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18 Best Mediterranean Restaurants In NYC, According To A Local

NYC Mediterranean Restaurants and dishes
NYC Mediterranean Restaurants and dishes - Static Media / Shutterstock / Instagram

For some, Mediterranean food represents a fast track to a healthy lifestyle; for others, it's a way of life. When we think of this vibrant fare, we often think of fresh seafood from the cuisine's namesake sea, olives and olive oil, citrus fruits, and fresh-tasting herbs like oregano, basil, and rosemary. But the dishes of the Mediterranean region encompass much more than just these staple ingredients. The flavors of Greece, Italy, Turkey, Syria, Israel, Lebanon, Morocco, and more all fall under the category of this world-famous fare. Each country's epicurean culture stands out as unique among the rest, although they all share neighborly similarities.

In a melting pot like New York — where the cuisine of nearly every culture around the globe thrives and flourishes — top-tier restaurants are in no short supply, and this certainly stands true for Mediterranean food. As a lifelong New Yorker, I've enjoyed countless gastronomic escapades in the Big Apple, and Mediterranean cuisine consistently ranks among my preferred dining choices. This list shows off my favorites in the city, as well as some stand-out establishments discovered via online articles and reviews. Use this list for your next New York food quest when you're in the mood for a dish to nourish the body, spirit, and — most importantly — the taste buds.

Read more: Restaurant Foods That Always Taste Better Than What You Make At Home

Pera Mediterranean Brasserie

Pera open kitchen dining room
Pera open kitchen dining room - Pera Mediterranean Brasserie / Facebook

In midtown Manhattan, where quality food is bursting at the city's seams, Pera stands out as a true New York gem. The eatery has maintained a shining reputation since its inception in 2006 by restauranteurs Cem Erenler and Burak Karaçam. Nestle into the cozy yet upscale dining room with views of the open kitchen, or, on a warm spring night, take a seat on the restaurant's patio -- adorned with warm bistro lights and comfortable furniture -- for a casual yet sophisticated night out.

The restaurant's menu focuses on staple Mediterranean dishes with a heavy focus on the colorful cuisine of Turkey. For a mind-blowing main, Pera's chicken shashlik is the obvious choice. The chicken is marinated in Greek yogurt and served with fresh veggies and Turkish bulgur pilaf. This tender dish, stocked with bright, savory flavors, makes the perfect meal for an introduction to the remarkable cuisine of this distinct region. Pera is open Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner.

peranyc.com

(212) 878-6301

303 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10017

Il Fiorista

colorful dishes and flowers
colorful dishes and flowers - Il Fiorista NYC / Facebook

For those who can't get enough of springtime, Il Fiorista is a must-try destination. The space is much more than just a restaurant: It serves as a botanical education center, florist, bar, and, of course, a place to enjoy authentic Italian cuisine while surrounded by majestic, colorful flowers (something that's much appreciated in a concrete jungle like New York). At Il Fiorista, you can take a class to learn how to use edible flowers in everyday cooking and how their nutritious properties can help you lead a healthier lifestyle.

Dishes on Il Fiorista's menu are infused with flowers, so you not only get to enjoy the ambiance of springtime, but you can relish the unique flavors of edible flowers as well. For an unforgettable night out, start with a floral-imbued cocktail and then enjoy Il Fiorista's four-course tasting menu with optional wine pairing. Il Fiorista is open for dinner daily and brunch on weekends.

ilfioristanyc.com

(646) 490-8240

17 W 26th St, New York, NY 10010

Dagon

salmon dish with yellow corn sauce
salmon dish with yellow corn sauce - Dagonnyc / Facebook

You can't talk about NYC's thriving Mediterranean cuisine without bringing up Dagon. This eatery is among the most famous in the city, having rapidly gained recognition despite only joining the scene in early 2021. Owner Simon Oren accomplished the impossible when Dagon opened its doors after constant pandemic-related setbacks that delayed its March 2020 opening date.

Dagon's menu represents an eclectic mix of Middle Eastern, North African, and Southern European flavors. Its chicken liver mousse with date syrup showcases a brilliant variety of regional tastes and cooking methods. You can also enjoy fresh-baked, pull-apart bread, wild-caught seafood, and sweet and nutty desserts. Dagon is open daily, serving weekday lunch and dinner and weekend brunch and dinner.

dagonnyc.com

(212) 873-2466

2454 Broadway, New York, NY 10024

Hummus Kitchen

hummus kitchen meal and brick wall
hummus kitchen meal and brick wall - hummuskitchennyc / Instagram

Hummus Kitchen, a play on Hell's Kitchen (one of the neighborhoods that it calls home), is as comfortable as it is delicious. The unpretentious restaurant infuses contemporary flare into its otherwise standard Mediterranean offers, providing something recognizable but with a little extra pizzazz. Its Hell's Kitchen dining room feels like it was snagged right from a cozy town on the Lebanese coast.

