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Best Middle Eastern/Eastern Mediterranean restaurant

Mast Khiyar, a mixture of freshly diced cucumbers yogurt, raisins, walnuts and fresh herbs at Rumi's Kitchen. The Sandy Springs spot was your pick and our pick for best Middle Eastern/Eastern Mediterranean restaurant in and around Atlanta. Photo: Elissa Eubanks, eeubanks@ajc.com

Mast Khiyar -- a mixture of freshly diced cucumbers yogurt, raisins, walnuts and fresh herbs -- at Rumi's Kitchen. The Sandy Springs spot was your pick and our pick for best Middle Eastern/Eastern Mediterranean restaurant in and around Atlanta. Photo: Elissa Eubanks, eeubanks@ajc.com

YOUR PICKS
1. Rumi’s Kitchen
You say, “The food at Rumi’s is absolutely delicious” and “Rumi’s Kitchen is the best I’ve had in the city. No wonder this place is always packed.”

2. Café Sababa
3. Mediterranean Grill
4. Café Agora
5. Sufi’s
6. Baba’s Gyro & Kabob

Barg kabob -- marinated strips of tenderloin charbroiled and served on a bed of saffron Basmati rice -- at Rumi's Kitchen. The Sandy Springs spot was your pick and our pick for best Middle Eastern/Eastern Mediterranean restaurant in and around Atlanta. Photo: Elissa Eubanks, eeubanks@ajc.com

Barg kabob (marinated strips of tenderloin charbroiled and served on a bed of saffron Basmati rice) at Rumi's Kitchen. The Sandy Springs spot was your pick and our pick for best Middle Eastern/Eastern Mediterranean restaurant in and around Atlanta. Photo: Elissa Eubanks, eeubanks@ajc.com

OUR PICKS
1. Rumi’s Kitchen
AJC Chief Dining Critic John Kessler says, “This restaurant is, at heart, a kebab house, so order a variety of kebabs and have them presented on a communal platter and sided by a mound of white and saffron basmati rice that’s so vast you could burrow in it. Good Persian food, such as this, has flavors that aren’t merely clean but immaculate. Salt, lemon, yogurt, saffron, sumac, grill char: Each flavor comes through as a clear, stark chime.”

2. Pita Palace
3. Mediterranean Bakery
4. Mediterranean Grill
5. Mezza

77 comments Add your comment

MMMmmmm....Food!

March 12th, 2012
12:42 pm

Sultans in Sandy Springs has a good Buffet at a great Price.

David

March 12th, 2012
1:00 pm

Cafe Sababa at 4639 North Shallowford Road Dunwoody, GA is excellent. Doni Tamli is one of the best chefs I know. Falafel and Hummus, Lamb Burgers and Kababs, you can’t go wrong.

Doug

March 12th, 2012
1:51 pm

Azar’s Mediterranean Cafe off of Hamilton Mill Rd in Dacula by far has the best gyro meat in the greater Atlanta area. Mediterranean Grill on Monroe in Midtown (by Piedmont park) is also notably good. At Mediterranean Grill I suggest you order either a gyro or fallafal plate with the fried potatos and a side of spanikopita.

Nick

March 12th, 2012
2:10 pm

Persepolis in Sandy Springs and Fanoos. Both are outstanding!

Lisa

March 12th, 2012
2:25 pm

I still love Rumi’s Kitchen in Sandy Springs, but Cafe Sababa is great, too.

Stephanie

March 12th, 2012
2:38 pm

Mirage in Sandy Springs for Persian fare. Their queen’s rice is outstanding.

FoodFan

March 12th, 2012
3:47 pm

MD

March 12th, 2012
3:48 pm

My favorite “take” – Sheik Burritos n Kabobs.

loki44

March 12th, 2012
4:24 pm

Persepolis for Persian fare. Rumi’s is very good too, but overpriced. Jerusalen Bakery and Restaurant for casual middle eastern fare.

xanthippe

March 13th, 2012
6:36 am

No question – Nicola’s!

eric

March 13th, 2012
6:41 am

Rumi’s is good, but expensive — best kabobs ever. Mezza in Decatur is terrific, but the limited weekend hours have prevented us from getting over their recently!

