I gave this cozy and charming restaurant five stars because it met or exceeded all of my expectations. Even without reservations on a Friday evening, they graciously found a table for our party of two. I had taken a look at the menu online before coming, so I knew I was interested in the signature small plates, the mazzats. I ordered a sampler that consists of the diner's choice of three hot and three cold appetizers (everyone at the table gets the same six dishes). We chose, in order of most flavorful to less flavorful, the batata hara (garlic spiced potatoes), rahib (fired eggplant with pomegranate sauce), makdous (tiny stuffed pickled eggplants), foul (a coarse fava bean puree), tabouli, and kibbeh. For the main dish we both chose the ground lamb and beef in tomato sauce (kafta). Warm pieces of fresh pita bread accompanied the food. Although there is a good selection of wine, we opted for a light Lebanese beer that was a perfect pairing for the flavorful food.
Service was attentive and pleasant. Prices were average by Hayes Valley standards. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, but the sound level was particularly loud, especially when one group of patrons decided to carry on a conversation by shrieking at each other. Reservations for Friday and Saturday nights are advisable even though we were lucky as walk ins.
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