The Absolute Best Mediterranean Restaurants In The US

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The wonderful deliciousness of Mediterranean cuisine and its globally cherished flavors knows no limits. According to Well+Good, the Mediterranean region includes parts of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, particularly the regions that stand on Mediterranean waters. As Mediterranean cooking expert Paula Wolfert points out, Mediterranean cuisine originates from countries such as France, Italy, Morocco, Greece, Tunisia, Spain, as well as other regions. 

A singular Mediterranean cuisine does not exist, it is varied and influenced by various traditions and ingredients (via Table Agent). The Mediterranean is a place where cultural ideas are shared and exchanged, leading to an exciting cuisine. As a result, the region is a connector of ideas, tradition, and food. Ingredients and techniques flow from one corner to another. Cultural tradition and culinary customs meld together and influence each other.

 Climate and geography are the foundations of Mediterranean cooking. Mediterranean cooking focuses on simplicity, allowing the flavors of the land and sea to do the heavy lifting (via Arctic Gardens). In Mediterranean cooking, dishes such as grilled fish welcome simple and rustic condiments such as fruity extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, and crunchy sea salt flakes.

Mediterranean cuisine has also spanned the globe: TV Shows such as "Yotam Ottolenghi's Mediterranean Feast," hosted by celebrity chef Yotam Ottolenghi, bring the joys of Mediterranean cooking to viewers (via SBS). There are several incredible Mediterranean restaurants in the U.S. that diners can venture out to when they're seeking sun-warmed tomato juices, fire-charred bread, and meaningful celebrations. 

Oleana: Cambridge, Massachusetts

Those familiar with Oleana in Cambridge, Massachusetts, no doubt relish the cuisine at this spot with all the reverence it deserves. According to The New York Times, executive chef Ana Sortun gravitates toward the Mediterranean cuisine's culinary influences that encompass flavors from Turkey, Armenia, Greece, and Syria. Oleana's website also showcases compliments from Eater, Milk Street Radio, Conde Nast Traveler, and Bon Appétit.

The food at Oleana celebrates Turkish culinary traditions with nods to Middle Eastern and Western European neighbors. The menu features Turkish spices and hummus. The Sfela Cheese Saganaki is a fiery and honeyed feat of deliciousness. The restaurant uses locally sourced meat along with fresh produce from the Oleana farm. Diners can enjoy an intimate outdoor patio space covered with soft tree canopies.

Oleana's sister restaurant Sofra Bakery & Café is worth an extra stop. Sweet and savory café items capture the essence of Turkey, Greece, and Lebanon in such an impressive way that Sofra made The New York Times' 2010 "Restaurant List." In The New York Times write-up, cookbook author Priya Krishna divulges essential advice, sharing, "Come early and order everything."

Iris: New York, New York

At Manhattan's Iris, Aegean cuisine thrives in a softly-lit contemporary dining room. According to Visit Greece, Aegean food is peppered with sea and sun provisions: This food oozes with mountain-grown greens, herby stews, and grilled fish bathed in fresh lemon juice, oregano, and fruity olive oil sauces. The menu at Iris elevates Mediterranean cuisine with stellar craft and innovation. 

According to The New York Times, chef John Fraser and executive chef Rob Lawson lead with flavors of the Greek and Turkish coasts but always embrace a surprise factor. The spring tzatziki reflects the season's bounty with fresh sorrel and spring onions, which add a burst of green to a striking white yogurt base. 

Sumac dusted hummus and roasted eggplant with pine nuts and golden raisins accompany Iris' coveted sourdough pita bread. The grilled octopus with candied orange is a beloved dish. The pistachio baklava is a perfect way to end an immersive Mediterranean feast.

Andros Taverna: Chicago, Illinois

Contemporary Greek food truly achieves stellar heights at the Andros Taverna in Chicago. Doug Psaltis turned in his East coast apron to pursue a personal restaurant endeavor inspired by his Greek heritage (via Classic Chicago Magazine). Psaltis and his wife, Hsing Chen (pastry chef and former chef at French Laundry) opened Andros in 2021. Shortly after its opening, Esquire named Andros Taverna a 2021 "Best New Restaurant." Chicago Tribune readers have voted this established as the "Best Restaurant" in the Reader's Choice Food Awards in early 2022 (via Instagram).

The menu at Andros features simplistically elegant preparations and the right amount of modern flair. According to Wine and Spirit Magazine, Andros Taverna imports fresh Greek seafood daily from Mediterranean waters. Andros' pita bread is perfect for dipping into tzatziki and taramasalata. Eggplant moussaka and phyllo spanakopita appeal to Greek comfort food sensibilities. 

The lemon garlic chicken, Mediterranean octopus, and whole grilled sea bass, rendered from wood fire embers, are a true testament to the uncomplicated artistry of Mediterranean cooking. The dessert menu offers delicious delights such as frozen yogurt with baklava crumbles, pistachio sauce, and honey. 

