Friday, July 19, 2013

Mamnoon: A Hip Middle East Experience in Seattle!

I have said this many times, our trip to Jordan and Israel/Palestine last year opened my heart and mind to the people, culture and food of the Middle East. So when I read about Mamnoon, a Middle Eastern restaurant in one of Seattle's hippest neighborhoods, and a friend urged me to go there saying "you and Geoff will LOVE it!" I couldn't wait to try it. We went for date night a couple of months ago and we had a fantastic experience.

Mamnoon, which means “grateful” or “thankful” in Arabic, is unlike anything we experienced in the Middle East. It's hip and cool and modern. The hummus, za'atar and flatbreads mustered up memories from our trip, but overall everything was presented with a lot more flair than what we experienced in the Middle East. But it did not disappoint at all. In fact, it was a really wonderful experience. I can't wait to go back.

Here I share some of the highlights from our experience.

First off, the cocktail menu is amazing featuring 10 signature cocktails simply named No. 1 - No. 10. Observant Muslims refrain from drinking alcohol, so the cocktail menu was our first hint that this was going to be a non-traditional Middle East experience. Again, we were delighted, not disappointed!

I ordered No. 10: prosecco, pomegranate syrup and rose water. It was simply divine, with a lovely perfume aroma and fresh taste.

We had a hard time deciding what to order because everything on the menu made our mouths water. We started with a couple of traditional mezzes (small plates) and flatbread.

Instead of the "regular" hummus, we "splurged" on the fatteh hummus, which my husband proclaimed was so good he wanted to cry! It's a creamier version of regular hummus made with fresh chickpeas and green garlic yogurt. I highly recommend it.

For our main course, we landed on the rubyan (marinated prawns) and tenderloin kebab. Both were very, very good.

I couldn't resist taking pictures of some of the artful touches, including these colorful glass chandeliers and a few other cheeky items!

To top it off, Mamnoon has their very own special edition glassybaby that benefits Syrian refugee relief.


In addition to the beautifully designed restaurant, superb service and delicious food, one of the highlights of our evening was meeting the owner on our way out. Racha Haroun (pictured with me below) and her husband, Wassef, are from Syria. The article I read in The Seattle Times says "their hope is that Mamnoon brings to the city a sense of modern Middle Eastern culture, something beyond the headlines and the suspicion that have permeated the United States for so many years."

Run don't walk to Mamnoon for a hip Middle East experience right here in Seattle!

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