Mandi House restaurant serves Arabic comfort food in metro Phoenix

On a recent weeknight, the glow of Mandi House spilled onto Apache Boulevard in Tempe. Inside, groups of young men lounged on cushions around half-eaten trays of rice, sipping sweet, clove-spiced tea from Styrofoam cups as they scrolled on their phones. The room occasionally erupted with laughter followed by a flurry of playful teasing in Arabic.

It was a Ramadan scene that wouldn’t be out of place in a villa in Kuwait or a casual restaurant in Oman. For many young Khaleeji customers from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council countries, owner Rafiq Almansob offers a taste of home, both in terms of the style of cooking and service, which is especially welcome during the Holy Month.

For Muslims around the world, Ramadan turns everyday life upside down, as observers abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset. It’s a time to slow down, to reconnect with Allah and with the community, to forgive, to do good deeds and to reflect on all there is to be grateful for.

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