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Middle Eastern Cheap Eats
Kabab Mahaleh. Photographs courtesy kababmahaleh.com
Attari Sandwich Shop
Come here for Persian sandwiches made with sausages (sosis bandari), minced meat kabobs (koobideh), lamb’s brain, and beef tongue, accompanied by chopped tomato, shredded lettuce, and sour pickles. Stay for a massive bowl of osh, a thick green lentil stew drizzled with yogurt and sprinkled with sweet fried onions. » 1388 Westwood Blvd., Westwood, 310-441-5488.
The specialty at this glatt kosher eatery is koobideh, turmeric-laced skewers of ground beef or chicken with grilled tomatoes, onions, and basil. Everything is accompanied by an abundant side of sangak, a sourdough flatbread that’s baked fresh daily in a monster rotating oven. » 8762 W. Pico Blvd., Pico-Robertson, 310-275-3000.
Three tables, a tiny kitchen, and gargantuan helpings make this Armenian favorite feel like someone’s home—one that has pork, chicken, and beef kabobs on the grill. An order of succulent meat, well charred, includes hummus, whipped garlic sauce, vegetables, rice, and flaky lavash. » 313 Vine St., Glendale, 818-244-1343.
A dozen spreads and salads entice diners from behind a sleek counter, but dishes like duck shawarma—prepared with cumin, cinnamon, and figs—make this modern Mediterranean café memorable. A pastry bar offering halvah-caramel cookies, elegant seasonal baklava, and Turkish coffee helps. » 233 S. Beverly Dr., Beverly Hills, 310-270-4444.
Unceremoniously plunked in a minimall, the one-year-old Lebanese spot focuses on oven-fresh manaish—pizzalike flatbreads—topped with such traditional Middle Eastern ingredients as lean ground beef with pomegranate sauce and the spice mixture za’atar. Be sure to order anything featuring Shanto’s custom blend of ripe cow cheeses. » 3747 Foothill Blvd., La Crescenta, 818-330-9835.
Tender strips of chicken shawarma are sliced from a spit on full display in the front window. Juicy beef-and-lamb kabobs shaped like hamburger patties arrive with garlic-chile sauce. Service is fast and friendly at this kosher Israeli hang, but taste isn’t sacrificed for efficiency. Delicious sides include fried eggplant bits and a crisp classic: the tomato, cucumber, and parsley salad. » 7422 Melrose Ave., L.A., 323-944-0013.