If you thought Middle Eastern fare was mainly hummus, falafel and kebobs, think again — the cuisine is as vast as the region. From kibbe and buranee to kushari and bukhari, the metroplex’s best restaurants offers it all and more. Here are five places to take your taste buds on a delicious voyage through the Middle East.
King Tut Egyptian Restaurant
1512 Magnolia Ave.
Fort Worth, TX
(817) 335-3051
www.kingtutegyptian.comFor over twenty years, this king’s reign has been going strong and steady. And it’s easy to see why. There’s literally something for everyone here — from kids and carnivores to strict vegetarians. The menu showcases a Mid-East medley of taste-tingling options that run from gyros, kabobs and naan pizzas to unique Egyptian specialties like foule mudammes (fava beans topped with garlic, onion and olive oil) and Kushari ( a rice, lentil and macaroni pilaf). There’s also terrific mezze dishes, a variety of salads, couscous and even a hamburger thrown into the mix. It’s all served in a dining room kitted out with a life-size sarcophagus of King Tut and other requisite Egyptian kitsch. The only thing missing is the booze. So don’t forget to bring along your own bottle.
Ruz Al Bukhari
4152 W. Spring Creek Parkway, Suite 108
Plano, TX 75093
(972) 599-0786
www.ruzalbukhari.comSometimes good things come in small boxes. Case in point: Ruz Al Bukhari, a pocket-sized Middle Eastern joint that takes its name from a famous Saudi Arabian rice specialty. It’s not only Saudi dishes that are covered here. The menu offers a repertoire of Gulf dishes that include everything from falafel, shawarmas and Halal meat kabobs to traditional rice dishes from Yemen, Jordan and beyond. Speaking of Halal meat, the restaurant has its own butcher shop in the back where you can purchase fresh goat, lamb, beef and chicken. Better yet, the place cranks out a feast of a buffet ($10.99) every day for both lunch and dinner.Related: Best Indian Food In DFW
Afrah Mediterranean Restaurant & Pastries
314 E Main St.
Richardson, TX 75081
(972) 234-9898
www.afrah.comSo wildly popular is this Lebanese spot that it not only expanded its original location in Richardson, it also recently opened a second outpost in Irving. Of course, being featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” back in 2011 certainly added to Afrah’s allure, but the place was packing ’em in long before Guy Fieri arrived. Along with a smashing good lunch buffet priced at $11.99, diners can tuck into the likes of creamy hummus, smoky baba ganoush and brick oven flatbreads as well as shawarmas, kabobs, kibbe and even burgers. But, save room for dessert. The kanafeh— a combination of sweetened cheese and finely shredded fillo in rose and orange blossom water syrup— is insanely good.
Shiraz Mediterranean Grill
18101 Preston Road, Suite 101
Dallas, TX 75252
(214) 484-6075
www.shirazdallas.comThe hits keep coming for this peach of a Persian restaurant that lures diners in with its glorious stews, spot-on kebabs and delightful dips. Though its contemporary setting  and refreshingly low prices certainly have their merits, it wouldn’t mean much if the food couldn’t measure up. But fortunately, it does. The menu is mostly made up of traditional Persian dishes, though there’s a bit of Italian and Mediterranean specialties thrown into the mix. Among the starters, do try the kashk-e bademjam, a complex paste of baked eggplant, walnuts, whey and sautéed onions. It’s especially tasty with the restaurant’s fluffy pita bread. Even better is the fesenjan, a glorious chicken stew in a sauce made from ground walnuts and pomegranate molasses, and served over saffron rice. For kabobs, there’s everything from koobideh (a mixture made of ground beef and aromatic spices) to spicy chicken and flame broiled Cornish hens. For dessert, the Persian ice cream (falloodeh), flavored with fragrant rose water is a must.
Nora Restaurant and Bar
1928 Greenville Ave.
Dallas, TX 75206
(214) 828-0095
www.noradallas.comIf you like Middle Eastern cuisine, your going to enjoy tucking into the Afghan fare at this sleek Lowest Greenville Avenue spot. The menu offers a roll-call of familiar crowd-pleasers such as hummus and dolmas, as well as succulent kabobs of chicken, shrimp, lamb and beef. But its dishes such as kadu buranee — an appetizer of sautéed pumpkin in a garlic yogurt and meat sauce — and mantoo — steamed dumplings filled with braised beef— that distinguish Nora’s type of cooking from most other Middle Eastern fare. To drink, try an exotic martini cardamom-infused vodka with and rose water. Try to reserve a spot on the rooftop terrace, it offers spectacular views of downtown.Related: Best Hookah Bars In DFW

Ilene Jacobs is a freelance writer living in Dallas, Texas. Ilene enjoys writing about a variety of topics, ranging from food, fitness and travel, to kids, pets and senior care. You can find some of her work at Examiner.com.

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