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Semra’s Mediterranean Grill

/ Updated on October 25, 2020

Semra and John Tekmen have a long history here at the beach. John owned and operated several hotels and motels in Dewey Beach and Fenwick Island, while Semra, in John's words, was a “professional housewife for 19 years. Her cooking,” he continues, “she learned from her mother, who is very organized and precise.” Sounds like a good foundation for a restaurateur! Semra's Turkish/Middle Eastern cooking was known far and wide, and they thought it might be the perfect addition to the ocean block of Rehoboth Avenue. People have discovered this place, and they are  busy most every evening.

Several remodels have brought a much more cozy atmosphere to Semra's. GONE are the fluorescent lights — replaced with attractive Middle-Eastern-flavored chandeliers. GONE are the old Seaside Thai booths — replaced with a classy design that invites you to plop yourself down and order some babaghanouj with warm pita and a Turkish tea. This place is a hidden gem if there ever was one.

The traditional gyro sandwich starts with either seasoned chicken or a seasoned beef/lamb combination that slowly rotates on a vertical spit. The meat bastes itself, browning on the outside as it rotates. When it comes time to make a gyro, a special tool is used to cut long strips of the meat into a specially designed skillet. The meat is then either sautéed/seared or transferred directly to a fluffy pita round with lettuce, tomato, onions (optional) and creamy tzatziki.

Though there are some good gyro places here in Rehoboth, Semra's is one of two that use the vertical spit (the other one is Gus & Gus' Place). They have two machines up by the front window, one with the beef/lamb and the other with the chicken.

Tzatziki is the other critical element of the gyro (when you see it in the gallery, it's messy because I ordered extra tzatziki). There are just a few places here in Rehoboth Beach that make their own tzatziki. They are all good, and each one is different. I like Semra's because it's loaded with tiny chunks of cool cucumber — AND, Semra makes her own yogurt there in-house. It's tart and fresh tasting. I always ask for extra, of course….

The gyro meat is also available as a platter with pita and  two sides of your choice. Get the Iskender Platter! It's gyro meat kicked up to new heights with a light, spicy marinara.

Semra also whips up a delicious, and yes again, mild, hummus and also occasionally makes a red pepper hummus. It tastes like the regular thing with a little pimiento-ish kick.

A Greek salad tops the list of light bites, along with Spanakopita (they call it spinach pie) and a Feta Pie: Kind of a Greek/Turkish pizza with feta and parsley. The average price of the mains is around $9, with appetizers averaging $4.75.

Another of Semra's veggie sides reminded me of a dish my mother used to make when I was but a tiny Foodlette. It was called kousa; basically yellow squash stuffed with rice, spices and sometimes ground lamb in a tomato base. Semra's version is deconstructed, and eggplant is subbed for squash. It is lightly spiced and delicious.

Semra's Mediterranean Grill also features lots of authentic Middle-Eastern desserts, including freshly made-right-before-your-eyes Loukoumades. Don't be intimidated. They are wonderful little donuts.

Cheesesteak wraps and shish-kabobs round out the menu.

UPDATE: As Semra's continues to enjoy more and more popularity, they now feature belly dancing shows there at the restaurant, held approximately once a month, and they are lots of fun. At first, it was a prix fixe single dish, but I think that you can now order from the regular menu. Now that they have their liquor license, it makes for a wonderful evening of fun. Semra's husband John continues to upgrade the decidedly carryout look of the place with new booths, lighting, wall hangings, etc. New items on the menu include traditional Turkish comfort food for the winter, plus such special goodies as that cheesesteak wrap with a Turkish accent. It's delicious, by the way….

Y'know, just because you're in Rehoboth Beach doesn't mean it always has to be about pizza and hot dogs (not that there's anything wrong with that!). Break out of your rut and give Semra's Mediterranean Grill a try. I suggest a gyro sandwich (both the chicken and the beef/lamb are tasty — or sub chicken souvlaki for the gyro meat) with a side of red pepper salad and maybe some red pepper hummus. And don't miss their homemade babaghanouj. It's perfect with warm pita triangles.

For dessert? Get one of each. Eat the baklava there, and take the rest home to nibble during Mad Men reruns.

By the way, they sell fresh lemonade and funnel cakes. Just sayin'….

Check out their menu here.

Semra's is at 19 Rehoboth Avenue, where Seaside Thai used to be (and if you are of a certain age, you might remember the Country Squire). They are open 7 days in-season. Call them for more details (or carryout) at 302-226-GYRO (4976). They are open for breakfast too. (B., L., D.) Price range: Inexpensive -.

