Cuisine: Lebanese

Unless you’re a big fan of wood-panelled walls and bare tables you don’t go to El Manara for ambience. No, you go there for the warm welcome and arguably the best falafels in Lakemba as well as halal Lebanese meat delights that include lamb kebabs, spicy sausages and smoky, succulent barbecued chicken. You can get it all on the mixed plate groaning under the weight of falafels, homous, tabouli, chicken, lamb kebab, kafta and kebbe $15, easily enough for two. For something smaller, homous with meat $10 is outstanding, cheap and very satisfying. Whatever you have will be accompanied by a multi-hued side of hot pink pickle,  mint, olives, tomato and peppers. Mahalabia (rice pudding) $2.50 is a fine finish. Drop in for a wholesome breakfast of foule, broadbean dip $6, or fatteh, chickpeas with crispy bread, yoghurt and peanuts $7 — like everything else, fresh as it gets.

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