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Mahshy, roast quail from El Mahroosa, with a side of rice.
Roast pigeon from El Mahroosa.
Joshua Lurie

Explore Orange County’s Little Arabia By Crawling These 10 Delicious Destinations

Anaheim’s flavors go way beyond what Disneyland has to offer

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Roast pigeon from El Mahroosa.
| Joshua Lurie

When people think of Anaheim, Disneyland frequently comes to mind first, but Little Arabia is thriving just over two miles from one of California’s biggest tourist draws. Palestinean, Syrian, Egyptian, and Lebanese are four of the main people groups driving development and culture in the area, though immigrants and students from Iraq, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia have also made an impact. Rashad Al-Dabbagh, the Arab American Civic Council’s founder and executive director, is working to have Anaheim City Council officially designate Little Arabia, which would inevitably raise awareness and acknowledge the contributions from these residents and business owners. Dozens of businesses line the 2.6-mile stretch of Brookhurst Street between Crescent Avenue and Katella Avenue, the unofficial brackets for this neighborhood, though some satellite bakeries and restaurants also operate on perpendicular streets like Cerritos Avenue and Ball Road, each worth exploring.

Foodwise, Mohamed Sammy Khouraki and wife Nora kickstarted the neighborhood with their market, originally called Cerritos Produce, which debuted on Cerritos Avenue in 1983 to supply immigrants with foods from home. The business relocated and rebranded and has operated as Altayebat on Brookhurst Street since 1988.

Al-Quds Restaurant was likely the first Arab restaurant to debut in the community, but closed over 20 years ago. Sahara Falafel and Kareem’s Falafel are the oldest existing restaurants in the area, dating to 1995 and 1996. Remarkably, the restaurant scene not only remained intact during the pandemic — aside from beloved pan-Arab restaurant Olive Tree, which sadly closed — but Little Arabia has actually seen increased options for restaurants and trucks like Shawarma Loca and California Shawarma, some of which have already put down roots.

LA already has a robust Middle Eastern food scene, but Little Arabia still offers plenty of dishes that aren’t available in diverse hubs like the San Fernando Valley, Glendale, and Westwood. Learn about 10 restaurants that are a boon to locals and worth the drive for Angelenos (even with spiking gas prices). Before or after your next trip to Disneyland, consider substituting a Disney corn dog and Dole Whip for koshari or knafeh. Note: some restaurants will offer buffets, called Iftar, to break fast during Ramadan.

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. Le Mirage Pastry

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100 S Brookhurst St
Anaheim, CA 92804
(714) 491-3855
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Maher Nakhal opened Le Mirage Pastry in 2003. Initially, he focused on Middle Eastern sweets like knafeh, baklava, and cakes. In 2016, he built on frozen traditions that his in-laws established in the 1880s at Bakdash, a famed ice cream parlor in Damascus, Syria. To produce booza, a type of ice cream with a uniquely chewy texture, Nakhal and his team pound ice cream by hand with a wood hammer and scrape it off from a stainless steel well. Le Mirage Pastry uses milk, sugar, vanilla, rose water, sahlab (herbaceous orchid powder) and mastic for chew. Frozen slices become white petals rolled with crushed Turkish pistachios, forming decorative (and delicious) flowers.

Booza, a type of ice cream with a chewy texture, from Le Mirage Pastry on glass plates.
Booza, a type of ice cream with a chewy texture, from Le Mirage Pastry.
Joshua Lurie

2. Al Baraka Restaurant

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413 S Brookhurst St
Anaheim, CA 92804
(657) 220-5296

Aref Shatarah and wife Magida are both from Ramallah on the West Bank. His father and grandfather ran Palestinian restaurants back home and the couple opened their first restaurant last year. Al Baraka translates from Arabic as “from god” or “god bless.” The couple features comforting dishes like bamya (tomato-based okra and beef stew), kufta (ground beef cooked in tahini or tomato sauce) and falafel stuffed with onions and sumac. Still, daily specials may be the biggest draw.

