Lebanese cuisine hardly needs an introduction; but where better to sample the wonderful flavors of kibbe, and a helping of baba ghanoush than in their place of origin? Beirut’s Lebanese restaurants serve the widest variety of local delicacies one could wish for in an equally broad range of settings and atmospheres. Here are our favorite restaurants in the city.
Branching out of Souk el Tayeb, a weekly farmers market promoting Lebanon’s independently grown produce, Tawlet celebrates the same vision for the role of food and sustainable agriculture. The dining area is flooded with light owing to the high ceilings and the glass walls separating it from a green Mar Mikhael street. Truly deserving of the soul food epithet, cooks here will be happy to give context to the dishes they happen to be serving on the day. There is no fixed menu, only a range of all-you-can-eat buffet dishes, lovingly prepared by a rotating group of cooks from all over the country.
Pastel walls, twinkling chandeliers, striped and spotted couches: Enab would fit straight into a Wes Anderson movie. Situated on the first floor of an expansive French colonial house and meticulously decorated with all sorts of quirky touches, this reputable venue serves some of the best mezze in the Mar Mikhael dining scene. As you make your way through endless rooms and airy terraces you’re sure to have no trouble finding a table. Countless waiters whiz past, elegantly serving fresh Lebanese fare, as narghile ‘hookah’ smoke rises in the terrace. The whole places buzzes with a life and charm quite unlike anywhere else in the city.
Address: Mar Mikhael Street, Ashrafiyah, Beirut, Lebanon. +961 1 444 441
Should you crave a midnight or early morning snack, ideally in a peaceful setting, this is the place. Setting Al Falamanki apart is its blissful garden, a bucolic spot in the middle of the city, hardly paralleled anywhere else in Beirut. The indoor quarters, themselves reminiscent of a country house, are professionally maintained. They serve a wide variety of mezze, grills and oven-baked dishes, though the restful venue is also perfect for coffee and, what locals seem to enjoy most here, a game of backgammon.
Address: Sodeco, Damascus Road, Beirut, Lebanon. +9611323456