Taste of the Middle East: Here are Santa Ana's top 5 restaurants to visit now

Photo: Kebab Place/Yelp

In search of a new favorite Middle Eastern spot?

Hoodline crunched the numbers to find the top Middle Eastern eateries around Santa Ana, using both Yelp data and our own secret sauce to produce a ranked list of where to fill the bill.

1. Chicken Maison

Photo: huy t./Yelp

Coming out on top is family-owned and operated Chicken Maison, a local chain that made its debut in 2005 in the city of Torrance, according to its website.

This Middle Eastern spot specializes in rotisserie chicken and kebabs, along with gyros, falafel and tabbouleh salad with chopped parsley, tomatoes, green onions, bulgar, fresh mint, lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. (You can check out the full menu here.)

Located at 3332 S. Bristol St., it is the most popular Middle Eastern restaurant in Santa Ana, boasting 4.5 stars out of 1,764 reviews on Yelp.

Yelper Cynthia T., who reviewed the spot July 24, wrote, "The customer service is as top notch as their food! Got the chicken feast to split with the four of us, and we all left with our stomachs full and happy."

2. Soltani Restaurant
Photo: jenny l./Yelp

Next up is Eastside's Soltani Restaurant, situated at 610 E. First St. With 4.5 stars out of 176 reviews on Yelp, the Persian/Iranian spot has proven to be a local favorite.

On the menu, look for traditional Persian standbys like beef or chicken koobideh kebab served with steamed basmati rice, along with sides like hummus, creamy Persian yogurt and pickled cucumbers.

"The food here was delicious!" shared Yelper Brittney R. "I ordered the ground chicken and beef -- it was filled with flavors and tasted so fresh. The rice was perfectly cooked, and the salad tasted like he just picked the lettuce."

3. Panini Kabob Grill
Photo: todd h./Yelp

Panini Kabob Grill, located at 2810 Main St., inside Main Place Mall, is another top choice, with Yelpers giving the Mediterranean spot four stars out of 468 reviews.

The eatery -- formerly known as the Panini Cafe -- has additional locations situated throughout Southern California, the restaurant sayson its site, and features a wide array of kebabs, panini wraps and more.

Come try specialties such as dolmas (grape leaves) and charbroiled chicken shish kebabs, as well as housemade baklava and banana bread pudding. (You can see the full menu here.)

Yelper Danielle H., who reviewed the spot July 14, wrote, "Love the chicken kebabs, perfectly grilled with tomatoes, onions and bell peppers. As a side, you get to choose from three salads. I usually get the Greek salad and side of basmati rice."

4. DonerG Turkish & Mediterranean Grill
Photo: Loretta C./Yelp

DonerG Turkish & Mediterranean Grill, a Turkish and halal spot, is another go-to, with four stars out of 263 Yelp reviews. Head over to 121 E. Memory Lane, Suite D-3, to see for yourself.

This is a build-your-own-meal establishment, where patrons begin with a choice of base (sandwich, rice, wrap) and then select from a variety of protein options, sauces and additional toppings. (You can view the full menu here.)

"Love this place!" said Yelper Jann B. "I've been here on multiple occasions now and have enjoyed both the food and service every time."

5. Kebab Place
Photo: kebab place/Yelp

Last but not least, there's Kebab Place, which has earned four stars out of 224 reviews on Yelp. You can find the Middle Eastern spot at 306 W. Fourth St., situated in the heart of downtown Santa Ana.

Yelpers praise the restaurant's array of fresh menu offerings and large portions, with a nod to the eatery's gyros, lamb kebabs and Mediterranean breakfast options. (See the menu on Yelp here.)

"Best food I've had in a while -- both me and my girlfriend's plate," shared Yelper Jared P. "I got chicken kebabs and she got a falafel wrap (vegetarian). We tried dolmas and baklava too and, I'm no expert, but absolutely the best I've ever had."
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