A recent visit found sheikh el mahshi, tender fried squash stuffed with pine nuts, onions, and ground beef cooked in yogurt and served with rice pilaf. Qidra involved a tender baked half-chicken served over yellow rice with chickpeas, onion, garlic, toasted almonds, and green cardamom, served with yogurt and pickled cucumbers. Sunday is an offal lover’s dream, where dishes like makadem and karshat combine lamb trotters, tongues, stuffed tripe, and “stuffed lamb adamant,” which has no connection to the “Goody Two Shoes” singer.

Sheikh El Mahshi, fried squash stuffed with peanuts, pine nuts, onions, and ground beef cooked in yogurt and served with rice pilaf.
Sheikh El Mahshi, fried squash stuffed with peanuts, pine nuts, onions, and ground beef cooked in yogurt and served with rice pilaf.
Joshua Lurie

3. Aleppo's Kitchen

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513 1/2 S Brookhurst St
Anaheim, CA 92804
(714) 991-5000
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Chef Suher Masri and husband Nidal Hajomar escaped civil war torn Syria in 2012 and began opening restaurants in Anaheim. They started with art-lined Aleppo’s Kitchen in the back of a strip mall, which features a spacious patio and a sizable Syrian castle mural. They specialize in kibbeh, a beef and cracked wheat preparation that’s big in Syria. Aleppo’s Kitchen bakes, grills, and fries five different preparations. They also serve silky raw kibbeh, an olive oil-topped tartare that’s great on its own or loaded into pita. Kibbeh mishwiyeh is another must-try version featuring char-grilled “dumplings” stuffed with ground meat, onions, and nuts, served with a cooling yogurt cucumber sauce.

Aleppo’s Kitchen also grills kebabs, makes surprisingly light, donut shaped, sesame studded falafel and serves a terrific borek, fried phyllo dough rolls filled with a mint-flecked molten cheese blend. For dessert, nammoura is a substantial semolina cake soaked in honey and sprinkled with crushed pistachios. The same owners recently launched shawarma focused Layali El Sham café next door and also run Mangal at the nearby Anaheim Packing House.

Kibbeh mishwiyeh from Aleppo’s Kitchen with yogurt cucumber sauce in the middle.
Kibbeh mishwiyeh from Aleppo’s Kitchen with yogurt cucumber sauce.
Joshua Lurie

4. House of Mandi

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518 S Brookhurst St Unit 1
Anaheim, CA 92804
(657) 220-5272
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Sarem Mohamed presides over this Yemeni restaurant that replaced Olive Tree in late 2020. Waving Yemeni and U.S. flags greet diners, which can eat on a spacious patio or indoors, which showcases traditional memorabilia and offers both tables and chairs, or jalsa, colorful cushioned floor seating traditionally seen in Yemen and neighboring Saudi Arabia. Chicken and lamb plates come with Mandi rice, fluffy grains featuring shaved almonds, carrot strands, raisins, and fried onions. Mova is a flaky, butterflied, oven-baked white fish served with Yemeni sauce, a tomato based, chile-flecked slurry that diners can spoon over the accompanying rice.

Hrada Of Fahsah, a dish from Sana’a, Yemen’s largest city that sports a high elevation of over 7,200 feet, is a shredded lamb and beef stew that arrives in a bubbling stone vessel. It’s topped with hilba (frothy whipped fenugreek) and sliced green chilies, and comes with one massive Yemeni flatbread that’s similar to laffa — chewy at the edges and crispy at the center. House of Mandi is also adept at shareable large plates designed for anywhere from three to 18 people featuring Mandi rice and proteins like roasted young lamb (anywhere from a quarter to a whole animal) and an array of mixed meat combos. So don’t be afraid to bring a crowd.