Homer: Seattle, Washington

Wanderlust and good food sum up the essence of the story behind Beacon Hill's Homer. Husband and Wife team Logan Cox and Sara Knowles brought fond memories and fresh fish inspiration to Seattle in 2013 after traveling to Alaska. The menu is inspired by the Pacific Northwest and draws on Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influences. In 2019, Beacon Hill's neighborhood favorite (via Eater) won Seattle Met's "Restaurant of the Year" and made GQ's "Best New Restaurants" list.

Homer's boasts a marble wood-fire oven that is used to give dishes an open flame stamp of approval. According to The Infatuation, Homer turns out some of Seattle's best table bread. Pillowy pita is accompanied by a choice between dips such as cumin-infused hummus, minty labne, and a native nettle and walnut spread. Dishes such as sticky and sweet lamb ribs with cumin, pistachios, and seasonal fruit and house-made meatballs with tomatillos and yogurt are fan favorites.

March: Houston, Texas

The culinary team at March periodically delves into various regions to design and curate six-course and nine-course tasting menus for diners (via Houston Culture Map). This unique approach to fine-dining earned March a spot on Esquire's list of "40 Best New Restaurants" in 2021. In January of 2022, the menu was inspired by regions in Southern Spain. A month later, March reopened with memorable culinary constructions drawn from Southern France's Occitania region. 

Southern Spain propelled the March kitchen through January 2022. A month later, March reopened with dishes inspired by Southern France's Occitania region. The setting itself is a gorgeous and delicately balanced feast for the senses (via Bon Appétit). The dining format is unique too: At March, tasting menus commence in the lounge with vermouth and appetizers. In the next room, a woven tapestry ties Mediterranean landscapes to Texas agriculture. Appetizers are served on Portuguese Surrealejos tiles to enhance the overall visual flair (via Instagram). 

Irwin's: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Not even stunning Mediterranean coastlines can claim rights to this South Philly restaurant's splendor. Irwin's is a one-of-a-kind eatery, starting with the name itself. According to Philly Voice, Irwin's is named after South Philly Vocational School architect and designer Irwin Thorton Catherine. 

The indoor dining room strikes an intentional balance between warehouse chic, vintage furniture store, and elementary school classroom. Plastic school chairs, ones with pencil scratch marks serve as dining room chairs. The outdoor terrace glows under string lights and sprawling views of downtown Philly. Fortuitously, Irwin's nostalgic and historic charm earned the restaurant Esquire fame: Irwin's made it onto Esquire's 2021 "Best New Restaurants in America" list, with the outlet referring to the restaurant as the "most hip, romantic place around." Additionally, Condé Nast Traveler notes that the eclectic setting leads many diners to pose for photos in-between courses.

The food isn't lost to romantic views and sentimental accent pieces. A menu of Sicilian coastal specialties and natural wines easily steal the show at Irwin's. Small mezze-style starters include dishes such as Castelvetrano olives, Swordfish Milanese, and the Winter Caponata. Spaghetti alle vongole with homemade pasta soak in natural clam juice liquor and fruity olive oil emulsification. Dishes such as whole fish with grilled citrus with salsa verde and the half agrodolce chicken with gremolata consistently astound diners. 

Cúrate: Asheville, North Carolina

Spanish cooking has a happy home here in the U.S., and Cúrate is capitalizing on the thrill of small plate tapas and expertly carved jamón Iberíco. According to the Cúrate website, chef Katie Button and her team have impressed the likes of Food Network, Travel & Leisure, and Food & Wine, among others. A shared appreciation for juicy tomato pulp on crusty bread and rustic creations swimming in intoxicating garlic, olive oil, and sherry vinegar dressings goes a long way.

Curaté offers swanky snacks such as bowls of almendras fritas (fried almonds), toasted ciabatta with fresh tomato, and manchego cheese as well as vinegar-cured anchovies and salt-cured anchovies together on one plate. While it's impossible to name every dish worth tasting, there are a few other noteworthy mentions: Berenjenas con miel incorporates eggplant and is a delicious specialty, the patatas bravas a fried potato crowd-pleaser, and the pulpo a la gallega is a coastal delicacy. The rossejat, a thin noodle paella dish consisting of squid, shellfish stock, and salsa verde, is aptly dubbed "the essence of the ocean."

