Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the Society.

Photo

Lebanon Dining


  • Please log in to reply
92 replies to this topic

#31 nikkib

nikkib
  • participating member
  • 1,203 posts

Posted 10 August 2010 - 01:50 PM

007.JPG

Well thank goodness i had a chance to lose some weight in the heat of the summer as now i have had the opportuinty to discover Jabbours shawarma that could all go horribly down hill.....
So after mentioning to some people at work i was heading here for shawarma i was inundated with people wanting to come with me, went with a couple of guys from work and bumped into a couple of others when we were there, beirut really is a small world!
Jabbour is located in Dora on a strip of road alongside many other shawarma restaurants and fruit cocktail bars, we were there pretty early by lebanese standards at 930pm but the street was busy with people smoking shisha and getting take away, we sat in the downstairs of jabbour and ate in. Lebanese hospitality being what it is i wasnt allowed to pay so have no idea of the prices but shawarma is street food so i am guessing $3-$5 a piece? We had 2 shawarma each ( i know i know!) but one of my friends apparently goes pretty much every other day and has 4! Whilst this sounds bad the shawarma is made of not too much bread and only a little sauce so it is mostly the chicken o meat so not as bad as you might think. The Chciken came with just a little garlic sauce, pickles and a couple of random chips ( sorry fries) whilst the "meat" (veal/beef/Lamb?) came with tomato, lettuce and tarator (a tahini based sauce)I think the meat was beef or mostly beef but whatever it was, boy was it good! I was expecting to prefer the chicken but the deep meaty flavour combined with juicy fresh tomato and the tarator was delicious
Some pictures of the shawarma, it being carved and the inside of the restaurant

008.JPG

009.JPG

010.JPG

012.JPG

013.JPG

014.JPG

We finished with fruit cocktail - basically chopped banana, melon, pineapple, grapes, almonds and kiwi layered with a fruit cocktail of all of the above blended and topped with an avocado, milk and honeyu mix that was so thick it needed to be eaten with a spoon, topped with ashta (like a cottage cheese) and more fruit. Looks frightening but was delicious, very filling but i must have had like 3 of my 5 a day in there which is a bonus.

011.JPG

The whole street looked great and i will definitely have more trips there to post on in the not too distant future, for now i can only think of my waistline and weep.....
"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#32 nikkib

nikkib
  • participating member
  • 1,203 posts

Posted 15 August 2010 - 07:39 AM

Sunday brunch - scrambled eggs with sumac and awarma meat (confit lamb) with a veggie plate on the side (and a beer!)curled up in a chair reading 100 years of solitude is about as good a way as any to spend a lazy day in Beirut...

007.JPG
"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#33 nikkib

nikkib
  • participating member
  • 1,203 posts

Posted 20 December 2010 - 04:04 AM

I seem to have neglected to update this recntly so here are a few recent meals to bring it a bit more up to date...

Gaucho has just opened here by the Phoenicia hotel, its extremely glamourous - very beirut, all black and white cow skin and glittering chandeliers and by all accounts doing well. I popped in for a couple of drinks and a snack so no steak this time, just a sampler of taraditos and ceviche (which i seem to have forgotten to take a photo of) which was delicious, if not very small -like 3 dessert spoons in total, one fo scallop, one king prawn and one tuna, all extremely fresh and tasty witha good citrus kick. Next up the crab cakes and a tomatao and fennel salad, the crab cakes had a good dose of chilli and coriander in them and were nicely coooked, tomato salad could have done with being a bit riper but had a great balsamic dressing and a nice crunch from the addition of the fennel. A welcome addition to the Beirut dining scene although probably not one for the tourists.
015.JPG
014.JPG

Next up just a light bite in a place called Soho near the four seasons. I liked the array of spreads with the bread - a tapenade, tomato and olive and a feta one, nicely presented in little jars. Just an endive salad with roquefort for after - i prefer the leaves individually and with a creamier dressing ( i left half the cheese as it was far too generous a topping for me) but a nice lunch place with lots of salads and a very chi chi crowd.


