Middle Eastern cuisine has recently expanded from "mom and pops" and into James Beard Award-winning mainstream restaurants. Hummus and pita were the first crossovers to appear on menus at large chains; kabobs and falafels are becoming as familiar as spaghetti and meatballs; and a popular Middle Eastern breakfast dish, shakshuka - eggs baked in a spicy tomato/pepper sauce - now appears on menus alongside pancakes and French toast.
Spices such as sumac, za’atar, dukkah and harissa are now listed in menus. Other notable ingredients include freekah, an ancient whole-wheat grain poised to be the new quinoa; labneh (yogurt cheese) is featured as a topping, creamy mix-in, or dessert base; and pomegranates are used for its seeds and molasses.
Middle Eastern restaurants have been part of the Los Angeles dining scene for decades. Some of the best eateries in L.A. are located in mini malls and owned by families from Israel, Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey, Armenia, Morocco, Greece, Iran and other countries in the eastern Mediterranean. Meet the chefs and learn about the restaurants at the forefront of the new wave of modern Middle Eastern cuisine in Los Angeles.