Naturally, start your meal off with Hummus Kitchen's housemade hummus, served warm and fresh with light seasoning so the earthy flavors of creamy tahini and chickpeas shine. Or try a spread of mazze, including quinoa tabbouleh and charred beet salad, before indulging in succulent shawarma or tender beef kebabs. The Hell's Kitchen location is open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

hummuskitchen.com

Multiple locations

Cafe Mogador

Middle Eastern breakfast spread
Middle Eastern breakfast spread - Cafe Mogador / Facebook

East Village's Cafe Mogador has been a New York fixture for over 40 years. The Moroccan eatery offers diners a casual yet upscale spot with a menu that showcases the best in African Mediterranean fare. You'll feel right at home in the small, cozy dining area, where friendly staff will guide you through the menu and help you pick the perfect meal to demonstrate the variety and complexity of Moroccan cuisine.

Sweet, spicy, and aromatic Moroccan ingredients convene to make Cafe Mogador's menu among the most eccentric in the East Village. Stop by for the restaurant's famous brunch and treat yourself to unconventional breakfast dishes like salmon niçoise and Middle Eastern platters loaded with za'atar spice, savory meat, and bright veggies. Cafe Mogador's Manhattan location is open daily from the morning.

cafemogador.com

Multiple locations

Shoo Shoo Nolita

woman holding cheesy burger
woman holding cheesy burger - Shoo Shoo / Facebook

Soho's Shoo Shoo offers a little taste of everything across the Mediterranean board, with a focus on Israeli cuisine. The restaurant models the style of lively Tel Aviv cafes — popular among both tourists and locals — complete with an iconic New York flair. Shoo Shoo prides itself on incorporating grass-fed meat and seasonal produce into its Israeli dishes and focusing on whole grains and other nutritious ingredients.

For a nourishing meal at Shoo Shoo, opt for tender poultry shawarma served with tahini and fresh veggies. Or, for an epic, spicy indulgence, try the harissa burger (made with your choice of beef or Beyond Meat) which comes topped with Israeli pickles and a side of herb fries. Shoo Shoo Nolita is closed on Mondays.

shooshoonolita.com

(914) 281-5286

371 Broome St, New York, NY 10013

Miss Ada

hand dipping pita in colorful dips
hand dipping pita in colorful dips - Miss Ada / Facebook

Miss Ada, popular with locals and often overlooked by tourists, is something of a hidden gem in Brooklyn's Fort Greene. The rustic, Israeli-owned eatery incorporates fresh herbs from its backyard garden into dishes that take traditional Mediterranean fare to the next level. Meals here provide New Yorkers with familiar comfort food and a vegan-friendly, nutritious twist.

Make a meal from a collection of small plates at Miss Ada's, including sweet potato hummus topped with crème fraîche, crispy cauliflower, and whipped ricotta. Try the restaurant's spin on classic shakshuka, complete with creamy goat cheese and garden parsley, for a bright herb taste. Fresh seafood completes the experience, like octopus or za'atar-crusted salmon. Miss Ada is open Tuesday through Sunday for dinner and brunch on weekends.

missadanyc.com

(929) 271-1189

184 Dekalb Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11205

Shuka

Middle Eastern brunch spread
Middle Eastern brunch spread - Shuka / Facebook

Soho's Shuka is decked out to feel like a cozy farmhouse, with artistic, rustic charm in every corner. If its homey atmosphere wasn't enough to beckon you through its wide French doors, the artisanal comfort food menu certainly will. James Beard Award finalist nominee chef Ayesha Nurdjaja, born and bred in Brooklyn, infuses each dish on Shuka's menu with personality and charisma, all while providing guests with something delicious and familiar to chow down on.

For a brunch that will leave lasting memories, opt for the Shuka Feast. This gargantuan meal includes hummus, fresh veggies, fried halloumi cheese, falafel, kababs, and the ever-popular white sauce that often accompanies a delicious Mediterranean meal. Shuka is open daily for lunch and dinner, opening earlier on weekends for brunch.

shukanewyork.com

(212) 475-7500

38 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

Meadowsweet Restaurant

elegant meal with wine
elegant meal with wine - Meadowsweet Restaurant / Facebook

Tucked away in hip and lively Williamsburg, Meadowsweet stands out among its numerous competitors by serving high-quality Mediterranean meals dished out with style while maintaining a reasonable price point. The elegant eatery first appeared on the scene in 2014 and has thrived ever since. The owners supply the restaurant with produce from their family farm in upstate New York, keeping the eatery fresh, delicious, and eco-friendly.

