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A brown crock with giant bony lamb shanks on top and almonds all over.
Mansaf, a communal dish of lamb, rice, and almonds with fermented yogurt sauce, at Ayat.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Where to Feast on Palestinian Food in New York

Offering a unique spin on Middle Eastern fare, Palestinian food is rapidly becoming a popular choice in NYC

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Mansaf, a communal dish of lamb, rice, and almonds with fermented yogurt sauce, at Ayat.
| Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

New York City has long been a great place to sample Middle Eastern fare, and many restaurants designated in such general terms have had overlapping menus. But gradually there has been more of an effort to distinguish between national cuisines, and identify the dishes and special presentations that make them unique.

The latest to emerge is Palestinian, partly owing to a historically challenging political climate that’s prompted changing attitudes toward the region’s future, and partly because a new generation has taken particular pride in home-style dishes like msakhan, mansaf, mahshi, and knafeh, which are among the shining stars of the cuisine.

Thanks to trailblazing restaurants, beginning with Tanoreen in 1998, and culminating in 2020 with the arrival of Ayat — both in Bay Ridge — New Yorkers can increasingly enjoy Palestinian food in its cultural context, though some incidents of harassment of restaurant owners have been reported. Here’s a choice selection of Palestinian restaurants around town and beyond.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Ayat

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8504 3rd Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11209
(718) 831-2585
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This year-old Bay Ridge restaurant filled with murals that recalls a Middle Eastern sidewalk cafe (order from a counter and take a number on a stick to your table) is now generating a chain of Palestinian restaurants, including the newly opened Al Badawi in Brooklyn Heights. The menu features expected items like dips, salads, and kebabs, but also many large format, home-style dishes served in crockery and mainly featuring chicken and lamb, to be shared between two or more. Mansaf — lamb shank marinated in fermented yogurt and served with rice and almonds — is only one example. The freshly made flatbreads are another strong point.

Several shallow brown clay dishes with rice, kebabs, a yellow stew, with bright white yogurt sauce in the middle.
An assortment of dishes at Ayat.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

2. Al-Aqsa Bakery & Restaurant

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6917 5th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11209
(929) 350-9091

Twin shawarmas twirl in the window of this casual cafe — named after a mosque in Jerusalem — available freshly carved in a choice of sandwich formats. Some consider it one of the best shawarmas in town — don’t hesitate to go for a combination of the meats currently available, which may be chicken, beef, lamb, or a lamb-beef combination. Kofta kebab platter, fava bean stew, and a range of hand pies that runs to spinach, chicken, or hot dogs, round out the menu, and schnitzels are also available.

You can see shreds of meat inside a flatbread tube dabbed with white sauce.
Shawarma on a laffa bread at Al-Aqsa/
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

3. Tanoreen

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7523 3rd Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11209
(718) 748-5600
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Born in Nazareth, Rawia Bishara opened Tanoreen in 1998 as a small Middle Eastern deli with just a few tables. Then a decade ago it was transformed into a restaurant with all the trappings of a fine-dining establishment. Good bets include makdous (pickled vegetables stuffed with walnuts), kibbeh (cracked wheat torpedoes stuffed with oniony lamb), mousaqa (a multi-vegetable casserole), and sujok (a dried sausage that originated in Armenia).

Bright green, red, and dark green peppers are shown sliced, containing a brown walnut stuffing, over a light orange plate of oil
Makdous at Tanoreen.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

4. Al Badawi

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151 Atlantic Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718) 689-5888
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Just opened in a historic Arab neighborhood along Atlantic Avenue that dates to the 1920s, Al Badawi is already generating excitement for its stylishly decorated dining room, bedecked with artificial flowers, and a broad-ranging Palestinian menu. It’s the project of Ayat’s Abdul Elenani and Yemeni restaurateur Akram Nassir, who owns Yemen Cafe across the street. Like Ayat, the menu is centered on large format dishes served family style, but also includes lots of kebabs, salads, bread dips, freshly made flatbreads, and desserts that can be ordered a la carte to form individual meals.