143

March 13th, 2012
8:05 am

Mezza in Oak Grove

LP

March 13th, 2012
8:23 am

Baba’s Gyro & Kabob in Cumming, GA. It’s is a hidden gem! The Soltani Kabob is fabulous. Also Jerusalem Bakery in Alpharetta is good too.

Nicole Brown

March 13th, 2012
8:25 am

For quick Mediterranean, I suggest Mediterranean Grill. They have the best Tabbouleh, gyros, kufta, calamari, falafel, hummus, AND Baba ghanoj. Their potatoes are also delicious. The food is cooked to order and ALWAYS yummy.

KK

March 13th, 2012
8:58 am

Rumi’s Kitchen

Bentley

March 13th, 2012
9:14 am

Basha Bistro in midtown was quite good. Unfortunate that the ownership changed and then they closed. Miss that falafel and hummus!

GF

March 13th, 2012
9:14 am

Olive Bistro in Vinings.

kevin

March 13th, 2012
9:19 am

Nick’s Greek take out Restaurant near Oakland Cemetery has got to be on the list. Easily the best gyro in or around Atlanta (just ask Kevin Rathbun). Hummus is out of this world too. The only downside is that they close for a month or so every year for Nick and his wife to return to Greece.

Mediterranean Grill is also solid.

ANDRE HYLTON

March 13th, 2012
9:24 am

Jerusalem Bakery.

Mark

March 13th, 2012
9:29 am

Cafe Istanbul in – wait for it – Acworth is very good!

Cameron

March 13th, 2012
9:34 am

Baba’s. One in Norcross across from the Forum Shopping Center, and another in Cumming. Great food, and generous portions.

Nazan Yar

March 13th, 2012
9:41 am

Rumi’s Kitchen

Kristen

March 13th, 2012
9:42 am

Nick’s to Go is solid when it comes to a good gyro but you can’t beat the “lunch special” during the week at Mediterranean Grill or their hummus which is the best in Atlanta!

For a more upscale experience, I love the atmosphere and entertainment at Nicola’s and the food at Rumi’s is absolutely delicious!

df

March 13th, 2012
10:17 am

Mediterranean Grill

Ben

March 13th, 2012
10:17 am

Shami Kabob off of Sugarloaf Parkway. It is an Afghan restaurant taht serve good food.

John V

March 13th, 2012
10:20 am

Kyma is awesome. Mediterranean Bakery on Chamblee Tucker is pretty good too and so is Grecian Gyro in Tucker.

ziza

March 13th, 2012
10:22 am

I like Mediterranean Grill and Olive Bistro.

Markus

March 13th, 2012
10:36 am

100% Cafe Agora. Hands down the best Turkish in Atlanta and possibly the best Mediterranean in Atlanta.

Cooper

March 13th, 2012
10:51 am

Cooper

March 13th, 2012
10:52 am

I mean Sufi’s

AP

March 13th, 2012
11:08 am

Papouli’s and Cafe Efendi in Alpharetta!

Nathan

March 13th, 2012
11:10 am

This should have been four or five categories because there are substantial differences among the cuisines of the Mediterranean and Middle East, not to mention levels of service ranging from fast casual to fine dining.

That said, I can tell you that the gyros and hummus at Nick’s are amazing. The Mediterranean Grill is equally solid–can’t be beat for consistency.

I’m a little surprised that no one’s mentioned Imperial Fez yet. Morroccan falls squarely in this category.

loki44

March 13th, 2012
11:19 am

Trying a new one today – Baraka Shawarma on Walton Street downtown. Just opened yesterday. I guess they have a place in Clarkston as well.

AllGreekToMe

March 13th, 2012
11:20 am

The Imperial Fez is more of an attraction, IMHO. The food is ok, but way expensive – plus some of us prefer to use forks over hands. Good show, though.

Kristen Rae

March 13th, 2012
11:24 am

Cafe Bombay–amazing Indian cuisine. 2615 Briarcliff Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30329 (Near the Target off North Druid Hills Road)

Zach

March 13th, 2012
11:25 am

Aladdin’s Mediterranean Grill in Sandy Springs off of Roswell Road is the best I’ve had here.