Off-season Specials & Hours

Specials & Moods change quickly. Always call a restaurant first.

pp = per person.
BOGO = buy one, get one.
Bloody = bloody mary.
domestics = American-made beers (e.g., Bud).
imports = foreign beers (e.g., Heineken).
Rails = non call-brand alcohol.
Prix Fixe = one set price.
Mains = entrees.
Margs = margaritas.
Chix = chicken.
AYCE = all you can eat.
Lite = Miller Lite
drafts = draught beer.
Early Birds = arrive before a certain time.
Apps = Appetizers.
bottles = beer in a bottle.
à la carte = order off the menu (no prix fixe).
crafts = micro/artisanal brews (e.g., Old Leghumper Lager)

19 Rehoboth Ave.
302-226-GYRO (4976)

Open 11-9:30
Open 11-9:30
Open 11-9:30
Open 11-9:30
Open 11-9:30
Open 11-9:30
Open 11-9:30
The Rehoboth Foodie

About the Author

"My goal is to promote Rehoboth Beach dining while remaining honest and impartial. I don’t gush unless a place deserves it, and I don’t pull punches, either. With so many good places to eat around here, it just doesn’t make sense to waste the calories — or the money — on anything less." View all articles written by The Rehoboth Foodie

Add Your Comment
  1. Avatar Elizabeth Snyder says:

    A Happy Hour magazine use to be published, could you do that again? It was awesome for those times it worked out! Thanks Betts

    • The Rehoboth Foodie The Rehoboth Foodie says:

      Thanks for your note. We are hoping to resume the happy hour/specials list as soon as we can rely on the restaurants to have more consistent hours, etc.
      I’d rather not do it at all than post incorrect info.
      Thanks again. We’re working on it!

  2. Avatar Sandy says:

    Semra’s is one of my favorite restaurants in Rehoboth Beach……the food is outstanding, the service impeccable.

  3. Avatar Caitlin says:

    We LOVE this little gem, not so hidden anymore, thanks to the Foodie’s reviews and the authentic Middle Eastern food. When we first moved to the beach full time four years ago, we were starved for real ethnic food. Semra’s fits the bill with their Schwarma and everything made in-house. My brother-in-law is Syrian and makes the best kibbehs (lamb kabobs) and Semra’s version is every bit as authentic. This is ethnic comfort food at its best. At the beach no less! Thank you, Semra and John!
    Now if someone would only open a real Indian and Vietnamese restaurant!

  4. Avatar Thierry Langer says:

    John and Samra are my neighbors. They are as sweet people as their cuisine is delicious My wife Nathalie who has always been a great fan of Lebanese cuisine in our native country ( France ) was thrilled when she discovered their place across the street from us !

  5. Avatar Karen Aszman says:

    Rehoboth Foodie’s comment about a hidden gem is spot on. We love this place. My family lived in the Middle East for 3 years and thought we’d never get another shwarma (gyro) like we had when we lived there. This is the real thing! The sauce is what makes a good gyro and their sauce is authentic. Everything on the menu is delicious and truly the best Middle Eastern/Mediterranean food we’ve found anywhere in the US and believe me, we searched far and wide. When my son is in town he stops by the window and picks up a gyro to go but we love dining there as well. Rehoboth needs more ethnic foods and Semra’s fills the bill.

  6. Avatar Mike Brown says:

    My wife and I ate here last night for the fist time. We really liked it. I had the mousaka. It was very good. The spices were perfect. We will definitely be back and bring friends.

  7. Avatar chrisk says:

    Based on Foodie’s review we had dinner there tonite. My husband and I both thought it was some of the best food in town. We tried a lot of the sides including the hummus, everything including the chicken gyros was great. Highly recommend!

  8. Avatar demattman says:

    My gyro was on the light side, too, and with a $4.00 lemonade! The place across and up the street with the orange awning is a better bet.

    • Avatar Rob says:

      I strongly agree – the orange awning place (guess we cant name it here?) has a great MIXTURE of MODERN food. i like many things at Semra’s but for Gyro, i go to the orange awning

  9. Avatar Delcrab says:

    We had a similar experience. Our gyros had very little meat with not much flavour and it was shaved off the spit in tiny bits instead of nice chunks or long strips. Also, there was only about a teaspoon of tzatziki added. It was perhaps the first gyro I have eaten where nothing fell from the pita onto the plate and there was no tzatziki running down my arm, so I too was disappointed. I want to see Semra’s succeed, so I hope the gyros improve.

  10. Avatar Todd B says:

    Loved the chicken gyros. Perfectly spiced. Agree the white sauce needs more personality (garlic? mint?). And the rice is really good. A friendly place.

  11. Avatar Sarah says:

    I was disappointed in the lamb/beef gyro. The meat was not cut in long strips as described, but in tiny minced pieces that had almost no flavor. Also, as mentioned the taste is on the bland side, and the lack of feta cheese, which is served on other gyros in the area, is a definite disappointment

  12. Avatar Hoyte says:

    Really authentic cuisine. Every item on every plate was delicious. However, the check for two lunches was pricey! I will go back.

  13. Avatar Leslie says:

    We’ve been to Semra’s twice. First had the lamb and beef gyro – the best I’ve had. This past Sunday I had the lamb shish-ka-bob sandwich and it was also very good. The staff has been over the top friendly and helpful. Hope more people go there for some great food, and keep this place going!

  14. Avatar Billy B says:

    When we were there there was only one rotisserie. You picture looks like they have another one. It will be nice to choose between the beef/lamb and the chicken now. Love the tzaziki and the rice.

  15. Avatar T&T says:

    We love the chicken gyro. It’s moist and flavorful when it’s cut off the rotisserie.
    Can’t believe you mentioned the red pepper hummus. We can’t get enough of it.
    We’re glad foodie got around to finally telling everybody about this place.
    What they lack in decor they make up for in food.

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