Tag Archives: Beirut Restaurants

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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!

 

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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!

 

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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.

 

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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.

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Dining in Style at Mario e Mario

Nestled in a quiet street towards the end of Mar Mikhael lies Mario e Mario. An old Lebanese house transformed into a cozy Italian eatery with a yellow wall exterior, purple shutters, and homestyle plants.

 

Outdoor

 

We walked into the restaurant shortly after 9 pm. We were greeted by one of the happiest and most helpful waiters I’ve ever seen! He led us up a narrow staircase to the restaurant’s rooftop. Understated and romantic, soft music plays in the background as guests dine on Italian delicacies and sip their cocktails in a laid back environment. The place is absolutely perfect for a lazy Sunday lunch or early drinks with friends.

 

Rooftop

 

Unfortunately, the terrace was packed so we made our way back down inside and chose a small table for 2. A new waiter emerged with a cold bottle of stillwater as we admired our table setting: 2 tomatoes and one lemon placed on a plate with a tiny plant of basil nearby (I thought this added such a homey feel to the place!)

 

tomatoes

 

As we waited for our menus, a lady stopped at our table to say hello. Mrs. Cynthia Sednaoui from Mario e Mario told us the story of how the place came to be: the restaurant is owned by Mario Haddad, who also owns Falamanki (that by the way makes the best Fattouch in the country). Mario presented his father (also named Mario) with this new Italian eatery on his birthday. The most interesting fact about the restaurant is that the entire menu changes everyday, based on what organic products the Napoli chef finds and the fish catch of the day. So, you are always promised a surprise!

We kicked off our dinner by ordering the Melanzane Alla Parmiggiana, which basically consists of baked eggplants with tomatoes and Mozzarella and Panzanella Classica, a mixed vegetable salad with creamy Burrata cheese. The salad was yummy and the dressing with the Burrata cheese was just amazing.

 

Salad

 

For our main course, I went for the Gnocchi di Patate Alla Sorrentina- potato gnocchi with basil, tomato sauce, and Mozarella. The tomato sauce was simply divine. Made from scratch, it added the perfect flavor to the gnocchi.

 

Gnocchi

 

Ralph went for the Totelloni Di Ricotta E Spinaci- which is basically handmade Ricotta and spinach tortelloni with butter and Parmesan sauce. At first, I thought the portion was too small, but every bite is as heavy as the one before. The dish is actually too much for my taste, but Ralph enjoyed the flavored mix of spinach and cheese.

 

tortelloni

 

Shortly after our meal, the waiter presented us with a serving of homemade Tiramisu and a slice of lemon pie (also homemade). Both desserts were delicious, but the pie won me over with its light filling and crispy crust!

 

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Mario e Mario is one of those restaurants you just have to visit: It’s not an easy task for a restaurant to pull off a new menu everyday, but the place does it with such class and professionalism. The servers are knowledgeable, courteous, and friendly.

Head out to Mario e Mario for a Sunday lunch with the family, an early drink with friends on the terrace, or a date with someone you’re trying to impress- you will not be let down, I promise!

 

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Mario e Mario is located on Rue Patriarche Arida, Mar Michael. Open Tuesdays to Sundays from 12:30 pm until 3:30 pm and 7:30 pm until 11:30 pm. For reservations, call 01 444 036 .

Meal for two without wine: USD $ 110.

Special thanks to Mrs. Cynthia Sednaoui for being so hospitable and to the entire team for their generosity.

 

 

mark rosati

Shake Shack Takes Over ABC Achrafieh

I remember the first time I visited Shake Shack in New York City; it was a freezing day in November and I waited for a full hour nearly 2 blocks away from the eatery to get in with my friends. At the time, I thought to myself: this wait definitely means that there must be some really good food in there! You see, for New Yorkers, Shake Shack is a phenomenal burger experience that gets you every time and keeps you coming back!

 

view of the shack

 

Luckily for us here in Lebanon, Shake Shack debuted late last year in Beirut City Center to more than positive reviews. A few months later, there I was at the restaurant’s second opening in ABC Achrafieh on a busy Thursday afternoon. The place was literally packed; everyone was enjoying their favorite item from the menu, from sumptuous burgers and hot dogs to fresh milk shakes (their strawberry milkshake is absolute heaven) to the signature concretes (the red velvet concrete is my new obsession)!

