Arabian Nights: Your KL Guide To Middle Eastern Food

230118-Arabian Nights: Your KL Guide To Middle Eastern Food

Warm pita dipped in hummus and baba ganoush, fresh tabbouleh served with grilled halloumi next to a batch of hot, crispy falafel — sounds like heaven, doesn’t it? Here’s where to find the best Middle Eastern fare in Kuala Lumpur. (Left image by bedouin.my. Right image by blueskiescottonclouds.)

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When looking for dining options for family and friends, no cuisine offers an experience like a Middle Eastern one. Never had it, and curious as to what consists of a Middle Eastern fare? It includes foods from Arab, Armenian, Assyrian, Azerbaijani, Cypriot, Egyptian, Georgian, Iranian, Iraqi, Israeli, Kurdish, Lebanese, Palestinian, and Turkish cuisines.

While each country has their own flare to each dish, they’re somewhat similar. Quite like how our local Malaysian fare is deeply rooted in Indonesian cuisine and share heaps of similar dishes and desserts.

With plenty of choices of bread, meats, vegetables, and grazing dishes to choose from, they make a wonderful (and highly satisfying) meal for everyone. Whether it’s your first time trying Middle Eastern food or you’re looking to explore more of what this cuisine offers, we have a list of restaurants you will want to check out next time you are in Kuala Lumpur. We’ve also popped a Mediterranean choice into the mix.

Halab KL, Bukit Bintang
All-in Middle Eastern fare

For a more modern dining setup, head to Halab in Bukit Bintang, where they serve fresh and delicious meals. Their fusion-inspired menu comprises of lentil soup, shakshouka appetisers, a selection of shawarma platters, mains such as maklouba (also known as maqluba) lamb served with rice, chicken biryani, okra with rice, and more. There’s also a dessert menu with traditional and non-traditional dessert selections for those with a sweet tooth at your party.

Address: 35 Jalan Berangan, Bukit Bintang, 50200 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: +603 2110 4146

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Tarma Iraqi Street Food, Bukit Bintang
Iraqi cuisine

Within the same neighbourhood, you’ll find blue signage leading you to an Iraqi eatery sitting along a row of colourful shophouses. Tarma Iraqi Street Food is a real treat should you find yourself in the area. Mosaic tiled floors, exposed brick walls, and coloured wooden benches make for a warm and inviting space.

The traditional breakfast menu features maklama, an omelette with minced lamb, onions, tomato, parsley, and capsicum. Order a pot of mint tea, chai, or have a cup of Iraqi coffee brewed with cardamom for a good shot of spice. Try a selection of dishes from the Cold Mezze and Hot Mezze on the menu, or order a main of meat and vegetables served with rice.

Address: 83 Jalan Berangan, Bukit Bintang, 50200 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: +603 2110 4747

Tarbush Starhill, Bukit Bintang
Syrian cuisine

The Starhill Gallery is home to Tarbush, serving mainly Syrian dishes influenced by other Middle Eastern and Arabian flavours. Their extensive menu carries almost every soup, salad, hot and cold appetiser, rice, meat, seafood, and grilled plate you can imagine. That excludes their breakfast sets and dessert menu.

A must-order is the fatteh makdous — a traditional Syrian deep-fried eggplant dish that can be eaten as an appetiser or with a main course. Pair it with the fatayer zaatar and tabouleh for a quick and refreshing meal.

Address: LG06, Starhill Gallery, 181, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: +603-9771 4988

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Al-Amar Lebanese Cuisine, Bukit Bintang
Lebanese cuisine

For a taste of authentic Lebanese food, Al-Amar is a great choice, and those who love Middle Eastern cuisine can’t seem to stop themselves from coming back for more. Some of their ingredients are flown in directly from Lebanon, ensuring the freshest and high-quality food. Try their Beef & Chicken Shawarma Platters, Grilled Kafta Chicken, or Lamb Cutlets if you’re in the mood for something really filling. For dessert, baklava and knafeh are on the menu.

Address: 168, Bukit Bintang St, Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: +6017 284 0874

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Turkish Istanbul Cafe, Taman Tun Dr Ismail
Turkish cuisine

Stop by this cosy little cafe in TTDI for a taste of Turkey. Switch up your typical breakfast for a Turkish Breakfast plate — homemade bread (simit and acma) served with eggs, the way you like them, feta and mozzarella cheese, olives, tomatoes, and cucumbers, with a side of jam and butter. It is best paired with a hot cup of their Turkish Tea. Try their bestseller, gozleme, a Turkish stuffed flatbread, pide, spicy tomato meze, and more.

Address: LG-08 Glo Damansara, 699, Jalan Damansara, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: +603 7731 1644

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Marrakesh Restaurant, Kampung Baru
Moroccan cuisine

Arabic and Mediterranean cuisine make up most of the menu at Marrakesh Restaurant. Reasonably priced meal sets and large portions make this place a common choice amongst locals. Most main course dishes come with a side of bread or rice that can be paired with appetisers and tagine dishes.

Address: 6 Jalan Putra, Jalan Raja Uda, Kampung Baru, 50300 Kuala Lumpur, Federal Terri-tory of Kuala Lumpur
Contact: +603 2202 7943

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Naab Restaurant, Bukit Bintang
Iran cuisine

In the heart of Bukit Bintang sits a quaint Persian restaurant, Naab. Like most other restaurants on this list, the menu has a mix of Middle Eastern influences. Start your meal with a mixed appetiser platter, then try the moutabal with flatbread. Lamb shank and fried fish with rice are on the main course, along with a selection of kebab dishes also served with rice.

If you’re looking for a hearty meal, try the Naab Goosht, an Iranian meat stew made with mutton, chickpeas, potatoes, beans, and tomatoes served with sourdough bread and mixed pickles.

Address: 130, Bukit Bintang St, Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory of Kua-la Lumpur
Contact: +603 2143 3949

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Hadramawt Palace, Bukit Bintang
All-in Middle Eastern fare

Middle Eastern food does many things right, but the best thing is that its food is light, refreshing, warm, and comforting. And that is what you can expect at Hadramawt Palace. Get a platter of the mixed appetisers, including muttabel, fattoush, baba ganoush, olive salad, and hummus, which in itself make for a wonderful meal, but while you’re there, you might also want to try their Eggplant BBQ Kebab and Oven Baked Fish.

Address: Lot No, 251, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Imbi, 55100 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: +603 2143 3333

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Bedouin Arabian Cuisine, Taman Tun Dr Ismail
Arab & Mediterranean medley

Another stop to add to your list is Bedouin Arabian Cuisine, known for its authentic Arabic and Mediterranean-style food and excellent hospitality. This family-friendly restaurant serves delicious appetisers, Hadhrami Rice specialities, and Yemeni Lava Stone dishes.

There’s also a good selection of seafood dishes. It’s a great place to invite larger parties as the portions can be quite large and made for sharing between three to nine people, depending on what you order.

Address: 6 Jalan Wan Kadir, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur
Contact: +603-2389 0230

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Tabitha is a designer and photographer, whose idea of a good day involves spontaneous trips to the beach with her pooch. Outside of her love for all things design, she has a fondness for handwritten notes, movie nights and long drives with friends.