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A rice bowl with falafel and chicken from Falafel Salam, with ramekins of white and red sauces
A rice bowl with falafel and chicken from Falafel Salam
Falafel Salam/Instagram

Top Spots for Middle Eastern Street Food in the Seattle Area

Shawarma, Iraqi sabich, saj wraps, falafel, and more

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A rice bowl with falafel and chicken from Falafel Salam
| Falafel Salam/Instagram

The Middle East is home to a wide variety of wonderful street foods, with kebabs, shawarma, and falafel as perhaps the most ubiquitous offerings. In Seattle, Middle Eastern restaurants across the city offer those classics alongside lesser-known manoushe, sabich, and saj wraps, akin to those found in street markets from Egypt to Lebanon to Iraq. Here are a few of the best spots to grab these delectable (and portable) dishes, listed from north to south. (Check out this guide for more Middle Eastern meal options.)

The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is here; dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers. Please be aware of changing local rules, and check individual restaurant websites for any additional restrictions such as mask requirements. Find a local vaccination site here. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Man’oushe Express

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13721 Lake City Way NE
Seattle, WA 98133
(206) 367-0895
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This Lake City spot specializes in manakish (the plural form of ‘manoushe’), round Arabic flatbreads topped with a variety of ingredients that somewhat resemble a pizza. The flayfleh hot pepper manoushe is a great spicy option, balanced with sweet caramelized onions and cheese, while the lebni with strained kefir and honey makes for a wonderful breakfast, which is often when manakish are traditionally enjoyed in the Middle East.

2. Jasmine Kitchen

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11613 124th Ave NE # F
Kirkland, WA 98034
(425) 820-8002
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Kirkland’s popular halal-certified restaurant is known for its succulent rotisserie chicken. But those not ready to commit to a whole bird can try it carved up in one of the tantalizing pita bread sandwiches served with a creamy garlic sauce so flavorful diners may find themselves licking it off their fingers. The hummus, while not a street food per se, is exemplary here nonetheless.

3. Damoori Kitchen

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3101 W Jameson St
Seattle, WA 98199
(206) 257-5947
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This cozy Magnolia cafe prides itself on homestyle Lebanese food, inspired by the recipes of chef-owner Andrea Matni-Ryan’s grandmother. Of the many pita sandwiches, Teta’s marinated chicken wrap is excellent, especially the tangy and creamy taratour (lemon-tahini sauce) served with it. The ruz wi djaj — chicken served on spiced beef rice with garlic yogurt — is also a hearty plate that has that legit grandma touch.

4. Cedars of Lebanon

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1319 NE 43rd St
Seattle, WA 98105
(206) 632-7708
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A fixture of the U-District since 1976, Cedars is part of a cluster of restaurants that form Seattle’s Little Lebanon. The lamb shawarma, priced at just under $8, is a steal for one of the best gyros in the city. While there’s indoor dining, walking up to the takeout window and watching the cooks prepare sandwiches to order with such swift skill is still probably the best experience here.

5. Tanoor

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803 Dexter Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 457-5272
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This Lebanese Sammamish restaurant opened a South Lake Union outpost with a full menu of mezze plates, shawarma, and kebab sandwiches. The flavorful arambeet sandwich is the standout; filled with fried cauliflower instead of meat, it’s served with tahini and topped with crunchy cucumbers and tomatoes. The polished destination also serves an excellent cheese and za’atar manoushe baked inside a tanoor oven.

6. Yalla

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1510 E Olive Way
Seattle, WA 98122

Great for late nights out or a quick lunch, the menu at this quaint takeout window next to Montana Bar consists of a variety of saj wraps (saj is an Arabic flatbread) that come filled with Middle Eastern staples, from awarma (beef confit) to za’atar spice and labneh. Yalla’s owner and chef, Taylor Cheney designed the menu around the recipes and techniques she learned while living and cooking across the Middle East.

7. Eggs and Plants

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2229 5th Ave
Seattle, WA 98121
(206) 448-2050
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The hallmark of this Belltown favorite is the Iraqi sabich, a fried eggplant pita sandwich topped with slow-cooked eggs, Middle Eastern pickles, and a salad of tomato, herbs, and cabbage. The pita is made onsite and the small but mighty menu is both vegetarian and dairy-free, including a date smoothie that makes a perfectly sweet finish to a meal.