016.JPG
017.JPG
"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#34 nikkib

nikkib
  • participating member
  • 1,203 posts

Posted 20 December 2010 - 04:14 AM

Now for THE burger - Beirutis have no end of options for burgers and it makes it way onto most restaurant menus in one shape or form. Brgr opened back in the summer and does what it says on the tin - a 4oz, a 6 oz offered medium or med well, served with fries. The rest of the menu has a wedge salad, buttermilk onion rings, a beef hotdog and a special wagyu burger, a couple of sundaes and thats it. The venue seats maybe 30-40 and is open until 2am at the weekends to catch the late night crowd, a good move and the design is fab. $20 for a couple of beers a diet coke and a great burger is money well spent for me

037.JPG

038.JPG

Stove just opened a few weeks back, a converted house with three small dining rooms, a terrace for summer and a great brasserie menu. The Chef has won many awards for his cooking and whilst my choice of charcuterie and salad doesnt show that off the menu was mouthwateringly good. Nothing new, just brasserie classics - pumpkin soup with ceps, wild mushrooms and escargots on toast etc. My Charcuterie was excellent - tomato salad nicely seasoned and brownie points for the lovely mignardises with my coffee...

040.JPG

042.JPG


041.JPG

043.JPG

Edited by nikkib, 20 December 2010 - 04:21 AM.

"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#35 nikkib

nikkib
  • participating member
  • 1,203 posts

Posted 20 December 2010 - 04:24 AM

And i finally made it to brunch at Casablancas, one of the few places in town that hasnt resorted to the lebanese brunch buffet trends and instead goes for waffles, omelettes, pancakes and eggs. I braved it out in the middle of a huge 3 day thunderstorm as my eggs benedict craving was too much! I was welcomed into a second floor converted house painted warming shades of terracotta - it almost felt carribean in style. The usual menu is fusion - salads with tuna and glass noodles, salt and pepper squid etc but i opted for eggs benedict (on a bagel?! but very good all the same)with a couple of mimosas and a chocolate tart for dessert. This is what brunch is about for me and i will definitely go back. the main menu looked good too so may check it out at night one time as well. The crowd was a nice mix of families and young groups of friends catching up on the gossip of the night before all kicking back for a lazy sunday sheltering from the rain

045.JPG

046.JPG
"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#36 prasantrin

prasantrin
  • legacy participant
  • 5,468 posts

Posted 20 December 2010 - 06:05 AM

How much longer will you be staying in Beirut?

I don't want your reports to ever end! I'm thinking of moving there eventually (or the UAE), but that won't be for years. I need to live vicariously through you until then!

Why do you think Gaucho isn't for tourists? (just asking, not arguing)

#37 nikkib

nikkib
  • participating member
  • 1,203 posts

Posted 20 December 2010 - 09:23 AM

Should be here for another year or so - i always feel bad that my reports are so lazy compared to some of the great ones i read on here! Beirut is a great place to live, so easy to settle into and feel at home - the excellent food and local wine certainly help! (thats not to say i am not super excited about eating at st john, scotts, bar bouloud, polpetto and barrafina when im back for a week at the beginning of jan - and my mums roast partridge with all the trimmings mmmmmm)
I was thinking more of british tourists when i mentioned gaucho - seeing as we already have the concept in the Uk its nothing new - they have done incredibly though, its a very slick operation thats for sure.
"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#38 LindaK

LindaK
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 2,899 posts
  • Location:Boston, MA

Posted 20 December 2010 - 08:00 PM

Nikkib, your reports aren't at all lazy. Keep them coming, please, they are fascinating and the food looks delicious.


 


#39 nikkib

nikkib
  • participating member
  • 1,203 posts

Posted 14 February 2011 - 04:24 PM

mandaloun cafe - a favourite for a civilised glass of wine and usually a salad from the salad bar or one their delicious toasted sandwiches - here truffled emmental and broccoli mmmmmmm....
This is a great place to sit and watch the world go by and i always know other diners there which is fun, especially as this was one of the first places i ate at when i moved here 11 months ago knowing no-one....

002.JPG

Sushi. Like the burger, is big news here, sadly i am yet to find anywhere on a par with
places i have dined at in NYC or London where the bill causes a sharp intake of breath but you feel so satisfied it becomes part of the experience, here it tends to average a 40-$50 meal with most of that being wine - they can't escape from the kani either. Anyway, cheap sushi is now a guilty pleasure so here are some recent meals in the spirit of full disclosure

