Update June 13, 2019: Za’atar is permanently closed. We will miss you!
Masterful mezza brought to Lisbon straight from Lebanon
If you’re a sucker for variety and you’re not opposed to sharing your food, you shouldn’t miss Lebanese chef Joe Barza’s restaurant as all the plates are petisco-sized and come with a surprisingly accessible price tag. This restaurant, named after Middle Eastern herbs, is adding much-needed flavor and class to the flashing neon of pink street. Follow the advice of the wait staff and choose your plates from cold to hot as that’s how the kitchen will prepare them. Sipping delicious frothy tequila-based cocktails with herb infusion and topped with a dried orange wheel, we started with a salata like tabouleh with bulgur and tomato, moved on to cold mezza like the classic creamy hummus and the on-point baba , and then settled into some steaming plates of kebbekrass, crispy falafel, oval fluffy nan served with za’atar and jebneh manoushe cheese, and our favorite, the piping hot fattet hummus topped with pine nuts and yogurt. All the dishes came served with a constantly-replenished supply of the Lebanese tortilla-like flatbread, perfect for scooping, smearing, and mopping up each dish down to its very last crumb. Don’t forget to save room for dessert, as the out-of-this-world fostkieh with bouzit michmouch awaits. It’s a creamy and crispy mix of pistachio and sorbet set between ultra-fine sweet noodle patties reminiscent of baklava, drizzled with a molten honey-lemon sauce right before your eyes. Overall, this restaurant is the ideal choice for a vegetarian and carnivore to share a meal and come out satisfied. Needless to say, we will be returning.