Best Mediterranean Restaurants in Atlanta
Mediterranean food is all about the core three: olives, wheat, and grapes. This takes many forms: olive oil for olives; pita, filo, and couscous for wheat; wine, vinegar, and raisins for grapes.
Clearly, this can encompass a wide umbrella of foods, which is fitting because Mediterranean food literally describes all cuisine deriving from areas bordering the Mediterranean Sea. It’s such a massive body of water that it touches Western Europe (Spain, Italy, Greece), Eastern Europe (Albania, Croatia), North Africa (Morocco, Tunisia), and the Middle East (Israel, Jordan, Lebanon).
It’d simply be impossible for one style of cuisine to capture all of those unique cultures, so we’re going to simplify our list by focusing on restaurants around Atlanta that serve food primarily in the style of the Middle East (falafel, hummus, gyros, etc.).
Here are a few of our go-to Mediterranean spots.
If you’ve ever wondered how Inman Park diners feel about Middle Eastern food, just try getting a table at Delbar at dinner time and see how long your wait will be.
Everything on the menu is a winner, from the mazze and spreads like the Falafel Plate and the Dill Labneh, to the heartier meat entrees like the Koobideh Kabob (lamb and beef) and the Sea Bass. The cocktails are charming and original and a fitting accompaniment to this divine meal.
Sandy Springs’s go-to Persian joint is known for bringing the meats like Lamb Kabobs and Roasted Salmon, but don’t sleep on their chicken wings.
You’re probably thinking, “Rumi’s has wings?!” but it’ll all make sense once you try them. They’re grilled to a perfectly charred crispiness with a spicy lemon saffron rub (emulating that classic Rumi’s flavor profile) and served with a side of guajillo pepper hot sauce (with a lingering heat that kicks in as the fruity sweetness settles in).
This fairly new spot comes from Jaamy Zarnegar, the former GM and co-owner of Last Resort in Athens (Georgia, not Greece, though the quality of the food would make you believe either!) He named his new restaurant after his late friend Kitty Dare Ethridge, who played a huge role in his passion for food. This restaurant is a fitting tribute to her legacy because every dish is clearly a product of passion.
Kick things off with the Dips Trio, made up of some of the finest Mediterranean dips: pea and pistachio hummus, mirza ghasemi (Persian eggplant dip), and taramasalata (fish roe dip), and served with fresh bread. Another amazing starter to split with your table is the Charcuterie Board (a Spanish option, which we learned earlier is technically Mediterranean!). It has locally-sourced cured meats and cheeses, plus fried green olives, honeycomb, pisto (a Spanish veggie stew), and smoky almonds.
The entrees are phenomenal as well, like the Gnocchi with black garlic, mint labneh, lamb ragu, and crunchy chickpeas, or the Berbere Chicken with slata bata halwa (North African sweet potato salad), grilled zucchini, and cherry tomato salsa.
This Lebanese cafe in Peachtree City may be unassuming in appearance, but it serves up deeply flavorful comfort food, from mezza to dessert. You’ll fall head over heels for the Meat Grape Leaves (rolled grape leaves stuffed with lamb beef, rice, and lemon juice) and the Spicy Potatoes (fried with minced garlic and cilantro).
Then, it’s time for the main attraction, Brenda’s Red Snapper: marinated in lemon juice, garlic, and a secret spice blend, then broiled and served over rice, grilled veggies, and tahini. If you’re not a fishhead, you can still devour the Gyro or Lamb Burger. But save room for dessert. You can get their sweet and sticky Baklava (or perhaps the Baklava Cheesecake), or go even bigger with the Beirut Nights chef special: sweet mozzarella (don’t knock it till you try it!) topped with shredded wheat, pistachio, and rose water.
Aziza invites you to “explore the non-traditional side of Israel”, combining Israeli cuisine with influences from Morocco, Lebanon, Iran, and several others. The menu adapts to the seasons to ensure the freshest and most authentic ingredients, so there’s no telling what might be available until you’re sitting at your table.
One of the menu mainstays is the Octopus, wood-charred with peppers and served over freekeh (a roasted grain) with sunflower romesco tahini drizzled on top. Another is the meaty Lamb Cholent, braised until it melts in your mouth and served with flageolet beans (white kidney beans), cippolini onions, tomato, carrots, and radish. Each of these dishes, or whatever else captivates you, will go smashingly with any of their stout yet refreshing cocktails.
