Health Benefits of Eating Eastern Mediterranean Cuisine

Mediteranean Mezzes - Manakish Oven & Grill

An Eastern Mediterranean diet is one that has many of the same health benefits that are more commonly known as the “Mediterranean diet.”  Although the middle eastern influence of the cuisine changes the rich flavor palates, the benefits are just as profound. Eastern Mediterranean foods incorporate the flavorful foods of the countries around the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. The food is conducive to a healthy diet as ingredients support a healthy body, heart-healthy ingredients, and spices that are known to stave off many chronic diseases.  Here are some benefits you can find by eating at Manakish Oven & Grill.

Mediterranean Spices

Heart-Healthy Ingredients 

Eastern Mediterranean foods emphasize the use of fish, olive oil, whole grains, legumes, and fresh vegetables.  Although not all our dishes are vegetarian, we focus on using lean meats. That being said, many of our dishes are vegetarian and vegan, which means heart-healthy with bold, savory flavors.  Eastern Mediterranean food is generally low in cholesterol and saturated fats. But, heart-healthy fats, such as omega-3s are found in olive oil and are a basis for our cooking. 

Tabouleh - Manakish Oven & Grill
Tabouleh – a vegetarian salad with fresh ingredients like chopped parsley, tomatoes, mint, onion, bulgur, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Made fresh daily!

Indulgent and Delicious Spices 

Middle Eastern foods garner their flavors from savory, bold spices.  One of the most commonly used spices you will find at Manakish is zaatar.  This spice is an aromatic blend of spices that generally include some variation of combined dried thyme, sumac, oregano, marjoram, sesame seeds, and salt. This spice is commonly found sprinkled over bread, yogurts, and olive oil.  

Zaatar Manoush - Manakish Oven & Grill

Recent research shows that zaatar herbs have significant health-enhancing properties as they are all packed with flavonoids.  These are organic compounds that are an important source of antioxidants that can protect cells from damage. Some scientists think zaatar’s components may actually boost mood and cognition.  

 

Indulge in the Flavors of Eastern Mediterranean

Following a Middle Eastern Mediterranean diet is beneficial for heart health and overall health due to the high level of antioxidants in different spices and ingredients. There are so many varieties of food available that help you stay healthy while enjoying the exciting flavors of the Middle East. 

Mediteranean Mezzes - Manakish Oven & Grill
Mezzes or sides like Baba Ganoush, Hummus, and Tabouleh are delicious and healthy options to add to your meal.

If you are hosting an event, want to impress guests at your home, or are just looking for more options for a tasty, yet healthy lunch or dinner, visit Manakish in Walnut Creek, CA.  Our menu offers quick, healthy and delicious Eastern Mediterranean cuisine that you can enjoy and will keep you energized throughout the day. Visit us at <insert address> during <hours> or check out our menu online to order your food for pick-up. 

 

We are excited to bring the traditional flavors Eastern Mediterranean to our establishment at Manakish Oven & Grill. Stop by for some great tasting and Mediterranean food that is fast, healthy, and delicious.  We are located at 2905 N. Main Street, Walnut Creek, CA and are open

Monday – Thursday 10:30 AM – 9 PM

Friday – Saturday 10:30AM -10PM

Sunday 10:30 AM – 8 PM

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Manakish Oven & Grill Featured on Mercury News

Manakish Oven Feature on Mercury News

Written by JESSICA YADEGARAN from Mercury News

Levantine food refers to the delicacies of the Eastern Mediterranean, an ancient and absolutely delicious cuisine that has permeated modern and mainstream restaurants everywhere. If you like falafel or fattoush, the green salad studded with pita bread, consider yourself indoctrinated.

Manakish Oven and Grill - Mercury News
WALNUT CREEK, CA: DECEMBER 31: The Chicken Shawarma Manakish is served at Manakish Oven and Grill in Walnut Creek, Calif., on Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)

A lesser-known favorite, at least here in the Bay Area, is manoush (manakish is the plural), a hand-stretched flatbread made from pita dough and adorned with bright toppings, like za’atar. A new fast-casual eatery has brought these Middle Eastern “pizzas” to Walnut Creek and added specialty cheeses, like whipped labne, marinated meats and more to the warm, brick-oven baked dough.

Manakish Oven and Grill - Mercury News
WALNUT CREEK, CA: DECEMBER 31: The Cheese and Za’atar Manakish is served at Manakish Oven and Grill in Walnut Creek, Calif., on Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)
Manakish Oven and Grill
WALNUT CREEK, CA: DECEMBER 31: Hannah Kamau prepares flatbread in the brick oven at Manakish Oven and Grill in Walnut Creek, Calif., on Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)

Located at the busy intersection of Treat Boulevard and North Main Street, Manakish Oven & Grill is the brainchild of self-proclaimed serial entrepreneurs Adam Taleb and Feras Ghaban. The recipes are based on their childhood favorites growing up in the United Arab Emirates. We visited on a recent (and very busy) weeknight. Here’s how it went:

THE VIBE: Totally casual yet stylish. The counter-service restaurant has high ceilings with candlestick-inspired chandeliers and Persian-style blue and yellow tiles. There are a few tables inside, as well as a large outdoor patio with heat lamps, but based on dining trends — and the number of people wearing pajama pants on this particular evening — at least half of Manakish’s business is pick-up and take-out.

