Levantine Restaurant ‘Ammoora’ Now Open at The Ritz-Carlton Residences in Federal Hill

| February 8, 2023 | 0 Comments

Levantine restaurant Ammoora has opened at 751 Key Hwy. at The Ritz-Carlton Residences in Federal Hill. The 5,800 sq. ft. commercial space was last occupied by Sip Wine and Dine which closed more than six years ago.

Ammoora is owned by South Baltimore resident Jay Salkini who founded telecommunications business Tecore Networks in 1991. Salkini enjoys putting teams together and bringing commercial spaces back to life. He is also a partner in Art of Balance Wellness Spa at The Ritz-Carlton Residences.

Levant is a region of the Eastern Mediterranean that includes Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Palestine, and Israel. Salkini was born in Syria where his family produces olive oil.

Ammoora chef Dima Al-Chaar is a native of Damascus, Syria and is a culinary, hospitality, and restaurant management graduate from La Salle College in Montreal, Canada. She has worked in 17 different countries and has helped open 46 restaurants. She moved to the United States last year to open Ammoora. Al-Chaar was a contestant on Top Chef Middle East and uses her mother’s Levantine recipes in many of her dishes.

Salkini took on a full renovation of the restaurant space to “have the heart of Levantine culture,” according to Ammoora chief marketing officer Markie Britton. She said the goal was to make it very “warm and inviting.”

The dining room was designed to have the feel of a Mediterranean courtyard. It has light colors, a water fountain, different styles of tile, and paintings installed by local artist Kelly L. Walker. The dining room leads out to a new outdoor patio. In the warmer months, the dining room will open up to the patio.

The bar room in the front of the restaurant was designed as a contemporary lounge.

Al-Chaar’s menu at Ammoora features a lot of shareable mezze plates as well as some main dishes. The menu includes salads such as tabouleh and fattoush; soups such as spicy lentil tomato soup and barley yogurt soup; and different dips including three types of hummus, baba ghanouj, and keshké.

Cold mezze plates include yalangi, which are rolled vine leaves with rice and vegetables; hurrak isba’o which is a green lentil dish; and salmon and beef tartar dishes. Warm mezze dishes include different meat rolls with beef, chicken, shrimp, and vegetables.

Ammoora has four different mankoushés (flat breads) that are cooked in its brick oven. Ammoora offers a cheese flatbread as well as the Lahm B-Ajin Mdalal with seasoned minced beef mixed with yogurt, pomegranate molasses and tahini, pomegranates, and lemon wedges; and the Mfasakh Batenjen with chargrilled eggplant, lemon vinaigrette, fresh thyme, tahini, pomegranate molasses, and sesame seeds.

Main dishes include a beef short rib, zaatar crusted salmon, chicken skewers, and a roasted cauliflower steak.

The menu also includes Levantine desserts and sides.

The bar program at Ammoora includes Lebanese wines and cocktails including a date-infused old fashioned.

Ammoora is open Wednesday to Sunday from 5pm to 930pm. The bar is open until 11pm on the weekends.

The team at Ammoora prefers for diners to make reservations. The restaurant is also available for private parties. It also offers valet parking.

Markie said they would like to add brunch in the summer and will also consider adding lunch hours in the future.

Ammoora has approximately 45 employees.

Ammoora is pledging 10 percent of its proceeds in February to assist relief efforts following the earthquakes in Syria and Turkey on Monday.

“Our roots originated in Syria, and our mission when opening Ammoora was to introduce to Marylanders the love and generosity of the Levantine community by showcasing its culture, cuisine, and hospitality,” said Salkini in a press release. “Today, we continue our mission of generosity and pledge support to those impacted by this tragic earthquake.”

Chef Dima Al-Chaar

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