Karam bridges simplicity and tradition; the experience here is based on hearty Lebanese food that is both generous in portion and mouthwatering delicious. Karam might just offer the perfect introduction to Lebanese cuisine with mouthwatering halloumi and fatash salad, in addition to serving the best mezze in town, which comprises a number of simple yet tantalising small platters: hummus, kebbeh, kofta, preserved vegetables, yoghurt, pita bread and many others. With Lebanon’s national anise-based drink, arak, and the quiet but central location and outdoor sitting area, Karam makes an ideal venue for groups, families or romantic dining.
Karam, Bazerkan Street, Beirut, Lebanon, +961 1 991 222
A small, off-the-beaten-track restaurant with few tables, Onno is considered to be the best Armenian kitchen in the country. Guests should not expect a grand venue, but should visit instead for the food. Their authentic Armenian food and hospitality are praised countrywide, and Onno has earned its reputation among tourists as well. One of the oldest dining spots in Lebanon,, the cherry kebab, manti and Armenian salad are surely among the best choices. Each dish is created with great care and passion. Onno is an ideal place for a gastronomical treat for those seeking fully authentic Armenian tastes with affordable prices.
Onno, Aghagabios Street, Bourj Hammoud, Beirut, Lebanon, +961 3 801 476
Em Sherif is a perfect spot for an unconventional fine-dining experience in the heart of Beirut. It is a themed restaurant with an opulent atmosphere, where the owner, Em Sherif, personally ensures that clients are served delectable tastes of only the highest quality. While the menu is characteristically Lebanese, including the traditional mezze, the wine selection contains a fine selection of French, Italian and Lebanese wines. The venue boasts a sophisticated and exclusive design that is rich in detail, while also offering varying entertainment options featuring the live band, Tarab, and traditional Middle Eastern music.
Jaï Kitchen is a take-out restaurant with an Asian style. With a menu based on spicy Indian, Thai and Vietnamese dishes, with offerings such as chicken, shrimp rolls, fish cakes, noodle soups, all spiced with the perfect mix of coriander, cumin, ginger, or curry, Jaï is heaven for Asian-food enthusiasts. The concept at Jai is both open-minded and cosy, creating a tranquil atmosphere with an open kitchen, where on a first-come-first-served basis a few patrons can have the opportunity to dine at a prime viewing table. Chef Wael Lazkani guarantees high quality food in Beirut’s Kantari neighborhood. Opt to dine-in or take away.
Jaï, Mexico Street, Kantari, Beirut, Lebanon, +961 1 341 940
The latest addition to the energetic and constantly changing Beirut culinary scene is the recently opened Gilt (2013). Set in the Saifi Village in the centre of Beirut, Gilt is one more in the impressive list of achievements of renowned restaurateur Marwan Keyrouz. Gilt is, however, much more than just a place to dine. It combines food, design and music, turning a simple dining experience into an evening of cultural immersion. The menu, a cosmopolitan fusion of excellent Mediterranean, Asian and Peruvian dishes, features a multitude of enticing innovations. While the subdued grey and white interior might give a relaxed impression, the architecture – a spot-on mix of cool, modern style accompanied by the warmth of wood and the ambience of dim lights – is unique. With an eclectic selection of music always playing, Gilt definitely knows how to create an intimate environment. Gilt also offers a bar area where a large selection of expertly prepared cocktails can be enjoyed.
Gilt, 752 Gouraud St. Saifi Village, Beirut, Lebanon, +961 76 997 676+961 76 997 676
‘Hamburgers is all we do’ – but they do it well. Classic Burger Joint serves the best burgers in town, if not in the whole country. Their reputation is steady and the quality unquestionable. A truly American-inspired venue, where nothing is fancy nor chic, they are straightforward with the food. The menu offers burgers of all types and in a great variety with some side dishes, such as chips and salads. The venue also offers take-out menus, but make sure to sit in, because besides great food, the atmosphere and friendly servers make for a great dining experience.
Classic Burger Joint, Uruguay street, Beirut, Lebanon, + 961 0199 9610
A true landmark building of Beirut, Cafe d’ Orient has stood for decades. It prides itself not only on its long history and great food, but also for being the culinary choice for visiting Hollywood stars, politicians, high-level dignitaries, while also welcoming families, couples and providing an exclusive venue for any occasion. Located right by the waterfront, it offers outdoor sitting at the water’s edge, accompanied by a sea breeze. La Plage, as it is commonly referred to, offers amazing seafood choices that, thanks its location, are fresh every day. Though it boasts a locally inspired kitchen, the menu does not overlook delicious international tastes either, sushi being the most popular choice. Cafe d’ Orient is an absolute must for a chic Lebanese dining experience.
Cafe d’ Orient, Minet el Hosn Beirut Lebanon, + 961 1 366 222