Tag Archives: Beirut


Dining In Style At Le Talleyrand

Le Talleyrand is probably one of those places that you’ve passed on your way to Hamra and overlooked, somehow because of its hidden locale. Perfectly nestled in Kantari, this restaurant is one of Beirut’s finest: the waiters are knowledgeable, the menu is designed to perfection, and the guests are beautiful as they are fashionable!

We arrived to Le Talleyrand shortly after 9.00 pm on a Saturday night. We were greeted by a smiling host who showed us to our table as we were directly asked if we prefer sparkling or still water. Moments later, our waiter arrived with the menu- which is pretty much a recto-verso one page thick cardboard featuring the restaurant’s offerings. French and Italian dishes dominated the menu, but our eyes quickly wandered off to the steak section.


photo 1


Our waiter- who was patient as he answered question after question about the meats and steaks- was extremely knowledgeable and provided his professional advice. I finally settled on the filet de boeuf while my date went for the entrecote. For sides, we had the French fries, sauteed vegetables, and potato dauphinois.


photo 2


We started our meal with two glasses of Italian white wine- I can’t recall the brand name, but I remember that its taste was divine. We split a house salad and made small talk as we were offered a variety of on-the-house crudites with their accompanying sauces and condiments.


photo 4




Shortly after, our steaks came and I can honestly tell you that Le Talleyrand really serves one of Beirut’s finest steaks. It was possibly one of the only times I did not have to return my steak to the kitchen for not being cooked “well-done”- this one was and it was cooked to absolute perfection!






While we were too full to have dessert, we couldn’t resist not to taste Le Talleyrand’s Pain Perdu (which I’ve heard rave reviews about). I wasn’t really a fan of the caramel- it was too sweet for my taste, but the bread pudding was flawless and the accompanying vanilla ice cream was fresh and refreshing!


photo 5


All in all, our experience was truly that of a fine dining restaurant. I cannot keep stressing over and over again about the attentive and dedicated service that you receive here. Now that summer’s in full swing, make sure to book a table on the patio- I loved the combination of wooden/garden furniture with trees all around and a perfect marriage of light projectors to make your experience all the more special.


photo 3


Le Talleyrand is located on Fakhreddine Street, Kantari. For reservations, call 00961 1 371 500.

Meal for two with two glasses of wine: USD 200.


Carmel + Vanilla is 2 Years Old!

Carmel + Vanilla turned 2 yesterday! It seems like it was just a few days ago that I found myself wondering whether it was the right time or not to start a fashion and lifestyle blog. It’s amazing how fast time flies, right? In retrospect, I’m so happy to see my young blog grow and expand to more readers as the days pass. So, to celebrate, I’m turning back time and sharing my favorite 5 posts fro the past two years with you. Read on to discover more!


Best and Worst Dressed and The Post that Started it All!

I’m beyond obsessed with E!’s red carpet coverage shows. Long before Carmel + Vanilla even existed, I used to tune in until 3.00 am to watch what my favorite celebrities wore to the red carpet. In fact, this blog kicked off with a Best Dressed post, following the 2013 Golden Globe Awards. Go down memory lane with me and read the post here.




A Rewarding Experience and Giving Back at an Elderly Home:

Sometimes we get caught up in our issues and forget how truly blessed and lucky we are to have family and friends who are there to support us through thick and thin. In the summer of 2013, I visited an elderly home in Mansourieh in hopes of bringing smiles to those who might have lost hope in life. This day was truly inspirational and invite you to read about it here.


old home


Discovering Charbel Zoe and My Most Viewed Post Ever:

I remember that day like it were yesterday. On Thursday, June 12th, 2014- as I was in pain way over my head with a severe case of streptococcus- Jennifer Lopez appeared on TV at the opening of the 2014 World Cup in a drop dead gorgeous leotard. Who was the designer? I just had to find out! Turns out it was Lebanese newcomer Charbel Zoe and it wasn’t even the first time he collaborated with the hot Latina. This information inspired my most viewed post ever, entitled: 4 Things You Probably Didn’t Know about the Lebanese Designer behind JLo’s Outfit at the World Cup Opening Ceremony! I’m thrilled to see how   mega successful Charbel has become, even opening his own boutique on Melrose last month!




Dining in Style – Everywhere!

