Manaish Global Flatbread Cafe
Manaish Global Flatbread Cafe is in the lively Spadina and Richmond area, where hungry shoppers and workers from all walks of life end up congregating. Manaish has many names, but at its core the dish is a simple bread often topped with cheese and herbs.
Partners Toni and Dina Gerges swear any Middle Easterner will recognize it. The twist comes with their global concept, wherein the menu is sectioned into categories based on cuisines from different regions of the world, like the Americas, European, and Asian.
The interior is super clean and bright and makes me feel happy, and it’s a little tucked away from the madness of Spadina. A giant tiled protrusion from the wall highlights the conveyor oven that Toni uses to cook the dough to crispy golden brown perfection that’s still soft inside.
Toni came up with the smoked salmon and lebneh ($4.95) by pulling things randomly out of the fridge, as he had always made mana’ish as a quick easy breakfast or snack. The sour, creamy lebneh cuts the smoky salmon like cream cheese, complemented by herby house za’atar.
We’re encouraged to try a Lebanese coffee along with everything, and I’m glad they did. It’s rich and punchy, and you have to wait for thirty seconds before pouring the coffee from a cool “brik” ladle it’s been boiled in so the grinds settle to the bottom.
The kimchi ($4.75) is a nice simple option that’s similarly cold like the salmon, with hard boiled egg that brings a familiar Korean flavour and adds hearty protein to the small snack.
The great thing about the bread is that it’s actually vegan, so a dish like this is good for vegetarians and vegans can go for a classic or spinach and onion.
Za’atar is a simple combo of thyme, oregano, and toasted sesame seeds that zings with sharp herby flavour, and it combines with classic tangy Kalamata olives, bright juicy tomatoes and clean mint on the classic for only $2.95.
If you don’t care about your meat consumption, try the greco pork ($4.95) a heartier on-the-go option with strong crumbled goat cheese.
Manaish also offers salads from their case like a refreshing quinoa tabbouleh ($4.95).
There are a few seats in the main area and some more with banquettes in a little more private area behind the coffee lids and sugars, and but much of the space is designed for a breezy flow of folks who want to grab the Levantine street food to go. They light candles in the evening.