2094 Lawrence Ave East
Monday to Friday 8:00 am – 7 PM
Saturday 8:00 am – 6 pm
Sunday 8:00 am – 5 pm
416-754-1888 or 416-441-2450.
Just east of Crockford on a little spur going north off of Lawrence; next to Dulux paint.
I may have posted on this place a few years ago, just after they opened. I can't find the post. In any event, they are even better now than I remember them to have been.
The specialty is "manakeesh" . A manakeesh essentially is akin to a thin- crust pizza. It is spelled variously elsewhere. It comes in about 30 varieties here. See the linkhttp://lebanesebakery.ca/menu/. Some, such as the zatar (spice and herb), are simple and cheap, $2.25. How about this one, which is the most expensive? "Sujuk (sausage, ed.) and Eggs. 3 eggs, cheese, tomatoes, slices of sujuk all baked on flat dough $7.00"
Delicious and cheap. Three mankeesh would make a nice lunch for two. Get a drink from the fridge or a coffee; bring a piece of fruit or have one of their pastries. There are a few tables. Essentially, you are sitting in at the edge of teh production floor of the bakery. Don't like the ambience? Go to a nice restaurant and pay $10 plus each manakeesh and see if they can make it as good!
I had a lehem-b' ajeen (meat), $3.25, and a zatar halabi (spices and herbs), $2.49. Both were the best I have ever had. The lehem -b'-ajeen, in particular, sang. Bright, fragrant, herbal, complex. But a caveat. I am Polish not Lebanese, so what do I know, past bread?
I did think that I finally understood the meaning of what is often transliterated as lahmacjun or the like: these people seemed to transliterate the name properly, lehem-b'- ajeen. Lehem (bread), b' (with ), ajeen, (meat or something from meat). On checking with an owner, I found out that I was I was wrong. "Lehem" in Arabic means meat; "b'" does mean with, "ajeen" means dough. A little knowledge is dangerous thing.
So Bethlehem in Hebrew means House of Bread, but in Arabic it means House of Meat. Another change after the PLO took governance of the town has been that most of the once majority Christian population has fled.
Back to the manakeesh. They are made to order. This creates a bit of a problem. You must resist - for a bit. They must cool down to room temperature before you can fully enjoy them. Indeed the zatar one was unpleasantly distorted when I ate it hot. They are not like pizza. Trust me!
The other thing is that they use a flour that is too white for me. I ask for my manakeesh to be baked crispy to offset the whiteness.
Being Polish, I'm no fool. Next time I am going to ask for their fava bean dish.