Places to eat in Middle East

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Most Viewed Restaurants in Middle East

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    THE OLD HOUSE: TOURISTY, BUT GOOD - T'BILISI, GEORGIA

    by DAO Written Apr 24, 2014


    In Georgian, the name of this restaurant is Dzveli Sakhli. This large stone building has the décor of a medieval castle and is definitely geared towards tourists. Not cheap, but not too bad. My meal started with an ice cold vodka and beer. Then the musicians started. After my meal order the dancers came out in full costume. Well, it was certainly getting interesting. Then my food came out and it was excellent. All around a very good experience. I didn’t have a lot of food or drink because the Old House is a little more expensive than average, but worth it. If you really only have one night come down to the riverside and have a meal and a show.

    They do have a semi-open area in warmer months and they do grill some of the delicious meats outside on live coals. The quality of the food is excellent and they know how to serve drinks right. A polished performance.

    Have a large group? No problem. They have some very large tables.

    DZVELI SAKHLI DZVELI SAKHLI DZVELI SAKHLI DZVELI SAKHLI DZVELI SAKHLI
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    NAGHSH-E-JAHAN: THE BEST VIEW IN ESFAHAN, IRAN

    by DAO Written Jan 24, 2014


    You won’t do better than this restaurant in Esfahan. It is located next to the Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque in the main Imam (Naqsh-e Jahan) Square. Their food is made from the finest ingredients and service is excellent. Like all restaurants in Iran, its still amazingly cheap. The interior is tasteful and traditional. The outside seating is reserved for families. If you have a good sized group a big PLEASE or a small tip may get you out there, At night the Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque is lit up and an amazing sight. They sometimes have live music in the restaurant as well. If you only eat in one restaurant in Esfahan, make it this one!

    Please note: This place seems to have changed names a few times.

    Favorite Dish:
    They make a good Abgousht stew, also known as a Dizzy. Just the making of the stew at the table is worth watching. They do a mixed meat grill that I would recommend.

    NAGHSH-E-JAHAN RESTAURANT, ESFAHAN, IRAN Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque NAGHSH-E-JAHAN RESTAURANT, ESFAHAN, IRAN NAGHSH-E-JAHAN RESTAURANT, ESFAHAN, IRAN NAGHSH-E-JAHAN RESTAURANT, ESFAHAN, IRAN
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    DZVELI METEKHI: EXCELLENT IN T'BILISI, GEORGIA

    by DAO Written Aug 22, 2013


    This place is a class act. My coat was taken as I came in the door and a ticket issued. I was shown to a nice table and welcomed. Menus arrive and my drink was ordered. The waiter arrived with my drink and my meal order was taken. Then my lovely food arrived and the next drink ordered. The food was excellent and then the musician arrived. Even though I was dinning alone, I felt like they had set up a party for me. My food was delicious, the service friendly and politely interactive, and the musicians were great.

    This restaurant does have tables overlooking the river and the Old Town opposite and a balcony during warmer months. Having said that, you need to reserve these tables in advance. If you show up without a reservation, they still have plenty of tables.

    I really enjoyed my meal here. It was one of the best restaurant meals I had in my 3 visits to Tbilisi.

    This is over the river and bridge from the Old Town, but it not a long walk at all. Definitely worth a visit.

    PLEASE NOTE: A service charge of 10% is already included, but they do earn it with great service.

    Favorite Dish:
    For a starter I had ‘Chikhirtma’ which is a broth like soup withy a chicken leg in it. My main meal was the ‘Dzveli Metekhi chicken’ which is a sizzling chicken dish with some rice. I also had the very large pickle plate as well. This was all served with a nice cold pint on Efes (Turkish) beer. Delicious.

    Open from 12:00 – 22:00

    DZVELI METEKHI  IN T'BILISI, GEORGIA DZVELI METEKHI  IN T'BILISI, GEORGIA DZVELI METEKHI  IN T'BILISI, GEORGIA DZVELI METEKHI  IN T'BILISI, GEORGIA DZVELI METEKHI  IN T'BILISI, GEORGIA
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    BUFFALO BILL SALOON -T'BILISI, GEORGIA: DO NOT TRUST THESE PEOPLE (2)

    by DAO Written Aug 22, 2013


    Ok – let’s due the legal niceties first. This Tip is my opinion and I am allowed to write my opinion.

