My discoveries around Bucharest continued and it was time to visit Zaitoone, a Lebanese restaurant that they say is the best in town.
Zaitoone has been open for two years, serving a wide selection of Lebanese Mezze. Shisha, a simple menu, sadly, like all the restaurants I've been to until now, the waiters are sad and don't smile.
Soups, salads, appetizers, hot appetizers, raw meat called tartar, things from the grill, fish and seafood, side dishes and desserts. Labneh, lahme beajine, hummus, Makdous, makanek, ras asfour, shawarma, sambousik, kebbeh and much more, the menu is full.
Enter the place and you're welcomed by a bar. To the right is a chandelier hanging from the ceiling while the left wall is covered with greenery and hosts a TV showing a fire flickering in a chimney to add warmth to the place. We walked to the terrace, a closed space with glass facades with a view of the river. We were sat at a wooden table with placemats and wooden chairs. The music was a meli melo of international hits, but no Arabic tunes. We enjoyed a drink and shisha while we ordered dinner.
Now for the food:
- The labneh is dull, it lacks flavor, actually, it has no flavor. It needs more acidity and salt.
- The hummus needs lemon and tahina, lots of lemon.
- The fattoush is fresh and good, well balanced, acidic, lemony and seasoned.
- Tabbouleh: Parsley, crunchy borghol, lemon and olive oil. A fresh salad where the olive oil is prominent as well as the lemon; the real flavor of my country in Bucharest.
- Makanek: A bit too spiced, a lack of lemon and a bitter, burnt aftertaste. Not the makanek I expected.
- Moudardara: It's a plate usually served cold but here it's served hot with lots of spices. It's a plate that doesn't taste like moudardara should.
- Mouhammara: very spiced, lightly sweet, a good texture, that's a good dish.
- Ras Asfour: I think they didn't understand the concept. The ras asfour meat is supposed to be very small, like diced meat, bathing in acidic pomegranate sauce. The meat they serve looks and feels more like shawarma. A lack of sweetness, a lack of acidity and a meaty flavor that spoils the experience.
And they insisted I try dessert: Kashta with honey and bananas. Something gooey and white, but certainly not Kashta. I didn't like it at all!
If this is considered one of Bucharest's best Lebanese restaurants I really don't feel like trying the others!