I love to eat when I travel. Whether it is ramen in Tokyo, dumplings in Taipei, schnitzel in Berlin, or poutine in Vancouver. But, no matter the destination, there’s another type of food I love to eat. And, that is Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food. It’s a universal food easily found in any city. If you look around, you will find a restaurant, food cart, stall, or food truck serving a freshly prepared gyro, shawarma, doner kebab, pita wrap, or rice bowl. And, odds are they will be open late, perfect for a meal after a night out.
While Las Vegas isn’t known for their Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine, it doesn’t mean you can’t find it. One of the best places in Las Vegas for Mediterranean food is Istanbul Mediterranean located at the Grand Bazaar Shops on Las Vegas Strip. This food stall is popular for its freshly prepared 100% halal meats that have been marinated for days and seasoned with Turkish herbs and spices. And, since they are open until 5:00AM or 6:00AM, Istanbul Mediterranean will be waiting for you after a night out partying on the Las Vegas Strip.
Looking for more food to try at the Grand Bazaar Shops? Be sure to check out nearby Dirt Dog for their unique, LA-style bacon wrapped hot dogs.If you are looking for more information about Las Vegas, I highly recommend picking up a guidebook such as Fodor's Las Vegas or the Unofficial Guide to Las Vegas 2020.
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Istanbul Mediterranean Menu
Due to its popularity, it’s not uncommon to find a line out front, especially on weekends and in the evenings. Since the small food stall is open until the wee hours of the morning, it has become a popular late night spot for food in Las Vegas. But, the wait is well worth it.
While you are waiting in line, you can view the menu at Istanbul Mediterranean. You can find the menu posted above the counter and on the glass side door.
Ordering was simple. All you had to do was Choose Your:
- Base: Pita Sandwich, Lavash Wrap, Rice Bowl, Veggie Bowl, or Fries Bowl
- Veggies: Lettuce, Tomatoes, Onions, Pickles, Marinated Red Cabbage, Feta Cheese Crumble
- Protein: Chicken, Beef N Lamb, Combo (Chicken, Beef N Lamb), or Falafel
- Sauce: Tzatziki, Hot Sauce (Red Chili), Tahini, House Sauce, Special Seasonal (Iskender)
Other options on the menu included hummus, mozzarella sticks, fries, onion rings, falafel, baklava, and ice cream. Drinks were limited to water, a yogurt drink, and sodas.
I was impressed how all of the sauces were made fresh daily in-house. This wasn’t something I would expect at a small food stall on the Las Vegas Strip.
Sauce choices included:
- House: Mayonnaise mixed with tomato, parsley, and Turkish herbs & spices
- Tzatziki: Creamy sauce of yogurt mixed with shredded cucumber and garlic
- Red Chili : Spicy blend of chili seeds, garlic, and salt
- Tahini: Sesame seed paste with lemon
- Seasonal: Tomato and butter sauce
The process to order was similar to a Subway sandwich shop. Just let the workers know which item you would like along with the proteins, veggies, and sauces to add to your item. It will then be made fresh in front of you.
While there was no dedicated seating area, you can find tables scattered around the Grand Bazaar Shops. Better yet, take your food and walk across the street to the Bellagio where you can eat and watch the fountain show.
Combo Pita Sandwich
The most crucial part of the Combo Pita Sandwich ($11.96) was the pita bread. Too often, pita bread can be dry, but this wasn’t the case. The fresh pita bread, soft and chewy in texture, held up to the last bite without falling apart, even with meat, veggies, and sauces piled on top.
As an indecisive person, especially when it comes to food, I appreciated the option to select a combination of chicken, beef, and lamb. No matter what you choose, the meat will be 100% halal, marinated for days, and seasoned with Turkish herbs and spices.
I was surprised by the amount of chicken stuffed into the sandwich. I enjoyed the different flavors and textures between the charred bits of smoky, crispy chicken and chunks of tender, moist chicken. On the other hand, I found the beef and lamb to be quite similar in flavor and texture. Both meats were tender with a rich, salty flavor. The lamb had a distinct gamey flavor that could be too strong for some.
For my sandwich, I ordered all the veggies. This included lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, marinated red cabbage, and a feta cheese crumble. The lettuce was both tender and crunchy while the tomatoes were sweet and tart. Sliced onions added a sharp, crunchy bite. The crispy pickles, bright marinated red cabbage, and feta cheese crumble added a saltiness to each bite.
As for sauces, I kept it simple with creamy and crunchy tzatziki and red chili. The refreshing tzatziki and spicy red chili, drizzled over the meat and veggies, complemented each other well.
The combination of flavors, textures, and colors between the proteins, veggies, and sauces, along with the soft, pillowy, pita bread, made the combo pita sandwich a great option.
The service at Istanbul Mediterranean was friendly yet efficient. While there was a line, it moved quickly thanks to the hard working staff taking orders, preparing food, and taking payments. Just be patient, especially on weekends and at night.
If you are looking for Mediterranean or Middle Eastern food on the Las Vegas Strip, including pita wraps, lavash wraps, and rice bowls, then Istanbul Mediterranean is a great choice. While you can often find a line out front, the wait is worth it for the freshly prepared food. With its central location and late night hours, I will find myself returning to Istanbul Mediterranean on my next visit to Las Vegas.
- Meat marinated for days and seasoned with Turkish herbs and spices
- Homemade sauces
- Fresh vegetables
- Open late
- Often a line, especially at night
- No dedicated seating area
3615 S Las Vegas Blvd #101, Las Vegas, NV 89109
GPS Coordinates: 36.11441,-115.17226