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The exterior of Saytoune restaurant in Wiesbaden is unassuming, but the interior is well-decorated and the food is fresh, varied and authentic Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine.
The exterior of Saytoune restaurant in Wiesbaden is unassuming, but the interior is well-decorated and the food is fresh, varied and authentic Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. (Dan Stoutamire/Stars and Stripes)
The exterior of Saytoune restaurant in Wiesbaden is unassuming, but the interior is well-decorated and the food is fresh, varied and authentic Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine.
The exterior of Saytoune restaurant in Wiesbaden is unassuming, but the interior is well-decorated and the food is fresh, varied and authentic Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. (Dan Stoutamire/Stars and Stripes)
Part of the interior of Saytoune restaurant in Wiesbaden, Germany. While some of the dining room area has the usual chairs and tables, a separate area is a more traditional Middle Eastern dining area with couches and low-flung tables.
Part of the interior of Saytoune restaurant in Wiesbaden, Germany. While some of the dining room area has the usual chairs and tables, a separate area is a more traditional Middle Eastern dining area with couches and low-flung tables. (Dan Stoutamire/Stars and Stripes)
Coriander and lemon roasted potatoes at Saytoune restuarant in Wiesbaden, Germany. Open since 2007, the restaurant serves a wide variety of Mediterranean favorites including couscous, lamb and saffron rice.
Coriander and lemon roasted potatoes at Saytoune restuarant in Wiesbaden, Germany. Open since 2007, the restaurant serves a wide variety of Mediterranean favorites including couscous, lamb and saffron rice. (Dan Stoutamire/Stars and Stripes)
Ruz ma sabanegh, or lamb meatballs with rice and spinach, at Saytoune restaurant in Wiesbaden, Germany. While the restaurant is not inexpensive, the portions are extremely generous.
Ruz ma sabanegh, or lamb meatballs with rice and spinach, at Saytoune restaurant in Wiesbaden, Germany. While the restaurant is not inexpensive, the portions are extremely generous. (Dan Stoutamire/Stars and Stripes)

While many Americans in Wiesbaden are aware of the Italian-food chain Vapiano, fewer know about the small but delightful Lebanese and Mediterranean restaurant just around the corner near the city’s iconic Kurhaus.

Saytoune — or olives in Arabic — is an unassuming joint, without an extravagant sign or exterior, but the inside is well-appointed, with couches, low tables and soft chairs in addition to normal dining-room tables and chairs, bathed in low, atmospheric lighting. In warmer weather, several outdoor tables offer a great view of one of Wiesbaden’s busiest shopping districts and the beautiful fountains and park in front of the Kurhaus.

The menu — English versions are available — is diverse, with a variety of cold and warm Levantine appetizers and small salad and meat-and-rice dishes. A plate of olives is brought to the table free at the beginning of the meal. Lamb, the most popular item on the entree menu, and other meats are cooked over a charcoal grill and have that distinctive grilled flavor. The saffron rice is simply beautiful to look at — perfectly light yellow and a slightly sweet flavor as well.

To get a good idea of the quality, I ordered a pair of mezze appetizers from the extensive list — grape leaf wraps and coriander and lemon roasted potatoes — and both were good. I especially liked the potatoes, which were a good combination of sour, crispy and warm — very satisfying. The potatoes can also be ordered as a side for entrees.

For my entree, I ordered a traditional dish, ruz ma sabanegh, which was an interesting combination of ground lamb meatballs served with basmati rice, coriander and garlic spinach and a cucumber-mint yogurt sauce. Some pomegranate seeds made the presentation more colorful, and the portions were impressive — definitely enough for a healthy appetite. The lamb was well-cooked, the rice warm and flavorful, and the spinach well-done also.

Looking around at the meals of other guests, I could also tell that Saytoune’s chicken dishes are popular among customers, and from their appearance, justifiably so.

In addition to the food and drinks, the restaurant allows customers to smoke hookah, and though a couple tables in the couch area — mostly set off from the main dining area — were smoking, the ventilation seemed to do a good job removing it from the air. It wasn’t a nuisance, but it’s something to consider if you have young children or sensitive lungs.

All in all, Saytoune is a very good Mediterranean-style restaurant with a wide range of meat and vegetarian choices in a great location. I can’t wait to go back and sit outside when spring finally arrives.

Stoutamire.dan@stripes.com Twitter: @DKS_Stripes

Location: Wilhelmstrasse 52, Wiesbaden 65191

Hours: Noon – 11:30 p.m. daily.

Prices: Appetizers and salads 5.90 – 11.90 euro ($7.33 - $14.77); entrees 12.50 – 27.90 euro; drinks 2.50 – 3.50 euro.

Information: Phone (+49) (0)6113086110 Online: saytoune.de

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