The search has been disappointing and frustrating to say the least. The baklava at the Greek stands in Reading Terminal Market did not seem fresh and was below average in taste. Sadly, the Greek restaurants we've been to (Kanella, Effie's, Dmitri's) either didn’t offer it or we found it to be nowhere close.
It was therefore with much anticipation and trepidation that we approached Manakeesh Cafe in West Philly, who many claim has amazing baklava. Could our three year search finally end? YES!
While still not as good as Santorini's baklava, the Manakeesh rendition was certainly close enough to become our new go-to spot to rekindle one of our fondest foodie memories.
I ordered a batch of six pieces, which came with one extra in more of a cookie shape. Needless to say I ate all of them in just a few hours. They were fresh, soft and had just the right amount of doughiness. The hint of pistachio along with the honey and nut mixture provided the punch of flavor that has been missing from all the other baklava we’ve had in Philly.
In addition to the baklava, the Manakeesh sandwich - a Lebanese flatbread - is worth trying. You can choose between several different types meat or vegetarian options. I went with the Lham Bajeen, or ground lamb. It sort of looks like a giant pita, but the bread is much thinner, softer and has more flavor. A side of hummus would have taken the sandwich up a notch, so I would add that to my order next time.
If I had more time to sit down I would have ordered the Turkish coffee, which is very different and much stronger than other coffees we typically drink in the U.S.
As you can tell from the picture below, Manakeesh also has a counter full of cookies and other baked goods. The line of people only coming in for the bakery was as long, if not longer, than the sandwich line.