Fish mova from House of Mandi with a side of saffron-tinted rice.
Fish mova from House of Mandi with a side of saffron-tinted rice.
Joshua Lurie

5. Koftegi

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816 S Brookhurst St
Anaheim, CA 92804
(714) 635-4353
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Little Arabia is a hotbed for Middle Eastern flatbreads thanks to bakeries like Al Amir Bakery and Forn Al Hara, which both specialize in round Lebanese-style manakish, also known as sphiha. Koftegi started as Al Sanabel Bakery in the same space. After chef Mehmet Kaplan and wife Lisa Matarazzo took over this colorful quick service business, they expanded the menu to include Turkish comfort foods and continued serving Lebanese flatbreads. They also added Turkish boats, traditionally called pide, that feature different shapes and fillings.

Walnut lahmbaajin is a crispy oval topped with tangy ground beef and vegetables, finished with crumbled walnuts. The cheese and Turkish soujuk “boat” is both softer and pointier, topped with salty white cheese and sliced house-made beef “pepperoni.” You can’t spell Koftegi without Köfte, their signature grilled ground beef and lamb patties. The version filled with Kashkaval (sheep’s milk cheese) is particularly noteworthy, served with hummus, fluffy house-baked pita and salad. Döner, spit-shaved beef and lamb, stars in Iskender. Tomato sauce, browned butter, and toasted pita chunks accentuate this historic döner fueled dish, named for Mehmetoğlu İskender Efendi.

Sauce-laced Iskender kebab from Koftegi.
Iskender kebab from Koftegi.
Joshua Lurie

6. Knafeh Cafe

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866 S Brookhurst St
Anaheim, CA 92804
(714) 442-0044
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Longtime IT engineer Asem Abusir grew up in Nablus on the West Bank and now serves his city’s signature dessert in Little Arabia. His family has been making knafeh since 1918 and still runs shops in Jerusalem and Jordan. At his tiny Anaheim cafe, Abusir spins lacy shredded phyllo strands on a giant wheel in the kitchen, baking and cutting them to form crispy kataifi he features in knafeh. He makes vivid orange slabs — soft and crispy — with two different doughs for contrasting textures. Both versions feature stretchy white cow’s milk cheese, a generous simple syrup drizzle, and crushed pistachios. Other sweet highlights include hareeseh; warm Syrian-style semolina cake soaked in honey and simple syrup, topped with pistachios; and mamool, crumbly semolina cookies stuffed with fillings like date paste and walnuts. 

Asem Abusir holds up a tray at Knafeh Cafe in Little Arabia.
Asem Abusir holds up a tray at Knafeh Cafe in Little Arabia.
Joshua Lurie

7. El Mahroosa Restaurant & Cafe

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930 S Brookhurst St
Anaheim, CA 92804
(714) 991-9200
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Samir Elshahed hails from Egypt and named his patio-centric restaurant and hookah lounge for the world’s oldest active yacht, built in his home country over 150 years ago. Egyptian culture permeates El Mahroosa, from the framed photos and paintings to the music. Elshahed serves standout haman mahshy, a bronzed roasted pigeon stuffed with glutinous rice pilaf and served with aromatic molokhia. El Mahroosa also makes notable mombar and provides another notable take on koshari that combines macaroni, lentils, rice, fried onions, and tomato sauce. Hawawshi stars ground beef and lamb blended with onions and spices then baked in pita bread. For dessert, om ali is a remarkably light, custardy bread pudding topped with powdered coconut, crushed pistachios and walnuts, toasted almonds, and sultanas.