While having dinner at the Four Seasons in early February 2013, I decided to start a “Dining in Style” section on Carmel + Vanila. The culinary experiences that I shared with friends and family were largely documented on the blog in this section. Here’s to more yummy food in the coming year!



dining in style


Meeting an International Lebanese Designer: One-on-One with Rabih Keyrouz:

It was a dream come true! I couldn’t believe how down to earth and inspirational Rabih Keyrouz was. It was a delight and a pleasure to meet him over a signature cup of pomegranate juice in his atelier in Beirut in 2014. Read my interview with him here.






A big thank you goes out to everyone who encouraged me to carry on and write on a continuous basis. Special thanks to Ralph who is my go-to blog tech-guru- I couldn’t do it without you!

Here’s to another year of blogging!

Dining in Style | Birthday Lunch at Fiona’s!

To celebrate my birthday on the weekend, my family took me out to lunch to a very charming Italian Restaurant in Saifi Village, called Fiona’s.




I discovered Fiona’s around 4 years ago, when my family took my mom to dinner there to celebrate her birthday. Then a few years ago, I took my boyfriend there to celebrate our first anniversary by taking a  cooking class with the restaurant’s very talented chef! (If you’re into this kind of stuff, this activity is one that will create memories to last a lifetime- check out the pics below to get a glimpse of all the fun!)


Ralph hard at work cooking Risotto while Chef Ali shows me how to master Spaghetti Pomodoro!
Ralph hard at work cooking Risotto while Chef Ali shows me how to master Spaghetti Pomodoro!


Something you must know about Fiona’s before visiting on the weekend is that the restaurant is usually buzzing with people on Sunday and you are very likely to bump into one (2, or even a few) of Lebanon’s high profile politicians acting very normal as they dine with their families. So while the waiters attend to their pressing needs, expect delays in getting your order on time. (Sorry!)




As we waited for our appetizers to be served, we each enjoyed a glass of Toscano, which turned out to be a very fine white wine imported from Italy. As a start, Fiona’s serves homemade bread crackers sprinkled with fresh thyme that are best enjoyed with an oil, balsamic vinegar, and Parmesan mix.  Moments later, our Bruschette Pomodoro arrived along with a deliciously looking salad made of a variety of fresh greens.




For the main course, I ordered Spaghetti Pomodoro (you can never go wrong with this dish in an Italian restaurant), while my mum ordered the filet that was served with wedge potatoes and steamed fresh veggies. My dad and my boyfriend went for the rosemary and garlic marinated grilled chicken that was also served with wedge cut potatoes.




As for the desert, well I can honestly tell you that if you’re a Tiramisu fan, then you absolutely MUST taste it at Fiona’s! We were so looking forward to eating it that I forgot to take a picture of it once it was served!


mirrios (1)


If you’re looking for a nice place to lunch with your family on a Sunday, then head over to Fiona’s. While the food may not be stellar, the value for money is a pretty good one. The servers are young and friendly and the atmosphere is very Italian and familial.

You can also visit Fiona’s in the morning for a delicious breakfast spread. Their outdoor seating area in the Saifi neighborhood is a must-see once the weather gets warmer!





For your reservations at Fiona’s call 01 985 825 or 03 034 200.

Dining in Style | Sunday Cheese & Wine at Faqra’s Le 1700.

On a cold yet beautifully sunny Sunday afternoon, my friends and I decided to go up to Faraya to enjoy the sunset in the snow. After a freezing walk around the ski slopes, we were in the mood to have a glass of wine overlooking the amazing view of the snowy white mountains.




We ended up going to Le 1700, a restaurant I discovered last Summer in Faqra that serves impeccable fresh cuisine in a cozy setting. It was around 6 PM so the place was almost empty and it was a relief to walk in to find the chimney on as it was close to 0 degrees outside.




Located at an altitude of 1700m, the restaurant is made of a big house like wooden structure and the tables and chairs also made from wood are covered in simple, yet elegant white cloths. The walls are adorned with reindeer chandeliers, and the restaurant’s wine cellar boasts an impressive variety of wines from all around the world.




After looking through the wine list, we decided to go for a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc by Sierra Grande from Chile; the exquisite taste was a fine blend between sweet sour grapes. We also selected the cheese plate that contains a variety of fancy cheeses including Brie, Parmesan, Roquefort, Camembert, and Chevre among others. Soon after, our Bruschetta Pomodoro arrived complete with toasted bread, chunks of red cherry tomatoes, and some fresh basil. We sipped our wine and enjoyed the colorful ingredients of our food while taking in the view of the snowy hills from behind the big glass windows.