    Now – I recommend you do not eat or drink here. I was lucky. I walked in and asked to see the menu first. On EVERY page were the words ”EXTRA CHARGE 15%” For what? Seriously. There is a photo below showing one of the pages. I walked out and never went back. Then something interesting happened later in the day. I went into the nearby DUBLIN PUB and something weird occurred. Their menu – except for the first page naming the restaurant – was identical! Exact same pages, words, menu items, same order, same ugly orange color. I then was then asked to pay a 40% surcharge on a single beer!

    This place is geared up to attract Tourists. It attracted me. There is absolutely no reason for an extra 15% charge. This place and the Dublin Pub seem to be owned by the same people. They are also the only businesses in Georgia where I have seen a mandatory 15arge on each and everything.

    I recommend you try many of the excellent local restaurants here in Tbilisi that do not have any extra charges.

    I don’t trust these people. I recommend you don’t either.

    BUFFALO BILL SALOON -T'BILISI, GEORGIA BUFFALO BILL SALOON -T'BILISI, GEORGIA BUFFALO BILL SALOON -T'BILISI, GEORGIA WHAT THE HELL IS THIS FOR ? BUFFALO BILL SALOON -T'BILISI, GEORGIA
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    DUBLIN IRISH PUB - TBILISI, GEORGIA: DO NOT TRUST THESE PEOPLE (1)

    by DAO Written Aug 20, 2013


    In my humble opinion – you should not even step foot inside the door of this place. I saw this place recommended by a well known Guide Book and I will be recommending ding they don’t in the future. It all started with a single beer. Most of life’s problems do. After a long day of walking and doing VT stuff, I just wanted a nice cold beer. Unfortunately I decided to come here.

    First off I was ignored for a while by my server. I guess when the only other customer left it confused her.

    Then I finally ordered a Staropramen draft beer – the cheapest one they had. “We are out”. Oh, are you really? Yes this is a sad case affecting many bars in Tbilisi. So I ordered a Lowenbrau at 7.90 Gel. Hmmm…. What’s with all the foam? Looks like we are missing at least 20% or more of my beer. And it’s warm. Not happy.

    After downing this I decided that the Dublin Pub was not somewhere I wished to pay for a second beer.

    Then the bill arrived – printed – at it said:

    11.06 GEL

    When I asked why it was not 7.90 I was directed to the 15% ‘Extra Charge’ written on every single orange page in the menu. I almost paid this when my schoolboy maths started saying “Hell No!” in the back of my still sober brain.

    Yes, my fancy calculator function in my mobile phone said “40% !!!!!”

    This then took the lady a mysterious 5 minute to rectify. She mumbled something about the computer.

    So just imagine if you decided to not be sober in this place. Hmmmm…

    Let’s face facts. This place is geared to appeal to Tourists not locals. And the 15% extra charge is simply outrageous. I never found this in any other bar or restaurant in Georgia. In fact the one really goo restaurant that did add 10% was worth every penny in service that I received. In fact if you go to their linbk below you can open their Menu (PDF) and the first item listed? Yes - 15% EXTRA CHARGE. You can see what their first priority is.

    I don’t trust these people as far as I can throw their building.

    DAO’s Recommendation?

    AVOID AT ALL (HIGH) COSTS

    15% EXTRA CHARGE 15% EXTRA CHARGE 15% EXTRA CHARGE IN ENGISH AND GEORGIAN I SEEM TO BE MISSING A LOT OF MY BEER !!!! 15% EXTRA CHARGE IN ENGISH AND GEORGIAN
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    BUKHARA - YEREVAN, ARMENIA: CLOSED ! IN 2010

    by DAO Written Aug 20, 2013

    Although this place is in some guide books, an there is a VT tip extolling its virtues in 2011, I can assure you this derelict looking door was the entrance to this now closed restaurant. And this photo was taken by me in 2010! It was once a wonderful sounding Uzbek restaurant. I spoke to the bar next door (red lights to the left) and they said it had been closed for some time. I went looking for it because I wanted to eat there. At least one VT member thinks they did at least 1 year after they closed!

