Middle Eastern food can be a bit confusing for the uninitiated. Where exactly does it come from? Can one country claim it as their own? The truth is that Middle Eastern food is simply a term used to encompass the cuisine of many different countries, including Turkey, Greece, and Iran. While each country puts its own spin on things, most of the food items have many ingredients in common, such as chickpeas, mint, and olive oil. Shanghai's Middle Eastern restaurants continue to grow and expand, so there has never been a better time to try them. Read on for some of the best options around the city.
1) 1,001 Nights 一千一夜
The best place in Shanghai to get some belly dancing along with your shawarma, 1,0001 Nights is an experience unto itself. Wherever you happen to be seated, you're pretty much center stage to the belly dancing routines that go on nightly. The best performers are during the weekend, but it's a show no matter what day you go. And while restaurants that feature these “dinner and a show” formulas often neglect the actual food part of the equation, 1,001 Nights gets everything right. The baskets full of fresh pita bread and juicy lamb kebabs are a highlight, but don't forget to try their kibbeh and hummus. This place rarely disappoints.
1,001 NightsView In Map
Address: 4 Hengshan Lu, near Wulumuqi Lu
Telephone: 021 6473 1178
Getting There: Take Subway Line 1, Fujin Lu (富锦路)
2) Greek Taverna 希腊餐厅
Frankly, the Greek fare in Shanghai is relatively weak compared to the plethora of other, good Western offerings. Luckily we have Greek Taverna, which fills the void splendidly with bountiful salads chock full of fresh feta cheese (from a local farm, no less!) and one of the best gyros in the city. But the absolute must-try here is their tzatziki, a cold yogurt with hints of lemon, cucumber, salt, and garlic. Pile it on your pita bread or vegetable sticks and you'll quickly discover your new favorite snack. With multiple locations throughout Shanghai, Greek Taverna is catching on quickly with locals and expats alike.
Greek Taverna View In Map
Address: Villa 1, 3911 Hongmei Lu, near Yan'an Lu
Telephone: 021 6262 5011
Opening Hours: Daily 8:30-22:30
Getting There: Take Subway 10, longxi Lu (龙溪路)
3) Anadolu 阿纳多卢土耳其餐厅
Granted, it's not the classiest place in town but Anadolu gets the job done. Despite the worn-around-the -edges décor, their hummus and pita appetizer is still mighty impressive. My recommendation is to stick with the beef or lamb dishes (their lamb gyros are quite good). The chicken dishes are much more hit-or-miss, with some moist, succulent chunks thrown right alongside the fatty pieces. This is the place to go when you want to get your Middle Eastern food fix on the cheap. Gyros run an impressive (at least for Shanghai) 38-58 RMB, helping make Anadolu the best bang for your buck
AnadoluView In Map
Address: 4-6 Hengshan Lu, near Wulumuqi Lu
Telephone: 021 5465 0977
Opening Hours: Sun-Wed, 10:00-2:00; Thu-Sat, 10:00-5:00
Getting There: Take Subway Line1, Hengshan Lu (衡山路)
4) Haya's 哈亚
Haya's seems to get everything on their menu spot on. The couscous is perfectly cooked (which is not as easy as it sounds), the hummus is wonderful (not overly garlicky like some varieties), and the salads are fresh and full of cheese. The eggplant dishes, however, are the star of the restaurant. The caramelized version that hits the perfect combination of salty and sweet, but I recommend the baba ghanoush, a dish of roasted and mashed eggplant blended with a mixture of tahini, salt, lemon juice, garlic, and vinegar. Haya's is the place to discover the wonders of eggplant.
Haya'sView In Map
Address:415 Dagu Lu, near Chengdu Nan Lu
Telephone: 021 6295 9511
Opening Hours: Daily 11:00-22:00
Getting There: Take Tour Bus 1, Jinling xiLu (金陵西路) or Chongqing nanLu (重庆南路)
No list of Shanghai's Middle Eastern restaurants would be complete without Barbarossa. Practically an institution, this place is revered as much (and probably more) for its style and location as for its food. The chicken dishes are the highlight, with both its chicken tajine (a slow-cooked dish chock full of meats and vegetables in a savory broth) and Moroccan chicken being frequent favorites. Go there for some dinner and a hookah pipe, and enjoy the view of People's Park from Barbarossa's vantage point in the middle of the lake – you'll be glad you did.
BarbarossaView In Map
Address: People's Park, 231 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Huangpi Nan Lu
南京西路231号, 人民公园内 近黄陂南路
Telephone: 021 6318 0220
Opening Hours: Daily 11:00-late
Getting There: Take Subway Line 1, RenMin Square Station Exit4
Or Take Subway Line 2, Renmin Square Station Exit 9
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Keywords: Middle Eastern food China Arabic Cuisine Shanghai Shanghai Middle Eastern food Middle Eastern Cuisine Shanghai
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