|bar at Zaytoon Mediterranean Restaurant & Bar in Albany, California|
The menu here presents Levantine eastern Mediterranean cuisine and Jerusalem street food, and everything is made from scratch. Clean lines, high ceilings and a Middle Eastern vibe define the decor. For a starter I enjoyed the mezze platter, which provides a sampling of the goods--super-smooth hummus, rustic chopped baba ghannouj, tabouli, eggplant salad, and crispy falafel. We paired the starter with the kefta ground beef and lamb kebabs and would have welcomed way more of the accompanying mint-jalapeno sauce. There are quite a few dishes on the interesting menu that I will return to try. They include the traditional Arabic cheese and Musakhan rolls of chicken and sumack rolled in borek dough; the fattoush salad with romaine lettuce, crispy pital, and radishes; the traditional maklouba rice dish that is served upside down with vegetables, pine nuts, and chicken or lamb; and samakeh--pan-fried fish with potatoes. I also hear the moussaka is excellent. We paired our two shared items with delicious cocktails and were good to go. I sipped A Second Date (rum-date syrup, flower water, walnut bitters, orange oil) presented iceless in a stemmed glass, while my date enjoyed a Habibi (bourbon, amaretto, allspice dram, tahini, honey) served over ice in a highball glass. International wines, draft beers, and non-alcoholic fresh-squeezed mint lemonade are also options. The unusual desserts include a crumbled baklava sundae with ice cream and caramel, and a tahini sundae with date syrup and halvah--both of which pair well with Yemeni Senaai coffee or Moroccan mint black tea.
|colorful dining room at Zaytoon Mediterranean Restaurant & Bar in Albany, California|
|mezze platter and cocktails at Zaytoon Mediterranean Restaurant & Bar in Albany, California|
|kebab plate at Zaytoon Mediterranean Restaurant & Bar in Albany, California|
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images ©2019 Carole Terwilliger Meyers