Make sure you also check out their quick-stop falafel stand Falafel Nation. Mediterranean food is best enjoyed with one hand while on the go!
“Rina” literally translates to “joyful song” in Hebrew, but it simply means “happiness,” which is exactly what you’re in for at this Israeli restaurant right across the Beltline from Ponce City Market. Several of the recipes have been passed down over the decades through owner Tal Baum’s (known for Aziza…scroll up a few inches to learn more) family dating back to a falafel stand in Israel in the 1950s.
Start with the Hummus No. 0 served with their drool-worthy homemade pita bread. Then get the Chicken Shawarma pita stuffed with babaganoush, Israeli salad, and caramelized onion. And just for good measure, get a side of falafel because you’ve earned it. No matter what you order, you’ll feel like you’re sitting on the beaches in Tel Aviv.
Cafe Agora is a DoorDash favorite in the Atlanta Eats offices, and with good reason. They serve all your Greek and Turkish favorites in a casual yet tasty fashion.
When in doubt, get the Chicken Gyro Wrap with a crisp Greek salad with balsamic vinaigrette. You can also get the Adana Kebab, a grilled lamb skewer, but you might as well just opt for the Agora Mixed Grill, an all-of-the-above option with adana, kofte (ground beef), lamb shish kebab, and chicken shish kebab, and lamb gyro over rice with pita and a Greek salad. On a similar note, don’t stress over which appetizer to order and get the Meze Platter, with hummus, ezme (tomato and pepper relish), babaganoush, piyaz (bean salad), potato salad, fried eggplant, haydari (yogurt dip), tabouli, and carrot salad.
Kyma, a Buckhead life concept, is an inventive Mediterranean seafood tavern with a stunning constellation display on the ceiling, so every meal is enjoyed under the stars. While they offer surprisingly strong vegetarian and vegan menus, you’d be missing out if you didn’t partake in the pescetarian side of things.
The Lavraki (a whole sea bass) is moist and flaky, with a mild bite. The Octopus appetizer is wood-grilled and topped with marinated red onions, Greek olives, and capers, adding a burst of saltiness to each meaty bite. Speaking of meat, Kyma has a slew of delightful non-seafood options, especially in the lamb category. The “BBF” Lamb Pie wraps a braised leg of lamb in a filo and serves it with a baby arugula and Kalamata olive salad; the Lamb Chops are marinated for three days before going on the wood-fired grill then being served with Greek fries and tzatziki.
The Halal Guys
The Halal Guys began in 1990 in New York City when the three Egyptian founders (the eponymous halal guys) converted their hot dog cart to a halal stand, with the purpose of serving Muslim taxi drivers who could only eat authentic halal fare. That stand soon exploded in fame and had a line wrapping around the block at all times of day, thanks to their iconic chicken and gyro platters with rice and the legendary sauces.
The Halal Guys is now all around the country. Whichever of the four Atlanta locations you visit, you simply have to get the Combo Platter: your choice of two (beef gyro, chicken, or falafel), rice, lettuce, and tomatoes with whichever additional toppings you want and their tangy white sauce and rip-roaring hot sauce. Get all the sauce you possibly can.
From acclaimed Atlanta restaurateur Todd Ginsberg (The General Muir, Dirty Rascal, Fred’s Meat & Bread) comes a “modern Middle Eastern food stall” in Krog Street Market. They have options like Hummus and Baba Ganoush but it’s all about the pita, laffas, and bowls (oh my!)
You can select your own filling and whether you want it wrapped in a fluffy pita, a chewy laffa, or in a rice bowl. Each option is perfectly seasoned and will leave you stuffed yet ready for more. The Falafel and Sabich (fried eggplant and hard-boiled egg) are both top notch, but the star is “The Shouk”: chicken shawarma, fries, hummus, baba ganoush, pickles, coleslaw, harissa, tahini, and peach amba.
Samad Mediterranean Grill & Market
The tastiest and most authentic ethnic restaurants and hardly the most impressive in spectacle, and Samad is a perfect example. Tucked away in the northern end of Sandy Springs, it has worn tile and utilizes a dry-erase menu, but don’t judge a gyro joint by its cover.
The Kafta Kabob and Gyro Wrap are both simple yet mighty. The Lentil Soup, served with pita, is hearty and comforting. And no matter what else you order, make sure you get it with toum (a garlic sauce with an emphasis on garlic). Trust us, it’ll go with anything.