Roast quail from El Mahroosa.
Roast quail from El Mahroosa.
Joshua Lurie

8. Al Tannour

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2947 W Ball Rd
Anaheim, CA 92804
(714) 484-0900

Bassam Abdallah runs this Iraqi restaurant in East West Shopping Center, named for a traditional clay oven. Orange walls are lined with Arabic art and photos. The restaurant serves a Halal menu of Iraqi comfort food classics: Tashreeb blankets tender lamb shank and puffy torn pita bread with bright tomato sauce. Masgouf zbeidi stars flaky butterflied pompano that’s grilled and then topped with sliced tomato and onion. Musakhan is spiced rotisserie Cornish game hen served on house-baked flatbread coated with onion, tangy sumac, almond slivers, and spices that cooks in the tannour before garnishing with mint leaves. Whole animal eaters will appreciate bacha, stewed lamb head served on bread that’s available by special order, and normally on weekends.

Tashreeb from Al Tannour in Little Arabia on a plate.
Tashreeb, tender lamb shank with torn pita bread from Al Tannour in Little Arabia.
Joshua Lurie

9. Cairo Restaurant & Cafe

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10832 W Katella Ave
Anaheim, CA 92804
(714) 999-8861
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Cairo native Ahmed Rakha (an architect) teamed with Waleed Abdelaziz (a computer engineer) to open this destination Egyptian restaurant in 2014. Photos of Egypt line a small dining room’s walls, but most of the action takes place on a bamboo mat fenced patio where guests can smoke hookah. Their food is pure comfort, including Egypt’s national dish, koshari, a carbtastic plate starring lentils, rice, and macaroni, topped with fried onions and served with tomato sauce, garlic vinegar, and tangy hot sauce. They also excel with sausages, none better than mombar, rice and beef sausage seasoned with a seven-spice blend and made in a natural beef intestine casing featuring a great snap and chew. Cairo Restaurant serves luscious hamam mahshy, rice stuffed and roasted squab served with rice pilaf, salad and molokhia, vivid green soup made with naturally slimy jute leaves. Finally, order the hearty mesakaa — moussaka’s cousin — featuring fried eggplant slabs baked with ground beef in tomato sauce. 

Koshari from Cairo Restaurant.
Koshari from Cairo Restaurant.
Joshua Lurie

10. Sababa Falafel Shop

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11011 Brookhurst St
Garden Grove, CA 92840
(714) 603-7933
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The latest player on Little Arabia’s falafel scene is from Suzie Othman and husband Salah, across Katella Avenue by an “Anaheim” – but actually Garden Grove – bus stop. The couple hails from Beit Iksa on the West Bank, grew up in New York and started serving  Jerusalem-style Palestinian food in November 2021, earning long lines for their supple, parsley flecked orbs, which are about the size of gumballs. The name translates from Arabic as “amazing” or “wonderful” and both descriptions fit Sababa’s falafel. This casual restaurant serves chicken and ribeye, but it’s best known for falafel, which comes in bowls and pita sandwiches. For the latter,  smashed falafel come tucked into fluffy sliced pita, with options like creamy hummus, red chile sauce, pickles, red cabbage, tahini, a jalapeño garlic lemon slurry, and mint. Falih Abu Amba, an Iraqi mango sauce, provides a punchy finish.

Falafel pita from Sababa Falafel Shop held by a hand.
Falafel pita from Sababa Falafel Shop.
Joshua Lurie

1. Le Mirage Pastry

100 S Brookhurst St, Anaheim, CA 92804
Booza, a type of ice cream with a chewy texture, from Le Mirage Pastry on glass plates.
Booza, a type of ice cream with a chewy texture, from Le Mirage Pastry.
Joshua Lurie

Maher Nakhal opened Le Mirage Pastry in 2003. Initially, he focused on Middle Eastern sweets like knafeh, baklava, and cakes. In 2016, he built on frozen traditions that his in-laws established in the 1880s at Bakdash, a famed ice cream parlor in Damascus, Syria. To produce booza, a type of ice cream with a uniquely chewy texture, Nakhal and his team pound ice cream by hand with a wood hammer and scrape it off from a stainless steel well. Le Mirage Pastry uses milk, sugar, vanilla, rose water, sahlab (herbaceous orchid powder) and mastic for chew. Frozen slices become white petals rolled with crushed Turkish pistachios, forming decorative (and delicious) flowers.