Following our meal, our dessert- a delightfully smelling milk chocolate fondue- was served along with fresh apples, strawberries, kiwi, pineapple, and bananas. It was the perfect sweet end to the perfect afternoon.



I highly recommend visiting Le 1700 before the end of the Winter snow season; the charming setting, friendly staff, smoke-free environment, delectable food, and overall ambiance will surely make your visit one to remember!



Le 1700 is located on Faqra Club Road, Kfardebian. (Right under Rickyz)

For your reservations, call 03 441 700.

Dining in Style | Sunny Saturday Lunch at the Villagio!

The Villagio Piccolo opened its doors in Kantari, Downtown Beirut 2 weeks ago, and has been the talk of the town since then! From its cozy wooden structure to its charming atmosphere, and not to forget its delicious food, Villagio is THE latest hip and happenening craze of restaurants in Lebanon.


IMG_4348   IMG_4351  


So, on a sunny Saturday afternoon, I took my boyfriend there to have an early Valentine celebration- the Italian way. Along with its charming outdoor seating, we were greeted by a rather large circular fountain with baby lemon trees all around. The gracious and young staff pointed us to a table for 2 inside, where we could see the cars passing by on the street from behind the glass walls.




The first thing I noticed were the name tags worn by the waiters and waitresses; they all had names like “Speranza”, “Sergio”, “Odeo”, and “Diego”. It turns out that in order to have a complete authentic Italian experience, the management chose these names for the team and I must say it did create a friendly  converation with our waiters “Odeo” and “Speranza”.




While talking about the restaurant’s décor, our warm bread rolls were brought in along with a delicious tomato bruschetta mixture and 2 glasses of Ksara Chardonnay. Soon after, our mixed green salad with fried marinated shrimps arrived; the light mayo sauce was just right and the shrimps tasted fresh and crunchy.




We enjoyed our main course in colorful green and yellow plates; my boyfriend had the mushroom ravioli (and I must say that very few restaurants in Lebanon have this dish on their menu) while I opted for the Tagliatelle with Alfredo sauce.




Our final course of the meal was the homemade fondant au chocolat with vanilla ice cream. The fondant had sprinkles of granulated sugar around its edges which added to its sweet and delicious taste.




We had a great time at the Villagio Piccolo; the staff is attentive to details, the food is served at just the right temperature, and the décor is coloful made classy.

You can even visit the Villagio’s neighboring Limoncello for breakfast as well as afternoon snacks; they serve sandwiches, salads, and desserts throughout the day.




The Villagio Piccolo is located on Fakhreddine Street, Kantari, Beirut.

For your reservations, call 71 09 09 68.


Dining in Style | The Grill Room, Four Seasons Beirut

We arrived at the Four Seasons Hotel Beirut at 9pm sharp and took the elevator up to The Grill Room located on the second floor. A courteous waiter greeted us and showed us to our cozy table overlooking Beirut’s waterfront.

While deciding what to order, we were served with a loaf of freshly baked bread, along with its condiments. At a loss of what type of steak to order, our waiter was kind enough to spend some time giving us his recommendation; I finally opted for the American very well-done 180g Ladies Cut steak, along with the boiled asparagus and cauliflower gratin while my boyfriend (the biggest steak lover ever!) went for the 250g medium-well American Tenderloin with French fries and sauteéd mushrooms.


Patterned walls at The Grill Room

Just as we started sipping on our 2010 Ksara Chardonnay, our exotic green salad with grapes (yes grapes) arrived; the mixture of the sweet and sour taste was scrumptious and the melange of the colors together was quite appetizing. Moments later, our main course was brought in and we eagerly dug into the most tender and perfectly cooked American steaks we’ve ever had. The fries were crispy, the asparagus still bright green despite being boiled, and the cauliflower gratin had just the right amount of parmesan to make it even more delicious.

Our evening was accompanied by a DJ who spun the most amazing unplugged versions of the best pop and soft rock music. What made the night even more enjoyable was that the entire restaurant was smoke-free and those who wanted to light up, courteously did so out on the terrace.




Our final course of the evening- the Chocolate Croustillant came just as we were finishing our Chardonnay. The crispy tarte covered in mouth-watering Valrhona chocolate was the perfect ending to this perfect dinner.

I had a great time at the Four Seasons’ The Grill Room. From the flawless service to the ambiance to the delectable food, I will be visiting again very soon!


The Grill Room Steakhouse is at the Four Seasons Hotel Beirut.

1418 Professor Wafic Sinno Avenue

Minet El Hosn, Beirut