Opened by the former manager and chef from Alsafa, this little restaurant, with its shisha pipes and the murmuring of Al-Jazeera in the background, provides Sanlitun with an oasis of Arabic culture. Apart from the appetizers, the Middle Eastern pastries (sold only in bulk) are the highlight of the menu. With Al Jazeera news on the TV, Arabic calligraphy on the walls and patrons puffing on hookahs, dining at Alameen is like riding a magic carpet straight to Lebanon.
This unassuming but welcoming Middle Eastern haven behind the German embassy is owned and managed by a Palestinian/Lebanese pair. Arabic staples like hummus and baba ghanoush (both RMB 20) are good, and the kibbeh (RMB 25 – fried croquettes stuffed with minced beef) is absolutely delightful. These appetizers are quite filling, so nibble strategically if you plan to take on the whole stuffed lamb (RMB 1,100; order 12 hours ahead). Customers here tend to stick around after meals chatting and sipping coffee, which fosters a warm atmosphere, especially convivial with the sweet smell of hookah smoke (RMB 40) wafting through the dining room.
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