In Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood there are restaurants featuring seemingly every culture and cuisine. My husband and I had tickets to go see Aladdin at the nearby Paramount Theatre. While Disney's Aladdin takes place in the fictional city of Agrabah, the original stories are from the collection of Middle Eastern folk tales called One Thousand and One Nights, which is referred to more commonly in English as Arabian Nights. We were searching for a Middle Eastern restaurant to fit the the setting of the show and found one within walking distance of the theatre.
We'd driven past Mamnoon restaurant dozens of times and were excited to learn that they specialize in a "modern union of Middle eastern Cuisines." We love to try different foods but still scanned the menu at mamnoon to make sure find something we'd like before deciding to visit. We were excited to dishes we know of and love, plus many interesting things we'd never heard of or eaten before. We were sold, even before realizing that their daily happy hour from 4 - 6 pm fit our schedule perfectly before the 6:30 pm show start time.
Everything we ate at Mamnoon was so good and nothing was too far out of our comfort zone. We started with familiar items - two small appetizers of hummus made with chickpea, tahini, lemon, garlic, and Aleppo pepper and marinated olives with orange, coriander, and bay leaf. Each one cost only $3 and pita bread was served alongside our small plates.
The hummus was super smooth and filled with flavor. The olives tasted wonderfully buttery and came in 3 of 4 different colors. However, the pita bread was the star of the show. We watched in awe while the cook pushed the pita bread dough through two different vertical rollers to flatten it before baking. It was so thin and soft and perfect for shoveling both hummus and olives into my face.
We ventured into the unknown with man'oushe, which is essentially a flatbread used for topping similar to a pizza. Of course the toppings are where things begin to get interesting.
My husband had had the lam bi amine man'oushe which was topped with spicy ground lamb, pomegranate molasses, and fresh herbs. My husband liked how thin the pita and layer of lamb meat were and enjoyed the fresh parsley and mint, but found that it wasn't spicy at all.
My jibneh man'oushe was topped with two types of cheese: akawi and caciocavallo (I didn't know of them but, hey, I love cheese), plus green olives, pickled turnips, chunks of fresh tomato, and fresh parsley & mint. This was my favorite of all of our savory dishes! The melty cheeses, salty olives, pickled veggies, and fresh herbs are just my style and I loved every bite of the combination of flavors and textures.
The small plate in the middle contains of our favorites, falafel, which are fried chickpea fritters topped with garlic yogurt and served over a bed of cabbage. These were better than most we've had before.
Now the happy hour menu doesn't include dessert but that wouldn't stop us. We were pretty full from our 5 previous options but saved just enough room for a piece of the baklawa made of pistachio and walnut with orange blossom water. It was the very best baklava we've ever had, and we've eaten our fair share!
It was flaky and nutty and sticky, just like you'd expect. It must be the orange blossom water or a magic spell that make it better than all of the rest of the other baklava.
Our Middle Eastern meal exceeded our expectations and the production of Aladdin was great.
It feels like we should be going out for nights like this more often, trying new cuisines and watching live theater without waiting for a Genie in a lamp to make our wishes come true!
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Hello, I'm Angela.
Figs and Flights is all about traveling near and far & eating great food both at home and away.
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