Meadowsweet's menu rotates daily, but you can often find classics like crispy duck confit, Spanish octopus with chorizo, and fried green tomatoes, expertly prepared with garden-fresh herbs and Parmesan. Meadowsweet is open on weekdays for dinner and on weekends for brunch and dinner.

meadowsweetnyc.com

(718) 384-0673

149 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11211

Shmoné

Shmoné bar overlooking open kitchen
Shmoné bar overlooking open kitchen - Shmoné / Facebook

With a coveted Michelin star and outstanding reputation, Shmoné makes a salient mark on New York's food scene as one of the best Mediterranean spots in the city. The high-class eatery supplies fresh Levantine fare made from locally sourced ingredients on its ever-changing menu, meaning no two trips to Shmoné will be alike.

Enjoy Shmoné's famed open-kitchen ambiance from the bar, where you can witness the magic happen right before your eyes. The menu, rotating daily, is eclectic and fashionable. Dishes vary from hamachi sashimi to mashed potatoes to short ribs. You can't dive into a meal here without a unique, handcrafted cocktail accompaniment. Shmoné is open for dinner Monday through Saturday.

shmonenyc.com

(646) 438-9815

61 W 8th St, New York, NY 10011

Queen Bar & Restaurant

interior of Queen restaurant
interior of Queen restaurant - Queen on Starr / Facebook

A local favorite in Bushwick, Queen makes a lasting impression on New Yorkers demanding top-tier meals with an artistic ambiance to boot. Queen is artfully decorated, and its small but charming interior space powerfully reflects its menu. The restaurant stays true to its name and executes an enticing drag brunch to rival all others in NYC. The restaurant's one-of-a-kind specialty cocktails are reason enough to drop by, yet it would be unwise to skip the chance for a coveted afternoon meal at Queen.

A simple breakfast sandwich gets the Arabian treatment with Arabic salad, za'atar seasoning, and labneh. For a delectable lunch option, snag a vegan Middle Eastern plate with falafel, charred beets, and Arabic salad. Queen is open daily for lunch and dinner.

queen.nyc

(929) 227-3474

247 Starr St, Brooklyn, NY 11237

Cervo's

shrimp meal at Cervo's
shrimp meal at Cervo's - Cervo's / Facebook

Cervo's cuisine takes inspiration from the seafood dishes of the Iberian Peninsula. In the warmer months, enjoy a meal outside on the bustling streets of Chinatown, and let Cervo's well-informed staff guide you down the extensive Spanish and Portuguese wine list for an immaculate accompaniment to a delectable seafood meal.

For your first meal at Cervo's, indulge in a grass-fed lamb burger with umami-packed marinated anchovies. Or, for a little taste of it all, an array of small plates makes an ideal dinner. Sliced beef with charred cabbage and sherry, fried skate wing, and Louisiana white prawns are an enticing combo for a prime New York date night. Enjoy a traditional cocktail with a twist for a sweet and robust after-dinner treat. Cervo's is open nightly for dinner and drinks.

cervosnyc.com

(212) 226-2545

43 Canal St, New York, NY 10002

Souvlaki Gr

blue Souvlaki GR food truck
blue Souvlaki GR food truck - Souvlaki Gr / Facebook

For a quick and casual but authentic and delicious Greek meal, look no further than Souvlaki Gr. The ever-expanding restaurant has multiple locations around the city, including a food truck to better serve New Yorkers in varying locales. The nonchalant but romantic ambiance is decorated in the colors of Greece and modeled after traditional Mykonos cafes. You can practically hear the crashing waves of the Mediterranean coast outside the window.

For a truly authentic taste of Greece, start your meal with the gigantes — large, buttery beans cooked in sweet and spicy red sauce. Then, enjoy a dish of either traditional moussaka or pastitsio, each loaded with tender ground beef and topped with rich and creamy béchamel sauce. Souvlaki Gr locations are open daily for lunch and dinner.

souvlakigr.com

Multiple locations

Tanoreen Restaurant & Caterer

colorful Middle Eastern bread
colorful Middle Eastern bread - Tanoreen تنورين Restaurant & Caterer / Facebook

In a quiet corner in Bay Ridge, you'll find Tanoreen. This exquisite eatery is at the top of the Middle Eastern food scene in NYC, and for good reason. The bright, open dining room begs guests to stay and sample mezze and artisanal drinks before indulging in a spicy, zesty, and lively main course. Dishes here are affordable but never skimp on quality.

