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nikkib

Lebanon Dining

93 posts in this topic

Any more recent advice on where to visit? Am moving there in April and would love some more recommendations.....


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

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So i thought i would start updating this thread a bit - Here we have a couple of light lunches at Al Falamankis a 24hr restaurant and beautiful arguileh garden in Ashrafieh, Eastern Beirut

I was pretty hungover so very carb heavy - fried potatoes with beetroot tahini, mankoushe with spicy hakkawi cheese and the other is a bowl of foul (chickpea and bean stew) with another mankoushe this time with za'atar, tomato and onion024.JPG023.JPG110.JPG


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

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This is the guy across the road from my appartment making mankoushe - they sell for less than 50cents - toppings usually just za atar (thyme) Jebne ( a cheese) and Labneh (cream cheese/yoghurt) here although you see other flavours elsewhere.018.JPG

Here we have another fast food - falafel which i see less frequently than i expected here, the beer and falafel wrap cost $3029.JPG030.JPG

Lastly, mahamoura - a red pepper, chilli and walnut paste with tabbouleh and vegetable plate, Ive never tried the mahamoura before, but it is delicious and has become a firm favourite of mine017.JPG


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

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And now for something completely different, Coqueley a french/nyc style brasserie in Gemmayze - Beiruts equivalent to the east village. Literally transported me out of beirut to Paris or NYC which can only be a good thing every now and again! First of many meals here - foie gras terrine with the most amazing fig bread and then a goats cheese salad with apple, i forget the exact price but the foie gras was $13 and very good indeed, especially considering the trouble and cost they have importing good quality foie from france. They bake all the bread on sight have a 80% french wine list with minimal mark ups and daily home made raviolis/quiches as specials and i love it!011.JPG013.JPG014.JPG015.JPG


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

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001.JPG Lastly for tonight we have Le Chef - the only place tony bourdain ate in on his 2006 No Reservations programme before the troubles. He's just been back - i missed him by two nights - to refilm the programme with as many of the original crew as possible and to revisit everywhere he should have been to last tim. Le Chef is, as everyone will tell you an institution. In Gemmayze as well, a sort of workmans cafe or greasy spoon type place. Quite touristy now and the food isnt what it was but still an authentic experience worth trying. I had something described on the menu as spicy fish, a sort of fish stew with a little spice, served with rice and vegetable plate. Perfectly palatable despite looking rather awful - all in, with 2 glasses of wine it set me back about $12 not bad002.JPG004.JPG003.JPG

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

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Can you describe the probable prep method for the fried potatoes. They look almost like pre-cooked and shaken around ones that one roasts because they have so many craggy spots. Also, the beetroot tahini is a visual stunner. Any thoughts on the prep?

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yes, i would say they were like mini roasties really and as for the beetroot tahini, I would guess that it was beetroot puree added to tahini paste, it was very tasty and i fell in love with the colour too, will definitely try making some ( will ask about the recipe next time im there!)


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

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Well not much activity on here but i will plough on.... This is the souk al tayeb a local farmers market (beiruts first) and a lady making more of the ubiquitous manakoushe, selling for around $1 each. The market is great - fairly small compared to UK and US ones but really great quality, vegetables, fruit, lots of pickles, pastries, flowers and honey

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Here is a recent meal at Pepes in Jbeil (Byblos) which despite being in all the guide books and a favourite of local tour groups is a great little find and the seafood is excellent - you see surprisingly little decently priced seafood here as the water quality is so bad (there are barely any beaches either)First off is a shrimp rakakat, essentially a shrimp spring roll, then grilled tiger prawns, lebanese coffee and a little dessert they served complimentary when i asked if they just had something small to finish with, a sort of set jalab with coconut i think, delicious! 2 courses,a side order of salad a beer, gls of wine and coffee was around $30 which for tiger prawns was better value then it sounds

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Edited by nikkib (log)

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

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This is EXACTLY what I like best about eGullet....on the scene reporting of products and meals and anything to do with food. It reminds me of the "blog about your food life for a week" feature that first attrached me to eG. Blog on, and recipes, or techniques would be great too.

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not actually a shot of food but this is from a great fast food restaurant called comme ci comme saj (see what they did there?!) which sells the saj flat bread wraps with a variety of fillings meat/vegetarain and things like nutella and banana for afterwards. You can see the metal oven taht they cook them on top at the back of the shot - similar to the one the lady is cooking on at the farmers market but taller. Although we have macdonalds/starbucks/kfc here etc these are the local equivalent. As a random fact - mcdonalds also has valet parking ! Although then pretty much everywhere in beirut does so thats no great surprise.

