Most people think Greek cuisine with it comes to Mediterranean dishes, but to be fair, this food category can also include specialties from the French, Italian, Egyptian, Lebanese, Israeli, Portuguese, Spanish, Turkish and Tunisian cultures, as well as many others. Here are the Top Mediterranean restaurants in Phoenix, but check our “Top 5” blog for more restaurants with great ethnic food.
1 My Big Fat Greek Restaurant
My Big Fat Greek Restaurant has a fun atmosphere and is a great place to meet friends after work hours. The decor strives to conjure images of the Greek isles themselves, with stark white walls, azure trim and murals of Mediterranean scenery and flora. Appetizers include Flaming Saganaki and Flaming Feta, multiple varieties of hummus, spinach artichoke dip, zucchini cakes, bruschetta, calamari and soups. For main courses, choose from pizzas and calzones, steak, seafood and salads, or to stick with the most traditional fare, try the chicken souvlaki, mousaka, gyros, pitas and spanakopita and stuffed peppers. And don't forget the tzatziki!
Multiple locations web
Greektown is a Phoenix staple, having been in business for more than 4o years at this point. Which also means they've had time to further perfect all the classics, if such a thing is possible. Enjoy calamari, mousaka, pastitsio, gyros, pitas, saganaki and roast lamb, as well as more contemporary favorites, such as the Chicken George, the house specialty -- grilled chicken breast, sauteed with lemony garlic sauce, artichoke hearts and mushrooms. We like going the traditional route with the dolmades, made with herbed rice and ground pork and beef, and wrapped in grape leaves, but the jumbo sea scallops, lightly breaded, pan-fried in lemon butter and served with mushrooms kind of make us sigh with contentment, too.
8519 N. Seventh St., Phoenix, AZ 85020 602.674.8881 web
When people ask, we like to call FEZ "Mediterranean Lite," since the vibe there is more modern than ethnic. But super sleek and urban decor aside, the cuisine does have some Moroccan and Mediterranean flair to it. For example, there are the bruschetta and hummus plates to start, as well as the flat herb kisra with spiced lamb, tomatoes, spinach, feta and lemon basil dressing as a main entree. Signature dishes include marinara pasta and lemon-caper tilapia or chicken. Whatever your feelings are about fries, they're a must here; get the spicy harissa or rosemary-garlic ones. Delish.
3815 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85012 602.287.8700 web
Mijana serves authentic Lebanese cuisine in a large dining area complete with a stage and unique entertainment. (Check the online calendar for belly dancers, DJs and other parties.) The restaurant places an emphasis on healthy traditional food and hospitality, and we've never experienced anything here that negates those principles. We could almost forgo our entrees and dine solely on the just-pulled-from-the-oven pita bread that accompanies every meal, but we'd hate to lose out on the other delectable specialties. The menu offers both hot and cold mezza (the name for Mediterranean or Middle Eastern small dishes) alongside a variety of grilled meats. Choose from lamb, filet mignon, chicken and seafood, or even vegetable kabobs. All the ingredients are very fresh, and the seasoning is just right. Save room for the desserts, which are all made from scratch.
1290 N. Scottsdale Road, Tempe, AZ 85281 480.829.4959 web
5 Al-Hana Restaurant at Baiz Market
Please don't let the fact that this restaurant is inside a grocery/marketplace dissuade you from giving it a try. We promise it has a lot to offer. Serving up unique and delicious Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes, Al-Hana is all about freshness and authenticity, meaning their hummus and taboulleh are far cries from -- and far more delicious than -- the deli varieties you've been getting at your local grocery franchise. In addition to taboulleh, you can order a small or large fattoush salad, with chopped lettuce, green onions & tomatoes mixed with crashed pita bread seasoned with lemon juice and pure olive oil. And the Shish Kabob Plate, with two skewers of grilled lamb and tomato, onion, pickles and hummus is our favorite and easy to share with a friend. There's also falafel, shawarma chicken, and traditional sweets for dessert.
523 N. 20th St., Phoenix, AZ 85006 602.252.8996 web