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Taste of Palestine in the Windy City

Exploring Chicago’s Authentic Palestinian Eateries

By Arts & Culture, Featured

Photo by Khytul Abyad

At this point in the semester, you might be organizing a class dinner, a group outing, a brunch with friends, lunch with roommates, or a coffee meetup with studio mates. Amidst the bustling diversity of Chicago, exploring various cuisines isn’t solely about the food; it’s a profound journey delving into rich cultural tapestries and traditions of people who cook the meals.

In our curated list, we will introduce you to some of Chicago’s Palestinian restaurants. From the delectable flavors of falafel to the aromatic spices found in traditional dishes, these restaurants offer more than just delicious meals; they serve up narratives and heritage on every plate.

Nile of Hyde Park, Hyde Park

Established in 1991, the speciality of this family owned-restaurant is authentic Palestinian cuisine with flavourful shawarma and falafel wraps. They’re known for their traditional hummus and fresh pita bread.

Eiffel Waffle, Lincoln Park

While they may not offer traditional  Palestinian meals, Eiffel Waffle offers a fusion of Mediterranean flavors. Their unique sweet and savory waffle combinations are inspired by Middle Eastern spices. Do try one of their signatures, Crème de la Crème (Mediterranean sea salt ice cream with whipped cream, bananas, pecans and caramel) if you like the combination of savory and sweet food.

Hala In, Irving Park

A Palestinian-owned spot famous for its aromatic grilled meats, Hala In serves the special succulent kebabs served with fragrant rice and zesty salads.

Old Jerusalem, Gold Coast

Old Jerusalem offers a taste of traditional Palestinian dishes. Their speciality is Musakhan, a flavourful chicken and sumac-infused specialty. They’re also known for their creamy hummus and baba ganoush. 

Cafe 53, Hyde Park

Nestled in the vibrant Hyde Park neighborhood, Cafe 53 serves up an array of Palestinian delights. Their specialty lies in freshly brewed Arab coffee or chai paired with delectable sandwiches that make for a perfect midday treat. 

Yaba’s Food, Logan Square

Yaba’s is known for its authentic Palestinian street food experience. Their falafels and shawarma, packed with bold flavors and served with freshly made sauces, are a must try. 

Sinya Mediterranean, Roscoe Village

While not exclusively Palestinian, Sinya offers Palestinian-inspired dishes such as maqluba, a fragrant rice dish layered with meat and vegetables, reflecting authentic flavors.

Pita Inn (Multiple Locations)

A bit outside Chicago, Pita Inn serves classic Middle Eastern fare, including Palestinian staples like stuffed grape leaves and kebabs.

Sweet Drip, Hyde Park

Sweet Drip is a hidden gem in Hyde Park, offering a fusion of Palestinian flavors in their specialty coffee blends. The aroma of rich Arabic coffee fills the air as patrons enjoy a relaxed atmosphere while indulging in tantalizing pastries that showcase the essence of Palestinian baking traditions.

Rumi Middle Eastern Grill, Wicker Park

In the heart of Wicker Park, Rumi Middle Eastern Grill stands out for its authentic Palestinian cuisine. With an emphasis on bold flavors and traditional recipes, this eatery delivers dishes that transport diners to the streets of Palestine. Their specialty lies in succulent kebabs and flavourful hummus that keep customers coming back for more.

Philz Coffee, Hyde Park

Philz Coffee in Hyde Park caters to diverse tastes, offering a warm ambiance and a variety of coffee blends that include Palestinian-inspired flavors. The welcoming space invites patrons to savor unique brews while enjoying a quiet moment in the bustling city.

Al Bawadi Mediterranean Market, Lombard

Though located slightly outside Chicago, Al Bawadi Mediterranean Market in Lombard boasts an impressive array of Palestinian delights. With over 6,000 4-star reviews on Google, this market stands as a testament to its quality. Offering a diverse selection of Mediterranean ingredients and prepared foods, their specialty lies in authentic spices and seasonings that elevate any Palestinian dish.

Zabaadi, Irving Park

Zabaadi, located in Irving Park, offers a taste of Palestine through its delightful menu. Specializing in Mediterranean flavors, this establishment crafts dishes that capture the essence of Palestinian culinary heritage. Their standout dishes include aromatic shawarma and vibrant salads that showcase the freshness of their ingredients.

Supporting these establishments isn’t just about savoring delectable dishes; it’s not only about indulging in mouth-watering cuisine but also embracing a community, celebrating its vibrant culture, and nurturing connections that extend far beyond the dining table. When you plan your next outing, consider experiencing the rich traditions of Palestine at these remarkable restaurants. Allow yourself to savor and appreciate the essence of Palestine woven into every dish.

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