Middle Eastern Food at Mama Ayesha’s

Sometimes I find that I’m in the mood to try a new restaurant, but I don’t feel like taking on the risks that come with that decision. “I already have multiple restaurants that I can depend on that will serve me quality, delicious food. Why take the chance on a new place?” That, of course, is where Yelp comes in, and as I perused the reviews for restaurants in various parts of DC, I liked what people had to say about Mama Ayesha’s, a Middle Eastern restaurant in Adams Morgan. People noted in particular that the decor was attractive, the waiters were pleasant, and the food was tasty. Of course, as with all places on Yelp, you’ll have some reviews on the other end of the scale, but my research made me believe that Mama Ayesha’s and I could be a good match.

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When I stepped into the restaurant, I was pleased. I had a feeling my Yelpers had led me in the right direction. The restaurant definitely does have an intimate feel, and the decor helps foster a relaxed, casual vibe. We were immediately seated by a friendly gentlemen who turned out to be our waiter. So far, so good.

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{Pomegranate Martini}

Now I’m not an expert on Middle Eastern food by any means. There were a few familiar items on the menu that I have had numerous times before, such as baba ghanouj and baklawa, and as I come from a Greek family, I’ve had plenty of lamb. I was definitely unfamiliar with most of the entrees though, but I was excited to try something new. For an appetizer, we stuck with what we knew: baba ghanouj. For an entree, I got the menzalah, and I started out with a pomegranate martini. After the waiter joked about my boyfriend’s perfect pronunciation of menu items and I admitted my completely not perfect pronunciation, we waited for our food.

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{Baba Ghanouj}

It didn’t take long for the baba ghanouj to come out, and even though I’ve had my fair share of the dish, I was still impressed. There were a few more details added to this baba ghanouj that have not been present in the baba ghanouj I’ve had in the past, and I must admit, there have been multiple occasions since my trip that I’ve craved some more! Our meals came out shortly after, and I was quite happy with my menzalah, which is described on the menu as “Layered eggplant topped with ground beef, pine nuts, almonds and tomato sauce baked and served with rice.” I love eggplant pretty much no matter how it’s prepared, so I may be a bit biased, but even still, I thought the flavors came together to form a nice, comforting meal.

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{Menzalah}

To finish off the trip, we got the baklawa and the namoura. One thing to keep in mind is that when you order dessert, you only get one piece of the item. The pieces are a pretty decent size, so that didn’t bother us, but just don’t expect to order the baklawa and get a tray full of it. We greatly enjoyed our desserts since, after all, can you really go wrong with various combinations of fillo dough, honey and filling? I think not.

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{Namoura}

I left Mama Ayesha’s a happy camper, and I would love to go back again soon. I think this could definitely become one of my dependable restaurant options that makes me hesitate when thinking about trying someplace new! 😉

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{Baklawa}

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