Palestinian Restaurant Opens on the Upper East Side

Slow-braised lamb shank (Image: Al Badawi)

We are living in fractious times. Mindful of that, the team behind the recently opened Al Badawi, whose pedigree is Palestinian, reached out to the residents of its Upper East Side neighborhood, many of whom are Jewish, with an olive branch. In a statement on Instagram announcing the restaurant’s soft opening on Nov. 18, they wrote:

[O]ur thoughts turn towards a future where lasting peace and boundless happiness thrive, fostering a peaceful environment where Jewish and Arab communities coexist seamlessly. ❤️
One thing that unites mankind and will continue to unite: FOOD

Indeed the menu of Al Badawi is comprised of many of the same dishes found in Israeli restaurants. (It could hardly be otherwise since the 9.4 million Jews and 4.9 million Palestinians who call Gaza or the West Bank home live side-by-side in a land mass the size of New Jersey.)

Starters include hummus, baba ghanoush, and labneh (aka Greek mezze). Among the main dishes, you will find an assortment of kebabs, and there are grilled whole fish. Ouzi lamb, a dish of the roasted meat mingled with rice heavily perfumed with sweet spices, is also offered.

A second Al Badawi, the original actually, can be found in downtown Brooklyn, and a third is slated to open in Somerville, N.J.

Al Badawi, 1727 Second Avenue (at E. 89th St.).