Fan of falafel? How about hummus? Luckily for us, Auckland is home to an array of excellent Middle Eastern eateries that not only nail the standard staples, but take our tastebuds beyond the familiar to tasty new territories. From authentic to contemporary, these Middle Eastern restaurants are serving up some of the best food in town — and all have it currently available to take away during level 3.
Gemmayze Street — Karangahape Road
St Kevins Arcade’s beloved Lebanese eatery is back for level 3, offering mezze boxes (with a variety of dips, sauces, homemade bread and the aforementioned hummus) and make-your-own wrap kits (including lamb shoulder or falafel) during the week, alongside a new weekend menu of lachmajun (Middle Eastern pizza) and kebab shop-style wraps. An at-home version of its jeeb menu includes three irresistible courses with mezze, mains and dessert. For something sweet, the dark chocolate and halva (tahini nougat) brownie and white chocolate, ricotta and passionfruit knefe (filo tart) are not to be missed. Available for pick-up only, Tuesday – Sunday. Order online here.
Shefco Baklawa Cafe — Mt Roskill
Tucked away in an industrial area, Shefco’s Baklawa Cafe is the place to go for those in the know. Located on Stoddard Road, Baklawa Cafe is an offshoot of Lebanese grocer Shefco, which specialises in imported Middle Eastern goods and bread, sweets and pastries. A simple yet irresistible menu sees the likes of mana’ish (flatbread smothered with the likes of lamb and cheese or pleasingly green za’atar) fattah (crispy bread topped with yoghurt, chickpeas, tahini and nuts) and an array of authentic dips. Don’t leave without trying the fresh baklava, a housemade speciality. During level 3, Shefco Baklawa Cafe is open daily for takeaways from 9am to 3pm daily. Call 09 553 6333 to place your order.
Paasha Turkish Kitchen — Mt Eden
After outposts in Glenfield and Pukekohe, Paasha Turkish Kitchen has finally set up shop in central Auckland with a relatively new space on Dominion Road. A slowly rotating doner machine provides tender, perfectly spiced chicken and lamb doner for wraps and pita pockets, while traditional shish kebab and iskender are chargrilled over an open flame. The mixed grill is a must-try, with lamb, chicken and kofta shish served with rice, tabbouli, hummus and salad, as are the zucchini and feta fritters for vegetarians. Paasha’s owners pride themselves on the utmost freshness of their ingredients and making everything from scratch onsite — right down to the sauces. Order in person for impromptu takeaways, for pick-up via Order Meal or delivery via Deliver Easy.
Des Traditions — Mt Roskill
If authenticity is what you seek, make a beeline immediately for Mt Roskill’s Des Traditions. This humble eatery on Stoddard Road serves a range of Middle Eastern favourites alongside a tasty array of curries, naan bread, daal and tandoori roti. Its signature dish is the arayes, which sees pita bread stuffed with spiced lamb mince, grilled and served alongside tender lamb cutlets and hummus. The charcoal-grilled meats and kebabs are also excellent, with all meat halal. During level 3, Des Traditions is open for takeaways and online orders from 12pm – 9pm, Monday to Sunday. Order online here.
Petra Shwarma — Kingsland
For a taste of Jordanian cuisine, look no further than Kingsland’s Petra Shwarma. Take your pick from dishes such as Jordanian mandi (spiced rice with grilled meat, raisins and cashew nuts), a cheesy Jordanian-style fajita and Jordanian shawarma with pickles. With a dedicated vegetarian menu, there’s plenty of vege-friendly options to choose from. Try the mixed platter with salad, haloumi stuffed pita pockets, falafel and hummus. Order here during level 3 for contactless pick-up and delivery.
Ima Cuisine — CBD
Fort Street’s Ima Cuisine is a stalwart on Auckland’s Middle Eastern food scene, and during level 3 the eatery has all your bases deliciously covered. Order heat and eat mains to take home including vegetarian mussaka or stuffed whole free-range chicken; slow-braised lamb shoulder and even oven-baked vegan kofta with tahini crust. Each main comes with four sides — and Ima is also doing weekend roast packs. These are popular and tend to sell out, so keep an eye on Ima’s social media for top-ups. Order all Ima’s food online here.
Fatima’s — Ponsonby, Takapuna, CBD
Fatima’s is a faithful takeaway favourite, serving up pita and shawarma to hungry Aucklanders since 1995. The flagship Ponsonby store has been around for what feels like forever, with an additional Takapuna location and a new space at Commercial Bay’s Harbour Eats recently being added to its ranks. For those in need of their Fatimas feed, both online and phone ordering is available for contactless takeaways from its Ponsonby and Takapuna stores. Fatimas full, fresh menu is ready-to-go, as well as Make Me Chawarma Kits and gift vouchers. Order and shop online here.