Below are a couple of photos of the snacks you find out and about on street corners - little bread handbags that they can add cheese or just dried Za'atar to and eat as you take your evening stroll along the corniche (seafront) for around 75 cents

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

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thanks for the comments guys - will do! Probably aren't many of us egulleters out here in Beirut! Tourism is beginning to pick up again apparently which is great as The Lebanon is such a beautiful country with the most wonderful hospitality and food (as well as the history, great vineyards and weather to name just a few more!) so there should continue to be plenty for me to continue uploading


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

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So i thought i would start updating this thread a bit - Here we have a couple of light lunches at Al Falamankis a 24hr restaurant and beautiful arguileh garden in Ashrafieh, Eastern Beirut

I was pretty hungover so very carb heavy - fried potatoes with beetroot tahini, mankoushe with spicy hakkawi cheese and the other is a bowl of foul (chickpea and bean stew) with another mankoushe this time with za'atar, tomato and onion024.JPG023.JPG110.JPG

The mankoushe - is that a little like a pizza? It looks gorgeous. Lebanese food is quite popular where I grew up, but not with this kind of diversity - it was mainly limited to street-food types items like falafel and pita-wrapped meats. The beetroot tahini alone - oh, my.

Here is a recent meal at Pepes in Jbeil (Byblos) which despite being in all the guide books and a favourite of local tour groups is a great little find and the seafood is excellent -

Sometimes the guidebooks get it right, eh? The best restaurant in my neighborhood is in all the guidebooks - it even has a giant "Lonely Planet" sign out front - I expected it to be terrible the first time I visited, but it was sublime. A real happy surprise, since heavily touted restaurants so often turn out to be disappointments for whatever reason.

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Hi Nakji -the manakoushe are sort of like a pizza/flat bread cross but arent usually topped with much, great snacks though

Here are a few more recent meals 074.JPG this is labne served with its traditional accompaniments of olives, cucumber, mint and tomato along with a zaatar (lebanese thyme) flatbread and a glass of local rose

076.JPG lebanese mezze - pots of tabbouleh, moutabal and humus at the back, then rakakat ( a sort of cheese spring roll) stuffed vine leaves and fatyer with spinach ( a sort of pastry parcel or pasty usually filled with spinach)

086.JPG next up a great breakfast on the way to baalbek (- the most amzaing roman site i have seen - a true wonder of the world and absolutely worth the trip to lebanon alone)

This is Arishe - another flatbread, this time with a sweetened cream cheese with honey drizzled over it and a great cup of strong lebanese coffee


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

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That breakfast bread looks great. I suppose it is easy to find and cheap so nobody bothers to make it at home. But I'd sure like to try it....crispy bread and sweet creamy cheese....wonderful.

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042.JPG so today was spent on a trip to the marsyas vineyards in the bekaa valley,the vineyards have only been going since 2005 but they produce some very drinkable wines - a blend of chardonnay and sav blanc and then a blend of syrah, merlot and cab sav - both high in alcohol (the white i was told is 14 % and the red tops 15%)but smooth. I dont imagine you see much, if any outside of lebanon as they produce just 30,000 btles a year but that just means all the more for me then!

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the vines - those are the barouk mountains in the background

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depite it being 38degrees centigrade they had this wonderful lady making saj with zaatar or jebne to start us off with, then a mezze buffet of which i selected

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a rather huge plate, theres hummus, tabbouleh and fattoush as well as a tomato and feta salad - although the lebanese feta is almost like a cross between feta and halloumi in terms of texture here (although they have literally hundreds of variations) and also some white bean salad. Absolutely delicious and i completely forgot about the bbq i had seen

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so i only had a little kafta (lamb)as i had rather overfaced myself.... You can see the shish taouk, kafta, and if you look closely there are marinated lamb skewers somewhere there too, along with sojouk, a type of slightly spiced blood sausage. I should add we were on a trade lunch, i don't think they are set up for visitors usually however you can visit chateau keffraya which is literally next door, along with ksara, massaya, wardy and mussar should you be interested. They co own bargylus, a great syrian red so hopefully i will be able to post some pictures later in the summer of a planned visit there too. Just to finish, i made a rare trip to the supermarket on the way back and thought i would share the HUMUNGOUS grapefruits and tiger prawns on offer.

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The prawns are around 75 dollars a kilo (not sure how that relates to US prices) 076.JPGI bought 1/2 a kilo of cherries for around a $1.50 and a local melon ( abit like a cantaloupe) for under 50 cents - delicious!

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oops - almsot forgot the dessert today, you should be able to see some more of the arishe i posted eearlier about, drizzled with honey and some apricot preserve, along with cherries and some local sweet, similar to turkish delight but i havent found a name for it yet....


