small dish in the cuisine of the Near East and Balkans

Meze or mezze 'to taste',[1][2][3] is the name for a number of small dishes or appetizers served before a meal, often with a drink. The food is common in the Eastern Mediterranean. Drinks include anise-flavored liqueurs, such as arak, ouzo, raki or different wines. These dishes are similar to the tapas of Spain or finger food.

A spread of meze in Jordan

In Levantine cuisines and in the Caucasus region (especially in Armenia and Georgia), these dishes are served as a part of any large-scale meal.[4] Not accompanied by alcohol, meze is known in the Arab world as muqabbilat (Arabic for "starters").


  1. Oxford English Dictionary, Draft Revision Dec. 2008
  2. Merriam-Webster Online - definition of meze
  3. (Arabic, مَزة, Greek mezé (μεζέ), Bulgarian мезé mezé, Macedonian мéзе méze, from Turkish meze, all from Persian maze (مزه) 'taste, snack' < mazīdan
  4. Alan Davidson, The Oxford Companion to Food, Oxford University Press, 1999, pp. 500-501.