JB

March 13th, 2012
11:35 am

I’m sure there are ones that are better, but there is not a better food VALUE in the city than Mediterranean grill. Their kabobs are awesome, the hummus is great, and the potatoes are incredible. Amazing amount of food for the dollar. We drive all the way to Decatur from Brookhaven on a regular basis. Well worth it!!

Big B

March 13th, 2012
11:36 am

Too bad Cedars by Lenox is closed – would have voted for them. Best hummus and lunch buffet in the Buckhead area at one time.

MattyB

March 13th, 2012
11:37 am

Rumi’s is number 1 (you get what you pay for, well worth the price). Falafel Cafe in Marietta is number 2.

Po

March 13th, 2012
11:54 am

The Beirut, Peachtree City.

Me

March 13th, 2012
12:02 pm

Lawrence’s Cafe, Buford Highway. Next to the Rusty Nail.

Pam

March 13th, 2012
12:54 pm

Mediterranean Bakery and Sandwich on Chamblee Tucker Rd. Yum

George

March 13th, 2012
2:24 pm

I like Taverna placa because they have good dancers. They make me happy when I eat. I like the food better at Rumi in Sandy Spring but they don’t have no dancers. But know what they do have? Two words. Ka bob! It should be KaBam like the cajun chef guy. They are so good that it makes me cry to think about not eating them. They got ever ka bob under the son. Your whole ka bob family from chicken to steak to goat or something. Even shrimp that is almost as good as Red Lobster and they ain’t even a seafood specialty place. I never tired Nick’s before, but I want to. I don’t think there are dancers there. But it is near Daddy D’z. I once ate seven orders of cue raps there and kept them all down. After the Braves winning the series that was the best day of my life.

Typical Redneck

March 13th, 2012
3:07 pm

I like Baba’s best. Wasn’t impressed with mediterranaen bakery.

Ali

March 13th, 2012
10:03 pm

Rumi’s kitchen is the best I’ve had in the city. No wonder this place is always packed.

Nona

March 13th, 2012
10:11 pm

For foodies that know a thing or two about food, definitly Rumi’s has no competition in town.

Sandra

March 13th, 2012
10:16 pm

By far Rumi’s Kitchen is the best :)

Benj

March 14th, 2012
4:59 pm

Southside Progressive

March 14th, 2012
5:07 pm

Cafe Istanbul in Decatur on Lawrenceville Hwy is very good and authentic, plus you get to sit on the floor and can enjoy a hookah if you so choose! Great tea selection as well! Mediterranean Grill (North Decatur Rd. location) is also a consistent winner.

Dob

March 14th, 2012
6:12 pm

Best Mediterranean is Cafe Agora, hands down. There shouldn’t even be a debate about it. AJC, go ahead and declare Cafe Agora the winner!

Edward

March 14th, 2012
6:49 pm

Cafe Istanbul is terrible and is NOT “authentic”. There is absolutely nothing Turkish about that place. I made the mistake of taking my friend visiting from Istanbul there. I was so embarrassed. For some authentic Turkish, try IstanBlue on Pharr Rd in Buckhead. For great Middle Eastern, Sufi’s in south Buckhead is very nice.

And Kristen Rae, bless your heart, but India is not in the Middle East and is nowhere near the Mediterranean. Please go look at a map.

deanna fiveash

March 14th, 2012
8:09 pm

for fresh food made daily try melody lane diner in marietta off canton highway. everything cooked to order!

Anonymous

March 14th, 2012
11:39 pm

Rumi’s is the best by far. It may cost a little more, but you have to pay for quality.

mark

March 15th, 2012
7:50 am

Sufi’s on Peachtree is amazing!

Nate

March 15th, 2012
9:00 am

Med Grill!!!

MWoodruff

March 15th, 2012
9:21 am

Sheik Burritos n Kabobs & Rumi’s

Hans

March 15th, 2012
2:58 pm

Persian food is the godfather of all foods and Rumis kichean is the best.

Stephen

March 15th, 2012
5:55 pm

Rumi’s Kitchen in Sandy Springs is the best, hand’s down. It takes Persian/Middle Eastern cuisine to a new level.

