With its craft cocktails and largely non-Middle Eastern crowd, Zaytoon is the type of restaurant that would be easy to dismiss as your standard-order, whitewashed Mediterranean dining establishment. And yet, once you take a closer look at the menu, you'll find that the restaurant goes well beyond falafel and shawarma, serving a number of regional specialties that are rarely found in the East Bay — kubba from Syria, musakhan from Palestine, and mansaf from Jordan. Many of the most interesting items can be found in the appetizer section of the menu, including fried Arabic cheese and a non-traditional version of musakhan served in the form of a sumac-spiced grilled-chicken wrap. The Middle Eastern-inspired cocktail list comes courtesy of Jessica Maria of the nearby Hotsy Totsy Club.

— Luke Tsai


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