100 S Brookhurst St
Anaheim, CA 92804

2. Al Baraka Restaurant

413 S Brookhurst St, Anaheim, CA 92804
Sheikh El Mahshi, fried squash stuffed with peanuts, pine nuts, onions, and ground beef cooked in yogurt and served with rice pilaf.
Sheikh El Mahshi, fried squash stuffed with peanuts, pine nuts, onions, and ground beef cooked in yogurt and served with rice pilaf.
Joshua Lurie

Aref Shatarah and wife Magida are both from Ramallah on the West Bank. His father and grandfather ran Palestinian restaurants back home and the couple opened their first restaurant last year. Al Baraka translates from Arabic as “from god” or “god bless.” The couple features comforting dishes like bamya (tomato-based okra and beef stew), kufta (ground beef cooked in tahini or tomato sauce) and falafel stuffed with onions and sumac. Still, daily specials may be the biggest draw.

A recent visit found sheikh el mahshi, tender fried squash stuffed with pine nuts, onions, and ground beef cooked in yogurt and served with rice pilaf. Qidra involved a tender baked half-chicken served over yellow rice with chickpeas, onion, garlic, toasted almonds, and green cardamom, served with yogurt and pickled cucumbers. Sunday is an offal lover’s dream, where dishes like makadem and karshat combine lamb trotters, tongues, stuffed tripe, and “stuffed lamb adamant,” which has no connection to the “Goody Two Shoes” singer.

413 S Brookhurst St
Anaheim, CA 92804

3. Aleppo's Kitchen

513 1/2 S Brookhurst St, Anaheim, CA 92804
Kibbeh mishwiyeh from Aleppo’s Kitchen with yogurt cucumber sauce in the middle.
Kibbeh mishwiyeh from Aleppo’s Kitchen with yogurt cucumber sauce.
Joshua Lurie

Chef Suher Masri and husband Nidal Hajomar escaped civil war torn Syria in 2012 and began opening restaurants in Anaheim. They started with art-lined Aleppo’s Kitchen in the back of a strip mall, which features a spacious patio and a sizable Syrian castle mural. They specialize in kibbeh, a beef and cracked wheat preparation that’s big in Syria. Aleppo’s Kitchen bakes, grills, and fries five different preparations. They also serve silky raw kibbeh, an olive oil-topped tartare that’s great on its own or loaded into pita. Kibbeh mishwiyeh is another must-try version featuring char-grilled “dumplings” stuffed with ground meat, onions, and nuts, served with a cooling yogurt cucumber sauce.

Aleppo’s Kitchen also grills kebabs, makes surprisingly light, donut shaped, sesame studded falafel and serves a terrific borek, fried phyllo dough rolls filled with a mint-flecked molten cheese blend. For dessert, nammoura is a substantial semolina cake soaked in honey and sprinkled with crushed pistachios. The same owners recently launched shawarma focused Layali El Sham café next door and also run Mangal at the nearby Anaheim Packing House.

513 1/2 S Brookhurst St
Anaheim, CA 92804

4. House of Mandi

518 S Brookhurst St Unit 1, Anaheim, CA 92804
Fish mova from House of Mandi with a side of saffron-tinted rice.
Fish mova from House of Mandi with a side of saffron-tinted rice.
Joshua Lurie

Sarem Mohamed presides over this Yemeni restaurant that replaced Olive Tree in late 2020. Waving Yemeni and U.S. flags greet diners, which can eat on a spacious patio or indoors, which showcases traditional memorabilia and offers both tables and chairs, or jalsa, colorful cushioned floor seating traditionally seen in Yemen and neighboring Saudi Arabia. Chicken and lamb plates come with Mandi rice, fluffy grains featuring shaved almonds, carrot strands, raisins, and fried onions. Mova is a flaky, butterflied, oven-baked white fish served with Yemeni sauce, a tomato based, chile-flecked slurry that diners can spoon over the accompanying rice.

