DININGLondon’s best Middle Eastern restaurants

As UAE natives, we know where to go to get a taste of home

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Tender, charcoal-kissed meats, the creamiest hummus, and plump, aromatic rice turned golden with saffron. Middle Eastern cuisine is irresistible, and the sheer number of restaurants in London is testament to the British capital’s love affair with the region’s colourful, spice-infused dishes. From fragrant Lebanese mezze to the best shakshuka you’ll find this side of the Mediterranean, join us on an Arabian adventure around London’s best Middle Eastern restaurants.

 

Villa Mamas

As the name suggests, Villa Mamas has family at its heart and soul. Inspired by owner Roaya’s memories of working with her mother on their Bahrain farm, the Chelsea restaurant serves up well-presented khaleeji food, native to the Arabian Peninsula. And it looks as gorgeous as it tastes. At the centre of it all is their chicken machbous  – Bahrain’s national dish – a turmeric- and cumin-steeped chicken on a bed of golden rice, crowned with a crest of purple and green leaves. A must-try is Villa Mamas’ vibrant golden Bahraini crème caramel, infused with saffron and cardamom and finished with a pansy.

 

Ishbilia

With Harvey Nichols and Harrods just a stone’s throw away, Ishbilia keeps esteemed company, and its grand dining room mirrors the elegance of its Knightsbridge neighbours. Rich textiles and lavish textures create an air of sophistication at this Lebanese restaurant, that has one of the largest Lebanese menus in London. But it’s the attention to detail of the food that really sings at Ishbilia. Spiced falafel come sprinkled with a dusting of sesame seeds, while a rainbow-hued fatoush salad is showered with pink pomegranate.

 

Aline Lebanese Kitchen

The perfect place to refresh and recharge during a Mayfair shopping trip, this chic, airy and bright eatery welcomes you with pistachio-hued walls, verdant greenery and deep orange cushions. Owner Tarek Farah draws culinary inspiration from his mother’s traditional dishes. Pick from rotund falafel and generously-stuffed vine leaves, or indulge in delicious king prawns, kafta lamb or fresh sea bass from the grill.

 

NOPI

Chef Yotam Ottolenghi is the undisputed authority on Middle Eastern cuisine, and his eponymous restaurants across London are home to explosions of texture, colour and flavour. Ottolenghi’s Soho brasserie, NOPI (it’s located north of Piccadilly) is all gleaming white tiles, polished marble floors and conversation-starting communal tables. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, NOPI makes the perfect pitstop for all-day Middle Eastern and Asian fusion dining. Kick off the day with shakshuka – braised eggs, tomato sauce and unctuous smoked labneh.

 

Noura

A family-run trio of restaurants, Noura has been serving deliciously authentic Lebanese cuisine for 40 years. Needless to say, the three locations in Belgravia, Mayfair and Knightsbridge have long-perfected the art of Middle Eastern cooking. Star of the show is Noura’s set platter, filled with tender slices of marinated chicken and lamb, piles of parsley-green tabbouleh and colourful loubieh bel zeit – a Levantine green bean and olive oil mezze.

 

Abd el Wahab

On the ultra-chic Pont Street, just yards from Jumeriah Carlton Tower, Abd el Wahab takes its name from the Beirut boulevard where it first opened in 1999. The space is smart and contemporary with a show-stopping living wall, surrounding diners in greenery. Abd el Wahab’s dishes are served with a fine-dining flourish. Neat whips of hummus contain wells of chickpeas, framed by puffy flatbread slices, while precise cubes of grilled meat fill giant wooden boards.

Located in London’s distinguished neighbourhoods of Knightsbridge, Mayfair and Belgravia, Jumeirah’s London hotels make the perfect base to experience the capital’s finest Middle Eastern restaurants.