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Near-overhead view of a table full of Middle Eastern delivery food — a pita stuffed with meat, greens, and pickles; falafel with a tiny cup of tahini; tabbouleh; muhamara; and pita.
A delivery spread from Aleppo Palace in Cambridge, including the lamb and beef shawarma pita, falafel, and more
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Where to Eat Falafel, Shawarma, and Kebabs in the Boston Area

These restaurants run the gamut from Lebanese to Egyptian to Syrian and beyond, all offering their own takes on some Middle Eastern staples

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A delivery spread from Aleppo Palace in Cambridge, including the lamb and beef shawarma pita, falafel, and more
| Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Popularized Middle Eastern food comes in all shapes. While some items are best wrapped in pita, others take the stage as their own mixed grilled plates, much like American barbecue, where a meat dish can be served as is or in sandwich form.

Also like barbecue, in which distinct styles from notable states (such as Texas or Tennessee) distinguish the preparation, Middle Eastern dishes share similar ingredients but differ in preparation due to the origin and recipes of the chef.

Here’s a look at some of the most familiar meals — shawarma, kebabs, falafel, and pita wraps — and where to find some of the best versions of them around the Greater Boston area.

Please note that a number of Boston-area restaurants have resumed dine-in service, and the level of service offered is indicated on each map point. However, this should not be taken as endorsement for dining in, as there are still safety concerns: For updated information on coronavirus cases in the area, please visit the Massachusetts coronavirus website.

Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.

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Pasha Turkish Cuisine

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This elevated Turkish restaurant in Arlington has great decor and an authentic experience. While every dish is worth trying, from the appetizers to the desserts, the main courses marked “izgara cesitleri” (or “from the grill”) are the focus. Each one is garnished with charred and roasted green hot pepper.

Pasha Turkish Cuisine is open for takeout (call 781-648-5888), delivery (DoorDash), and indoor dining.

Mediterranean Grill

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A popular lunch spot in North Cambridge, Mediterranean Grill is Persian-influenced and serves, as one would expect, many grilled meat offerings. The chicken and beef soltani has one skewer of chicken and one skewer of beef koobideh, the best of both worlds.

Mediterranean Grill is open for takeout and delivery (direct ordering, DoorDash, Grubhub, Uber Eats).

Sam’s Falafel & Shawarma

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Sam’s is the perfect spot to satisfy those late-night cravings, at least in non-COVID times, when the casual shop stays open until 3 a.m. on weekends. (Current hours may vary.) The counter-service restaurant lends itself well to one devouring chicken shawarma sandwiches in one’s own bliss, and the extensive menu also includes Middle Eastern-style pizza in several varieties, including one topped with za’atar, sesame seeds, and olive oil.

Sam’s is currently open for takeout and delivery.

A white styrofoam container of falafel, fries, and pickled onions
Falafel plate from Sam’s Falafel
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Koshari Mama (at Bow Market)

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What separates this Egyptian dining experience from others is that Koshari Mama takes classic dishes and reimagines them as vegan. The mushroom “shawarma” and the falafel sandwich (tamiya) are excellent. Served on flaky sub rolls, they’re reminiscent of Vietnamese banh mì. An additional must-try is the namesake dish, koshari — an Egyptian classic composed of lentils, pasta, and chickpeas, topped with a spicy tomato sauce and fried onions.

Koshari Mama, located at Bow Market, is currently offering takeout, delivery (Grubhub, Uber Eats), and outdoor seating on the Bow Market patio.

A white paper cup is full of an Egyptian dish of lentils, pasta, chickpeas, and fried onions. A bottle of pineapple soda is in the background. Both are on a table on an outdoor patio.
Koshari Mama’s namesake koshari
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Fordee's Falafel & Deli

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Fordee’s has great Middle Eastern and Armenian dishes, as well as classic American deli sandwiches and burgers. Hot and cold subs aside, standout items include the losh (kafta) kebab rollup and the Syrian chicken rollup. Plus, the falafel is incredible, and at 95 cents per piece, it makes a nice accompaniment to any meal.

Fordee’s is currently open for takeout and delivery (BeyondMenu, Grubhub, Uber Eats).

Roksana's Persian Food

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Roksana’s beef koobideh is fantastic. These ground beef and minced meat kebabs tend to have a more uniform texture and are flatter than other grilled shish kebabs. At Roksana’s, the dish is served with grilled tomato and basmati rice. A suggested pairing is mast-o khiar, a cucumber and mint yogurt. Try other rotating Iranian specialties, too, such as the fesenjan chicken with pomegranate paste and ground walnuts.

Roksana’s Persian Food is currently offering takeout only; check Instagram for specials, and order ahead by phone — (617) 393-2229.

Aleppo Palace

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A number of Middle Eastern establishments have previously occupied the notorious white brick building in Cambridge’s Central Square; now the distinctive castle-shaped spot is home to Aleppo Palace. This Syrian restaurant offers some of the area’s best sandwiches stuffed in warm singular pitas. At around six inches in diameter, the pita bread is toasted crispy on the outside but soft and doughy in the middle: Think of it as an Arabic arepa. Try the lamb and beef shawarma pita in particular, in which the juicy meat is spiced well and embellished with some crunchy bits from the vertical rotisserie spit. Note: All of the meat served at Aleppo Palace is halal.

