New Orleans is totally having a Middle Eastern-influenced moment, from Besh's Israeli dream palace Shaya to Doris Metropolitan, the impeccable Quarter steakhouse with Israeli roots. This week, Times-Pic critic Brett Anderson turns his attention to eight places where you can get down on some fine Middle Eastern dishes—from Falafel to to chicken shawarma—without breaking the bank. Here are his picks:
Kebab: This beloved spot for doner kebab and falafel on St. Claude Avenue may be 'scruffy,' but Anderson calls the kebab "fantastically delicious." Try the gyro or any lamb-based daily special.
Albasha: Locations on the Northshore and Metairie turn out familiar Greek and Lebanese. Try the shrimp kebabs.
Cleo's: This 24-hour CBD eatery inside a convenience store owned by a native of Egypt, Tarek Madkour, features a menu of Middle Eastern hits. Try the lula kebab.
Lebanon's: A tried and true Carrollton neighborhood restaurant for cheap Lebanese eats. Try the chicken shawarma.
Mona's: Four locations of this "reliable" Lebanese spot also turn out all the hits. Try the fried kibby.
1,000 Figs: "Here is the restaurant you want when you're not flush enough to eat at Shaya but are in the mood for more luxury than Kebab can provide," Anderson says of this Bayou St. John favorite. Try the falafel in sandwich or platter form.
Rimal: A Mona's-like spot in a Northshore stripmall that opened last year and gets the job done. Try the gyro plate.
Stella Maris: Arabi even gets in on the Middle Eastern action with this grocery store/cafe that "excels at sweet pastries." Try the knabeh.
*All Photos by Brasted.