Hrada Of Fahsah, a dish from Sana’a, Yemen’s largest city that sports a high elevation of over 7,200 feet, is a shredded lamb and beef stew that arrives in a bubbling stone vessel. It’s topped with hilba (frothy whipped fenugreek) and sliced green chilies, and comes with one massive Yemeni flatbread that’s similar to laffa — chewy at the edges and crispy at the center. House of Mandi is also adept at shareable large plates designed for anywhere from three to 18 people featuring Mandi rice and proteins like roasted young lamb (anywhere from a quarter to a whole animal) and an array of mixed meat combos. So don’t be afraid to bring a crowd.

518 S Brookhurst St Unit 1
Anaheim, CA 92804

5. Koftegi

816 S Brookhurst St, Anaheim, CA 92804
Sauce-laced Iskender kebab from Koftegi.
Iskender kebab from Koftegi.
Joshua Lurie

Little Arabia is a hotbed for Middle Eastern flatbreads thanks to bakeries like Al Amir Bakery and Forn Al Hara, which both specialize in round Lebanese-style manakish, also known as sphiha. Koftegi started as Al Sanabel Bakery in the same space. After chef Mehmet Kaplan and wife Lisa Matarazzo took over this colorful quick service business, they expanded the menu to include Turkish comfort foods and continued serving Lebanese flatbreads. They also added Turkish boats, traditionally called pide, that feature different shapes and fillings.

Walnut lahmbaajin is a crispy oval topped with tangy ground beef and vegetables, finished with crumbled walnuts. The cheese and Turkish soujuk “boat” is both softer and pointier, topped with salty white cheese and sliced house-made beef “pepperoni.” You can’t spell Koftegi without Köfte, their signature grilled ground beef and lamb patties. The version filled with Kashkaval (sheep’s milk cheese) is particularly noteworthy, served with hummus, fluffy house-baked pita and salad. Döner, spit-shaved beef and lamb, stars in Iskender. Tomato sauce, browned butter, and toasted pita chunks accentuate this historic döner fueled dish, named for Mehmetoğlu İskender Efendi.

816 S Brookhurst St
Anaheim, CA 92804

6. Knafeh Cafe

866 S Brookhurst St, Anaheim, CA 92804
Asem Abusir holds up a tray at Knafeh Cafe in Little Arabia.
Asem Abusir holds up a tray at Knafeh Cafe in Little Arabia.
Joshua Lurie

Longtime IT engineer Asem Abusir grew up in Nablus on the West Bank and now serves his city’s signature dessert in Little Arabia. His family has been making knafeh since 1918 and still runs shops in Jerusalem and Jordan. At his tiny Anaheim cafe, Abusir spins lacy shredded phyllo strands on a giant wheel in the kitchen, baking and cutting them to form crispy kataifi he features in knafeh. He makes vivid orange slabs — soft and crispy — with two different doughs for contrasting textures. Both versions feature stretchy white cow’s milk cheese, a generous simple syrup drizzle, and crushed pistachios. Other sweet highlights include hareeseh; warm Syrian-style semolina cake soaked in honey and simple syrup, topped with pistachios; and mamool, crumbly semolina cookies stuffed with fillings like date paste and walnuts. 

866 S Brookhurst St
Anaheim, CA 92804

7. El Mahroosa Restaurant & Cafe

930 S Brookhurst St, Anaheim, CA 92804
Roast quail from El Mahroosa.
Roast quail from El Mahroosa.
Joshua Lurie

Samir Elshahed hails from Egypt and named his patio-centric restaurant and hookah lounge for the world’s oldest active yacht, built in his home country over 150 years ago. Egyptian culture permeates El Mahroosa, from the framed photos and paintings to the music. Elshahed serves standout haman mahshy, a bronzed roasted pigeon stuffed with glutinous rice pilaf and served with aromatic molokhia. El Mahroosa also makes notable mombar and provides another notable take on koshari that combines macaroni, lentils, rice, fried onions, and tomato sauce. Hawawshi stars ground beef and lamb blended with onions and spices then baked in pita bread. For dessert, om ali is a remarkably light, custardy bread pudding topped with powdered coconut, crushed pistachios and walnuts, toasted almonds, and sultanas.

