Brisbane’s best Middle Eastern restaurants
Vibrant, full of flavoursome spices and offering plenty of excuses to dream of what your three wishes would be if you ever found a magic lamp (uh, number one: being able to eat anything without our waistline gaining a centimetre, thank you), Middle Eastern fare is as exotic as they come.
After all, there’s nothing like a spread of mezze to make you feel like you’re half a world away, especially seated against a backdrop of colourful rugs that look they could take you on a carpet ride.
Lucky for you, we’ve eaten our way through the best Middle Eastern restaurants in Brisbane, so you can hop on your camel (read: get in an Uber – there’s cocktails to drink after all) and go try them all.
Mecca Bah | Fortitude Valley
Step through the doors of Mecca Bah and you’ll feel like you walked into an Arabian palace, with funky décor and plush booths for your whole tribe. Even Aladdin’s genie couldn’t have conjured up feeds like these, with scrumptious Middle Eastern inspired pizzas with toppings like spit-roasted lamb and haloumi, drool-worthy share plates like sweet potato falafels and flaky lamb kofte, and a cocktail list that will leave you wishing you had 1001 nights to enjoy it.
Gerard’s Bistro | Fortitude Valley
Kangaroo kafta, aged tahini and chilli oil may not sound like your typical Middle Eastern dish, but Gerard’s Bistro will make you wonder how you ever went without it. Should you still, somehow, be hungry after that and a feast of suckling pig with citrus salad, winged beans and saj, the answer is yes: that is indeed melon pistachio sorbet with strawberry gum on the dessert menu. Let curiosity get the best of you.
Byblos | Hamilton
Ready for a challenge even Jafar would quake at? Byblos’ mixed grill is heaped with mounds of hummus, tabouleh, grilled veggies, garlic sauce, bread and grilled meat skewers. It will all go down easier with one of their creative cocktails, especially if you find yourself a spot out by the river views (and finish it with a platter of their traditional Lebanese sweets, of course).
Ahmet’s | South Bank
There’s only one way to really take advantage of Ahmet’s exotic menu: a banquet fit for a king. With lamb kofte, chorizo pide, char-grilled chicken and beef skewers and a dessert tasting plate loaded with baklava, Turkish delight and coconut cake, it will get you a little taste of all their favourites. Or, you know, you could just eat yourself silly on lamb dumplings and spinach and cheese pastry.
Pilpel | Redcliffe
Who needs the Spanish coast, anyway? You couldn’t ask for views prettier than those at this waterfront tapas spot (and, let’s face it, Redcliffe makes for a slightly easier commute). Enjoy a shared lunch on the northern coast with excessive consumption of dishes like their slow-cooked seafood and chorizo and house rubbed and smoked pulled brisket.
Caravanserai | West End
Ok, you might not be able to honour this “camel stop on the ancient silk road” with the traditional transportation method, but camel-free cars have officially been given the A-OK by Caravanserai. Sorry to break it to anyone who planned to stop by for a light meal, but you officially don’t stand a chance. Say hello to your new friend, the banquet menu. Thank us after you’re finished feasting on haloumi, chorizo, hummus, chicken shish, and braised lamb shanks.
With so many choices, we have a feeling picking where to eat will be a tahini bit difficult.