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Falafel Arax

EatLA-625

WHY The best falafel in town, crisp on the outside and tender within. Succulent schwarma, too. WHAT This tiny diner has been attracting falafel addicts for more than 25 years, and the lines still haven’t abated. 5101 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood, 323.663.9687 B & L daily, D Mon.-Sat., early D Sun. Cash only. Type: Food [...]

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Elena’s Greek-Armenian Cuisine

EatLA-1375

WHY Terrific homemade stuffed grape leaves, gyros and kebabs for cheap. WHAT How can a tiny restaurant in an out-of-the-way Glendale location with no parking thrive for more than three decades? By offering satisfying, tasty food at unbelievably low prices. We are addicted to Elena’s version of stuffed grape leaves, but occasionally fall off the [...]

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Mantee

EatLA-1644

WHY For mantee, of course (it’s an Armenian specialty), along with many other Middle Eastern dishes. WHAT This little place serves all the usual suspects, and very well, too (fattoush salad, made with purslane, is terrific; garlicky labne toom is heavenly; lamb kebabs are tender and juicy). But don’t miss the more unusual specialties, such [...]

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Old Sasoon Bakery

old-sasoon

WHY A wonderland of Armenian baked goods. WHAT There are some two dozen savory specialties at this family-run shop, like tangy zaatar-rubbed flatbreads and tender, doughy pockets stuffed with spicy sujuk and cheese. All are baked to order, including the magnificent khachapuri, an oblong Georgian pizza topped with four kinds of Middle Eastern cheeses and [...]

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Armenian Festival

WHY You can learn how to stuff grape leaves, and then go eat some made by a seasoned home cook. WHAT Not to diminish the music, dancing, backgammon tournament or kids’ games, but this annual festival is really about the food. A small army of home cooks takes great pride in their kebabs, hummus, cheese [...]

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Café Bravo

EatLA-1316

WHY Freshly cooked, healthy, flavorful Middle Eastern food, with nothing on the menu costing more than $8.50. WHAT This Middle Eastern mini-café next to Hard Times Pizza in Silver Lake is unusual for its genre because it does not serve rotisserie chicken or falafel. But it does have lots of tasty things for both carnivores [...]

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Sako’s Mediterranean Cuisine

WHY Iskender kebab, an astonishingly tasty dish of seasoned ground beef cooked on a rotisserie then sliced very thin and served in a heap with a splash of light, fresh tomato sauce, grilled pita and yogurt swirled with brown butter. WHAT You have to really look to find this place, which is hidden behind a [...]

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Koko’s Middle Eastern Restaurant

WHY Mezze good enough—and generous enough—to make an entire meal. WHAT The ginormous bowl of pickled vegetables and tower of pita that show up as soon as you sit down sets the tone for the staggeringly generous portion sizes that are to come. Arrive hungry, or go with a group and share. Muhamara (crushed walnut [...]

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Vrej Pastry

WHY For excellent barazek (sesame-pistacho cookies), cheese pastries and burma (rolls filled with kadayif nuts). WHAT A solid bakery with all the Middle Eastern classics, from baklavas to maamools, with European petits fours, too. WHO Although smaller than in the neighboring town of Glendale, Pasadena has a thriving Armenian-American community, as well as those who [...]

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Sarkis Pastry

WHY For a terrific range of Middle Eastern sweets, notably the brioche-looking tahini cookies, the hand-rolled baklava, the layered bread pudding and the macaroons. WHAT The first Middle Eastern bakery in Glendale, Sarkis is one of the focal points of Glendale’s Armenian-American community. Glass cases are packed with all sorts of beautiful and delicious things. [...]

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