8. Mamnoon Street

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2020 6th Ave
Seattle, WA 98121
(206) 327-9121
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The much-celebrated Mamnoon has a more fast-casual offshoot, with two windows that serve Lebanese street food, one on Capitol Hill at its original location and also downtown on 6th Avenue. Both serve tempting lamb shawarma wrapped in fluffy pita and served with pickled turnips and garlic sauce. Its best enjoyed with the harra frites: Aleppo pepper-dusted fries served with za’atar mayo.

9. The Halal Guys

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101 Yesler Way
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 467-1178
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This wildly successful New York transplant is known for perfecting the art of halal chicken and rice — a fixture of street food carts across the U.S. Piled atop turmeric-flavored yellow rice, moist chicken sits with unfussy iceberg lettuce and tomatoes. But the real star of the platter is the duo of white and red sauces, delivering a yogurty-tang alongside a potent hit of heat.

10. Falafel Salam

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4746 California Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98116
(206) 325-2335
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Falafel Salam started as a well-attended Fremont Market booth and has since expanded into a food truck business and two Seattle locations, including this West Seattle outpost. At the center of the expanding culinary enterprise is chef Shimi Khan’s fluffy falafel, elevated by his expertly crafted accompanying sauces, like the fermented mango sauce and garlic green aioli. Don’t sleep on the halva mousse with date honey, which is kind of like a tahini sundae.

11. Snack Gyro

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15217 6th Ave SW
Burien, WA 98166
(206) 353-2384
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Burien’s welcoming hole-in-the-wall spot serves stuffed pitas spilling with lamb or beef shawarma, topped with crisp veggies and creamy tzatziki. The portions are generous (making the restaurant’s name a bit of a misnomer). Patrons should also make sure to grab some of the imported pantry staples with ah order, from Moroccan sardines to Jordanian za’atar.

12. Iyad's Syrian Grill

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(206) 403-0687
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Iyad Alati and Safa Jneidi have built a strong following on Vashon for serving tender lamb, chicken, and vegetarian shawarma out of their small cart near a library. They use locally sourced ingredients with Syrian and Turkish recipes from their home city of Aleppo, and there’s also a must-try baklava with chopped pistachios for those who wisely save room for dessert.

Smoke rises from a flattop grill piled with lamb shawarma and red peppers.
Iyad’s Syrian Grill is known for using local ingredients.
Sabra Boyd

1. Man’oushe Express

13721 Lake City Way NE, Seattle, WA 98133

This Lake City spot specializes in manakish (the plural form of ‘manoushe’), round Arabic flatbreads topped with a variety of ingredients that somewhat resemble a pizza. The flayfleh hot pepper manoushe is a great spicy option, balanced with sweet caramelized onions and cheese, while the lebni with strained kefir and honey makes for a wonderful breakfast, which is often when manakish are traditionally enjoyed in the Middle East.

13721 Lake City Way NE
Seattle, WA 98133

2. Jasmine Kitchen

11613 124th Ave NE # F, Kirkland, WA 98034

Kirkland’s popular halal-certified restaurant is known for its succulent rotisserie chicken. But those not ready to commit to a whole bird can try it carved up in one of the tantalizing pita bread sandwiches served with a creamy garlic sauce so flavorful diners may find themselves licking it off their fingers. The hummus, while not a street food per se, is exemplary here nonetheless.

11613 124th Ave NE # F
Kirkland, WA 98034

3. Damoori Kitchen

3101 W Jameson St, Seattle, WA 98199

This cozy Magnolia cafe prides itself on homestyle Lebanese food, inspired by the recipes of chef-owner Andrea Matni-Ryan’s grandmother. Of the many pita sandwiches, Teta’s marinated chicken wrap is excellent, especially the tangy and creamy taratour (lemon-tahini sauce) served with it. The ruz wi djaj — chicken served on spiced beef rice with garlic yogurt — is also a hearty plate that has that legit grandma touch.