Mandolin Aegean Bistro: Miami, Florida

Walking through Mandolin Aegean Bistro's teal blue fence is like walking into a Greek villa: Plants, pearly white walls, and blue hues evoke a coastal atmosphere. The space is so convincing that wandering eyes may feel compelled to search beyond the restaurant limits for Aegean water views. The New York Times recognized Mandolin Aegean's enchanting qualities too: This eatery is a Miami gem that possesses plenty of getaway charm, incredible dishes, and an immersive outdoor patio experience 

The decor is colorful and plant-filled. In terms of the menu, the tzatziki dip platter and tirokafteri with bistro-grown vegetables makes for a wonderful starter. Fried calamari mezze is a crispy golden brown sight to behold, and the ali nazik, a smoked eggplant spread topped with seasoned ground lamb, is another superb option. Condé Nast Traveler recommends the whole Mediterranean sea bass, bathed in Aegean olive oil, lemon, and oregano. 

Mediterranean Deli: Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Mediterranean Deli, also known as "Med Deli" is an eclectic Greek, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern restaurant/grocery shop/deli is a Franklin Street hub (via Eater). The same Med Deli that filled with students after the UNC game in 2022 is also the spot that entertains hungry lunchtime patrons with any possible baklava cravings.

In 2017, the Indy Week Best of the Triangle awarded Mediterranean Deli "Best Greek Restaurant," "Best Deli," and "Best Mediterranean." Owner Jamil Kadoura opened Med Deli in 1991. However, since its opening nearly 30 years ago, the deli case has more than quadrupled (via Chapel Hill Magazine). The casual eatery has multiple food options. Combo platters and sandwiches allow for customized options. Meanwhile, the deli counter serves side dishes and by-the-pound take-away tubs full of Greek grape leaves, Turkish potato salad, Tunisian rice and spinach, and spanakopita. 

For Kadoura, however, gluten-free pita bread is his biggest pride and joy. He told Chapel Hill Magazine, "If anybody ever asks me what the most important moment in my career was, it would be creating gluten-free pita." Med Deli is like a Chapel hill community center, and Kadoura takes tremendous care to maintain an inclusive and mouthwatering atmosphere.

Massilia: Santa Monica, California

Santa Monica's Massilia is on a mission to introduce a far Californian corner to varied Marseille flavors. According to TimeOut, Massilia draws together French, Spanish, Italian, and Moroccan influences in a naturally lit covered outdoor patio with French bistro checkerboard flooring and potted trees. Likewise, the indoor dining room welcomes guests with warm wood tables, rustic brick walls, and a fully stocked bar. 

The restaurant serves all-day breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner fare. Breakfast items beckon with freshly baked kouign amann, madeleine, and croissant. Salads, grain bowls, pasta, pizza, quiche, and more satisfy hungry lunch diners. Massilia's dinner menu is extensive, with each dish speaking to a specific coastal influence. Merguez sausage pays homage to Northern Africa while ratatouille and steak-frites cop to simple French elegance. Morrocan chicken tagine introduces caramelized notes of slow-cooked olives and sweet raisins, and a burrata Margherita pizza salutes classic Italian fare. 

Aba: Chicago, Illinois

Mediterranean melting pot Aba translates Israeli, Lebanese, Turkish, and Greek flavors into fashionable Fulton Market District plates. Aba made a quick and ferocious entry onto Chicago's dining scene and has maintained its popularity (via The Chicago Tribune). Aba's founder Chef CJ Jacobson also created the Ema restaurant located in River North.

A three-star Chicago Tribune rating warrants neighborhood buzz, while NBC Chicago warns prospective diners of booked reservations with pro tips to help clinch a table. The Aba Restaurant website proudly proclaims the achievement of the "Best New Restaurant" title conferred by The Chicago Tribune's Reader's Choice Dining Awards. Once your Aba reservation is secured, the hard part is over. A wondrous outdoor patio is one of Aba's biggest assets. 

In terms of culinary offerings, plates of crispy short rib hummus circulate throughout, flaunting a silky-smooth hummus base and tender chunks of crispy-jus-covered short rib pieces. Whipped feta meets crushed pistachio and olive oil. The "Mediterranean Butcher" section of the menu reinforces Aba's protein focus with favorites like grilled miso chicken, braised leg of lamb wrapped in eggplant, and crispy pork belly.

Lyla Lila: Atlanta, Georgia

Lyla Lila is built on Southern European foundations and it's the Italian influence that shines brightest. According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution,  seasonality is at the core of Lyla Lila's approach to food. Fresh mint turns into zesty lemon aioli, basil and pistachios transform into a doubly bright green pesto, and fresh vegetables are aplenty. 

Friendly warmth with just the right amount of regal attitude sets the stage for a memorable meal of modern artistry. Mentions of togarashi and cheddar cheese on the menu juxtapose with dishes that teem with ingredients central to Mediterranean cooking such as green harissa. Atlanta Magazine applauds the pasta lineup in particular, highlighting the fresh spaghetti with Sicilian pork ragu. 

Additionally, The New York Times makes notable observations of the lasagna in the 2021 "Restaurant List." The lasagna isn't overly busy, so all attention can focus on infinite layers of homemade pasta, crispy duck, and a seductively dark cocoa béchamel.

