You can find kebabs all over the world, but in Glendale, home to LA’s large Armenian community, you’ll find them on just about every block. From herbaceous beef luleh served on a buttery bed of fluffy rice to juicy chicken kebabs that break apart with one swipe of the fork, here are five versions you need to try next time you’re in the neighborhood.
Glendale is a city that lives and dies by its neighborhood staples, and Raffi’s is one of the very best. This Middle Eastern restaurant’s specialty is kabobs, and the barg (thinly-sliced filet mignon) is our favorite. Most dishes run above the $20 mark, which seems a bit high until you realize Raffi’s portions will feed you for a week. That said, if you’re interested in dining-in, their massive patio has reopened for outdoor seating.
Adana is a quiet, family-run Armenian restaurant on Glendale’s northside, and when it comes to kababs, the chicken koobideh should be your priority. We don’t usually get too riled up about chicken kababs in general, but Adana’s version with minced meat mixed with spices is one of our favorites in the neighborhood. It’s savory, salty, and requires minimal chewing exertion. Combine it with some of the buttery rice underneath and the rest of your day suddenly has a much brighter tint to it.
Mini Kabob is a Glendale institution that’s name comes from the shop’s tiny space and not the portion sizes. Most of the kebab platters hover under $20, and if you’re able to eat the entire plate in one sitting (it comes with rice, vegetables, hummus, and pita), you’ve earned our unwavering respect. Also, be sure to try the eggplant caviar and tarragon soda, and leave a few extra minutes to chat with the eccentric couple who run the place.
This tiny strip mall spot makes a beef luleh kabab that’s juicy, herbaceous, and has been known to make us turn around and order seconds. Plus, the $11.99 plate also comes with rice, a roasted tomato, and a side salad. Be sure to pick up an extra side or two of the mast moosir (creamy lebni) for all your dipping needs in the week ahead.
This iconic Glendale restaurant isn’t just the social center of the neighborhood, it’s a long-standing gathering spot for LA’s Armenian community at large. And though the pandemic has currently quieted its banquet hall-like dining room, their full menu is available for both takeout and delivery. Their kebabs platters are served by the pound, and considering they all fall under $20, it’s an incredible value considering the amount of food you’re getting. Be sure to throw in a spicy soujuk appetizer as well.