Several plates filled with Mediterranean food on a table at Safta

Colorado’s Culinary Connection to Egypt

It’s so fun to have a theme night out – and it’s easy to accomplish in Denver, with several cultures in the area to celebrate. If you’re looking to experience Middle Eastern culture, there are many restaurants in the Denver area that serve Egyptian, Middle Eastern, or African cuisine.

At first glance, traditional Egyptian food is what is considered Middle Eastern food with hummus, kebab, flatbreads, and the like. However, true Egyptian food has its own twists. For example, falafels are made of fava beans instead of chickpeas. And there are some Egyptian foods you simply won’t find here such as stuffed pigeon.

Below is a list of Denver area restaurants that serve foods similar to what you might order out when in Cairo, Luxor, or Alexandria. Middle Eastern food always offers vegetarian options, and often vegan choices too.

Several white plates filled with Mediterranean food at Phoenician Kebab in Denver

Photo courtesy of Phoenician Kebab

Phoenician Kabob describes its menu as Mediterranean and that’s a great reminder that Egypt is in fact bordered on one side by the Mediterranean Sea. More specifically, this is Lebanese cuisine that is very similar to the food you might eat in Egypt such as stuffed grape leaves, kabobs, hummus, and falafel. A favorite across the Middle East is the sticky baklava. Try the Fouel Mudammas, a fava bean mixture with spices for your appetizer. Located at 5709 E. Colfax Ave. in Denver.

House of Kabob is also a Mediterranean menu with lamb, chicken, and beef kabobs, rice, tomato and cucumber salad, hummus, dolmas, and baba ganoush. Like many of the Middle Eastern restaurants, House of Kabob has a casual and colorful atmosphere with friendly service. Located at 2246 S. Colorado Blvd. in Denver.

Several plates filled with Mediterranean food on a table at Safta

Photo courtesy of Safta

Safta is maybe Denver’s most upscale Middle Eastern dining option and while their influences come from many countries, they offer a specifically Israeli menu. It’s best to dine here with a group and plan to share dishes like Persian rice, crispy eggplant, or lamb kebabs. The dessert options expand beyond the baklava (and here it includes a mix of walnuts and pistachios), to include Knafeh (kind of a cheesecake in crispy dough), and Halvah Semifreddo (chocolate and Turkish coffee granita). Located in the RiNo neighborhood, at 3330 Brighton Blvd. just north of downtown Denver.

Pita Fresh is fast casual Mediterranean for the late-night eaters with hours until 2am. In addition to Middle Eastern fare on its own, here they have merged some of these flavors with Italian staples so you can try a chicken shawarma pizza or gyros calzone. Located within walking distance of the Denver Performing Arts Complex at 110 16th St. Mall in Denver.

A plate of sesame crusted patties with a side salad at Yahya's Mediterranean Grill

Photo courtesy of Yahya’s Mediterranean Grill

Yahya’s Mediterranean Grill & Pastries has food that comes from Turkey, Iraq, and Syria, but will seem familiar to those who have any Middle Eastern dishes before. For those missing the pigeon, there is a quail appetizer on the menu, alongside the tabbouleh, hummus, kabobs, and falafel. Try the Turkish coffee or tea, or a banana milkshake with honey. Located at 2207 E. Colfax Ave. in Denver.

Ali Baba Grill in Golden (109 N. Rubey Dr.) or Boulder (3054 28th St.) is Lebanese and Mediterranean cuisine with quail, fava beans, and magdoos (spicy eggplant) all on the appetizer menu. They also offer shawarma, gyros, and kabobs. Beverages include Turkish coffee and banana milk.

A plate of stew from African Bar & Grill

Photo courtesy of African Bar & Grill

African Bar & Grill is very different from the Middle Eastern restaurants, but since Egypt is situated on the African continent, it seems worth including this option too. Traditional dishes here are the stews—both with meat or vegetarian—and yam fufu and jollof rice. Located at 955 S. Kipling Pkwy. in Lakewood.