Aleppo Palace currently offers curbside pickup (direct ordering) and delivery (Caviar, Grubhub).

Closeup on a pita stuffed with greens, red onions, and shredded meat. It’s sitting on a slightly crumpled white paper.
Lamb and beef shawarma pita from Aleppo Palace
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Shawarma King

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Situated in a student-friendly area of Brookline, this no-frills, counter-service establishment is great for quick service and quick bites. Shawarma King is recognized for its chicken, beef, and lamb shawarma, available as a plate or a sandwich, rolled up in a large pita (and thus convenient for on-the-go eating).

Shawarma King is currently offering takeout and delivery (DoorDash, Grubhub, Uber Eats).

South End Pita

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It’s right in the name: Get a pita roll from this South End staple, which also has a sibling in Cambridge’s Inman Square. A favorite is the thin-sliced chicken shawarma pita roll, though the more adventurous “shawafel” (chicken shawarma and falafel mix) is not to be overlooked. The Moroccan twist to these dishes shines through in South End Pita’s combo plates. Wash it down with a mint tea.

South End Pita is currently offering takeout (direct ordering) and delivery (DoorDash, Grubhub, Postmates).

Lamb, rice, and salad sit on a white plate on a picnic table
Lamb kebab combo plate at the Cambridge location of Pita
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Gyro & Kebab House

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This Turkish spot in Needham Center is essential for any local kebab enthusiast. Gyro & Kebab House’s succulent chicken shish kebab, in particular, is a star, with its cumin- and saffron-dusted, marinated cubes of chicken, served with red bulgur, which truly completes the dish. There’s a sibling restaurant by the same name in Norwood, too.

Gyro & Kebab House is currently offering takeout, delivery (Grubhub, Uber Eats), and indoor dining.

Charred chunks of chicken sit on red bulgur next to a side salad, all in a white styrofoam container
Chicken shish kebab from Gyro & Kebab House in Needham
Samer Khudairi/Eater

To Beirut

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Adjacent to the grocer Cedar Market, Lebanese restaurant To Beirut offers kebabs, shawarma, and other specialties from the region. For those on a spicy and more exploratory journey, a contemporary take on falafel is displayed in the falaffalo — Buffalo sauce-infused falafel. To Beirut’s rollups are offered on either white or wheat pita and can be stuffed with french fries.

To Beirut is currently open for takeout and delivery (Chownow).

Byblos Restaurant

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Byblos is known for its fine Lebanese cuisine and, in non-COVID times, its live entertainment, including weekend bellydancing shows. The restaurant’s mashewe dishes, which showcase various meats cooked on a charcoal grill, are not to be missed. These large plates are served with hummus, salad, rice or steak fries, and some pita on the side. Another highlight is Byblos’ falafel and tahini sauce, prepped delicately and served on a bed of vegetables.

Byblos is currently open for patio service, takeout, and delivery (DoorDash).

Four golden brown falafel pieces sit in a takeout container with a massive pile of chopped parsley in the center
Falafel from Byblos Restaurant
Samer Khudairi/Eater

Pasha Turkish Cuisine

This elevated Turkish restaurant in Arlington has great decor and an authentic experience. While every dish is worth trying, from the appetizers to the desserts, the main courses marked “izgara cesitleri” (or “from the grill”) are the focus. Each one is garnished with charred and roasted green hot pepper.

Pasha Turkish Cuisine is open for takeout (call 781-648-5888), delivery (DoorDash), and indoor dining.

Mediterranean Grill

A popular lunch spot in North Cambridge, Mediterranean Grill is Persian-influenced and serves, as one would expect, many grilled meat offerings. The chicken and beef soltani has one skewer of chicken and one skewer of beef koobideh, the best of both worlds.

Mediterranean Grill is open for takeout and delivery (direct ordering, DoorDash, Grubhub, Uber Eats).

Sam’s Falafel & Shawarma

Sam’s is the perfect spot to satisfy those late-night cravings, at least in non-COVID times, when the casual shop stays open until 3 a.m. on weekends. (Current hours may vary.) The counter-service restaurant lends itself well to one devouring chicken shawarma sandwiches in one’s own bliss, and the extensive menu also includes Middle Eastern-style pizza in several varieties, including one topped with za’atar, sesame seeds, and olive oil.

Sam’s is currently open for takeout and delivery.

A white styrofoam container of falafel, fries, and pickled onions
Falafel plate from Sam’s Falafel
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Koshari Mama (at Bow Market)

What separates this Egyptian dining experience from others is that Koshari Mama takes classic dishes and reimagines them as vegan. The mushroom “shawarma” and the falafel sandwich (tamiya) are excellent. Served on flaky sub rolls, they’re reminiscent of Vietnamese banh mì. An additional must-try is the namesake dish, koshari — an Egyptian classic composed of lentils, pasta, and chickpeas, topped with a spicy tomato sauce and fried onions.