    Hmmm, there is a bar next door....

    Sorry.

    CLOSED ! the (open) bar next  door
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    OLD (Y)EREVAN RESTAURANT: A BIT OF PAGEANTRY IN ARMENIA

    by DAO Written Apr 28, 2013


    For some reason the entrance to this interesting restaurant looks like an expensive clothing boutique or upscale bookshop. The restaurant is actually upstairs. This massive entrance room has pictures of some of the many famous celebrities and politicians who have dinned here and the obligatory coat check. Upstairs is the ornate dinning hall decorated with traditional art, crafts and even representations of food. Definitely picturesque. The service was friendly, prices reasonable and the beer cold.

    I found the Khashlama (stew) a bit watery, but good. The vodka served was warm and they are a little unsure about when to bring out the rice. The cool part was when the musicians appeared from nowhere and put on a great show.

    If you had just one night in Yerevan, this would not be a bad choice just for the atmosphere and décor. The food is ok at an ok price. It’s also very easy to find, so enjoy!

    Favorite Dish:

    I had the ‘Yerevan Lights’ for a starter. This is a tasty stew with chicken, pork, potatoes, green beans, peppers served in a tomato based broth. Delicious. My main meal was Khashlama – a stew made with lamb in either beer or wine. Not sure, the menu was unsure, but I am assured that chef poured some alcohol into it. Maybe himself instead and/or in addition to my food.

    I washed it all down with an indifferent tasting Kotayk and warm vodka.

    Warm vodka....

    OLD EREVAN RESTAURANT, YEREVAN, ARMENIA OLD EREVAN RESTAURANT, YEREVAN, ARMENIA OLD EREVAN RESTAURANT, YEREVAN, ARMENIA OLD EREVAN RESTAURANT, YEREVAN, ARMENIA OLD EREVAN RESTAURANT, YEREVAN, ARMENIA
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  • DAO's Profile Photo

    ALHAMRA'A RESTAURANT (YEMEN): UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE

    by DAO Updated Apr 12, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness



    This Restaurant has everything! And you don’t have to speak a single word of Arabic to get a good meal. The Alhamra’a Restaurant looks like a McDonald's Restaurant from the outside and like a Kebab shop in the entrance. Don’t let that fool you. This is a large complex that includes the following:

    • Fast Food (shwarmas, etc.)
    • Full Service, but fast restaurant
    • Family orientated restaurant
    • Lovely garden area with a large fountain
    • Dinning hall for large events
    • Prayer area
    • Clean Toilets and wash area
    • Hygienic cooking areas/staff

    Above all it has great food! And the best part is this:

    Where the cashier is located is one real example of every food item and drink they do, covered up. They do this every day. You can see what they make, as they make it, and the price is written on each one. Look closer at the 2nd picture. Great food, great prices and the staff could not be more friendly. They do local dishes and do them well. A fantastic experience and worth a visit. Enjoy.

    Favorite Dish:
    I am not normally a lover of Lamb, but the oven roasted lamb was excellent and a kebab here is to die for. Everything is made fresh and hot. Ask the staff if you can take a picture and they will pose for you!

    A GREAT PLACE TO EAT ! THE EXAMPLES ! THE PRICES ARE WRITTEN ON THEM !
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    Arabic Cuisine: General view

