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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Best Middle Eastern/Eastern Mediterranean restaurant

Bandenjoon (pan fried eggplant slow cooked in a special veal stew with red kidney beans and persian dry lime, served with a side of saffron basmati rice) at Rumi's Kitchen. Photo: Elissa Eubanks / eeubanks@ajc.com

Bandenjoon at Rumi's Kitchen. Photo: Elissa Eubanks / eeubanks@ajc.com

YOUR PICKS

1) Rumi’s Kitchen

You say, “I have a friend who lived in the Middle East for a decade that took me to Rumi’s, saying that it was the best Persian food south of Washington, D.C. Haven’t tried any others, because after discovering Rumi’s I find no need to.”

2) Mediterranean Grill

3) Nicola’s

4) Persepolis

5) Mezza

Mast Khiyar at Rumi's Kitchen. Photo: Elissa Eubanks / eeubanks@ajc.com

Mast Khiyar at Rumi's Kitchen. Photo: Elissa Eubanks / eeubanks@ajc.com

OUR PICKS

1) Rumi’s Kitchen

AJC dining critic Meridith Ford Goldman says, “Every time I eat at Rumi’s, I smack myself for not eating here more often. Once or twice a year just isn’t enough. This Persian palace takes Atlantans beyond the buffet and into something that smacks of tradition. Mast khiyar (diced cucumbers with yogurt, raisins, walnuts and herbs) with fresh-from-the-oven flatbread, mirza ghasemi (roasted eggplant with tomatoes and garlic) and dolmeh (ground beef, rice and herbs rolled into grape leaves), as well as kebobs and Iranian stews such as badenjoon.”

2) Persepolis

3) Mediterranean Grill

4) Olive Bistro

5) Mezza

188 comments Add your comment

Praveen

March 2nd, 2010
11:22 am

Curiouspersianwannabe “What is the name of the Persian restaurant in the Publix shopping center at the corner of Abernathy and Roswell RD in Sandy Springs?”

The name is Mirage. I mentioned it among my nominees. Lunch value is good for ala carte. You can get a kabob entree, a really good soup, bread for around 10. They also got wraps for even less.

One more point about why Rumi’s was only one of my nominees instead of the ONLY nominee. Their food, while better than their service, got inconsistent for a while. While never bad, for those prices, you need to have consistently great food and fair portions. I got stiffed on the amount of kabob when I went for dinner(close to a lunch portion) once. Also I noticed the baby spinach or whatever salad leaves they include(just a few leaves) with the entree has gone down in consistency. They really started out excellent. I haven’t been there in recent months, but I hope they regained that touch. Still it was good food even at their worst. I believe Atlanta is one of the best places to get Persian food in the US.

Tip about Persepolis buffet: Ask for their fresh bread, not the bread they place in the basket near the buffet. That bread is also made the same day, but not as warm and fresh as the one they bring to your table.

Here is a question: Does one tip the same at buffet as alacarte or do you tip a tad less? (I usually tip nearly 20% at alacarte, but vary on the buffet.

Lesbianese by choice :-)

March 2nd, 2010
11:25 am

Lawrence’s Cafe, Nikola’s, Mezza

katy

March 2nd, 2010
11:29 am

I do love Mezza — really special and delicious food, wonderful service. Warm and classy bistro feel to it. Definitely worth a try. Thinking about their smoky baba ganoush makes me hungry!
http://www.mezzabistro.com/

For a quick lunch or take-out dinner, I also will admit I love Mediterranean Grill. Not the same kind of food as Mezza, but a really solid fast option! I’ve also catered lunch meetings from there before — went over very well with everyone.
http://mediterraneangrill.com/

Tim Tillman, Atlanta, Ga.

March 2nd, 2010
11:30 am

Nicola’s for great food and a friendly experience.

RA

March 2nd, 2010
11:31 am

Mediterranean Bakery on Chamblee-Tucker. The best Shawarma and the best bakery items.

Sara

March 2nd, 2010
11:44 am

Cafe Agora, and Pita Palace on the corner of Lavista and Briarcliff–they have the BEST hummus!

mamiefone

March 2nd, 2010
11:56 am

i vote for cafe agora! its very good and the staff and owner are very friendly. we dont have a lot of experience with this kind of food, but they took the time to explain to us what everything was and gave us a sampler platter to try for free!

FoodFan

March 2nd, 2010
11:58 am

Rumi’s on Roswell Road for OTP (but just outside). The food is spectacular and the owner is a great guy. Nicola for ITP. Love the mezze for years and the owner is also a great host.