3101 W Jameson St
Seattle, WA 98199

4. Cedars of Lebanon

1319 NE 43rd St, Seattle, WA 98105

A fixture of the U-District since 1976, Cedars is part of a cluster of restaurants that form Seattle’s Little Lebanon. The lamb shawarma, priced at just under $8, is a steal for one of the best gyros in the city. While there’s indoor dining, walking up to the takeout window and watching the cooks prepare sandwiches to order with such swift skill is still probably the best experience here.

1319 NE 43rd St
Seattle, WA 98105

5. Tanoor

803 Dexter Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

This Lebanese Sammamish restaurant opened a South Lake Union outpost with a full menu of mezze plates, shawarma, and kebab sandwiches. The flavorful arambeet sandwich is the standout; filled with fried cauliflower instead of meat, it’s served with tahini and topped with crunchy cucumbers and tomatoes. The polished destination also serves an excellent cheese and za’atar manoushe baked inside a tanoor oven.

803 Dexter Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109

6. Yalla

1510 E Olive Way, Seattle, WA 98122

Great for late nights out or a quick lunch, the menu at this quaint takeout window next to Montana Bar consists of a variety of saj wraps (saj is an Arabic flatbread) that come filled with Middle Eastern staples, from awarma (beef confit) to za’atar spice and labneh. Yalla’s owner and chef, Taylor Cheney designed the menu around the recipes and techniques she learned while living and cooking across the Middle East.

1510 E Olive Way
Seattle, WA 98122

7. Eggs and Plants

2229 5th Ave, Seattle, WA 98121

The hallmark of this Belltown favorite is the Iraqi sabich, a fried eggplant pita sandwich topped with slow-cooked eggs, Middle Eastern pickles, and a salad of tomato, herbs, and cabbage. The pita is made onsite and the small but mighty menu is both vegetarian and dairy-free, including a date smoothie that makes a perfectly sweet finish to a meal.

2229 5th Ave
Seattle, WA 98121

8. Mamnoon Street

2020 6th Ave, Seattle, WA 98121

The much-celebrated Mamnoon has a more fast-casual offshoot, with two windows that serve Lebanese street food, one on Capitol Hill at its original location and also downtown on 6th Avenue. Both serve tempting lamb shawarma wrapped in fluffy pita and served with pickled turnips and garlic sauce. Its best enjoyed with the harra frites: Aleppo pepper-dusted fries served with za’atar mayo.

2020 6th Ave
Seattle, WA 98121

9. The Halal Guys

101 Yesler Way, Seattle, WA 98104

This wildly successful New York transplant is known for perfecting the art of halal chicken and rice — a fixture of street food carts across the U.S. Piled atop turmeric-flavored yellow rice, moist chicken sits with unfussy iceberg lettuce and tomatoes. But the real star of the platter is the duo of white and red sauces, delivering a yogurty-tang alongside a potent hit of heat.

101 Yesler Way
Seattle, WA 98104

10. Falafel Salam

4746 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116

Falafel Salam started as a well-attended Fremont Market booth and has since expanded into a food truck business and two Seattle locations, including this West Seattle outpost. At the center of the expanding culinary enterprise is chef Shimi Khan’s fluffy falafel, elevated by his expertly crafted accompanying sauces, like the fermented mango sauce and garlic green aioli. Don’t sleep on the halva mousse with date honey, which is kind of like a tahini sundae.

4746 California Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98116

11. Snack Gyro

15217 6th Ave SW, Burien, WA 98166

Burien’s welcoming hole-in-the-wall spot serves stuffed pitas spilling with lamb or beef shawarma, topped with crisp veggies and creamy tzatziki. The portions are generous (making the restaurant’s name a bit of a misnomer). Patrons should also make sure to grab some of the imported pantry staples with ah order, from Moroccan sardines to Jordanian za’atar.

15217 6th Ave SW
Burien, WA 98166

12. Iyad's Syrian Grill

Unnamed Road، Vashon, WA 98070
Smoke rises from a flattop grill piled with lamb shawarma and red peppers.
Iyad’s Syrian Grill is known for using local ingredients.
Sabra Boyd

Iyad Alati and Safa Jneidi have built a strong following on Vashon for serving tender lamb, chicken, and vegetarian shawarma out of their small cart near a library. They use locally sourced ingredients with Syrian and Turkish recipes from their home city of Aleppo, and there’s also a must-try baklava with chopped pistachios for those who wisely save room for dessert.

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