Part of a series of restaurant recommendations offered in The Stranger’s 2017 Guide to Food and Drink (International Edition).
Tucked away in a residential corner of Ballard, this Lebanese restaurant makes diners rethink ordinary ingredients. Hummus takes a star turn with the addition of lamb sizzled in butter, pears grab attention when mixed with tahini, pomegranate, and parsley, and simply grilled chicken skewers are the signature dish (though partial credit goes to the debaucherously garlicky sauce that comes with it). The lengthy menu of mezzes—small plates—highlights local, in-season vegetables with Middle Eastern flavors like baby onions preserved in Lebanese wine and honey with fresh cheese, and winter greens with Aleppo chili. And almost everything goes well with the traditional Lebanese spirit, arak, available plentifully here. NAOMI TOMKY
Along with their two sons, Gencer and Süreyya Gökeri turned their Fremont-based Turkish import business into a full-blown restaurant, serving enough rainbow hummus plates, platters of grilled meat, and gorgeous, filling salads to keep avowed carnivores, vegetarians, and the gluten-free all very happy. (And you can still buy the colorful plates and rugs lining the walls.) Menu standouts include the döner kebab pita wraps and the cheesy pide (canoe-shaped Turkish pizza). The long list of mezzes, including dolmas, stuffed baby eggplant, and Süreyya's garlicky homemade pickles, makes for excellent snacking. Leave room for some baklava and don't overlook this place as a breakfast spot. JENN CAMPBELL
This quaint restaurant, along with two other small Middle Eastern businesses on its U-District street, form Seattle's Little Lebanon. And it is very little. And it's also close to the construction site of a new Link station that, when it opens in 2021, will radically change the neighborhood. The food at Cedars is respectable, and includes one of the best gyros in the city, which can be eaten inside or ordered from a window that opens on the sidewalk. I have always loved watching the cooks prepare the food from this window. They make your order as if it were really yours. The other gyro was for that other guy or gal. This one is just for you. CHARLES MUDEDE
An unassuming vegetarian cafe doesn't exactly seem like a magnet for Seattle lunch-hunters, but the ordinary Belltown storefront holds a magical world of Middle Eastern flavors and artistic entertainment. The menu is made up of the same diverse dishes you'd find on an Israeli street: Moroccan shakshuka, Yemeni flatbread, and Persian omelets. The Iraqi-origin sabich, a fried-eggplant sandwich, is the star, though, stuffed with eggs, pickles, hummus, cabbage, and tahini. All the dishes taste best when taken to the seating area in the back, which peeks in on a glassblowing studio: lunch and a show. NAOMI TOMKY