Mediterranean Madness: The Search for KC’s Best Middle Eastern Food

Mediterranean Madness: The Search for KC’s Best Middle Eastern Food

Kansas City is filled with amazing Mediterranean restaurants, but the question is, which one is the best? As a certified foodie, I felt it necessary to try some of the most talked-about and popular Middle Eastern restaurants in KC to find out once and for all: Who does it best?

I traveled around the city with my food partner-in-crime, Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy (HBHA) senior, Illy Hammer, to sample some of the best falafel and hummus. We went to Sinbad’s Grill, Amir Mediterranean Grill and Bakery, Hummus and Pita, and Baba’s Pantry. Here are the definitive rankings of the best falafel and hummus in Kansas City:

Both the impossibly crispy falafel and beautifully smooth hummus were exceptional at Hummus and Pita. Image by Annie Fingersh.


#1: Hummus and Pita, 8039 Santa Fe Dr, Overland Park, KS

The patio was crowded on a beautiful fall day, and upon walking into the restaurant, I was greeted by the smell of roasted garlic and delicious spices. The casual dining experience only added to the laid-back vibe the restaurant had. After receiving the food quickly, the falafel was served piping hot and was the ideal two-bite size. It was perfectly greaseless, a feat hard to achieve with such a crispy exterior; one you could truly hear the ‘crunch’ of when you bit in. Just the right amount of falling apart in your mouth, but not too much that the structure was impaired. Garlicky and herb-y boldness were accompanied by a texture as light and soft as souffle.

Their hummus was the perfect complement to the ethereal falafel: it was as smooth as butter, and Hammer said that she could “eat it like pudding.” The perfect medley of acidity and tahini in the hummus was matched with a wonderfully spicy chutney-like substance in the center of the dish. When eaten with warm, grilled pita bread, the flavors melded together in a transportive way. Without even noticing, Hammer and I had suddenly eaten the whole container of hummus with spoons, just like pudding. So, if you’re looking for truly some of the best hummus and falafel in Kansas City, go to Hummus and Pita.

The hummus at Amir had a pure quality to it, and the flavor of the chickpeas was a great complement to the spices. Image by Annie Fingersh.











#2: Amir Mediterranean Grill and Bakery, 8216 Metcalf Ave, Overland Park, KS

The storefront is small and unassuming, but the food houses big flavors and textures, indicative of classic, basic, Mediterranean food. Service at Amir’s was not the quickest, but Hammer and I were given delicious baklava while we waited. Amir’s hummus was a much different style than Hummus and Pita’s, it was pure and unadulterated of many spices and tahini; the flavor of the chickpeas were prominently displayed. While not as smooth as Hummus and Pita’s, the texture of the hummus was a good medium (in between ultra-smooth and chunky). It was served with spiced whole chickpeas, olive oil, and cucumber and tomato slices, which all complemented the flavor of the hummus. Their falafel was a one-biter, but fell apart perfectly and was steaming hot; Just as crispy as Hummus and Pita’s, but not quite as greaseless, giving Amir’s solid standing as the second best falafel and hummus in Kansas City.


While the sumac onions in the falafel had a great flavor and texture, overall, the falafel was not as ethereal as I expected. Image by Annie Fingersh.











#3: Baba’s Pantry, 1019 E 63rd St, Kansas City, MO

As one of Bon Appetit’s 50 best new restaurants in the U.S., I was expecting more from Baba’s Pantry. The first time I went there, I was greeted by a 40-minute wait, so, the next time, I ordered over the phone to beat the crowd. While the hummus had a great consistency, impossibly smooth and thick, it was clear why the texture was so: one of the prominent flavors was the olive oil used for that beautiful mouth-feel. The flavor of the olive oil overpowered the other subtle notes of the hummus, such as the mild acidity and minimal tahini. However, it was served with delicious pickled cucumbers and radishes, more olive oil on top, and chives. Baba’s falafel was nicely crisp, and the breading was a little chunky, which I enjoyed. It was stuffed with sumac onions, and this unique addition greatly improved the falafel. As for the flavors of the falafel itself, they were not as bold as I would have liked; I wanted more spices and garlic to go along with the delicious onions and crisp exterior. Overall, I was left wanting more from Baba’s.


Both the falafel and hummus had room to improve, but still, Sinbad’s produced a solid contender. Image by Annie Fingersh.

#4: Sinbad’s Grill, 7002 W 83rd St, Overland Park, KS

Sinbad’s Grill, while slightly deserted, still took a good amount of time to make the food. Sinbad’s falafel was crispy, but a little greasy. The texture was chewy in a way that I did not love, compared to the soft, falling-apart texture of the other falafels we tasted. However, the flavors were on point and had the perfect amount of garlic and spices. The hummus had a good mouthfeel, but was reminiscent of Baba’s hummus: not much flavor beyond olive oil and chickpeas. It had a good amount of tahini, but could have used more acidity to cut the richness. Sinbad’s Grill was decent, but not even on the same level as some of the other wonderful spots mentioned above.


While I enjoyed all of these Middle Eastern escapades, Hummus and Pita stands in a league of its own. So, the next time you’re craving some top-notch falafel and hummus, head on over!


This story was published in RampageWired on Nov. 20, 2022.