobshak Mediterranean Grill
Kabobshak Mediterranean Grill (680 Middle Country Rd., Selden): The unassuming eatery ticks all the Chowhound boxes: dreary location, modest-to-nonexistent decor, charismatic chef and, most of all, soulful food that transports the diner to another part of the world. Kebabs, grilled over charcoal, are all terrific, whether lamb, beef or kofta, a ground mixture of the two. Just as good, and much rarer on Long Island, is the shawarma, Middle Eastern cousin to the Greek gyro and Turkish doner kebab. You are going to want to get the shawarma in a sandwich because Kabobshak makes its own pita bread from scratch. Despite its meat-centric moniker, the restaurant is great for vegetarians. Scooping up mouthfuls of babaganoush, tabbouleh or hummus is yet another task expertly performed by the fresh pita. More info: 631-320-3351, kabobshak.com
Falafel, tabbouleh, hummus and baba ganoush are served with pita bread at Kabobshak Mediterranean Grill in Selden.
Kabul Kabab House
Kabul Kabab House (247 Post Ave., Westbury): There's no mystery about what you are going to find at Kabul Kabab House: The place serves kebabs, made in the Afghan style. Which is a very good thing since Afghans are masters of spit-roasted meat. Lamb chops are stout and full of flavor. The koobideh kebab, made from spiced ground beef, bears the mark of practiced fingers that have created ridges to get crispy depressions to trap juice. Even boneless white-meat chicken emerges from the grill improbably tender, juicy, flavorful, but bird lovers should order the gloriously burnished bone-in Cornish hen jujeh kebab. Every kebab comes with rice, another area of the restaurant's mastery. Start your meal with the golden lentil soup, garnished with tiny shards of fried pita or samosas, triangular turnovers filled with ground beef and chickpeas and fried to an exquisite crispness. More info: 516-280-4753, kabulkababhouse.com
Lamb chops are served with brown basmati rice at Kabul Kabab House in Westbury.
Pasha Kebab and Grill
Pasha Kebab and Grill (656 Rte. 109, North Lindenhurst): It's a singularly unprepossessing location, sandwiched between a coin laundry and a Chinese takeout in a parking-challenged shopping center at the unlovely intersection of Route 109 and Straight Path in North Lindenhurst. Nor does the modest shop look like much: tables in front, groceries in back, a grill and refrigerated display cases running along one side. But Pasha Kebob and Grill serves some of the best Turkish food on Long Island. Kebabs include the burnished doner and smokily spicy Adana. Fear not, vegetarians. Pasha makes its own yeasty pide bread, rice and bulgur pilafs, a whole slew of lively salads, and a bang-up lentil soup. More info: 631-225-7499, kebobtonight.com
Iskender kebab, garnished with tomato sauce and yogurt, is served with spicy peppers and Turkish bread at Pasha Kebab and Grill in North Lindenhurst.
Platia Greek Kitchen
Platia Greek Kitchen (4 Berry Hill Rd., Syosset): Platia, the 14th restaurant in 17 years to grace this address, may be the one to break the curse of 4 Berry Hill Rd. The name means "town center" and Syosset locals have indeed been gathering here to enjoy homey Greek fare such as feta-stuffed phyllo turnovers finished with sesame seeds, honey and fig jam; satisfying moussaka and pastitsio; a mixed grill comprising pork and lamb chops, grilled chicken, beef-and-lamb kebab and orange-scented loukaniko sausage. Vegetables get lots of love here: chickpeas baked in tomato sauce, braised "horta" bitter greens and giant "gigantes" beans are all recommended. More info: 516-921-3311, platia-syosset.com
Moussaka, made with zucchini, eggplant, potatoes, ground beef and bechamel sauce, is topped with feta at Platia Greek Kitchen in Syosset.
Ravagh Persian Grill
Ravagh Persian Grill (Multiple locations): Both the Roslyn Heights (210 Mineola Ave.; established 2002) and Huntington (335 Main St.; established 2011) branches of this mini-chain consistently turn out generous portions of refined Persian classics. All kebabs are recommended, among them the tender chicken shish, super-savory barg (marinated beef tenderloin), kobideh (ground beef and lamb) and, especially, the jujeh kebab, a skewer loaded with bone-in guinea hen chunks marinated in saffron and lemon and then grilled and served with chargrilled onion and tomato. Start your meal with the kashk bademja (eggplant and tomatoes cooked into silky submission and topped with yogurt) or the strangely appealing oliveh salad, chicken and potatoes in mayonnaise with eggs, peas and carrots. Big enough for a meal is the softball-sized stuffed pepper, filled to overflowing with a light, savory mixture of lamb and rice. More info: ravaghrestaurants.com
Jujeh kebab, grilled bone-in Cornish hen with with a lemon-saffron marinade, is served at Ravagh Persian Grill in Huntington.
Turkuaz Mediterranean Gourmet
Turkuaz Mediterranean Gourmet (493 Hempstead Tpke., West Hempstead): Nothing more than six tables in the front of a workaday Turkish grocery, the cooking at Turkuaz evinces a refinement and soulfulness that are absent in many multimillion-dollar build-outs. Eggplant virtuosity is on display in the smoky mashed eggplant salad, the tahini-enriched babaganoush and the slightly spicy eggplant with tomato sauce -- all of which make good use of the warm, homemade bread. Don't miss the thin-crusted lahmacun, a flatbread topped with seasoned lamb and sumac-dusted onions, or the Iskender kebab, roast lamb heaped onto pieces of toasted bread, then slathered with drippings and tomato sauce and finished with a side of yogurt. On the side, opt for rice over bulghur. More info: 516-280-2973, turkuazmediterraneangourmet.com
Lahmacun, a delicate fold of bread topped with ground lamb, is served at Turkuaz Mediterranean Gourmet in West Hempstead.
Yiasou Yeeros (1060 Old Country Rd., Plainview): Tucked away in the Morton Village shopping center on Old Country Road in Plainview. Yiasou Yeeros is raising the bar on quick-serve Greek cuisine. Gyros are made in house from hand-stacked chicken or ground beef and lamb; on Tuesdays hand-stacked pork (traditional in Greece) spins on the vertical spit. An everyday treat: pork souvlaki. Enjoy a gyro or souvlaki sandwich like they do in Greece: wrapped in a pita with the restaurant's exceptional hand-cut fries. Also recommended: fresh salads dressed with good olive oil, roasted beets with walnuts and feta and the sweet, smoky eggplant dip, melintzanosalata, golden cheese pies. More high marks to the beef meatballs, seasoned with cumin and oregano, and the homemade loukaniko, an aromatic, orange-peel-scented pork sausage. More info: 516-490-3480, yiasouyeeros.com
Chicken gyro, Yiasou Yeeros, Plainview, Jan. 28, 2017.