Koshari Mama, located at Bow Market, is currently offering takeout, delivery (Grubhub, Uber Eats), and outdoor seating on the Bow Market patio.

A white paper cup is full of an Egyptian dish of lentils, pasta, chickpeas, and fried onions. A bottle of pineapple soda is in the background. Both are on a table on an outdoor patio.
Koshari Mama’s namesake koshari
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Fordee's Falafel & Deli

Fordee’s has great Middle Eastern and Armenian dishes, as well as classic American deli sandwiches and burgers. Hot and cold subs aside, standout items include the losh (kafta) kebab rollup and the Syrian chicken rollup. Plus, the falafel is incredible, and at 95 cents per piece, it makes a nice accompaniment to any meal.

Fordee’s is currently open for takeout and delivery (BeyondMenu, Grubhub, Uber Eats).

Roksana's Persian Food

Roksana’s beef koobideh is fantastic. These ground beef and minced meat kebabs tend to have a more uniform texture and are flatter than other grilled shish kebabs. At Roksana’s, the dish is served with grilled tomato and basmati rice. A suggested pairing is mast-o khiar, a cucumber and mint yogurt. Try other rotating Iranian specialties, too, such as the fesenjan chicken with pomegranate paste and ground walnuts.

Roksana’s Persian Food is currently offering takeout only; check Instagram for specials, and order ahead by phone — (617) 393-2229.

Aleppo Palace

A number of Middle Eastern establishments have previously occupied the notorious white brick building in Cambridge’s Central Square; now the distinctive castle-shaped spot is home to Aleppo Palace. This Syrian restaurant offers some of the area’s best sandwiches stuffed in warm singular pitas. At around six inches in diameter, the pita bread is toasted crispy on the outside but soft and doughy in the middle: Think of it as an Arabic arepa. Try the lamb and beef shawarma pita in particular, in which the juicy meat is spiced well and embellished with some crunchy bits from the vertical rotisserie spit. Note: All of the meat served at Aleppo Palace is halal.

Aleppo Palace currently offers curbside pickup (direct ordering) and delivery (Caviar, Grubhub).

Closeup on a pita stuffed with greens, red onions, and shredded meat. It’s sitting on a slightly crumpled white paper.
Lamb and beef shawarma pita from Aleppo Palace
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Shawarma King

Situated in a student-friendly area of Brookline, this no-frills, counter-service establishment is great for quick service and quick bites. Shawarma King is recognized for its chicken, beef, and lamb shawarma, available as a plate or a sandwich, rolled up in a large pita (and thus convenient for on-the-go eating).

Shawarma King is currently offering takeout and delivery (DoorDash, Grubhub, Uber Eats).

South End Pita

It’s right in the name: Get a pita roll from this South End staple, which also has a sibling in Cambridge’s Inman Square. A favorite is the thin-sliced chicken shawarma pita roll, though the more adventurous “shawafel” (chicken shawarma and falafel mix) is not to be overlooked. The Moroccan twist to these dishes shines through in South End Pita’s combo plates. Wash it down with a mint tea.

South End Pita is currently offering takeout (direct ordering) and delivery (DoorDash, Grubhub, Postmates).

Lamb, rice, and salad sit on a white plate on a picnic table
Lamb kebab combo plate at the Cambridge location of Pita
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Gyro & Kebab House

This Turkish spot in Needham Center is essential for any local kebab enthusiast. Gyro & Kebab House’s succulent chicken shish kebab, in particular, is a star, with its cumin- and saffron-dusted, marinated cubes of chicken, served with red bulgur, which truly completes the dish. There’s a sibling restaurant by the same name in Norwood, too.

Gyro & Kebab House is currently offering takeout, delivery (Grubhub, Uber Eats), and indoor dining.

Charred chunks of chicken sit on red bulgur next to a side salad, all in a white styrofoam container
Chicken shish kebab from Gyro & Kebab House in Needham
Samer Khudairi/Eater

To Beirut

Adjacent to the grocer Cedar Market, Lebanese restaurant To Beirut offers kebabs, shawarma, and other specialties from the region. For those on a spicy and more exploratory journey, a contemporary take on falafel is displayed in the falaffalo — Buffalo sauce-infused falafel. To Beirut’s rollups are offered on either white or wheat pita and can be stuffed with french fries.

To Beirut is currently open for takeout and delivery (Chownow).

Byblos Restaurant

Byblos is known for its fine Lebanese cuisine and, in non-COVID times, its live entertainment, including weekend bellydancing shows. The restaurant’s mashewe dishes, which showcase various meats cooked on a charcoal grill, are not to be missed. These large plates are served with hummus, salad, rice or steak fries, and some pita on the side. Another highlight is Byblos’ falafel and tahini sauce, prepped delicately and served on a bed of vegetables.

Byblos is currently open for patio service, takeout, and delivery (DoorDash).

Four golden brown falafel pieces sit in a takeout container with a massive pile of chopped parsley in the center
Falafel from Byblos Restaurant
Samer Khudairi/Eater

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