Staff is friendly, knowledgable and still in soft opening mode, so be patient if they run out of dough and have to make more. They sure know how to handle it. Despite being a fast-casual operation, servers checked on us several times and offered a complimentary appetizer or dessert while we were waiting for our manakish.

THE FOOD: The soft-opening menu is subject to change but currently features eight soft and chewy manakish ($9.50-$15.50) topped with everything from cauliflower and eggplant to tri-tip shawarma and lahm-bajin. Lahm-baijin — which can also be spelled lahmajoun — is ground beef that’s typically mixed with pomegranate molasses, parsley and peppers. We loved the intensely-flavored, almost crunchy za’atar manoush, which you can get with whipped labneh ($11) or mozzarella ($10.50).

Manakish Oven and Grill
WALNUT CREEK, CA: DECEMBER 31: Borek pastries are served at Manakish Oven and Grill in Walnut Creek, Calif., on Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)
Manakish Oven and Grill
WALNUT CREEK, CA: DECEMBER 31: The spicy hummus, baba ganoush and regular hummus mezze, from left, are served at Manakish Oven and Grill in Walnut Creek, Calif., on Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)

 

WALNUT CREEK, CA: DECEMBER 31: Baklava is served at Manakish Oven and Grill in Walnut Creek, Calif., on Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)

There’s also a delightful chicken shawarma version built on a zesty yogurt sauce — in lieu of cheese — and sprinkled with pickled veggies. Nice mix of flavors.

A la carte mezzes ($3.50-$5) and fatteh bowls, featuring shawarma atop rice or mixed greens ($12.50-$14.50), round out the menu. We found the lentil soup ($3.50) a bit thin but enjoyed the housemade hummus ($5), which also comes in a jalapeno version, and tangy tabouleh ($5).

WALNUT CREEK, CA: DECEMBER 31: The Beef Shawarma Fatteh Bowl is served at Manakish Oven and Grill in Walnut Creek, Calif., on Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)

DON’T MISS: Grab-and-go pastries and desserts. Only two were available during our visit — walnut baklava and a semolina cake — but the menu lists seven, including savory boreks and a rosewater-laced rice pudding parfait. If they can pull it off, it will be one of the largest selections of Arab-inspired desserts in the area.

PERFECT FOR: Manakish lunch or casual dinner; shawarma bowls; lahm bajin cravings; to-go and pick-up orders; Middle Eastern desserts beyond baklava.

DETAILS: Open 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday & Saturday: and until 8 p.m. Sundays at 2905 N. Main St., Walnut Creek

What is a Manakish?

Manakish Oven & Grill - Walnut Creek

Although our restaurant carries the name Manakish, a manakish is much more than just that.  We choose the name to represent the Middle Eastern comfort food – which is also known as a manakish.  Manakish are savory pastries popular in the Levant or Eastern Mediterranean region. They are perfect as a snack or appetizer or served as a traditional breakfast or lunch meal. 

 

Cauliflower Eggplant Cheese Manakish
Cauliflower Eggplant Manakish

Zaatar Whipped Labne Manakish
Zaatar & Whipped Labne Manakish

What Exactly Are Manakish?

Manakish are a Middle Eastern equivalent of a homemade pizza or flatbread. The word itself is rooted in the Arabic phrase naqash, which translates to mean sculpt or to carve.  The dough of a manakish is rolled flat; it is sculpted gently into a curve where the toppings sit.  The variety of what you can top your manakish is as diverse as pizza or flatbread toppings. Although there are more popular variations, what you put on your manakish can be as creative as your imagination can take you.

The History of the Manakish

Manakish are popular throughout the entire Levant region, which consists of modern-day Lebanon, Syria, Cyprus, Egypt, Iraq, Isreal, Jordan, Palestine, and Turkey.  Interestingly, very little has been written about the history or the origins of them. This also explains why so many different cultures have adopted the delicacy as “their own.”

Although origin cannot be agreed upon, what can be is the narrative. Traditionally, women throughout the Eastern Mediterranean would bake the dough in a communal oven each morning.  This bread would provide their families with their daily bread needs and create a place of sharing and community for the women. Smaller portions of the dough at the oven were shared to create manakish for all the families, and allow everyone to enjoy warm bread with a variety of toppings for breakfast each morning.  

 

What To Order On Your Manakish

There are several variations of traditional manakish that should be tried.  One of the most popular forms of manakish is za’atar. This is a traditional spice topping that is mixed with olive oil on the dough before it is baked. 

A classic manakish is one made with olives, tomato, labneh (a tangy, thick and creamy cheese), cucumber and mint.  Another favorite manakish is topped with marinated chicken, minced marinated lamb, and cheese. In fact, the ways you can order manakish are only limited by your imagination. 

Visit Us in Walnut Creek

Manakish Oven & Grill - Walnut Creek

We are excited to bring the traditional flavors of manakish to our establishment, Manakish Oven & Grill in Walnut Creek, CA.  Stop by for some great tasting Eastern Mediterranean cuisine that is fast, healthy, and delicious.  We are located at 2905 N. Main Street, Walnut Creek, CA and are open

Monday – Thursday 10:30 AM – 9 PM

Friday – Saturday 10:30AM -10PM

Sunday 10:30 AM – 8 PM

 

Order Now