    by Mel_H Updated Oct 22, 2010

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    Arabic cuisine has its roots in tent cookery.Nomadic tribes could use only transportable foods such as rice and dates, or ambulatory stock like sheep and camels in their recipes - which tended to be rough sketches rather than strict formulae.Originally, the Arabs of the Arabian Peninsula relied heavily on a diet of dates, wheat, barley, rice and meat,with a heavy emphasis on yogurt products, such as laban.The nomadic Bedouin influence is broadened by other cuisines from the Arab world, notably from Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Egypt.Arabian cuisine today is the result of a combination of richly diverse cuisines, incorporating the Levant Cuisine,Egyptian Cuisine and the distinctive Cuisines of the Arabian Gulf & Yemen and The North African Arab countries resulting in a highly diverse food and drink culture.The Levant countries primarily Syria and Lebanon `s contributions,have been the greatest influence on modern Middle Eastern cuisine, and has helped to spread Arabic cuisine throughout the world from its centre in the Levant in such areas as Aleppo, Damascus, Beirut and Nablus.
    Hospitality in the Arab world is second to none, and nowhere is it better expressed than in the age-old custom of serving freshly-brewed coffee or mint tea to every guest, whether the gathering be business or social.Essential to any cooking in the Arabian Peninsula is the concept of hospitality. Meals are generally large family affairs, with much sharing and a great deal of warmth over the dinnertable. Formal dinners and celebrations generally entail large quantities of lamb, and every occasion entails large quantities of Arabic coffee.In an average Arab gulf state household, a visitor might expect a dinner consisting of a very large platter, shared commonly, with a vast mountain of rice, incorporating lamb or chicken, or both, as separate dishes, with various stewed vegetables,sometimes with a tomato sauce. Most likely, there would be several other items on the side. Tea would certainly accompany the meal,as it is almost constantly consumed. Coffee would be included as well.There are many regional differences in Arab cuisine. For instance mujadara which is a rice lentil dish in Syria or Lebanon is different from mujadara in Jordan or Palastine or Egypt.Some dishes such as mansaf (the national dish of Jordan) are native to certain countries and rarely if ever make an appearance in other countries.Cinnamon is used in meat dishes as well as in sweets such as Baklawa.Other desserts include variations of rice pudding and fried dough. Ground nut mixtures are common fillings for such treats. Saffron is used in everything, from sweets, to rice, to beverages. Fruit juices are quite popular in this often arid region.
    The foreigner who takes time to learn and experiment with this excellent cuisine will be immediately won over and rewarded with many wonderful surprises. Arabic food can rival any international gastronomy for originality and good taste, and, because it basically comprises simple, natural and easily digested foodstuffs, it ranks high in nutritional value with today's fitness-conscious society.

    Favorite Dish: It is Customary in Syr./Leb. cuisine to put a huge or large platter of whole vegetables on the table in restaurants which should be complimentary most of the time .

    Kharouf Mahshi meaning Stuffed Lamb in the levant and another version of it cooked differently called Qouzi in the gulf is the star of Arabic cuisine , The Syrian version has cinnamon, pine seeds ,ground beef ,nutmeg ,mild spices ..etc. incorporated in the rice but the Arabian Gulf countries version is more spicy with tumeric,raisins , hard boiled eggs ,cloves...etc.
    It is served as a daily dish ( a portion ) along side a cucumber youghurt dip and green salad and as a whole in Buffets ,weddings or special occassions .

    Vegetable Salad Kharouf Mahshi

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    Arabic Cuisine: Desserts & Sweets

    by Mel_H Updated Jul 28, 2010

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    The first photo is riz bil haleeb ,arabic rice milk pudding
    Aish Al saraya which means bread of the palace is a desert made with toasted crumbled bread with a sugary syrup topped with clotted cream and pistachio.
    Third photos shows clockwise cream caramel , custard ,Kashtallia in the center , white color milk clotted cream pudding topped with pista . Katayef which comes in various varities and shapes and is popular during the holy fasting month of Ramadan the one here being katayeef asafeerah more like a small pan cake folded and tucked together at one endto make a cone which is then stuffed with clotted cream topped with pista sprinkled with honey or syrup called Ahtter.
    A bowl of syrup is usually put on the side as shown.

    For more on Arabic desserts check Damascus travelogue.