Angelica

March 15th, 2012
5:58 pm

Rumi’s Kitchen in Sandy Springs blows everyone out of the water. Their ambiance, food, and extensive wine list are beyond those of any other Middle Eastern restaurant in the city.

Linda

March 16th, 2012
8:36 am

Sultans in Sandy Springs is delicious.

PJ

March 16th, 2012
9:47 am

It has to be Nicola’s on Lavista Road. Wonderful food!

jv

March 16th, 2012
1:42 pm

Efes on marietta square

Jeanel Carlson

March 16th, 2012
1:47 pm

Rumi’s by far is the best.

Shahrouz Aliabadi

March 16th, 2012
1:48 pm

Rumi’s by far is the best.

Farrokh Mazahery

March 16th, 2012
3:00 pm

Rumi’s Kitchen is absolutlety the best Middle Eastern restaurant in Atlanta and one of the top three in United State. The quality of food and sevice is exceptional.

Wayne

March 16th, 2012
3:06 pm

Rumi’s Kitchen food is amazing.

sowgy

March 16th, 2012
3:16 pm

Rumi’s food is the best I have ever had.

Ray

March 17th, 2012
11:22 am

Rumi`s kitchen is the best , best dine and wine , best service , beautiful girls ;)

KMK

March 17th, 2012
9:00 pm

The Beirut in Peachtree City is my absolute favorite for Mediterranean food. Everything is consistently delicious, and the service is always great. Try the mezza platter, the Beirut’s Best, and the shrimp and mushrooms, and you will understand why the family at the table next to us tonight traveled all the way from Alpharetta to dine at The Beirut. Oh, and don’t forget to try the secret garlic sauce with pita slices!

takin

March 18th, 2012
1:40 pm

Rumi’s Kitchen food is just unbelievable.

Zia

March 18th, 2012
1:45 pm

There is no debate, Rumi’s kitchen food is number 1 in Atlanta

Bijan

March 18th, 2012
1:49 pm

I thought the best Persian /Middle Eastern restaurants are in LA, but I was absolutely wrong. Rumi is the best

DunwoodyFoodie

March 18th, 2012
1:53 pm

Cafe Sababa, http://www.cafesababa.net, is one of the highest-rated Mediterranean and Middle Eastern restaurants in Metro Atlanta. Their kabobs, lamburger, appetizers, and salads are all on point. Thier weekend Moroccan brisket and other specials are off the charts. What sets this place apart from the pack is, not only the exellent food, but also the friendly and attentive service and the chef, who has a great personality and checks to make sure that you are having a wonderful experience.

jimbob

March 18th, 2012
7:19 pm

Cafe Sababa is excellent. Not a real fancy type of place, and it’s on a pretty ugly stretch of North Shallowford, but the food and hospitality are excellent. I particularly like the lamb burger with some skhug, and maybe a soup with it. They usually have two or three home-made soups that you can get for a side (or purchase frozen to heat up at home). The Israeli-style salads are excellent too.

Tracy

March 19th, 2012
4:20 am

5 Star Review is an understatement for Rumi’s Kitchen! No competition, the best is restaurant in Atlanta, is… Rumi’s Kitchen! Delicious, large portions, addicting and accommodating! The wonderful staff, is well trained and can fulfill your every need.

Crazy T for Rumi's!!!!!

March 19th, 2012
4:36 am

I will vote Rumi’s Kitchen! Authentic Persian food! We came here for a work event with a group of 20. The service was very friendly efficient and absolutely amazing. The serving sizes where very large. The food was so savory! Mint, onions, yogurt and flatbreads. Shish kabobs, saffron rice and several other treats. The Persian ice cream was a perfect, refreshing touch at the end. Our Server,very was very knowledgeable and helped explain the cuisine to my guest. For sure, you won’t leave this place hungry and you will be back for more!

Atl-Marietta Foodie

March 19th, 2012
9:18 am

My vote would be for Sultan’s in Sandy Springs where the food is fresh, prepared right and and reasonably priced.By the way Efe’s in Marietta has been closed for a long time now. I will have to give Rumi’s another try. I was not impressed with my server or my choice of food when I went.