Imperfecto: Washington, DC

Chef Enrique Limardo is the guts and brains behind Imperfecto's fusion concept. The menu changes daily with a continuous commitment to exploring the interaction between Mediterranean and Latin American cuisines. Whites and blue hues are reminiscent of Greece and may remind one of notions related to Artistolean perfectionism, a concept that Limardo rejects, opting instead to embrace a world that evolves only through being "imperfect." 

Bright and airy, the dining room uses height and daring curves to create architectural intrigue, thus emulating the feel of a white-washed Greek town. Meanwhile, on the cocktail menu, the Perfectly Imperfect cocktail combines Belvedere vodka, Limoncello, yuzu juice, fresh pineapple, and vanilla syrup in a coupe glass. The Noche Caliente combines jalapeño tequila reposado, Alessio vermouth, biscotti liqueur, and mirto rosso.

According to The Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema, the Moussaka Cigars with smoked eggplant and a goat-manchego cheese cream are incredible. Sietsema also praises the foie gras with crispy plantain brioche, soursop compote, parmesan, and truffle.

Saba: New Orleans, Louisiana

At its very core, Saba reflects comfort, tradition, and culinary curiosity. According to Pomegranate Hospitality, Saba owner Alon Shaya was born in Israel, raised in Philadelphia, and is now a New Orleans resident. At Saba, national borders don't mean a thing: Instead, the menu is a collaborative hodgepodge of cuisines from Bulgaria, Yemen, Syria, Morocco, Turkey, Palestine, and Greece. 

Alon Shaya earned James Beard Foundation's "Best Chef South" award in 2015, which explains the electric Saba appeal. Eater New Orleans celebrates Shaya's creative Mediterranean-Israeli cooking flare, and TimeOut commends the fluffy pita bread (via Saba). There is no shortage of good food in New Orleans. Still, locals can't seem to get enough of Saba's intriguing, unfussy, and flavorful comfort food. After all, Saba means grandfather in Hebrew, and a grandparental touch is one of the greatest comforts in the world. 

The menu features dishes such as the lutenitsa (a Bulgarian spread made from roasted peppers, eggplant, and tomato). The labneh with spiced pistachios and pickled cherries serves as an excellent starter. The Louisiana blue crab with soft butter or a vegetarian Brussels sprouts with shabazi onions, black garlic, and pickled jalapeños is an admirable selection.

The harissa roast chicken is accompanied by scallion and caramelized lemon. Charred cabbage with hazelnut muhammara and chili oil let the cruciferous vegetable's natural sweetness shine, and a Moroccan short rib tagine is garnished with candied citrus pieces.

Green Almond Pantry: Washington, DC

In 2019, the Green Almond Pantry's original Shaw location made Esquire's "22 Best New Restaurants in America" list. But two years later, a fire devasted the restaurant (via Eater DC). Chef and owner Cagla Onal-Urel opened a new Green Almond Pantry location in Georgetown in 2021. Today, a full storefront, equipped with mounted chalkboard menus to accommodate rotating specials, is living proof of her culinary talents and Green Almond Pantry's fanbase. 

Green Almond Pantry only serves lunch, but the parallel market stocked with olive oil bottles, dried Greek oregano, and local farm eggs is open through early evening hours. Turkish stuffed eggplant, marinated beets, and braised fava beans accentuate the region's aptitude for vegetable magic. The lamb kofte in pide, chicken salad focaccia sandwiches and eggplant confit sandwiches on homemade demi-baguette bread provide heartier options. The vibes at Green Almond Panty are warm and inviting and the focaccias have achieved legendary status. 

Terún Pizzeria: Palo Alto, California

Terún owner and southern Italy native Franco Campilongo appreciates a bit of self-deprecating humor: As per the New York Times, Campilongo christened his Palo Alto restaurant with the name Terún, which is a derogatory term for Southern Italians that translates to "rednecks" or "hicks." Campilongo chose this name to spite Northern Italian stereotypes and embrace Southern Italy's prideful splendor.

Unsurprisingly, Terún's menu showcases the bounties of Southern Italian cuisine: Roasted Brussels sprouts are accompanied by Tuscan pancetta and Lombardian gorgonzola, dishes such as eggplant polpette with taleggio cheese and truffle cream draw inspiration from the coasts of Puglia, and a crispy Branzino al Forno is served perched on a bed of toasted Sardinian fregola. 

Neapolitan pizza dough cooks in hot oven temperatures till it achieves crisp and pillowy crust perfection and is topped with ingredients such as nduja (a type of sausage), grilled zucchini, and cheese (via Instagram). 

Terún doesn't play around when it comes to Italian wine pairings. The wine and beverage menu is 23 pages long. According to Campilongo himself, there is no better food critic than other native Italians: He says, "They're very picky about their food, and when I see so many coming into the restaurant, it's the greatest achievement."