039.JPG
123.JPG
"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#40 nikkib

nikkib
  • participating member
  • 1,203 posts

Posted 25 April 2011 - 12:52 PM

MOMO HAS OPENED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! For those of you not familiar with Momo, it is a great Morroccon restaurant in London, good food, very "designed" (madonna had her 40th (i think) there) and great drinks. It is a 200 seater all day concept with a separate bar and terrace serving cocktails and bar snacks (mezze style mostly) and a restaurant with pastilla/tagine etc type dishes. I love it here and it is currently THE hottest ticket in town, Momo (as the owner is also known) is a genius - google him and check out his retinue of places in London/Paris and put them on your list of places to visit, you wont be disappointed. I only had 2 starters (tragiaclly i have eaten the same thing everytime i've been but that shows you how good it is) Gazpacho which was the absolute most delicious gazpacho i have ever had ( and i order this anytime i see it on a menu without fail) I almost think it had some strawberries in it as it had a delicious sweetness along with the usual tomato/pepper bite. Followed by Pata Negra with pan con tomate - another favouriteand one i havent found anywhere else in Beirut. This was o good i didnt even take a photo (oops) but what can you say - fancy ham, bread and tomatoes..... MMMMMMmmmmmmmm

006.JPG

Also some shrimp kebbe and hindbe (dandelion in oil) i had in downtown last week

015.JPG

and lunch today (well my only meal of the day at 5pm when i was on my way home from work and fancied a rose flavoured shisha to smoke and figured food might be a good idea too!) Abdel Wahab is an absolute must, its a great lebanese restaurant with a beautiful roof terrace for eating on in the summer. Usually i have loads of mixed mezzes but today i was craving lamb and carbs as i was tired after a long Easter weekend at work so Kafta Aryass (minced lamb in arabic bread) followed by sahlab ice cream and angel hair with honey. Followed by a cafe blanc and an easter egg from the waiter !This is a true doint miss experience if you do visit Beirut.

018.JPG

019.JPG
"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#41 nikkib

nikkib
  • participating member
  • 1,203 posts

Posted 25 April 2011 - 01:29 PM

http://www.soukeltayeb.com/tawlet.php opened last year and has just opened for brunch. I think the link expalins everything but basically it is run in conjunction with a great farmers market and only opens for lunch. Every day( or week maybe?) they have a different chef, a local lebanese housewife who will cook the specialities of their region/family. It is great and great to have "home cooked food" I had been sick for a few days and literally hadnt eaten and feeling a bit weepy for some of my mums home food thought this would be the next best thing - chicken soup for the soul and all that. The buffet had a selection of maybe 8 starters and mezze from kebbe, tabbouleh, hummus etc to mains of stuffed intestine, okra stew, Ouzi. Oh it was perfect, just what the Dr ordered. $30 gets you all you can eat and arak/soft drinks( i opted for arak naturally)

004.JPG

005.JPG

002.JPG

003.JPG

006.JPG

007.JPG

008.JPG

009.JPG
"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#42 heidih

heidih
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 10,798 posts
  • Location:Los Angeles

Posted 25 April 2011 - 01:55 PM

Now there is a great restaurant concept - farmers market plus good home cooks - love it.

#43 nikkib

nikkib
  • participating member
  • 1,203 posts

Posted 11 May 2011 - 08:25 AM

some recent meals another trip to momo for a glass of wine and some snacks in the bar, a great avocado salad (guacamole) with cumin biscuits and a tomato salad with strawberry foam which was excellent, i shall be playing around with the strawberry tomato combo at home for sure

001.JPG

002.JPG

003.JPG

Sitting on the jetty at Cafe L'orient enjoying the sunshine with some hummus and tabouleh (more about the surroundings than the food but both dishes were fine)

005.JPG

And back again for some very good but very rich shrimp croquettes this is the life....

006.JPG

Pizza at Aliacci in gemmayze - a white pizza so no tomato sauce just a fresh pesto coating, spinach, mozzarella and parmesan, a great pizza, wafer, wafer thin

007.JPG

And lastly lunch today enjoying the sunshine at the St Georges swimming pool (even swimming pools dont escape political slogans in beirut!!) Mexican almaza with lemon juice and salt rim and a warm cheese, pickled cucumber and turkey ham sandwich what a way to spend a day off!!!

008.JPG

009.JPG
"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#44 heidih

heidih
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 10,798 posts
  • Location:Los Angeles

Posted 11 May 2011 - 09:46 AM

I am stealing the cumin crackers with guacamole concept. I've been wanting to try my hand at some seedy crackers, and I have avocados on the tree. Seems like a lovely match.

The croquettes are calling me. They look quite crispy on the outside. What was the interior like?

