Restaurants are admired for their cooking. What makes a place loved is usually a connection with a person. Even though Mama Ayesha is no longer with us, her spirit of hospitality and generosity still fills this much-loved Adams Morgan institution, where you'll find a warm welcome and good Lebanese food at fair prices.
The beginning at a Middle Eastern restaurant is a selection of mezze: hummus, puréed chickpeas rich with tahini and olive oil; smoky baba ghanoush made from roasted eggplant; spritely tabbouleh, ground wheat enlivened with mint, parsley, and lemon juice; Helen's Salad (named for longtime customer Helen Thomas), diced cucumbers dressed with garlic, mint, and yogurt; crisp-fried falafel; and cabbage stuffed with ground lamb and spices. They're available separately or in a combination platter that's a bargain at $14.50.
For a main course, you won't go wrong with the kebabs–lamb, beef, chicken, or fish with vegetables and rice. On the "From the Oven" section of the menu are a succulent lamb shank and Musakan, a delicious half chicken baked with onions, pine nuts, and sumac.