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Six Middle Eastern Breakfasts Worth The Trek in LA

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From Armenia and Persia to Turkey and Syria.

Mama's Secret Bakery Turkish Breakfast
Mama's Secret Bakery Turkish Breakfast
Joshua Lurie

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Middle Eastern breakfasts would be unrecognizable to proponents of American staples like bacon, eggs, and pancakes, but don't fret. Dishes like Israeli shakshuka, Persian sar sheer asal and Georgian khachapuri can be at least as delicious. For now, Los Angeles still lacks compelling breakfast options from countries like Jordan, Oman, and Saudi Arabia, but we've still got plenty of sure bets. Here now, just in time for Breakfast Week, six of L.A.'s best Middle Eastern breakfasts.

Arax Bakery

Arax Bakery

Most mornings, this tiny Little Armenia bakery, sandwiched between a pair of Salvadoran eateries, opens at dawn. Armenia native Vrej Talmajian specializes in flatbreads that are even unique for this neighborhood. Za'atar dusted maneish and ground beef littered lahmajun are reliably good, but you're even better off with fluffy flatbreads topped with combos like spinach and cheese, or spicy tomato paste and olives. Molive rolls, featuring za'atar and minced olives, are also a hit. During Lent, they make mushroom lahmajun and half-moon shaped pockets filled with tahini, chard and chickpeas. Mark your calendars. 4871 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90029. (323) 666-7313

Bibi's Bakery & Café

Bibi's Bakery

This Beverlywood bakery and café debuted in 2002 and entertainment industry veteran Dan Messinger took over four years ago. He's from Philadelphia, spent time in Israel, and was living in the neighborhood when he decided to change careers. For breakfast, shakshuka is an Israeli classic with a name that refers to the sauce. Bibi's chunky sauce includes peppers, tomato, chilies, garlic, salt and pepper. Two eggs poach gently in the sauce when the dish comes out. The vivid red plate comes with a choice of white or wheat pita, both house-baked, along with thick hummus dressed with tahini, olive oil and paprika to round out the meal. If shakshuka isn't enough — it should be — turn your attention to the bakery case for pretzels and bourekas. 8928 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035. (310) 246-1788

Byblos Mediterranean Bakery

Byblos Med Joshua Lurie

This La Crescenta cafe takes its name from an ancient Phoenician port city, now part of Lebanon. Owner Avo Jingozian hails from Aleppo, Syria, and features the cuisine of his youth in this café with faux marble tables and copper-framed oven. Foul mudammas is a popular breakfast in Lebanon and Syria. Starting daily at 9 a.m., you can order a version here that consists of fava beans stewed with lemon, garlic and olive oil, dressed with tomato, parsley and Aleppo pepper, and served with onion, mint, green olives, plus puffy house-baked pita bread. Byblos also has a sizeable menu and bakes triangle shaped bureg, flatbreads filled with ingredients like green olives, spinach and cheese, and ground beef. 2948 Foothill Blvd, La Crescenta, CA 91214. (818) 330-7168

Cafe Aly

Mohsen Dabiri, originally from Shiraz, opened this Fashion District storefront more than 10 years back, specializing in Persian sandwiches and grab and go drinks. He also serves Mexican dishes like tortas, enchiladas and huaraches because most of his clientele is Latino. The market has sparse seating, plus posters of celebs like Marilyn Monroe, James Dean and Elvis. For breakfast, Dabiri serves two classic Persian breakfasts. Sar sheer asal features cream, honey and toasted barbari bread. Mix and match or pour honey on cream, stir and dip. If you prefer a more savory start to your day, Noon paneer pairs feta cheese, walnuts, tomatoes and cucumbers with aforementioned barbari bread. 310 E Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015. (213) 745-6766

Mama's Secret Bakery & Café

Mama's Bakery

This Mid-City restaurant opened in 2012, specializing in the cuisine of Turkey. Istanbul native Alican Bayar honored his mother with the café, which features white walls sporting framed art and signed tracings of customer hands. Mama's Secret serves a dish called simply the Turkish Breakfast All Day, a massive spread featuring feta, kashkaval (similar to jack cheese), goat cheese, roast beef, sliced turkey, honey, kaymak (cream), nutella, vegetables like cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and parsley, herb marinated olives, and dried apricots. Each order comes with your choice of toasted French bread or warm pita. Mix and match until you're content. 8314 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048. (323) 424-3482

Old Sasoon Bakery

Old Sasoon Bakery

Northeast Pasadena is popular for Middle Eastern cuisine, and Old Sasoon is the neighborhood's most complete bakery. Aleppo native Joseph Garagosian carries on culinary traditions established by father Haroutioun starting in 1948 and reestablished here in 1986. Counters and display cases host almost 20 different flatbreads, including versions with zatar, chile, and onion; spicy house-made soujouk sausage and cheese; and pungent basturma cured down the street at Garo's. Call ahead to score khachapuri, a massive oval flatbread made famous in the Republic of Georgia that boasts molten white cheese and cracked egg. 1132 Allen Ave, Pasadena, CA 91104. 626-791-3280

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