As the weather gets hotter, we increasingly crave refreshing foods. Anything in the category of Israeli, Persian or Mediterranean food is sure to satisfy with its incorporation of fresh ingredients and flavorful seasonings.
From a culinary standpoint, we can group this region of the world together because the land shares the same agricultural tendencies and produces many of the same crops. Similar themes of hummus, roasted vegetables and meats, rice, and spices drift through traditional and modern recipes.
Take a look at this Taste of Atlanta recommended list of restaurants to get your Mediterranean food fix right here in Atlanta.
If y’all haven’t been to Yalla (www.yallaatl.com), it’s time to find an excuse to visit Krog Street Market and try this fantastic restaurant. Chef-owner Todd Ginsberg used his roots and lots of research to make this food stall as authentically Mediterranean as it could be.
The menu reads like a different language (which it partially is), but this is our must-order: the Shouk, which can be served in a laffa, pita or bowl filled with shawarma, fries, hummus, baba ghanoush, Israeli pickles, coleslaw, harissa and tahini.
Bezoria (www.bezoria.com) may be fast-casual for the customers, but its handcrafted dishes show some TLC. Choose among a pita, laffa (wrap), bowl or salad and customize your fixings. Kebabs, kefta (ground chicken mixed with vegetables and spices), shawarma and falafel are all available to add.
Don’t forget an order of baklava to end your meal.
This Taste of Atlanta alum knows how to serve up a great plate. Now with four locations — Decatur, Midtown, Marietta and Athens — Mediterranean Grill (www.mediterraneangrill.com) has a neighborhood spot just around your corner.
Mediterranean Grill has a wide selection of traditional appetizers, salads, kebabs and more. The restaurant even serves a savory spanakopita (phyllo dough stuffed with spinach, feta, ricotta cheese and herbs).
New to the Atlanta neighborhood, Halal Guys (thehalalguys.com) has maintained a steady line around the block for its food. The restaurant began from a hot dog stand in New York in 1990, and now the brand has expanded internationally.
The location in Chamblee is the only one in Georgia and serves a full menu of Mediterranean food. Order a sandwich or a wrap filled with chicken, beef or falafel, or opt for a platter or customizable plate instead. Halal Guys continues to grow its roots and is signed on for Taste of Atlanta this year.
With a grand-opening celebration scheduled for Wednesday, June 7, this Norcross dive won’t be secret for long. HotRocks Grill (www.facebook.com/HotRocks-Grill-1856001007968113) opened a few weeks ago, and the reviews are as rave as they come.
The menu is expansive, with traditional kebabs like lamb and chicken, tomato and cucumber salad, hummus plates, and even a beautiful golden beets salad with goat cheese, spiced almonds and orange ginger vinaigrette. Stop by before the crowds commence.
Olive Bistro (www.olivebistro.com) is not new to the Atlanta restaurant scene, but the restaurant is certainly tasty and consistent. The owner/head chef hails from Israel and believes in serving hummus the color of sand with the flavors of the old country. Each plate of grape leaves, falafel, eggplant and chicken stuffed with tabbouleh is delicately crafted and filled with zest.
Taste Olive Bistro at locations in Brookhaven, in Vinings and off Ponce de Leon.
Taste of Atlanta will celebrate our Sweet 16 from Oct. 20 to 22, so save the dates. The three-day festival is moving to Historic Fourth Ward Park, across from Ponce City Market. For more information about Taste of Atlanta and to get inspired by other delicious restaurants, visit TasteofAtlanta.com, or check out the festival on Facebook (Taste of Atlanta), Instagram (@tasteofatlanta) and Twitter (@tasteofatlanta).