WHERE TO EAT
If you’re a fan of Middle Eastern food, you should book a reservation here immediately. Even if you’re not a fan of Middle Eastern food, now you will be. Conveniently located in Capitol Hill, after you’re done with vintage shopping in the neighborhood or after galavanting around downtown, this is an easy ride – or even walk – away. While this is not exclusively a vegetarian or vegan restaurant, unlike many other restaurants that say they have “options”, Mamnoon really does. You’ll find the most options within the small plates menu but there’s plenty to go around. The fatteh falafel is one of the best we’ve ever tried, the shamandar bi tahini (beet tahini) is a beautiful mix of savory and sweet, and the arnabeit makli (fried cauliflower) is not fried but has a similar crispy texture and is topped with a light tarrator (tahini). The ash reshteh (lentil/herb stew) made with housemade noodles is so well-balanced and flavorful without being overpowering. You’ll be trying to figure out a way to take this home…somehow. For lovers of sweet treats, don’t skip out on the sambusek (apple dumplings).
Pair your meal with one of their exquisite cocktails or mocktails. We recommend the mamnoon mule (with a ginger beer base) or the mocktail no.2 (cucumber, cilantro, mint, soda). It’s like an evening green juice!
Lovers of reality TV will love that Top Chef contestant Chef Jason Stratton became the general manager and executive chef of mamnoon in the last year. The merge of his Italian cooking experience with owners, Wassef and Racha Haroun’s Syrian and Lebanese backgrounds make an absolutely unforgettable menu of both familiar and unfamiliar authentic dishes. If you’re lucky, Stratton might come by your table. Both him and the owners are very kind people so don’t be shy.
If you don’t have time to head to mamnoon, you can also check out their other locations: anar is a vegetarian juice and casual cafe, and mamnoon street is open for business in Amazon’s new Doppler building.
2017 UPDATE AT MAMNOON
In October 2016, the role of executive chef was passed on to the restaurant’s pastry chef and former Top Chef contestant, Carrie Mashaney. The menu is now even MORE friendly to vegans and vegetarians!
The Dolmeh is not too sweet or sour, a perfect starter for your meal. The barberries add a tart cherry-like contrast to the acidic onion and creamy yogurt sauce. (Want to make it vegan? Ask for no yogurt.)
The platter of spreads is an incredible vegan starter. Ingredients such as chickpeas, walnuts, beets, garlic, eggplant, and pomegranate grace this beautiful plate.
The salatet bulgur is an ideal grain to use as a base for the creamier and spicier dishes that you’d order later on. With the fennel and cucumber, it’s almost like a palate cleanser. (Want to make it vegan? Ask for no feta.)
The Mujadara is the only vegetarian entree — luckily it’s fantastic — but you can easily make it vegan by asking for no yogurt.
Finish off your meal with a light, creamy, and vibrant pink Rhubarb Sorbet!
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