137 S. Wilmington St., Raleigh
Originally reviewed by Greg Cox on 4/3/2009
Sitti is a labor of love, a celebration of the shared Lebanese heritage of its owners. The owners installed a special domed oven for baking the pillowy pita ovals that are served hot with a small dish of za’atar-spiced olive oil as a complimentary welcome. They refurbished an Art Deco bar, evocative of Beirut’s “Golden Period” of the 1920s, and stocked it with (among other things) a strong selection of Lebanese wines.
In the middle of the vibrant, casually elegant dining room, the partners placed a communal table hewn from Lebanese cedar, a tribute to the large mealtime gatherings of family and friends that are a foundation of Lebanese tradition. On one wall, overlooking the room through sepia-toned eyes, Greg Hatem and the Saleh brothers hung large, vintage photographs of their grandmothers in the Old World. And they named the restaurant after these grandmothers, who are the hub of traditional Lebanese culture, and who are affectionately called “sitti.”
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