A reddish brown chicken on top of chopped onions and red peppers with slivered almond garnish.
Msakhan at al Badawi.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

5. Migrant Kitchen

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55 Water St
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(917) 747-5601
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Born in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Nasser Jaber has created one of the city’s wildest menus at his newly opened Upper East Side restaurant and Dumbo food-court counter. It merges Middle Eastern and Latin cuisines, with a whole range of snackable items, including tortas, empanadas, hummus, and a shawarma sandwich wrapped in a laffa with garlic sauce. The choice of meat — such as smoky, shredded pork carnitas — highlights Jaber’s global approach to the menu.

A tubular sandwich filled with meat and other stuff cut in half to show cross section on a white plate.
Pork shawarma laffa at Migrant Kitchen.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

6. Oasis

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168 Bedford Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11249
(718) 389-4680
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For two decades or more, this small Williamsburg place hovered over the Bedford stop on the L, ably supplying the dining needs of both the budget-conscious and late-nighters. Its richly flavored falafel became legendary — fried to order and thickly crusted, while remaining herby and moist inside, but the kofta kebabs were equally as good, whether eaten in a sandwich or on a platter, both featuring house-pickled vegetables. Now Oasis has moved around the corner to much more spacious digs with ample seating, but no longer open quite so late.

Four round brown orbs in a carryout container with baba ghanoush and stuffed grape leaves.
Oasis’s legendary falafel.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

7. Qanoon

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180 9th Ave
New York, NY 10011
(646) 843-9711
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Qanoon — which means grill in Arabic — was founded by Tarek Daka, who grew up in the Palestinian town of Baqa al-Gharbiyye, Israel, on a verdant corner in Chelsea late in 2019. It seeks to render farmhouse-style dishes in a contemporary fine-dining idiom, which means artistically colorful platings and delicate sauces. Makloubeh, a casserole of rice, lamb, and eggplant, is formed into a cube smothered in a piquant and herby yogurt sauce, and other highlights include msakhan (sumac-dusted chicken) and a changing assortment of rice-stuffed vegetables called mahshi.

A vast mass of yellowish rice in a cone with white sauce flowing over the top.
Makloubeh at Qanoon.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

8. King of Falafel & Shawarma

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30-15, Broadway
Astoria, NY 11106
(718) 340-8068
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A map of Palestine hangs on the wall at this Astoria mainstay founded by Freddy Zeideia, who started with a food truck in 2002 before it upgraded to a restaurant in 2015. It strives to have some of the city’s best falafel and shawarma, but the menu offers many other notable dishes, including flame-grilled kebabs and qudia, a quintessential Jerusalem breakfast or luncheon dish of hummus topped with fava beans, zapped with a sprightly green sauce. The original cart now often parks at East 53rd Street and Park Avenue in Manhattan.

A round container of fluffy hummus with deep brown fava beans and a green sauce on top.
Qudsia at King of Falafel & Shawarma.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

9. Duzan

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2411 Steinway St
Long Island City, NY 11103
(718) 204-7488
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Opened in 2009, and extensively renovated and expanded in 2015, fast-casual spot Duzan has become famous for its shawarma sandwiches, distinguishing itself in that category in the competitive arena of Astoria’s Steinway Street. The founder is Hasan Diab, who grew up in Galilee. Hummus and baba ghanoush are other specialties, the latter festively turned out with sprinkles of spices and herbs and a reservoir of olive oil.

A round serving of baba, with olive oil in the middle and sprinkles of red sumac and green parsley.
Baba ghanoush at Duzan.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

10. Nablus Sweets

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1050 Main St
Paterson, NJ 07503
(973) 881-8003
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Owned by Abu Mohammed and named after a city in the West Bank north of Jerusalem, Nablus Sweets was founded in Paterson, New Jersey, in 1991. It was followed 10 years later by a Bay Ridge branch. Both specialize in knafeh, a giant orange sheet pastry of shredded wheat and melted cheese invented in Nablus, which exists in several variations, sold by the square or entire pastry. Many other Middle Eastern cookies and pastries are available here, including burma, basboosa, and baklawa.

