How to Choose a Dish in a Middle Eastern Restaurant

Middle Eastern food has become increasingly popular in the last decade due to it being healthy, aromatic, unique, and absolutely delicious. This has led to a rise in restaurants and delivery service places catering to the demand for Middle Eastern food. This is especially true in major cities across India because Indian cuisine blends extremely well with Middle Eastern cuisine due to the heavy influence of stronger flavours, common spices, and herbs.

Now, Middle Eastern food such as hummus, and shawarma are quite popular and served in many restaurants. However, in many aspects, Middle Eastern cuisine has a variety of dishes and flavours that are new to the Indian palate. And, you can find these dishes in restaurants that serve authentic Middle Eastern food.

So, the next time you plan to visit an authentic Middle Eastern joint with your family, friends, or loved ones, read through our guide on how to choose and order dishes. You will gain ordering suggestions, word cues to help navigate the menu better and have the best possible experience.

When selecting dishes, opting for a wide range of appetizers or Mezze is the perfect way to start. You will experience a burst of flavours as Middle Eastern cuisine features a variety of appetizers, some with uncannily familiar Indian counterparts. Mezze is commonly served with pieces of pita bread and pickled vegetables.

You can start with the following:

Batata Harra - A yummy Lebanese appetizer that consists of crispy potatoes, parsley, paprika, garlic, and chilly flakes. Adjacent to India’s batata vada, batata harra is an ideal accompaniment with almost any other dish and will disappear quickly once placed on the table.

Falafel - This dish needs no introduction. You simply can’t go wrong with these deep-fried patties of ground chickpeas, parsley, coriander, beans, garlic, and spices. They will be served with a popular Middle Eastern dip like tahini (a paste made from toasted ground hulled sesame).

Moutabel - Moutabel is a smoky dip that is prepared with eggplant. This is a beautiful, creamy dip prepared by roasting the eggplant and blending it with tahini, olive oil, and garlic. It is topped with pomegranate seeds to bring out a unique flavour with each bite.

If you want to order some beverages with your meal, you can look for Arabic Fruit Cocktail, Rose Milkshake, and Date Milkshake on the menu.

Now coming back to the food, if you are looking for something that has fewer carbs, but can still satisfy your tastebuds, you can go with the following dishes.

Tabbouleh - One of the most delicious salads made of finely chopped parsley, tomatoes, mint, onions, bulgur, lemon juice, and olive oil served with crispy pita.

Fattoush Salad - Middle Eastern salad made of freshly chopped greens, vegetables, zesty lime vinaigrette dressing. What adds the crunch to the salad is crispy toasted pita bread that is crushed and added on top.

Lentil soup - Delicious hot soup made with lentils, vegetables, served along with pita crisps.

Barley Salad - Healthy salad that is heavy on nutrition and packed with flavour. It is prepared with barley, pomegranate, lettuce, walnuts, and balsamic dressing.

Middle Eastern food is popular for preparing dishes with lean meats like chicken, mutton, and fish, making it a healthier alternative over other cuisines. So, if you are in the mood for some non-vegetarian alternatives that can serve as appetizers or complete meals by themselves, look for these dishes on the menu.

Sumac Spiced Chicken - This savory Palestinian chicken dish can be relished with soft pita bread. It is prepared by marinating the chicken with authentic Arabic spices along with sumac, which is a spice that is made from dried and ground berries of the wild sumac flower. This appetizing dish has a tangy, sour, and acidic flavour that is similar to lemon juice.

Shish Taouk - This is a very popular skewered chicken dish in the Middle East. Think of perfectly juicy and tender grilled marinated meat in earthy Arab spices, yogurt, lemon juice, and garlic. This is a dish served and best relished with toum (creamy garlic sauce).

Za’atar Chicken - Za’atar also means “wild thyme”, is a lip-smacking Middle Eastern ingredient that is used to marinate the chicken, along with garlic and lemon. Similar to Shish Taouk, it is best enjoyed with a serving of toum.

Adana Kebab - Prepared with minced mutton that is blended with Turkish spices and then skewered onto the grill, this savory dish is named after the city of Adana in Turkey.

Grilled Fish - If you are in the mood for some fresh seafood, then the Middle Eastern version of the grilled fish is a simple, yet heavy on flavour kind of a dish. It is prepared by marinating the Fish in Middle Eastern spices, garlic, and lemon to offer a bit of spice and tangy flavour.

If you and your loved ones are in the mood to try different Kebabs without ordering them separately, look for Mixed Grill Platter in the menu. The platter will feature an assortment of exquisite Middle Eastern kebabs like shish taouk, jawaneh, lemon garlic wings, barbequed fish, mutton kebab, chicken kebab, za'atar grilled chicken, and spicy wings.

Next, if you are searching for rice dishes then opt for the fragrant Chicken/ Mutton Kabsa Rice. Similar to the Persian version of the Biryani, this aromatic dish is prepared by perfectly blending all the spices and seasoning of the meat with the rice.

Lastly, a feast is incomplete without some yummy desserts, especially if you are in a Middle Eastern restaurant. Look for Baklava on the menu. This popular Turkish dessert is a sweet, rich pastry that has layers of filo, filled with nuts and held together by honey or syrup.

We hope you have enjoyed reading through this blog and are eager to plan a visit to a Middle Eastern restaurant with your family and loved ones. So if you are searching for one, we will save you some time. Drop by at Toum - an authentic Middle Eastern restaurant known for housing some of the most delectable and traditional dishes. At Toum, we have carefully handpicked some of the most unique dishes from various Middle Eastern regions and added them to our menu.

What’s more, our dishes are prepared, keeping sanitation, our customer’s health, and taste buds in mind. Contact us and book your table today to relish some quality and flavoursome Middle Eastern food!