For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
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Aug 23 2017
by Lena Kaisy

7 Middle Eastern Restaurants In New York That Will Help You Feel Closer To Home

By Lena Kaisy - Aug 23 2017

As freshman year is right at the corner, one already feels nostalgic for their friends, home, family habits, and, for international students, their country’s special food. Living in the Middle East meant exploring the joy of tasting different spices, dressings and meals each day. As I fly across continents, my heart calls for the need for Middle Eastern food. I mean, how am I supposed to get hummus and Labneh for breakfast each day? Thus, I promised myself that I would visit the restaurants near my campus that offer Middle Eastern food every once and a while, so that I feel less homesick. 

If you’re having the same struggle as I am, or are even just a fan of Mediterranean food, here are a list of seven of the best restaurants that offer Middle Eastern food in New York.

1. The Halal Guys

According to their website, the shop’s journey started in 1990 when three partners were running two hot dog carts. As they realized the demands from Muslim cab drivers for Halal food meals, their famous meal of chicken and gyro over rice was created. Now their shop is the destination for a diverse community.

Due to such great demand, they’re expanding their branch to various cities across the U.S. including Chicago and Las Vegas. So don’t worry if you’re not heading to New York; there are plenty of other places on the U.S. map where they're settling.

2. Ilili

This restaurant offers various Lebanese food and its name means “tell me." Their meals extend from Falafel for breakfast to Kebab Kerez. Just book your seat and enjoy the tasting festivity.

3. Mamoun’s Falafel

Let’s face it, those chickpeas sprinkled with parsley are irresistible! And this restaurant is friendly to all as it serves various meals from shish kebab to baba ganoush. If you’re a meal lover or vegetarian, this place has it all covered for you.

This amazing restaurant branches out in various locations in New York city including Princeton, Macdougal Street and New Haven. So don’t worry, you won't miss out!

4. Naya Mezze and Grill

Located on 1057 2nd Ave, New York, this Lebanese restaurant not only serves elegance through its food, but also through the mesmerizing interior design of the shop. Its menu serves meals to all food preferences — the vegetarian and non-vegetarian.

5. Almayass

This restaurant distinguishes itself from the rest, for serving Lebanese dishes along with Armenian as well. According to their website, “the restaurant has come to the attention of The New York Times, New York Magazine, Food & Wine Magazine, [the] Los Angeles Times and many other international publications as a ‘must go’ destination for an Armenian-Lebanese dining experience.” This place is definitely a destination if you want to expand your experience with food.

6. Taboonette

From various Shawarma fillings to salmon, skillet and even the classical falafel, this shop serves you goodness for sure. As mentioned on their website, “The emphasis here is on fresh articulated flavors and ingredients from our signature 'Middleterranean' pallet, merging the kitchens of the Middle East and Mediterranean with some home-style recipes and our love for hospitality.”

7. Baladeyourway

“Because we know how important what you eat is, for your health and your taste buds, we make sure to bring you the highest quality local ingredients and a wide variety of flavors to satisfy your sophisticated palette," boasts Baladeyourway's website. This Middle Eastern restaurants serves you traditional meal options, but with a twist. They allow customers to request whatever their flavor preference is to add to their meals. It’s like they invite them to be part of the Middle Eastern culinary world. To me, that sounds appetizing!

Traveling abroad and studying in the best universities is definitely a blast. However, being apart from home makes you miss all the little things that you took for granted, especially food. Finding places that remind you what home tastes like truly makes distance less bitter. Personally, I can't wait till I try these restaurants out! What about you?

Image Credit: Pexels

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Lena Kaisy - Rhode Island School of Design

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