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

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003.JPG

Ok so a guilty late night supper while watching the world cup final at Chillis - "Mexican Beer" or a Chelada as i more usually know it which is quite a popular drink here and onion string fries with bbq sauce. I have never been to Chillis before ( i dont think we have them in the UK?) but it was my favoured hang out to watch the world cup in despite the abuse heaped on me for being an England supporter and my steadfast refusal to support the favoured teams over here (like germany and argentina!)and whilst it's not the kind of place i would usually choose to eat in, what they do they do well and i think it will remain a preferred sporting venue of mine


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

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You are doing a great job nikki. Keep up the posts. I just came back from visiting my family in Lebanon about 3 weeks ago and I miss it sorely (I visit every 3 years or so). I've been too lazy to post much pictures and most of the places I visited are the same as the ones I posted about here somewhere in 2007. Maybe I'll get a few up anyways.


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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You are doing a great job nikki. Keep up the posts. I just came back from visiting my family in Lebanon about 3 weeks ago and I miss it sorely (I visit every 3 years or so). I've been too lazy to post much pictures and most of the places I visited are the same as the ones I posted about here somewhere in 2007. Maybe I'll get a few up anyways.

I am enjoying the reports so much, would surely be happy to see an update from you too FoodMan, I loved your food lessons.

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038.JPGOutside of Beirut this time, at a restaurant called Dorada sur mer in Jounieh. Releatively new looking and very nicely done - floor to ceiling windows which gives you the impression of sitting on the seafront, a rarity here. The spread in front us in the photo was about 2/3 what my hosts ordered for 3 of us - Lebanese bhospitality really does know no bounds... Not sure quite what you can make out clearly in the photo but we had 3 different types of octopus, one poached in lemon with parsley and cilantro, one provencale style and one grilled. We also had grilled calamari, fattoush salad, smoked salmon mousse wrapped in smoked salmon, fried fish kebbe - a sort of arancini but made from grains of some sort not rice and filled with more octopus. Artichoke, grilled potatoes and what i gathered to be botargo - any ideas? 037.JPG

I have only ever had dried bottargo which is why i'm not sure if this was that, it was delicious all the same...

We visited after a tour of Chateau Musar in nearby Ghazir which is well worth braving the rush hour traffic for and i would heartily recommend


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

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I am a huge fan of octopus and calamari so your meal sounds absolutely delightful. How was the octopus dealt with in the kebbe- ground like in a conch fritter or did you have chewy bits? I am also curious what the custom is in Lebanon regarding the leftover food. Does one take it home or is it just left?

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I'll split my recent Lebanon pics into two posts, savory and sweet. Here is the thread from 2007 and I visited the same places for Shawarma and Kababs of course.

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In the mostly Armenian area of Burj Hamoud in Beirut youi'll find several places that make and serve the Armenian specialties of Basterma and Sujuk. Basterma is a spiced cured beef (garlic, paprika and fenugreek dominate). It is sliced very thin like Proscuito and served in a baguette with pickles and tomatoes. Sujuk is a tyoe of semi-dried sausage with a similar type of spicing. It is grilled or pan-fried and also served in a baguette or pita bread.

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You can see the basterma lying on the meat slicer here

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Basterma sandwich

We really enjoyed our dinner at a restaurant called "Balad". There are a couple of locations and this one is in downtown Beirut. The food is fresh and very well made. It seems odd to say that but the most memorable thing they made was a perfect Fatoosh salad with pomegranate molasses.

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Fried cilantro potatoes and Hummus with Lamb

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Fatoosh

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Lamb Pie


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Great to see your posts Foodman - i was talking to someone yesterday about heading to Bourj hammoud for the armenian specialities you've put here - the sandwich looks great! I was in Balad for lunch the other day - with a friend who hates me taking photos of the food but we had hummus, fattoush (it is great there) and a great halloumi coated in almond flakes before being fried along with kafta, you can just make out the restaurant in this photo here - its the one on the top left

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along with a fattoush and halloumi salad i had in arestaurant called massaya across the street.


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

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I am a huge fan of octopus and calamari so your meal sounds absolutely delightful. How was the octopus dealt with in the kebbe- ground like in a conch fritter or did you have chewy bits? I am also curious what the custom is in Lebanon regarding the leftover food. Does one take it home or is it just left?

Heidih it was more like a thin outer shell filled with chunks of cjhewy octopus when you cut into it - great.... Doggie bag wise, everywhere does take away but i have never seen anyone ask - also its more of a status thing i feel, - the lebanese like to show off - ecesseive amounts of food show your hospitality to your guests, and the amount you, as a guest eat correlates to how you respond to their hospitality... by that (probably incorrect reasoning on my part) doggie bags would sort of insult your host and suggest you could not afford more food for home. I dont know i could be way off but thats my take


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

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