I do understand how a view like that might influence your opinion :wink:

#45 nikkib

nikkib
  • participating member
  • 1,203 posts

Posted 11 May 2011 - 01:58 PM

Hi heidih - the croquetas were like a fried bechemal sauce dotted with pieces of shrimp - and yes, definitely try the cumin seed biscuits at home, they were great, wafer thin but hard enough to scoop the guacamole up with. Still jealous of the blog posts with all your wonderful home grown avocados and citrus and herbs etc ;)
"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#46 nikkib

nikkib
  • participating member
  • 1,203 posts

Posted 03 January 2012 - 01:10 AM

Ok so I am off to Beirut for a week from Friday- will do my best to blog as much as possible so if anyone has any requests do let me know and I will try to accommodate them! Sahtein!
"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#47 ChefCrash

ChefCrash
  • participating member
  • 708 posts

Posted 03 January 2012 - 10:40 PM

Ok so I am off to Beirut for a week from Friday- will do my best to blog as much as possible so if anyone has any requests do let me know and I will try to accommodate them! Sahtein!


I'm jealous Nikki. Don't do this for my sake, but if you crave a decent pizza made in an olive-wood burning oven, try Olio's in Jimmayseh.

Another place I enjoyed was Paradox. Located on this side of Junieh. Fancy digs, but surprisingly cheap Lebanese fare with a view.

Have a great trip.

#48 nikkib

nikkib
  • participating member
  • 1,203 posts

Posted 04 January 2012 - 02:05 AM

ahhh olios - yes i have been many a time, actually alliaci replaced it in my affections though - slightly furter up in gemmayze away from martyrs square and on teh other side of the road, there and margarita were my favourites (3 awesome pizza restaurants all on the same road - thats actually pretty impressive when you think about it!)Paradox sounds good - will do my best to get there, my boyfriend is in the midst of opening a restaurant in sin el fil so have a feeling i may spend rather more of the week on my own than i would like so will make up for it by eating/drinking and smoking as much arguileh as possible :-) cannot wait! Tawlet is definitely on the list as i loved it there and i will check out Zaitunay Bay, possibly just for coffee but i am excited to see the marina space finally open, may hit up the restaurant owned by couqley, we'll see. Dont suppose you have any recommendations for places in sin el fil? Not an area i have been to often apart from to habtoor....
"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#49 Hassouni

Hassouni
  • participating member
  • 2,012 posts
  • Location:DC Area/London/Beirut

Posted 04 January 2012 - 04:04 PM

Have you been to Abdel Wahhab? My favorite place for traditional Leb food.

Also, argile and "Mexican" beer sound really nice here in frozen North America!

#50 nikkib

nikkib
  • participating member
  • 1,203 posts

Posted 04 January 2012 - 05:06 PM

Yes :-) I love abdel wahab, will definitely be going there and falamankis too!
"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#51 nikkib

nikkib
  • participating member
  • 1,203 posts

Posted 09 January 2012 - 12:48 AM

So i'm here! I must say this time i have scored an absolute blinder in not booking a hotel and instead booking hayete guesthouse http://www.hayete-guesthouse.com/ in ashrafieh - it is so "old beirut", really beautifully done up, in a great location and the owners are lovely - highly recommend you look it up if you do ever make the trip here.
On the first night we got delivery from babars, a zesty tabbouleh, hummus and pickles, surprisingly good cheese rakakat (fried foods dont normally stand up to being delivered as they need to be eaten immediately i always find) and a mixed grill which included some very nice chicken koftes as well as shish taouk, lamb kofte and marinated steak pieces.
For breakfast the first morning we had manouche from the bakery across the road and labneh with some olives - a great start to my day!

740 b.jpg

Next up i went to check out the marina development at Zaitunay Bay which opened just before Christmas, its a nice outdoor space thats for sure but the outlets are a bit "bland" for me, nevertheless i had an outstanding and quite beautiful Cappucino at "CAPPUCINO" a Spanish owned outlet that is open from breakfast through to dinner and had a very good looking cocktail list too.

741.JPG
743.JPG
744.JPG

Lunch was at Falamankis as i had some time to kill and sitting with a shisha is one of the best ways to kill an hour or so - thought i would show any of you who were follwing Chefcrash's KISHK posts what the "country style" kishk looks like - i had it with the hindbe (dandelion in oil) and arabic bread to dip into it along with carrots with cumin and of course a Mexican Almaza.

757.JPG
758.JPG
759.JPG
760.JPG
"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#52 rarerollingobject

rarerollingobject
  • participating member
  • 777 posts
  • Location:Sydney, Australia.

