It seems like when we think of Mediterranean food, our minds jump to the Greek Isles, the South of Spain and the rich flavors of Italian coastal towns. However, what our local backroads have long lacked are the flavors of the eastern Mediterranean sea. The rich, and ancient flavors of north African countries, such as Morroco, Cyprus, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, and Syria are often overlooked. And quite frankly, outside of a few gyro locations in the East Bay, Eastern Mediterranean food is unfamiliar to us. However, soon to be opening in Walnut Creek, California, is the East Bays’ first authentic eastern Mediterranean restaurant that features the manakish and comfort foods that cannot be missed. We are excited to introduce Manakish and show you why the Mediterranean foods we already love are only complimented by the new Mediterranean flavors we are just meeting.
What Is A Manakish
A manakish is an open-faced sandwich, that we might classify somewhere between what we know as a pizza or a flatbread. A light dough is gently shaped into a shallow bowl and filled with a variety of rich, bright and savory flavors. The final product is then baked in a Marsal brick-oven and baked in just a few minutes.
Flavors that you can top your manakish with are as diverse as you can imagine. What makes ordering manakish even more fun is this expansive variety of flavors that are not typical to our palate. For example, spices such as cardamom, Tumeric, sage, and cumin highlight the flavors of hand-marinated meats or vegan options such as hummus. Flavorful cheeses, fresh veggies and pickled veggies, typical of the Middle East diet, are all options you can pile into your manakish. What we love is that there is no ‘wrong way’ to manakish and every single bite is a delicious, tantalizing invitation to the next treat. The baseline of most manakish includes dough topped with thyme, cheese and some sort of ground meat.
Also on the menu are typical desserts, juices, and side-dishes, which means you get to experience the entire eastern Mediterranean meal, in one convenient, and quick, location.
A Bit of History of the Manakish
The history of the manakish is quite expansive. It is Middle Eastern and Eastern Mediterranean comfort food, commonly enjoyed as breakfast or lunch – depending on what your fill your manakish with. It is also enjoyed as an appetizer later in the evening.
The roots of a manakish, interestingly, truly span the eastern Mediterranean coastline, and is known by many names, including Manakish, manaquish, manaeesh, or a mankousheh. Traditionally, women would bake the dough in a communal oven in the morning to provide their families with the daily needs of bread. Many stories share the importance of manakish during periods of war or limited food. Women would bring their ingredients to the communal ovens in the morning because there was not enough flour for the mass production of bread. When one woman was short, they would share dough to ensure everyone had enough to eat. Today, manakish is still an important food in Eastern Mediterranean cultures and still found around breakfast and lunch tables daily.
Visit Manakish Ovens and Grill in Walnut Creek, California
The owners of Manakish in Walnut Creek California were both raised in the United Arab Emirates enjoying manakish in breakfast and lunch. They both tout a similar story of immigrating to the UAE as young children, while their families were looking for better lives. However, both Abdullah Taleb and Feras Gaban agree that it was their humble beginnings and work ethic, taught by their parents, that brought them as business partners. Their restaurant is a gift of homage to their roots, and their families, and celebrates the foods, culture, and heritage that brought them to the U.S. to study and become avid entrepreneurs.
Manakish Ovens and Grill is located at the intersection of Geary Rd and Treat Blvd in Walnut Creek, California. They will offer quick walk-in service, made-to-go orders and offer freshly prepared pre-packaged meals, desserts, and juices made daily. It is “fast and fresh” authentic eastern Mediterranean food that has never been experienced in the East Bay.
When you are ready to enjoy a taste of the Eastern Mediterranean, learn more about the eatery by visiting ManakishOven.com or stop by their newest location: 2905 North Main Street, Walnut Creek, California