Gross

March 2nd, 2010
12:02 pm

Nichola’s on LaVista is dreadful.

JasonJacket

March 2nd, 2010
12:02 pm

1. Persepolis
2. Nicolas
3. Mezza

Rebecca

March 2nd, 2010
12:04 pm

I nominate Borage in Conyers, GA. Their food is absolutely the best, the staff is friendly and helpful and the little extras of soup and tea are wonderful.

wilson

March 2nd, 2010
12:04 pm

Mediterranean Grill…I frequent the Decatur/Emory location, but they’re all good.
Tasty and authentic food (and a lot of it!) at a very manageable price (I should know, on this grad student budget). Personable, friendly service, too. Their catering is also superlative and reasonably priced.
Med Grill is an Atlanta gem.

Ida

March 2nd, 2010
12:07 pm

“Fresh 4 you” across the street from Piedmont hospital is GREAT. A lot better than Mediterranean Grill.

esa

March 2nd, 2010
12:19 pm

I grew up in a “Mediterranean” family so I think I speak with some degree of authority here. Avra has historically served very good tasting food, although they are a bit overpriced. So my vote goes to Avra. However, while not really Mediterranean, Rumi’s is by far my favorite spot for an interesting variation on the category. I encourage everyone to avoid Agora. Yes, the food is good. However, the ownership is corrupt. EVERY one of the 4 times I’ve been there I’ve witnessed the owner tell people that he would take care of their ordering decisions and then way overcharge them. Kyma is nice, but the food quality does not meet the price point. I suggest everyone interested in this category check out Leon’s International Foods (not a restaurant) http://www.leonfoods.com/. Off the beaten path, but worth checking out.

nich

March 2nd, 2010
12:29 pm

Ali Baba – 5 points. The Falafel is out of this world, and the babaganoush, MUAH! Mush check them out.

helen

March 2nd, 2010
1:27 pm

Cafe Agora, hands down winner. Everything is fresh, beautiful and heatlhy. Go and try their mezza platter, you’ll be amazed. Everything else is fantastic also!

in town

March 2nd, 2010
2:11 pm

Truva. It is downtown and pretty new so check it out. The food is authentic, and the setting is pretty nice too.

guy

March 2nd, 2010
2:28 pm

i love persian and lebanese food. nobody here has mentioned any jewish places though. pita palace on lavista has an amazing hotsauce and fantastic shwarmas. i like meditteranean grill (palestinian) too, and the sandwiches there are half the price of those at pita palace, but the pita palace hot sauce is sooo pro!

Deb

March 2nd, 2010
3:38 pm

Salar on Roswell Road is terrific. And for the record, folks, Kyma isn’t Middle Eastern – it’s Greek / Mediterranan. Big difference!

MattyB

March 2nd, 2010
4:03 pm

1) Rumi’s
2) Falafel Cafe (on Hwy 41, north of the NAS Atlanta, on the back side of the strip center, which is behind the Waffle House)….not easy to find, but well worth the effort…and cheap, too!

HS

March 2nd, 2010
4:39 pm

Nicola’s is my favorite!

Justin

March 2nd, 2010
5:21 pm

I’m surprised no one has mentioned Cafe Antalya (Roswell Road at Northridge, Sandy Springs) yet. They’re a relatively new restaurant, but their Turkish cuisine is the best I’ve tasted anywhere in the Atlanta area.

Praveen

March 2nd, 2010
5:50 pm

I have been to Antalya. Not bad, but clearly not in Sultan’s class.

Deb, Salar on Roswell Road has been closed for a while now. Sultan’s is in its place.

BTW, I went to Imperial Fez (Morrocon) many years ago. You go there mainly for a show. The food itself, while decent, wasn’t as good as the other places mentioned here and it is very expensive.

I believe I have been to Gilbert’s . Pretty good. Though I wouldn’t say the best.

Minoosh

March 2nd, 2010
6:37 pm

Rumi’s Kitchen is the best Persian food and for quick and casual Middle Eastern lunches, definitely the Mediterranian Grill. They are the best.

lalala

March 2nd, 2010
8:59 pm

nothing tops jasmine cafe in mareitta….GREAT SERVICE and amazing food they just switched to new owners who are egyptian and the food is unbelieveable u have to go try it!!!