Several plates of pastries, many orange colored.
Assorted Palestinian pastries at Nablus.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

11. Ziatun

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244 Main St
Beacon, NY 12508
(845) 765-8268
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Located on the main drag of the art town of Beacon — home to galleries like Dia Beacon — this Palestinian restaurant pays special attention to soups and salads, the former including zahra bi laban, a creamy soup of cauliflower and yogurt; and the latter including shanklish, a breakfast salad featuring bulgur, parsley, and feta lavishly seasoned with lemon and olive oil. A vegan shawarma is made with mushrooms, but chicken and a lamb-beef combo are also available. Owner Kamel Jamal was born in a refugee camp, and now owns three further restaurants in the Hudson Valley.

A perforated outdoor table littered with dishes that include bread spreads, pickled turnips, olives, pitas, and other goodies.
Typical luncheon spread at Ziatun.
Ziatun [official]

1. Ayat

8504 3rd Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11209
Several shallow brown clay dishes with rice, kebabs, a yellow stew, with bright white yogurt sauce in the middle.
An assortment of dishes at Ayat.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

This year-old Bay Ridge restaurant filled with murals that recalls a Middle Eastern sidewalk cafe (order from a counter and take a number on a stick to your table) is now generating a chain of Palestinian restaurants, including the newly opened Al Badawi in Brooklyn Heights. The menu features expected items like dips, salads, and kebabs, but also many large format, home-style dishes served in crockery and mainly featuring chicken and lamb, to be shared between two or more. Mansaf — lamb shank marinated in fermented yogurt and served with rice and almonds — is only one example. The freshly made flatbreads are another strong point.

8504 3rd Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11209

2. Al-Aqsa Bakery & Restaurant

6917 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11209
You can see shreds of meat inside a flatbread tube dabbed with white sauce.
Shawarma on a laffa bread at Al-Aqsa/
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Twin shawarmas twirl in the window of this casual cafe — named after a mosque in Jerusalem — available freshly carved in a choice of sandwich formats. Some consider it one of the best shawarmas in town — don’t hesitate to go for a combination of the meats currently available, which may be chicken, beef, lamb, or a lamb-beef combination. Kofta kebab platter, fava bean stew, and a range of hand pies that runs to spinach, chicken, or hot dogs, round out the menu, and schnitzels are also available.

6917 5th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11209

3. Tanoreen

7523 3rd Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11209
Bright green, red, and dark green peppers are shown sliced, containing a brown walnut stuffing, over a light orange plate of oil
Makdous at Tanoreen.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

Born in Nazareth, Rawia Bishara opened Tanoreen in 1998 as a small Middle Eastern deli with just a few tables. Then a decade ago it was transformed into a restaurant with all the trappings of a fine-dining establishment. Good bets include makdous (pickled vegetables stuffed with walnuts), kibbeh (cracked wheat torpedoes stuffed with oniony lamb), mousaqa (a multi-vegetable casserole), and sujok (a dried sausage that originated in Armenia).

7523 3rd Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11209

4. Al Badawi

151 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11201
A reddish brown chicken on top of chopped onions and red peppers with slivered almond garnish.
Msakhan at al Badawi.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Just opened in a historic Arab neighborhood along Atlantic Avenue that dates to the 1920s, Al Badawi is already generating excitement for its stylishly decorated dining room, bedecked with artificial flowers, and a broad-ranging Palestinian menu. It’s the project of Ayat’s Abdul Elenani and Yemeni restaurateur Akram Nassir, who owns Yemen Cafe across the street. Like Ayat, the menu is centered on large format dishes served family style, but also includes lots of kebabs, salads, bread dips, freshly made flatbreads, and desserts that can be ordered a la carte to form individual meals.

151 Atlantic Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11201

5. Migrant Kitchen

55 Water St, Brooklyn, NY 11201
A tubular sandwich filled with meat and other stuff cut in half to show cross section on a white plate.
Pork shawarma laffa at Migrant Kitchen.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Born in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Nasser Jaber has created one of the city’s wildest menus at his newly opened Upper East Side restaurant and Dumbo food-court counter. It merges Middle Eastern and Latin cuisines, with a whole range of snackable items, including tortas, empanadas, hummus, and a shawarma sandwich wrapped in a laffa with garlic sauce. The choice of meat — such as smoky, shredded pork carnitas — highlights Jaber’s global approach to the menu.

