Mama Ayesha’s Best Middle East Restaurant in the City?


I really enjoyed our discussion last week about whether Dukem was the best Ethiopian restaurant in the city. So I was alerted to a new mural going up at Mama Ayesha’s (will post later in the afternoon) and it got me thinking what is the best Middle Eastern sit down restaurant in DC? Mama Ayesha’s? Lebanese Taverna?

18 Comment

  • i am no expert on middle eastern food as i am a pretty simple eater but i love mama ayesha for a few reasons. i like the food there (even though i usually get the chicken kabobs, which are tasty), the atmosphere is very well done, and the overall history of the place (besides great stories about mama ayesha herself, my parents went on their 1st date there and i go there kinda of regularly with them). overall i really enjoy the experience and think it one of the better restaurants around…
    i’m curious about this mural.

  • I love Mama Ayesha’s, but Lebanese Taverna is superior. I also like the Afghan place on Calvert, but it isn’t as good as either Mama’s or the Taverna.

  • I think Mama Ayesha’s is as good as Lebanese Taverna and it is nice to be served by the actual family members of the original Mama Ayesha.

    There used to be a great place called the Kabul Tavern (I think) in Arlington and I have memories of the most tender lamb dish with pomegranite. Excellent!

  • Which weekend day is better-Saturday or Sunday? I am very fond of Mama Ayesha’s -though I have nothing particularly bad to say about Lebanese Taverna. But I go to the former every chance I get.

  • What Eric said.

  • The food is really good at both Taverna and Mamas. but lets be honest Mama’s is the real deal. the O.G. It has been around forever. The ambiance is also much better at Mamas and the wait staff is great. Gotta support the old school.

  • I echo the other sentiments about LT being good, but Mama Ayesha’s is the best. Great food, great service, great atmosphere. And a soon-to-be cool mural!

    Be sure to get some Namoura (sp?) after your meal. Its delicious.

  • Afghan Grill in Woodley Park is much better than Mama Ayesha’s. Lebanese Taverna is great, but not always as good as it used to be. For a casual place, Moby Dick House of Kabob is great — they have a location in downtown Silver Spring…just down the street from the Lebanese Taverna cafe there.

  • Cafe Ole up on Wisconsin is the best. And cheap too!

  • love cafe ole….morrocon bbq salad, yum.

  • I also vote for Mama Ayeshas over Lebanese Taverna, but if Kebab Bazaar in Clarendon is also excellent. And Tabaq (on U St) has good Lebanese-Turkish food but I don’t like the dress code there or the fact that you pretty much always need reservations for the roof.

  • I love Mama Ayesha’s. Neyla in Georgetown is also great. They have an awesome lamb burger for brunch.

  • one might question whether afghanistan is in the middle east, and thus, afghani food not middle eastern. that said, Sam’s international cafe (rockville), Mama Ayesha’s, Afghan Grill and the late Caravan Grill in Dupont on 18th St. are (were) all great options. i also really like Layalina in Arlington on Wilson Blvd. and the Bosnian cevapi at Cosmopolitan Cafe in Huntington is out of this world (technically Balkan, but based on Turkish cuisine).

    Tabaq’s ridiculous dress code has turned me off; if the head chef of the Sublime Port were cooking there, i wouldn’t go there. and it’s a shame, because i love turkish food.

  • for “fast food”, i say quick pita in georgetown.

    good stuff, and close to the real deal.

    i know.

    i have spent many moons in lebanon.

    you just have to know how to ask for the food…

    anyone think emperor bush eats lebanese?

  • Not really a fair question since the original Lebanese Taverna is in Westover (Falls Church/Arlington VA). Some dishes there can certainly rival Mama’s. Really, the local “chains” of LT are very fast-foody. Bottom line – both are great.

  • Mama Ayesha’s – but the carry out items at the Lebanese Taverna in Arlington are the best picnic/driving food ever. Seriously. If we’re talking Afghani as a separate type, Faryab in Bethesda is the best.

  • Neyla in Georgetown

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