The Best Palestinian Restaurants In NYCWhere to get your fill of musakhan, fatteh, knafeh, and more.
Palestinian food is rare in New York. As you’ll discover from this list, most options are in Bay Ridge along 5th Avenue, also known as “Little Palestine,” where you’ll find a number of Lebanese, Syrian, and Yemeni restaurants as well. But more places have been opening up across the city where you can get your fill of maqlubeh, shawarma, and attar-soaked knafeh. Visit some of the best spots in Bay Ridge, or go grab some Palestinian food in Astoria, Brooklyn Heights, or Chelsea.
Run by a Palestinian-American mother-daughter duo, Tanoreen serves a range of dishes from Palestine, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon. Start with some extra-lemony baba ghanoush, then be sure to prioritize the Palestinian dishes. Anyone who eats meat should try the fetti with sumac-spiced lamb or chicken, a huge portion of short grain rice and inch-long cuts of vermicelli noodles topped with tahini-yogurt sauce, crunchy almond slivers, and fried pita chips. Everything at Tanoreen works best for sharing, which makes this place an especially good choice for a night out with a bunch of friends or some family members who still force you to plan dinners for them.
Walk into Ayat in Bay Ridge and you’ll immediately be tempted by the spits of shawarma and deli case full of hummus and tabbouleh. All of these things are worth your time, but Ayat’s signature platters are the main event. The portions are huge, so you’ll need a group to help get through the six layers of meat, rice, chickpeas, tahini, almonds, and mint in the family-sized platter of fattat lahma. Ayat's breezy dining room is decked out in faux-flowers and perfect for a group dinner or casual celebration in the summer. The restaurant has been a hit since it opened, and they've since opened a second location with a third in the works. The owners also have another Palestinian restaurant in Brooklyn Heights, Al Badawi (see below).
At Albadawi in Brooklyn Heights, water is served in a heavy jarrah, and as many ingredients as possible are sourced from Palestinian farmers. Everything at this Palestinian spot (the sister restaurant to Ayat), feels intentional, and you get the impression that a lot of effort went into the details. You’ll find some Ayat repeats on the menu here, but we suggest you try something different like the ouzi lamb sitting on a potpourri-like pile of rice, almonds, peas, and herbs. There’s also a bamia full of pleasantly bitter okra, as well as eight flatbreads topped with everything from shawarma to pistachio.
This counter-service spot in Bay Ridge has everything from foul mudammas and manakish covered in za’atar to kabab platters and, our go-to, Palestinian-style shawarma. You can get the shawarma inside a fluffy pita, but we prefer the laffa wrap with juicy, tender meat and crunchy pickles neatly packed inside. There are only a couple cramped tables inside that are usually occupied by regulars, but the wrap is easy to eat on the go if you feel like window shopping for Middle Eastern goods along 5th. The hummus is less portable, but grab some to take home anyway. It comes topped with bright green shatta and olive oil, and it looks like a gorgeous, mossy pond.
Stop by Qanoon to eat beautifully plated mounds of makloubeh and mahshi in a cozy townhouse with a rotating playlist of Middle Eastern artists. This is the rare Palestinian restaurant in Manhattan, and it should be your go-to spot on the island for Palestinian home cooking with generous amounts of olive oil. They’re really into farm-fresh produce here, but there’s no need to order a salad for it—most dishes involve some sort of colorful smattering of fruits or vegetables. We especially like the musakhan, also known as sumac chicken, which sits on top of a pita and transforms it into an unforgettable piece of bread soaked in the chicken’s juices.
Nablus Sweets is named after the city in the West Bank that’s known as the Palestinian capital of sweets—specifically, knafeh. Nablus has two types, and you need to try both. There’s the coarser khishne—warm, gooey cheese topped with thin, crispy kataifi noodles—but we’re partial to the meltier na’ame, layered with a softer dough, soaked in syrup, and served hot. The barebones counter-service shop serves a number of other sweets, which they’re happy to heat up for you and dress with honey. Enjoy your cheesy dessert and some tea in their outdoor structure.
In Astoria’s Little Egypt, it’s pretty common to see someone shaving roasting spits of meat into pitas. But the quality of the shawarma and kebabs at Palestinian-owned Duzan sets it apart from the other counter-service Middle Eastern spots in the area. We recommend the chicken shawarma and some creamy hummus topped with their spicy harissa. The fluffy pitas fresh from the oven will momentarily make you black out, but don’t let the foul mudammas fly under the radar. The pureed fava beans are made to order and served hot with a magical mixture of olive oil, tahini, garlic, and lemon.