930 S Brookhurst St
Anaheim, CA 92804

8. Al Tannour

2947 W Ball Rd, Anaheim, CA 92804
Tashreeb from Al Tannour in Little Arabia on a plate.
Tashreeb, tender lamb shank with torn pita bread from Al Tannour in Little Arabia.
Joshua Lurie

Bassam Abdallah runs this Iraqi restaurant in East West Shopping Center, named for a traditional clay oven. Orange walls are lined with Arabic art and photos. The restaurant serves a Halal menu of Iraqi comfort food classics: Tashreeb blankets tender lamb shank and puffy torn pita bread with bright tomato sauce. Masgouf zbeidi stars flaky butterflied pompano that’s grilled and then topped with sliced tomato and onion. Musakhan is spiced rotisserie Cornish game hen served on house-baked flatbread coated with onion, tangy sumac, almond slivers, and spices that cooks in the tannour before garnishing with mint leaves. Whole animal eaters will appreciate bacha, stewed lamb head served on bread that’s available by special order, and normally on weekends.

2947 W Ball Rd
Anaheim, CA 92804

9. Cairo Restaurant & Cafe

10832 W Katella Ave, Anaheim, CA 92804
Koshari from Cairo Restaurant.
Koshari from Cairo Restaurant.
Joshua Lurie

Cairo native Ahmed Rakha (an architect) teamed with Waleed Abdelaziz (a computer engineer) to open this destination Egyptian restaurant in 2014. Photos of Egypt line a small dining room’s walls, but most of the action takes place on a bamboo mat fenced patio where guests can smoke hookah. Their food is pure comfort, including Egypt’s national dish, koshari, a carbtastic plate starring lentils, rice, and macaroni, topped with fried onions and served with tomato sauce, garlic vinegar, and tangy hot sauce. They also excel with sausages, none better than mombar, rice and beef sausage seasoned with a seven-spice blend and made in a natural beef intestine casing featuring a great snap and chew. Cairo Restaurant serves luscious hamam mahshy, rice stuffed and roasted squab served with rice pilaf, salad and molokhia, vivid green soup made with naturally slimy jute leaves. Finally, order the hearty mesakaa — moussaka’s cousin — featuring fried eggplant slabs baked with ground beef in tomato sauce. 

10832 W Katella Ave
Anaheim, CA 92804

10. Sababa Falafel Shop

11011 Brookhurst St, Garden Grove, CA 92840
Falafel pita from Sababa Falafel Shop held by a hand.
Falafel pita from Sababa Falafel Shop.
Joshua Lurie

The latest player on Little Arabia’s falafel scene is from Suzie Othman and husband Salah, across Katella Avenue by an “Anaheim” – but actually Garden Grove – bus stop. The couple hails from Beit Iksa on the West Bank, grew up in New York and started serving  Jerusalem-style Palestinian food in November 2021, earning long lines for their supple, parsley flecked orbs, which are about the size of gumballs. The name translates from Arabic as “amazing” or “wonderful” and both descriptions fit Sababa’s falafel. This casual restaurant serves chicken and ribeye, but it’s best known for falafel, which comes in bowls and pita sandwiches. For the latter,  smashed falafel come tucked into fluffy sliced pita, with options like creamy hummus, red chile sauce, pickles, red cabbage, tahini, a jalapeño garlic lemon slurry, and mint. Falih Abu Amba, an Iraqi mango sauce, provides a punchy finish.

11011 Brookhurst St
Garden Grove, CA 92840

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