Middle Eastern cuisine has found a home in the heart of American diners. It’s like exotic comfort food. The flavors are distinct without being overwhelming, leaving you full and satisfied without worrying about how the spices are going to mess up your stomach.
There are several Arabic restaurants in Kansas City serving up these delicious dishes, and this guide will help you find the meal you’re craving.
What is Middle Eastern Food?
The cultural history of Middle Eastern nations is some of the richest and most complex history of any region in the world. Human civilizations have sprung up in the Middle East for tens of thousands of years. Among other things, that’s a lot of cooking. It is also a large region with countries spanning from North Africa to the eastern fringes of Asia. That means there is a lot of diversity in Middle Eastern cooking.
There are also some common elements you’ll find in the meals at Middle Eastern restaurants in Kansas City.
Veggies: Olives, Chickpeas, Lentils
These vegetables are used in various ways, like creating hummus with chickpeas, and are a vital component of any Middle Eastern meal. Salads are a big part of this type of cuisine, and it’s common for a meal at a Middle Eastern restaurant in Kansas City to be made entirely of different vegetables.
Meat: Lamb, Beef, Chicken
These meats are often cooked on kabobs, or they are shaved into thin slices off a skewer that has been cooked over an open flame. Middle Eastern meats are rich and juicy.
Spices: Cumin, Coriander, Turmeric, Parsley
These spices are all pungent, but not in a bad way. Middle Eastern spices bring a mix of spicy, savory and sweet.
Pita bread is served with most meals at Arabic restaurants in Kansas City. Pita bread is flat and soft. It can be dipped in hummus or wrapped around a lamb gyro.
Beverages: Tea and Turkish Coffee
Turkish coffee is known for its bold flavor. Coffee grounds are steeped in a metal pot on a stovetop and then served directly in a small coffee cup. Tea is also a common beverage at any Middle Eastern restaurant in Kansas City.
Arabic and Middle Eastern Restaurants in Kansas City
There are a handful of great Arabic and Middle Eastern restaurants in Kansas City. Middle Eastern cuisine hasn’t become commercialized on the corporate level, with a few exceptions. That means the Arabic restaurants in Kansas City are almost entirely local and family-owned. Not only are the meals at these restaurants delicious, but also the dollars you spend are put into a local business who will give back to the community.
One of the best-known Middle Eastern restaurants in Kansas City is Jerusalem Café. This shop is located in the heart of Westport. It is known for its hummus and gyros, and there is a hookah lounge upstairs.
There are several other Middle Eastern restaurants in Kansas City that you can choose from:
What to Order at an Arabic Restaurant in Kansas City
First-time visitors to an Arabic restaurant in Kansas City may not recognize many of the items of the menu. In fact, you may not even be sure how to pronounce the dishes. So, what should you order? Here are some Middle Eastern classics to try:
- Hummus: Hummus is made with puréed chickpeas. The distinct flavors of hummus are determined by the spices a chef adds into the mix, which is what makes each restaurant’s hummus so unique. Order a plate of hummus and pita bread to start off your meal.
- Lamb Gyro: The gyro (pronounced like Euro) is the sandwich of Middle Eastern cuisine. It is meat, some sort of cheese (typically goat cheese) and lettuce wrapped in pita bread. Fresh, hot lamb gyros are delicious, and should be one of the first things you try at a Middle Eastern restaurant in Kansas City.
- Achari Chicken: If buffalo chicken had an Arabic cousin, it would be achari chicken. This dish is spicy, and it is so good (if you can handle it).
- Lgeimat: Finish off with a delicious dessert plate of lgeimat (pronounced le-gee-mott), which are balls of fried dough flavored with saffron, cardamom and cinnamon.
All of the Middle Eastern restaurants in Kansas City will have these items, or some version of them, on the menu. You’re all set for a delicious meal. Go out and enjoy!