So what exactly constitutes the Middle East? Take the lands around the Southern and Eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea, extending from Morocco to the Arabian Peninsula including Iran and sometimes beyond and what do you get? Cuisine paradise. Luckily you don’t have to take an over 10 hour plane ride to enjoy such culinary pleasures. Here’s a list of 10 we think you gotta check out!

Le Petit Alep

191 Rue Jean-Talon E Montréal, QC H2R1S7
Full of flavor, well balanced and definitely filling. The menu focuses on Syrian and Armenian cuisine.  Highlights include such things as Mouhamara (a savory dip made of bread crumbs, walnuts, pepper, and pomegranate molasses),  Feuilles de Vigne (succulent stuffed grape leaves in a tangy sauce), Chiche Kebab Terbialy pita roll (spiced beef chunks rolled with lettuce and tomato in a toasted pita), and pickled vegetables.  All of the food is fresh and tasty, and the best part? Most dishes are priced under $10.

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Boustan

2020 Rue Crescent Montreal, QC H3G2B8
Can we just call it a Montreal heritage site already? I mean it’s included in Frommer’s. Amidst the bars and clubs of rue Crescent sits this Lebanese restaurant gem. Whether it is 2pm or 2 am people are eating! Falafel, shish taouk, or shawarma sandwiches anyone?

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La Khaïma

142 Fairmount Ouest Montreal, QC H2T2M5
Intimate atmosphere where you’ll have to take off your shoes before you settle in. Make sure you reserve in advance because this place is quite the popular destination! Definitely well portioned dishes and it’s a great place to go with a group of close friends.

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Rumi

5198 Rue Hutchison, Montréal, QC H2V 4A9
A hodgepodge of Middle Eastern options: Persian, a bit of Turkish, a bit of Afghan, and a bit of Moroccan. Things to check out are the three mezes (hodja (roasted eggplant and peppers), wali (sheep's milk feta) and hamdi (roasted peppers marinated in cider vinegar) and the vegetarian majdub. Definitely end on a high note – and we’re not talking hookah. The Persian tea is heavenly.

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Photo credit: Voir

Kaza Maza

4629 Park Ave Montréal, QC H2V4E4
This Syrian restaurant has a hearty following. We suggest the beet mutabbal which they are most known for and then move on to their baba ganouj with pomegranate seeds. Mmm we can taste the pita now… Save room for their lamb shank with friki. Finger licking good!

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Damas

5210 Avenue du Parc, Montréal, QC H2V 4G7
Montreal can do upscale just about anything – including Levantine cuisine. This has a chic atmosphere to accompany its aesthetically pleasing plates. A highlight dish would be the Bamia D'alep served with apricots, prunes, okra, coriander and a pomegranate-tomato sauce. End your evening with a cup of heartwarming traditional Syrian black tea.

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Farhat

5595 Cotes-des-Neiges Montreal, QC H3T
What’s not to love about good and fresh charcoal-grilled meats? Delicious kafta sandwiches that you’ll have to wait for patiently, however, we promise it’ll be worth it. Turns out they even deliver!

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Garage Beirut

1238 Rue Mackay Montreal, QC H3G2H5
This Lebanese restaurant knows how to serve up a storm… of hummus! The mixed grill for four people, consisting of brochettes of grilled lamb, chicken and kafta as well as some grilled vegetables and pickles, all sitting on a large pita slathered in a tomato sauce, sounds like it’ll hit anyone’s stomach right.

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Trip de Bouffe

277 Mont-Royal Est Montreal, QC H2T1P6
If you haven’t yet familiarized yourself with this cheap, delicious wrap shop then you've GOT to eat here. Fried and baked goods are showcased in the bakery section like spinach fatayers, zataar and cheese pizzas, mini lahambajin, meat and veggie sambouseks, fried cheese rolls, and meat and veggie kebbés. As far as the plates go you might want to try the lahamajin (minced lamb, garlic, onions, tomato and spices over dough). Got a sweet tooth? Don’t leave without savoring their baklava.

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Sefa Restaurant

5136 Ave Du Parc Montreal, QC H2V4G5
If you have a love for Turkish cuisine then let the affair begin! The Mayil sisters — Diyar and Fatma (and her husband, Sedat) — grew up in Istanbul so they know what they’re talking about. Salivate over this: Hunkar begendi a generous amount of tender braised veal that sits on a spread of cooked eggplant, roasted over an open flame. Drool. Just looking at your meal will have you salivating. Quality ingredients to serve a quality product.

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Written by Amanda Fulginiti, see more of her work here.

Still hungry for Middle Eastern food? Click here for the Best Montreal Falafels >

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