Manakeesh Cafe is a University City joint that bills itself as lebanese fusion. I don’t care what it is, I just know that it’s awesome and cheap. On 45th and Walnut, it occupies a beautiful building with ridiculously high ceilings, and a little bit of outdoor dining space. There’s flatbreads, appetizers, coffees, and lots of desserts. And it’s now one of my favorite places in Philly. The hummus is served with piping warm pita. There’s a whole lot of it!
This is one of the manakeesh, where their name comes from. It’s a lebanese flatbread, baked in an open flame oven, and topped with whatever suits your fancy. This particular one was the lahm bajeen, a mix of ground lamb, tomato, and spices. While the coloring was a little disturbing and raw looking, it was indeed cooked, and indeed super tasty. It doesn’t even taste super lamb-y, as I don’t typically care for lamb. But I thought this was excellent. Lamb on pizza – do try it!
We also got the honey manakeesh. I suppose this is more of a dessert one, as it had sweet cream and was drizzled with raw honey. This was rolled up and warm, and damn, it really hit the sweet spot. It would be a perfect replacement for a bagel and cream cheese in the mornings.
At Manakeesh Cafe, they have an impressive display of middle eastern sweets. Not sure what to get, I asked the guy at the register to pick out a couple of baklava for us. I told him that I trusted him. So we ended up with two pieces of this flaky, super sweet, honey-laden treat. His picks were perfect. 
We also got an adorable Turkish Coffee and one of their many fancy coffee drinks. This was the Caffe Beirut, a latte with caramel and hazelnut. It was as good as I thought it would be. It’s a nice casual spot where you put in your order and you get a number. Then they bring your food out to you. If this was in center city, I’d be there all the time! 
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One Response to

  1. I’ve heard great things about this place, thanks for the review! Perhaps now I’ll get off my South Philly ass and trek over to West Philly for these goodies… that baklava looks really, really delicious!

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