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Anar's juice. From left to right; anar, refresh, yellow no. 5, and green. (Image: anar)

Seattle's Best Middle Eastern Cuisine

With warm flatbreads and char-grilled meats, house-made hummus and pepper-spiked dips, Seattle’s best Middle Eastern food pulls in the signature dishes from around the region. We’ve put together a list of our favorites—with notes on what to order and why—so you can find the flavor of Lebanon, Israel, Syria, and the rest of the Middle East right here in the Northwest.

Café Munir
Tucked away in the Loyal Heights area of Ballard, this gem of a Lebanese restaurant stays cozy and intimate. The sizzling lamb hummus and chicken skewers lead the menu and are must-orders, but it’s equally fun to fill the table with a selection of the small plates, which feature seasonal vegetables. The drinks list shows off the chef’s passion for whiskey and also includes plenty of the traditional Lebanese spirit, arak.

Eggs and Plants
This Israeli street food shop in Belltown offers more than meets the eye: beyond the counter is a seating area that looks in on a glass-blowing studio, where you can get a little art with your date smoothie. The food incorporates many of the same things you’d find in a Jersusalem market: Iraqi-style eggplant sandwiches called sabich, Yemeni flaky flatbread called malawach, and, of course, falafel. It’s all vegetarian, but nobody’s going to miss the meat in these hearty dishes.

Byblos
The Lebanese deli side of the Middle Eastern food shop offers cooked-to-order flatbreads that are hard to find elsewhere in town, like two different styles of lahmajune (chopped meat on a thin round of bread). They also serve a rich assortment of apps and dips, including some of the best hummus in town. Stop in on Sundays for the cheesy dessert knafeh, and pick up supplies to make your own Middle Eastern food from the shop side.

Mamnoon
By far the fanciest of Seattle’s Middle Eastern restaurants, this one comes from Syrian owners, but covers the entire region. The oven at the front works overtime to produce fresh, hot bread throughout the day and night. Though the setting and the service is high-end, most of the dishes stick to classic flavors and styles.

Anar
Mamnoon’s much smaller, more casual sibling, this vegetarian juice shop holds much more than it gets credit for. Even when its South Lake Union neighbors have lines out the door, this adorable café seems forgotten—which is too bad, given the wealth of excellent dishes, such as the mujadara, with lentils and brown rice, or the cracked freekeh tabbouleh.

Man’oushe Express
Once a counter inside Goodies, this flatbread shop is now its own take-out window and patio on top of the Middle Eastern market. As the name implies, it specializes in manaeesh (plural of man’oushe), or flatbreads topped with meat, cheese, and herbs. Cheese versions—like the flayfleh and cheese (hot pepper and caramelized onion)—are reminiscent of pizza, while others show off the unique dimpled tops of the flatbread which create pockets of toppings like za’atar (an herb mix).

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