55 Water St
Brooklyn, NY 11201

6. Oasis

168 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11249
Four round brown orbs in a carryout container with baba ghanoush and stuffed grape leaves.
Oasis’s legendary falafel.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

For two decades or more, this small Williamsburg place hovered over the Bedford stop on the L, ably supplying the dining needs of both the budget-conscious and late-nighters. Its richly flavored falafel became legendary — fried to order and thickly crusted, while remaining herby and moist inside, but the kofta kebabs were equally as good, whether eaten in a sandwich or on a platter, both featuring house-pickled vegetables. Now Oasis has moved around the corner to much more spacious digs with ample seating, but no longer open quite so late.

168 Bedford Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11249

7. Qanoon

180 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011
A vast mass of yellowish rice in a cone with white sauce flowing over the top.
Makloubeh at Qanoon.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Qanoon — which means grill in Arabic — was founded by Tarek Daka, who grew up in the Palestinian town of Baqa al-Gharbiyye, Israel, on a verdant corner in Chelsea late in 2019. It seeks to render farmhouse-style dishes in a contemporary fine-dining idiom, which means artistically colorful platings and delicate sauces. Makloubeh, a casserole of rice, lamb, and eggplant, is formed into a cube smothered in a piquant and herby yogurt sauce, and other highlights include msakhan (sumac-dusted chicken) and a changing assortment of rice-stuffed vegetables called mahshi.

180 9th Ave
New York, NY 10011

8. King of Falafel & Shawarma

30-15, Broadway, Astoria, NY 11106
A round container of fluffy hummus with deep brown fava beans and a green sauce on top.
Qudsia at King of Falafel & Shawarma.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

A map of Palestine hangs on the wall at this Astoria mainstay founded by Freddy Zeideia, who started with a food truck in 2002 before it upgraded to a restaurant in 2015. It strives to have some of the city’s best falafel and shawarma, but the menu offers many other notable dishes, including flame-grilled kebabs and qudia, a quintessential Jerusalem breakfast or luncheon dish of hummus topped with fava beans, zapped with a sprightly green sauce. The original cart now often parks at East 53rd Street and Park Avenue in Manhattan.

30-15, Broadway
Astoria, NY 11106

9. Duzan

2411 Steinway St, Long Island City, NY 11103
A round serving of baba, with olive oil in the middle and sprinkles of red sumac and green parsley.
Baba ghanoush at Duzan.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Opened in 2009, and extensively renovated and expanded in 2015, fast-casual spot Duzan has become famous for its shawarma sandwiches, distinguishing itself in that category in the competitive arena of Astoria’s Steinway Street. The founder is Hasan Diab, who grew up in Galilee. Hummus and baba ghanoush are other specialties, the latter festively turned out with sprinkles of spices and herbs and a reservoir of olive oil.

2411 Steinway St
Long Island City, NY 11103

10. Nablus Sweets

1050 Main St, Paterson, NJ 07503
Several plates of pastries, many orange colored.
Assorted Palestinian pastries at Nablus.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Owned by Abu Mohammed and named after a city in the West Bank north of Jerusalem, Nablus Sweets was founded in Paterson, New Jersey, in 1991. It was followed 10 years later by a Bay Ridge branch. Both specialize in knafeh, a giant orange sheet pastry of shredded wheat and melted cheese invented in Nablus, which exists in several variations, sold by the square or entire pastry. Many other Middle Eastern cookies and pastries are available here, including burma, basboosa, and baklawa.

1050 Main St
Paterson, NJ 07503

11. Ziatun

244 Main St, Beacon, NY 12508
A perforated outdoor table littered with dishes that include bread spreads, pickled turnips, olives, pitas, and other goodies.
Typical luncheon spread at Ziatun.
Ziatun [official]

Located on the main drag of the art town of Beacon — home to galleries like Dia Beacon — this Palestinian restaurant pays special attention to soups and salads, the former including zahra bi laban, a creamy soup of cauliflower and yogurt; and the latter including shanklish, a breakfast salad featuring bulgur, parsley, and feta lavishly seasoned with lemon and olive oil. A vegan shawarma is made with mushrooms, but chicken and a lamb-beef combo are also available. Owner Kamel Jamal was born in a refugee camp, and now owns three further restaurants in the Hudson Valley.

244 Main St
Beacon, NY 12508

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