Where to Get the Best Middle Eastern Food in Paris
In France, breakfast is normally a wholly utilitarian affair, consisting of a milky café au lait, a buttery pastry and not much else. For visitors accustomed to a more generous morning meal, the custom nearly ensures some prelunch stomach grumbling—unless, that is, that visitor finds herself in Paris.
The City of Light is one of the most multicultural cities in Europe, with a particularly numerous Middle Eastern population; crisp falafel, creamy hummus and fragrant tagines are as easy to locate as flaky croissants and nutty buckwheat crepes. One of the city’s favorite ways to indulge in Middle Eastern fare is during a late breakfast, when Parisians leave their simple toasted baguettes at home and go out for a multi-dish spread of just-baked flatbreads, cubes of salty cheese and plenty of glossy olive oil. Get a taste of the tempting tradition at these three exemplary spots.
In a city dotted with countless Lebanese restaurants, the Paris outpost of this highly acclaimed Beirut spot stands out for its elegant atmosphere and rigorously authentic dishes. On Saturdays and Sundays, Liza opens its doors at noon for a bounteous brunch that’s one of the best deals in the city: €38 (about $40) gets you unlimited coffee, tea and fresh-squeezed juices, as well as access to the buffet loaded with hot and cold mezzes, platters of cheese, fresh-baked flatbreads and excellent entrées. The restaurant’s specialty is a wonderfully flavorful moulokhié, a layered dish of fragrant basmati rice scattered with chicken, napped with a fragrant stew of dark and earthy molokhia greens, drizzled with pickled shallots, and finished with a crispy topping of crumbled toasted flatbread.
Helmed by Israeli star chef Eyal Shani, the Paris outpost of the super-successful Tel Aviv-based chain goes beyond the gourmet stuffed pita conceit to serve fresh, vegetable-forward dishes, like Shani’s beloved—and trendsetting—whole roasted cauliflower drizzled with nutty tahini. Those sandwiches, though, remain the star: warm, fresh-baked pitas with a variety of fillings ranging in style from Israeli (lamb kebab, silky hummus) to French (ratatouille, beef bourguignon). Complimentary glasses of sweet, perfumed mint tea help cut the heat of the excellent house-made hot sauces.
This no-frills Left Bank café is open around the clock as the kitchen puts out a constant stream of home-style Lebanese classics, including juicy chicken shawarma; tabbouleh loaded with peppery fresh parsley; and crisp, greaseless falafel. The menu offers a full 32 sandwich variations—12 of which are vegetarian—anchored by house-made pita, which is thin and pliable enough to contain ample fillings like griddled halloumi, awarma (lamb confit) and basturma (air-dried, thinly sliced beef). Best of all, the most expensive pita on the menu costs a whopping €6.
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