Mamnoon brings a fresh take on Middle Eastern food to Capitol Hill

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Manou’she jibneh wi zaatar aka pita with cheese, spices and mint. (Photo courtesy Mamnoon)

Step off Melrose Street and into Mamnoon, and you could just as well be in the trendy Gemmayzeh neighborhood of Beirut as on Capitol Hill.

Mamnoon brings a hipness and class to Seattle’s sometimes tired fine Lebanese/ Syrian dining scene. They’ve got a focus on the “mezze” small plate approach and, most importantly, bread fresh-out-the-oven.

Yes, you read that correctly: Home. Made. Pita.

Bread-loving Seattleites have been waiting for this for a long time.

Okay even the warmest, most tender pita bread has its limits. But used appropriately to scoop lemon tanged tabbouleh or to sop-up some of the garlic yogurt sauce accompanying tender eggplant, it made me smile.

Mamnoon offers flavors not enjoyed in the city since Mediterranean Kitchen gave up their Queen Anne location a few years back (there’s now a lesser Mediterranean Kitchen on Boren).

Freshly baked pita emerges from the ovens. (Photo courtesy Mamnoon)

The restaurant also boasts a takeout window for sweets and Manoush, a tasty baked pita fold-over often with Zatar (sesame thyme spice) or Lubne (cheese), ubiquitous in street side bakeries of Beirut, but yet unseen in Seattle in my casual pursuit.

Although it’s an eye popping $7, they’re open late and provide an alternative to burgers or pizza for those taking a break from nearby nightclubs and bars.

Mamnoon also offers some original cocktails and four types of Arak, a middle-eastern standard, served with water and ice.

Across from the innovative Melrose Market, Mamnoon is also in a refurbished space built green. It certainly feels intentional, intimate and at the same time lively.

Built for a sophisticated crowd, it’s a family business, the type where the couple owning it greets you before and after your meal and may even send you home with a pack of pita for the road.

 

For a closer look at the city that inspired this delicious food, check out Postcards from Beirut: An illustrated tour of a hip destination with a bad reputation.

Deric Gruen is a Seattle native who has traveled the globe on two legs, two wheels and uncounted barrels of oil. Deric works to offset his travel emissions leading the sustainability intiatives at Bellevue College. Deric founded Critical Mass Beirut, interned in Caribbean Affairs in the other Washington, volunteered in community development in Rio de Janeiro and assisted international delegations as a specialist for the Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Deric, i will definately try Mamnoon, the melrose market is a great place, however just so you know, Harissa on northeast 65th in ravenna has been serving only fresh made to order pita at their restaurant for over two years, it is authentic and you will enjoy it.

  2. I’m currently in Pune, India trying to shorten my Seattle winter, but a visit to Mamnoon and Harissa will give me something to look forward to when I’m back.

    Love the Postcards from Beirut site. In 2010, I managed to rent a Cessna 172 from the Lebanese Aero Club and fly it around Beirut for 45 mins….something unthinkable when I previously spent time in Beirut in the 1980s and the airport was hardly even open.

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