Gerard's Bistro | Image credit: Daniel Maddock
If you know your fattoush from your fatayer and your lokma from your lokum, then this list of Brisbane’s best Middle Eastern restaurants is for you.
From the shores of the Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf, Middle Eastern cuisine is instantly recognisable by its heady mix of fragrant spices, delicious grilled meats and range of tempting salads and sides.
So grab a group and get ready to share.
Breakfast, lunch or dinner—Gerard's Bistro is the place to go for fantastic Middle Eastern cuisine in Brisbane. Start your day with Baghdad eggs: fried in cumin, garlic, mint and lemon on flatbread with tahini yoghurt and then return later to feast on free range duck fesenjan in saffron, pomegranate and walnut sauce or vine-leaf bound quail with almonds, rose, caramelised fig and smoked curd.
Finish it all off with delicious desserts such as pistachio biscuit, lokum (aka Turkish Delight), sour cherry, toasted marshmallow and raspberry. On weekends Gerard’s Bistro does a moreish Middle Eastern influenced breakfast offering, cementing it as one of the best Middle Eastern restaurants in Brisbane.
Named after the port of Byblos in Lebanon, this Portside favourite serves up a mean pan-fried haloumi salad with mixed greens, tomato and avocado. Or you could check out their speciality kebbi, described on the menu as “the national dish of Lebanon”—hand rolled ovals of minced fish, lamb or pumpkin mixed with burghul, celery and coriander and filled with nuts and spices.
And even though this list is about food, we have to mention the incredibly extensive cocktails on offer including The Marilyn (Belvedere citrus, St Germain elderflower, passionfruit shrub, apple, lemon) and Billionaire’s Boys Club (Chivas Regal, Triple sec, raspberry syrup, lemon juice, egg white, orange bitters, Absinthe).
Filled pastry delights are the best way to start your meal at Rouj, such as their cheese fingers stuffed with halloumi, feta and mozzarella, mixed with onion, parsley and spices or their ftayer, filled with spinach, silverbeet, onion, tomato, sumac and olive oil.
Follow these up with moghrabieh—slow cooked leg of lamb pieces with chickpeas, onion, moghrabieh (giant couscous), caraway spice and cumin and perhaps a side of mjadra, slow cooked lentils mixed with rice and onions, all topped with caramelised onion.
A relatively new kid on the block, Shouk has quickly found its feet and is now one of the best Middle Eastern restaurants in Brisbane. A favourite for breakfast, this café—sitting pretty in a freshly painted Queenslander overlooking the Paddington hills—serves up Middle Eastern dishes with a modern twist, and locals can’t get enough.
As Brisbane’s oldest Turkish restaurant, Efes has become an institution where the food is just part of the experience. This is a place to go with a big group of friends, a few bottles of BYO wine and then hit up the famous banquet menu. There are four to choose from, comprising a range of mezze and dips to start, followed by grilled meats and/or kebab. Finish up with Turkish sweets and a (full) belly dance.
No No’s Lebanese
No No's might be incredible value, and you’re sure to walk away full with change from a $20, but it certainly doesn’t skimp on quality. We recommend checking out the meat plate so that you can get a taste of everything on offer including marinated chicken breast and eye fillet, a range of salads including tabouli and garlic chickpea as well as hummus, baba ganouj and pita bread.
If you can’t fit anything more in, take home one of their sweet treats such as backlava, date or walnut maamoul, katafi or honey cake.
32/1932 Logan Road, Mt Gravatt
For a relaxed family feel, check out Arabella’s Charcoal and dive straight into one of their mixed grills—lamb, kofta, shish and tauouk on a bed or rice, hommus, pickles, bread and salads. Or if you’re not up for that much food, order a range of mezza including lamb or chicken shawerma—tender strips of grilled meat marinated and served on a bed of sumac, onions, tomato and tahini sauce.
If you’re a dip fan, then Ahmet's is the place for you. I mean, how many restaurants do you know that have seven dips available to get stuck into? And what better way is there to start off your meal? From baba ghanoush (roasted eggplant) to pancar (beetroot) to zeytin (black olive and parsley), you could never make it to main course.
But we definitely recommend that you do, so you can try their range of delicious pide—Turkish pizza. Our favourite is the kusbasi pide topped with spicy diced lamb, red and green capsicum, onion, tomato, chilli flakes & parsley.
Want more of the best Middle Eastern restaurants in Brisbane? Search 'Middle Eastern' in our Directory!