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Best Middle Eastern Food In Orange County

hummus 610
(credit: Shutterstock)

Middle Eastern food is a pretty broad designation that covers Persian and Arabic cuisine. Middle Eastern cuisine may not be as easy to find as Mexican or Italian, but when you find a good place, you'll want to keep returning and trying dishes that you may not eat regularly. If you've been looking for a good Middle Eastern restaurant, try these places, some of which have hookahs to enjoy with your party.

Hatam Restaurant
(credit: Gary Schwind)

Hatam Restaurant
1112 N Brookhurst St.
Anaheim, CA 92801
(714) 991-6060
www.hatamrestaurant.net

Hatam is a really easy place to miss, tucked away in a little strip mall. When you find it, you will be glad you did. You'll immediately feel welcome here, thanks to the hospitable staff. The food will give you plenty of reasons to return. The beef koobideh, for instance, is a strip of ground beef that is nicely seasoned without being overpowering. It is served with basmati rice topped with saffron, which is a nice accent to the spice of the beef. The prices here are very reasonable — especially if you visit this place for lunch.

caspian restuarant
(credit: Tracie L./Yelp)

Caspian Restaurant
14100 Culver Drive
Irvine, CA 92604
(949) 651-8454
caspianrestaurant.com

When you enter Caspian, the decor kind of makes it feel like you've stepped into a palace. While the ambiance might be the first thing you notice, you'll find the food is pretty good, too. One thing you might want to try here — simply because it is such an unusual menu item — is the fesenjan, which is a stew made with walnuts and pomegranates. You can keep it vegetarian, or you can add chicken or beef. You'll love the flavor no matter what. If you're in the area for lunch, try the buffet, which will allow you to sample a number of items you'll love.

Cairo
(credit: Nevin F./Yelp/)

Cairo
10832 Katella Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92804
(714) 999-8861
www.cairooc.com

Cairo serves Egyptian and Mediterranean cuisine. You'll find plenty of standards like kababs and chicken shawerma. However, you'll also find more unusual dishes like the spicy beef liver and stuffed pigeons. You may want to top your meal with a nice Turkish coffee, just be sure you're ready for the jolt it provides. You'll also find an impressive list of flavors of hookah here if you want to partake.

Related:  Best Mediterranean Cuisine In Orange County

Zena's okra stew

Zena's Lebanese Cuisine
2094 Tustin St.
Orange, CA 92865
(714) 279-9511
www.facebook.com/pages/Zenas-Lebanese-Cuisine

Zena's is a cozy little place where you'll immediately feel welcomed. Even if you go there and you have no previous experience eating Lebanese food, you can ask the staff for recommendations and they are happy to oblige. You'll definitely want to try the hummus here. It is creamy and flavorful, and it is topped with ground beef, tomatoes and onions. Another thing to try is the okra stew. The okra is simmered in tomato sauce, then beef is added to it. It is definitely worth the trip.

El Mahroosa Cafe and Hookah Lounge
(credit: Kia M./Yelp)

El Mahroosa Cafe And Hookah Lounge
930 S Brookhurst St.
Anaheim, CA 92804
(714) 991-9200
www.facebook.com/elmahroosa

El Mahroosa is a cool little place that serves various Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Arabic food. You'll find classic dishes like lamb biryani and chicken kabsa. Whatever you try is sure to satisfy you. Make sure you try the hummus with whole chickpeas. After indulging your tastebuds, you can sit with your friends and enjoy a hookah, which is the perfect clincher for a meal here.

Related: Best Hookah Lounges In Orange County

Gary Schwind is a freelance writer covering all things Orange County. His work can be found on Examiner.com.

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