Posted 09 January 2012 - 01:06 AM

Wow, nikki, I've just found this thread and I'm totally in love! Please, blog on!

I have to get to Lebanon..

#53 nikkib

nikkib
  • participating member
  • 1,203 posts

Posted 09 January 2012 - 08:50 AM

746.JPG

Souk el tayab is a farmers market - Beiruts "first" although essentially there are plenty of street vendours selling farm goods too - this is however unmissable in my opinion. It has moved to a new sight near the Beirut souks (every saturday morning) so is hopefully thriving, it certainly deserves to be. I bought a freshly squeezed (while i waited) pomegranate juice $2 which was delicious and also a small silver charm to replace one i lost in the move to singapore so it was a successful trip, i was only disappointed not to be hungry so i could buy some of the lovely goods on sale...

745.JPG

747.JPG

748.JPG

749.JPG

750.JPG

751.JPG
"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#54 Hassouni

Hassouni
  • participating member
  • 2,012 posts
  • Location:DC Area/London/Beirut

Posted 09 January 2012 - 09:55 AM

Yeeeesss Falamanki, my favorite! Have you had their saj? It's really good, and where else can you get a saj at 3 am?

Where exactly is the guesthouse, that yellow building looks very familiar

#55 nikkib

nikkib
  • participating member
  • 1,203 posts

Posted 09 January 2012 - 11:26 AM

:raz: i love the saj but after manoushe at breakfast felt it might take even my carb loving self to the limits of what is acceptable.. will be making a return visit for sure. The fact that it is 24 hours is just heavenly, we saw many a sunrise there (if not after seeing it at B018)The guesthouse is next to bashir gemmeyl house just as you walk down the side street fom ABC down towards st joseph - we are right above Frida restaurant which opened last year if you know that - or slightly up from bread republic if not..
"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#56 nikkib

nikkib
  • participating member
  • 1,203 posts

Posted 09 January 2012 - 11:33 AM

I went for a wander in Gemmayze, typically undecided about where to eat - pizza ay Olios/Margarita or Aliacci? The Cafe Gemmayze replacement branch of Leila? Le Chef? Walk all the way to Tawlet? Indecision got the best of me so i ended up stopping when i got too hungry and went for a glass of wine and omelette at couqley. Used to be one of my favourite haunts but theyve removed the 5 bar stools to squeeze in 3 more tables of 2 which whilst make good business sense, kind of kills the vibe and asthetic. Anyway, the bacon, basil & tomato omelette was fine - the pain perdu was divine. I would like to tell you i left half/shared it but i would be lying :rolleyes:

764.JPG
765.JPG
"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#57 Hassouni

Hassouni
  • participating member
  • 2,012 posts
  • Location:DC Area/London/Beirut

Posted 09 January 2012 - 01:42 PM

As much as I love Leila, that space will forever be Ahwet il Izzaz :sad: their new location in Antelias is totally different and nothing special :sad: :sad:

#58 nikkib

nikkib
  • participating member
  • 1,203 posts

Posted 10 January 2012 - 01:34 AM

Breakfast was inside as it was POURING with rain, suddenly my singapore summer clothes did not seem so appropriate! Boiled eggs, arabic bread, some cheese you can just about see in the background and labneh how did i forget how much i liked labneh?!as well as our remainding pickles from the delivery on my first night

001.JPG

Edited by nikkib, 10 January 2012 - 01:34 AM.

"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#59 nikkib

nikkib
  • participating member
  • 1,203 posts

Posted 10 January 2012 - 01:39 AM

Hassouni - im not such a huge fan of Leila to be honest, i used to go to the one in ABC occasionally but preferred cafe blanc in terns of chain restaurants - anyway i wanted to check it out, so gave it a shot..
The decor is pretty funky, menu what you would expect from here, mezzes, mixed grills and their range of healthy alternatives. I had a shisha which was very good and well maintained as well as babaganoush and some fried potatoes with garlic - we'd had a late breakfast so this was really something to help soak up the wine!

002.JPG

003.JPG

004.JPG
"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

#60 Hassouni

Hassouni
  • participating member
  • 2,012 posts
  • Location:DC Area/London/Beirut

Posted 10 January 2012 - 08:28 AM

The thing I like about Leila is that they offer some things on the menu that you don't often find, such as grilled rkakat, off the top of my head, as well as proper Arabic ice cream. I think the quality is pretty good too.