    Rizz Bil Haleeb (Rice Milk Pudding) Aish Al saraya One of my favorites is Kashtalia

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    Arabic Cuisine: Main Dishes

    by Mel_H Updated Jul 20, 2010

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    Main dishes constitue of various kinds of kebabs be it chicken ,meat or even fish , either minced or marinated chunks .
    Reyaash which are grilled lamb chops .
    Mahshi which is stuffed vegetables such as aubergines,courgetts,tomatoes ,vine leaves,cabbage ,onions,lettuce ,..etc.), there are two kinds ,hot and cold .The cold one is stuffed with rice and herbs and cooked with olive oil, the other version has minced meat and is cooked in a tomato mint stew.
    Various rice dishes such as makloubeh ( rice cooked with meat ,aubergine ,cinnamon and pine seeds)and white rice cooked usually cooked with vermicilli accompanied along with many kinds of vegetable meat stews.
    Frekkeh a dish made with buckwhaet or cracked wheat /meat or chicken garnished with almonds & pine seeds.
    Plus various dishes cooked in a yoghurt minty sauce like kousah bil laban ,sheikh al mehshi, shakriyeeh , kibbeh bil laban meaning stuffed zucchini or meat chunks or kibbeh cooked in a yoghurt sauce .

    Note that Syrian and levant cooking uses lots of nuts and pine seeds for garnishing and rice dishes are usually accompanied by a side dish of Laban Rayeeb meaning a yoghurty dish usually yoghurt with cucumber ,mint and olive oil . Syrian yoghurt is second to none.
    for a more comprehensive explanation and photos of Syrian dishes and cooking refer to my Damascus food travelogue.

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    Appetizers cold and hot

    by Mel_H Updated Jul 19, 2010

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    The photos show the varities of Salads , hot & cold appetizers ,dips ..etc.

    Salads such as Tabouleh , Fatoush , Cucumber yoghurt salad ( roub bil kheyaar)
    Dips /appetizers: Hommus , Mutabal ,labneh ,Muhammara ,stuffed vine leaves, arayes ,kibbeh (cracked wheat stuffed with mince & pine seeds),fatayer ,falafel,baba ganoush(spinach ,cheese ,meat),manakeesh ,lahm bil ajeen,liver
    Last photo shows wedges of Arayes which is one of my favorites ,grilled pita bread stuffed with marinated minced lamb , fatayer ( various shapes of dough stuffed with meat ,cheese ,spinach) , both meat and chicken kebab.
    Also magrabiyah a dish with couscous & meat ,chick peas and veggies stew.

    Kebab & hot appetizers

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    Local Arabic cold drinks

    by Mel_H Updated Jul 19, 2010

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    I `m often asked about Syrian/Arabic cuisine from foodie travellers on the forums so here you go ....
    Kindly note that i`ll be writing about food and drink from the levant , mainly Syrian of which some are common or found in other parts of the Arab world too as the cuisine varies accordingly.The levantine consist of mainly Syria /Leb./Jor.... All photos here on the travelogues were taken by me earlier on as i `m merely transfering them from my past blogs about Arabic culture which i no longer contribute to and have discontinued.

    Local cold drinks or juices associated more so with the fasting month of Ramadan and available throughout the year are Laban or Laban Airaan which is a yoghurt based drink , Kamaredeen an apricot based drink and Tamar Hindi made from tamarind as well as Jalab made from blackberries,it helps to know the names and constituents just incase you visit during this period as they are served in all eateries and throughout the year in local cafes.
    I took this photo at an iftar buffet a while back.Iftar means breaking the fast.

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    Any restaurant in the Middle East: Privacy Issues

    by JohnniOmani Updated Feb 26, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Once again I cant give a correct description about a specific location because I want to make this tip about being in a restaurant with men and women. The Middle East restaurant scene may seem complex due to different seating areas but if you follow the rules and have a heads up from the locals then your experience may be one of your favorite aspects of the Middle East. Women generally sit with their family members in the family room and men are strongly discouraged from sitting in the area if you are travelling by yourself. If you meet some locals and they invite you to accompany them in the family room then that is perfectly acceptable and chances are you will have your meal paid for. In general, ask the waiter or deskman where you should sit and take your lead from the local single men.

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    Oddly enough it is very...

    by EricJS Updated Sep 3, 2005

    Oddly enough it was very difficult to find restaurants that specialized in Arab cuisine. Oriental and Indian restaurants outnumber all others (at least that was the state of things when my parents left in 1995).
    In general, the style and taste of the oriental restaurants is close to American Chinese and Japanese, but with slightly different flavors and better quality. No strange un-meat-like meat here and the portions are twice as big! There are also many great Indian, Philipino, Thai and Korean places to eat.

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