White stucco, arched doorways and airy interiors accented with wood: Café Munir is a sophisticated oasis tucked away in north Ballard near Larsen’s Danish Bakery. Here, the flavors of Lebanon—lemon and feta, lamb and oregano—work their magic when tucked into pliant flatbread served warm and fragrant. Start with a shareable portion of muham’mara ($4.50), a dip so deliciously nutty (it’s made primarily of roasted red peppers and walnuts), it’s a wonder it’s not as well loved as hummus; and pickled beets with labne, a tangy, thick cheese made of yogurt and cilantro leaves ($4.50). Depending on the day, one might find on the menu sensational roasted chicken ($15) fit for a family, marinated in sumac and served with a garlic sauce atop soft flatbread.
Tom Douglas, who lives nearby, praised the restaurant’s falafel on his radio show, and he is right to: The fried chickpea patties ($5) are moist, fragrant and just about perfect when laced with the restaurant’s tahini dressing. It’s a little out of the way of the heart of the Ballard restaurant action, yes, but Munir is a worthy and affordable destination for a lively and authentic taste of the Mediterranean.
Dinner, Tue.–Sun. Ballard, 2408 NW 80th St.; 206.783.4190; cafemunir.blogspot.com $