Lil Bit

March 2nd, 2010
10:50 pm

Niccola’s for atmosphere and Mediterranean Grill off N. Decatur for cheap awesome eats

Brian

March 2nd, 2010
11:58 pm

PITA PALACE ON BRIARCLIFF — GO FOR THE LAFFA — “HELLO MY FRIEND…”

mills

March 3rd, 2010
8:36 am

1) Nichola’s for good food and fun. (stay away from the mixed veggies though!)
2) Mediterranean Grill on North Decatur for quick take out. Gyros and Falafel’s are good.
3) Zaya’s in VA/Highlands for a nice atmosphere and different take on middle eastern food.
4) Cafe Posh on roswell road for good falafels

Pendar Khosravi

March 3rd, 2010
10:19 am

Coming from a persian American who loves food from all over the world…and ive had my share of iranian food…the best two restaurants for persian cuisine are hands down Persepolis and Rumi’s Kitchen. For a little more of a middle eastern feel and a great buffett and authentic persian food go to persepolis. For a little bit more americanized, but still with all the intricacies of persian cooking go to Rumi. The ambiance and mood of the restaurant is very inviting and the owner is a very nice man!

alidad

March 3rd, 2010
10:45 am

for food ambiance and service rumis kitchen

JC

March 3rd, 2010
11:06 am

IMANE in Duluth. Stunning decor, huge delicious portions!

sherrieedmonds@gmail.com

March 3rd, 2010
12:49 pm

Thought you just might be interested in this!

Persian Foodie

March 3rd, 2010
12:57 pm

Fanoos is the best Persian food in the area. The only complaint I have about them is that they do not serve enough rice with their dishes. Mirage is a close second, followed by Zaya and Persepolis.

Jeff

March 3rd, 2010
1:26 pm

Nicolas HANDS DOWN!!!! I grew up in my Lebanese grandmothers home. She was an incredible cook. Nicolas food reminds me of hers!!!

LiLi

March 3rd, 2010
1:35 pm

Mezza on LaVista is the only place to go for real Lebanese food.

Mark

March 3rd, 2010
1:43 pm

Jerusalem Bakery (exit 10 off 400). Awesome shawarmas!

Neru

March 3rd, 2010
1:54 pm

Mediterranean Grill- all 3 locations- Yummy!!!!!

Bob1

March 3rd, 2010
1:55 pm

Falafel Cafe serves large portions and their kabobs are excellent food. I have tried their chicken, ground beef, and sirloin kabobs and all have been fantastic. Best part is they have some of the best prices for Middle Eastern food around Atlanta.

Saman poori

March 3rd, 2010
2:18 pm

I have travel all over the world in all the middell eastran resturant I have been romes khitchen has been the best of all simpley is the best

Kim

March 3rd, 2010
2:20 pm

Nicola’s-My mother-in-law was Lebanese and a friend of Nic. It like going to Sunday dinner at her house.

Ali

March 3rd, 2010
2:20 pm

Rumi’s is the best hands down. The Food and atmosphere is amazing!!

sam baker

March 3rd, 2010
2:22 pm

sultan’s lebanese on roswell rd in sandy springs is the best by far for the kebobs, hummus, falafel, tabouleh and baba ganouge. we had dinner there last week, it was one great experience, and i could not believe how low the prices were for the entrees and the great buffet they have

Matthew

March 3rd, 2010
2:29 pm

Everything at Nicolas is awsome. You gotta try the baked kibbee (they use to have kibbee nayyi on saturday nights as well – not sure if they still do). The tabbouleh as well as the hummous are great. The stuffed grape leaves are awsome!!! I don’t eat sweets but have been told the pasteries are very good – particularly the rose petals.

Stevenson

March 3rd, 2010
2:29 pm

Hands down, Rumi’s Kitchen in Sandy Springs. The best hummus in the state, fantastic Kabob and rice to die for.

Maryam

March 3rd, 2010
2:36 pm

By far, Hands down, No questions about it….if you have the taste buds to critic middle eastern food, there is none in Atlanta that would even come close to Rumi’s Kitchen in Sandy Springs :)

Debbie

March 3rd, 2010
2:43 pm

Rumi’s Kitchen on Roswell Road.

Keioni

March 3rd, 2010
2:43 pm

Rumi’s Kitchen has great food and a wonderful atmosphere!!!!!!!!!

Terri

March 3rd, 2010
2:46 pm

Rumi’s is the best. I love the food. They have the best beef there. I don’t eat beef very often but I love theirs. The atmosphere is great also along with the staff who are always efficient & personable.

Karleeki

March 3rd, 2010
2:55 pm

Mirage in Sandy Springs, great service, quiet, excellent food, nice atmosphere.

cursive

March 3rd, 2010
2:56 pm

Mediterranean Bakery on Chamblee-Tucker is amazing, as is Athens Pizza!