We all want a little adventure with our food every now and then, a break from the monotony of the basic cuisine choices. This is when venturing outside of the United States and trying food from other regions is essential. Today we journey to the Mediterranean and give you the best culinary fare it has to offer. Don’t worry about hopping the next flight out to sample this delicious food, just read this list and indulge in the best Mediterranean food that the city of Atlanta has to offer. Opa!
1 Mediterranean Grill
When it comes to authentic Mediterranean cuisine that is equal parts delicious, innovative and satisfying, there is no better place in Atlanta than Mediterranean Grill. With three locations in the city, in Midtown, Marietta and Decatur respectively, all of Atlanta has the chance to sample some of their award-winning cuisine that has the culinary community singing their praises. The décor is modest, but charming and cozy, and the service is top-notch. If you are a connoisseur of Mediterranean food or simply a novice, this is the perfect place to visit because the entire spectrum of cuisine is covered and it is beyond delicious. There is so much to choose from, but let me try to narrow down some highlights that you must try. For appetizers the baba ganouj (fire-roasted eggplant with Tahini, herbs and spices and served with pita bread), dolmas (grape leaves, hand-rolled with rice, tomatoes, onion and steamed in vegetable-lemon broth), foolmudames (fava bean dip with lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and pita bread) and the spanakopita (Phyllo triangle stuffed with spinach, feta, ricotta and herbs) are all amazing. Shifting into the main courses, standouts include: the chicken kabob plate, combination feast and the lamb shank. You’ll be stuffed, but make room for the baklava, it’s killer!
985 Monroe Dr.
2 Rumi’s Kitchen
Now for the best overall experience (food, décor, atmosphere, service and ambiance) Rumi’s Kitchen takes the top spot in every area, everything about it is elegance personified. In fact, it was a true fight to not include it at number one on this list, but I digress. Mediterranean food is always mouthwatering and rich in flavor with spices and sauces galore, and after a visit to this Atlanta hotspot you will become a believer. While the restaurant gets raves from local critics, members of Atlanta’s Mediterranean community often cite Rumi’s as their personal favorite for the traditional cuisine found at home. I would start things off with the amazing Borani spinach soup with sautéed spinach, onion, garlic and yogurt or the Kashk Badenjoon (sautéed eggplant and onion with Persian cream of whey, crispy fried onions and mint), both are a great way to begin a meal. Moving over to the entrées, several standout amongst the rest: the Koobideh kabob, chicken barg, Persian roasted salmon, Ghormeh sabzi and the Solanti kabob are more than just good food, they are an experience that must be had upon your visit.
6152 Roswell Rd.
Specializing in Lebanese cuisine, Mezza combines the best of both culinary worlds, seeing that Lebanese and Mediterranean food have glaring similarities that make for a very fulfilling dining experience. Their tasty salads set the tone for the rest of the meal, with such favorites as Tabbouleh (chopped parsley, cracked wheat, mint, tomatoes, onions with lemon juice and olive oil) or the Falafel salad (falafel patties on tossed salad greens topped with Tahini-herb dressing.) For dinner, the platters are the best bet, not only are they expertly conceived, but also generous in their portion size. Try the Deluxe platter (hummus, baba ganouj, tabbouleh, falafel, kibbi ball and vegetarian grape leaves), Chicken shawarma platter (chicken shawarma on a bed of rice with hummus and mezza salad) and the Deluxe vegetarian sampler (hummus, baba ganouj, muhammara, falafel, vegetarian grape leaves, fatayer and mezza salad) and becoming a regular customer is a cinch.
2751 LaVista Rd.
This is one restaurant that covers the full spectrum of the dining experience. Nestled comfortably in Sandy Springs, Persepolis offers brunch, buffets and belly dancing. The décor evokes a regal sensibility with sturdy columns, gold fixtures and beautifully lush furniture. Once inside, you truly get the sense that your experience is guaranteed to be an authentic one. However, the food is the star of the show and it definitely steals the spotlight. Appetizers are wonderfully delicious with such favorites as the Tahdig (crispy layer of rice topped with stew) and the Dolmeh (sautéed sirloin, vegetables, rice, herbs & spices wrapped in grape leaves and cooked in red wine vinegar & pomegranate sauce.) Dinner options are not only flavorful, but also innovative. Khoresht Fesenjan (breast of chicken simmered in ground walnut and sweet & sour pomegranate sauce), Zereshk Polo (barberries mixed with rice and topped with saffron and served with steamed chicken), Khoresht Ghormeh Sabzi (cubed beef, kidney beans, sundried lime with herbs and spices) and the ever tasty Fish kabob that includes a char-broiled salmon filet, seasoned with lemon saffron sauce and butter. It made be hard, but if you manage to save a little room for dessert you must try the traditional Zoulbia Bamieh, which is sweet fritters and ladyfingers made of honey, yogurt, saffron and rosewater. Yummy!
6435 Roswell Rd.
5 Nicola’s Restaurant
When you’re at Nicola’s you feel like you are apart of the family, a very friendly wait staff and lots of attention to detail make patrons feel happy that they chose to dine at the LaVista Road hotspot. Advertised as a great place for special celebrations, you expect the food to be up to par for big parties where tastes differ greatly. I recommend Nicola’s Mediterranean Delight which features kibbee (ground round steak with wheat germ), kibbee kafta (meat patty with parsley and onion), stuffed grape leaves filled with meat and rice, and rice topped with eggplant. Other standouts include: the eggplant meal, baked with beef, onions, garlic, cheese, tomato sauce and topped with pecans, walnuts and almonds. Although not a main course option, the traditional Mediterranean salad (lettuce, tomato, cucumber, artichoke, olives and feta cheese) is totally satisfying and delicious.
1602 LaVista Rd. NE