Lebanese have always dubbed Lebanon as the best place on earth; from the bustling nightlife to the beautiful mountains and national cedars, a thirty minute drive away from the mediterranean, where you can ‘Swim and Ski in the same day’!
When one of the most influential Travel sites, Travel & Leisure names Beirut, Best International City for Food’, I can’t but agree.
My husband is a cook / restauranteur – so food choices are important and a big part of our daily lives. We lived in Geneva where within an hour, you can be almost anywhere in Europe – LiveLoveEasyJet! Our travels included Good Food Hunting…. First book the restaurant, then hotel and then flights… Currently living in Beirut, I am the voice behind Souk El Tayeb’s Organic Food posts and manage social media for this NGO. Our pastime includes enjoying Lebanon’s diverse offering from Beirut’s glamourous worldly eateries to the mama and papa kitchens, we enjoy Lebanon’s offerings.
Here’s my list of Top 10 Places to Eat in Lebanon
By Joanne Lawen
1) Spoonteller – Kaslik – almost entirely decorated in black and white, Spoonteller has the french bistro feel. The ambiance is very relaxed – the owner Samia, a lady is very dedicated to her restaurant, the menu and the clients – she visits each table and chats you up. They offer International Cuisine – impeccable best service. Their soups are to die for – always filling, warm the soul and cure colds all at once.
2) Tawlet – Beirut, constantly wins international awards – took #8 (2015) & #9 (2016) in Monocle’s Top 50 Restaurants of the world. No kidding! Located on a small dead end street in Mar Mikael, the Farmer’s Kitchen of Souk El Tayeb – Home cooked Lebanese in the form of a buffet – with rotating cooks. Everyday, a different lady from a different part of Lebanon offers specialties from her hometown. You dont have to leave Beirut to taste Zgharta and Saida.
3) Tawlet Beit El Qamar – Chouf – The third loation of Tawlet Beirut, [Hush Hush, the 5th location is set to open in the Spring, in Saida in the old souk] – where Home Cooked Lebanese is served under Oak trees the Chouf Mountains. Visitors will love road trip– the crisp fresh mountain air. They are famous for the dessert Tamriyeh – Semolina & Orange Blossom in a cruchy crust – a specialty in the region of Chouf.
4) Em Sherif – Monot – When I have guests in town and want to impress them, Beirut101 style, for a real Arabian Night, I take them to Um Sherif. Sophistcaed decor is the perfect match to the Oriental Menu. The mirrored tables keep you looking down at your food – velvet chairs, and very Arabic Feel. The food is amazing – refined Lebaneze mezza. Portions are very large and you will feast for hours.
5) Toto – Italian Eatery – Mar Mikhael – It’s been there for a few years and recently opened in the Village Dbayeh. I am always satisfied when we go. The restaurant is quaint, cozy and very traditional style serving simple dishes from thin crust pizzas, pasta to sauces and sides – excellent preparation and presentation.
6) Jai Kitchen – Hamra serves authentic Asian Dishes with Thai, Chinese and Indian influences. The Open Kitchen faces a single round marble table where it’s near impossible to reserve. There are 3-4 tables on the street – yes, right on the street. A wonderful Street food experience – Thai,. Pad Thai, Tsao Chicken, Curry,
7) Fadel – Lebanese Cuisine Bikfaya – Lebanese Dishes like Tabbouleh and Labneh are both healthy and delicious so lazy Sundays we pick Fadels.
8) Ono Armenian – Beirut’s best Kept secret and many consider it the best Armenian in the country – the original location was on a small street in Bourj Hammoud under the bridge connecting Achrafieh to Dekweneh – dont’ try to google it. Just Say Ono and people will direct you. Very Home Feel with armenian dishes you won’t find anywhere else – Juicy, Spicey Taste. They use alot of spices, a variety of herbs and flowers. They are now in Badaro as well – much easier to find.
9) Gerge el Dayaa Seafood – located on the seaside road in Anfeh , Koura where your view is the salt factory. A very famous fish restaurant – the Main Cook is George – always smilling, and looks like he just arrived from a fishing trip. Pictures of George fishing since childhood line up the walls – show the history of this spot. Simple menu of fresh fish, fried fish, grilled fish – with french fries, hummos and salad. Casual and worth the trip from Beirut.
10) Hut #38 – Nassif Srour – Tyre Beach , rare public beaches in Lebanon with Blue and very clean water – where small restaurants operate out of wooden huts. Simply, put, the best spot to enjoy fresh seafood, very high quality cooked on the spot seafood. Eating with yoru hands is more then recommended. You call day before and he goes to fish market to purchase fish.