Meals at Tanoreen are just as vibrant and colorful as they are delicious. Try Tanoreen's famous take on corned beef and cabbage, made with a unique spice blend only found here. If veggies are your vibe, the restaurant's vegan stuffed cabbage is sure to please. Tanoreen is open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner.

tanoreen.com

(718) 748-5600

7523 3rd Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11209

Bustan

fish and roasted onion dish
fish and roasted onion dish - Bustan / Facebook

The eclectic dishes at Bustan will redefine everything you thought you knew about Mediterranean cuisine. The restaurant is among the best in international fare on the Upper West Side and continues to thrive despite a fire that engulfed the establishment. Now back and better than ever, Bustan continues its legacy, providing both tourists and locals with unconventional spins on classic dishes and a menu that stands out in a densely crowded food hub.

Whether you opt for a collection of small or medium plates or choose to go big with a large entrée, you're in for a sweet and spicy ride. Try one of Bustan's legendary meals baked in a bread dome, be it Moroccan fish or kebab halabi — lamb kebab roasted with fresh veggies and encrusted with pistachios for a burst of nutty essence. Bustan is open nightly for dinner.

bustannyc.com

(212) 595-5050

487 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

Torrisi Bar & Restaurant

Torrisi truffle pasta
Torrisi truffle pasta - majorfoodgroup / Instagram

Torrisi, boasting a Michelin star, is a noteworthy NYC lunch spot and a fixture for all the right reasons. Torrisi's dining room is dressed to the nines, making it ideal for impressing a date or basking in a variety of delectable flavors over high-class drinks with friends. Chef Rich Torrisi's restaurant pays homage to New York's melting pot status by developing meals inspired by Little Italy and its surroundings.

A meal at Torrisi is quite the splurge, but it's worth every cent. Raviolini with prawns and saffron is among a plethora of indulgent pasta options. For lighter fare, enjoy octopus Nha Trang or tuna with pickled caponata. Torrisi is open Tuesday through Saturday for lunch and dinner and Mondays for dinner only.

torrisinyc.com

(212) 254-3000

275 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012

Zizi

Mediterranean spread at zizi
Mediterranean spread at zizi - Zizi / Facebook

This trendy spot in Chelsea is known for its modern takes on standard Mediterranean fare, inspired by the cuisines of countries like Turkey, Spain, Greece, and Israel. Zizi's sleek and unpretentious dining area is perfect for a quick lunch or a casual date night. Relish the lively atmosphere over an anise cocktail and the mouth-watering aromas wafting from the kitchen.

For a fresh and zesty dinner option, try Zizi's flakey striped bass, tender skirt steak, or delicate Mediterranean red tuna. The restaurant offers an extensive list of vegetarian and vegan options, from fattoush salad to spicy rainbow Moroccan carrots. Zizi is open Tuesday through Friday for dinner and on weekends for brunch and dinner.

zizinyc.com

(646) 669-8162

182 8th Ave, New York, NY 10011

Ayat

mezze spread at ayat
mezze spread at ayat - ayat.nyc / Facebook

Ayat is every city dweller's go-to spot for authentic Palestinian fare. Whether you grew up with the cuisine or you're challenging your palate and diversifying flavors, there's something on the menu for every taste. This ultra-casual Middle Eastern joint is named after the owner's wife, who strives to bring the unprecedented dishes of her homeland to folks in the city. You can taste her passion in every bite.

Hummus, falafel, and baba ghanoush are favorites, but dishes specific to Palestine are always the way to go at Ayat. Try Fattat Lahma — a six-layer meal made with oodles of meat, chickpeas, and creamy tahini. For a rich and savory meal, yogurt-based zahir ma laban with lamb is a necessary indulgence. Musakhan, a traditional chicken flatbread, is the perfect introduction to the cuisine of this distinctive region. The opening days and hours vary for each Ayat location.

ayatnyc.com

Multiple locations

Methodology

pouring wine Manhattan background
pouring wine Manhattan background - Ftiare/Getty Images

The allure of Mediterranean flavors and ingredients has always fascinated me. Food that's out-of-this-world delicious and good for you? It sounds too good to be true. But the dream is alive and flourishing in New York City, where — like nearly every global cuisine — the fresh flavors of North Africa, the Middle East, and Southern Europe can be found around nearly every corner. As a lifelong New Yorker, the diversity of international cuisine holds significant value to me. Using experience from my food-centric adventures in the city, I've compiled this list to showcase the best of the best in NYC's Mediterranean fare. As far as the restaurants that I have yet to experience first-hand — those were supplemented using online reviews, articles, and insight from my city-dwelling friends and family. I hope this list opens up new doors for you in a world of vibrant flavors, healthful living, and passion and dedication to the art of cooking.

Static Media owns and operates Mashed and Tasting Table.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.