 

shack team

 

I was also lucky to meet Marc Rosati, who is Shake Shack’s Culinary Director. Marc is an absolute food genius who – in my opinion- makes the brand an absolute joy and inspiration to those coming to experience it. You can learn more about Marc Rosati by reading his interview with Blog of the Boss here!

 

mark rosati

 

Shake Shack is open in Beirut City Center and ABC Achrafieh L3. The eatery is planning several new branches in the coming months so stay tuned!

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Dining in Style at Bagatelle

To celebrate my birthday this past weekend, Ralph surprised me with a romantic and cozy dinner for 2 at Bagatelle in Hamra. The restaurant just celebrated its 2 year anniversary since its founding, and despite our numerous visits to the area, we never crossed this place.

 

Indoor

 

Shortly after 10 PM on Saturday, we walked into Bagatelle located on the ground floor of an old building. We took in the little details such as the old floor tiles and the wooden furniture before being seated at a private table on the terrace. The weather was amazing – it really is the perfect time to enjoy a meal outdoors!

 

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Our waiter came and offered us a wooden board decorated with freshly baked bread and olives. We ordered some wine and a few appetizers to kick off the meal.

 

Bread

 

The Classic Bruschetta contained 3 generous pieces of sliced bread; the first had a tasty mix of tomatoes and fresh Mozarella with a touch of pesto, the second was filled with sauteed mushrooms and garnished with Parmesan, while the third was spread with Philadelphia cheese and topped with Parma ham. Delicious!

 

Brushcetta

 

We  then ordered the Nicoise salad to share before our main course. While the serving was a generous one, I found it odd that the restaurant used canned tuna and that eggs were missing from the salad. Perhaps this is something to be considered :)

 

nicoise

 

Following the appetizers and salad, Ralph and I split the Filet Mignon. This was my favorite dish and possibly one of the best steaks I’ve eaten in a long time! The meat was cooked perfectly and the pepper sauce was absolute perfection! I would recommend adding some more vegetables, since 2 slices of carrots and zucchini are really too little!

 

Steak

 

Following the meal, I was so surprised to see the waiter serve me with a bowl of Pain Perdu with a candle on it. He said that this was for my Birthday and he continued by wishing me a happy year ahead. To start with, the Pain Perdu was perfect. I am not really a fan of Pain Perdu but this specific one was insanely good. And second of all, I cannot begin to stress how amazing the service was at Bagatelle; our waiter was so knowledgeable, kind, generous, and attentive. Seriously a type of service that I wish can rub off on more restaurants in this country!

 

Pain Perdu

 

We left with big smiles on our faces and that’s surely how we’ll return to Bagatelle!

Bagatelle is located on Jabre Doumit St, Hamra. For reservations, call 01 342 842

Meal for 2 with wine approx. USD $100

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Dining in Style | The Perfect Ending to the Weekend at Tavolina

Ralph and I have been meaning to try Tavolina for ages, but it seemed like we never had the time to so. So, on a rainy Sunday night, we finally hit the relatively new Italian eatery located in Mar Mikhael.

 

tavolina

 

The place is really cozy and its most eye-catching piece is the pizza wood-burning oven located in the corner. We sat at a table in the middle and directly ordered main platters when the waiter came.

 

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I chose the goat cheese pizza with sun dried tomatoes and Ralph went for the grilled chicken with steamed vegetables. I loved loved my pizza! The dough tasted fresh and homemade and the goat cheese was delicious. Ralph’s chicken was cooked to perfection and we both loved the place’s generosity with the serving size for both mains.

 

pizza

 

chicken

 

I’d love to go back to Tavolina; the place is so understated and perfect for a laid back evening with your date or a fun family lunch on Sundays.

 

Tavolina is located on Camille Youssef Chamoun St, Mar Mkhael. To reserve, call 01 442 244.

Meal for two with wine $80

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Dining in Style | Found: Lebanon’s Best Italian Restaurant

We walked into La Traviata on Pasteur Streey shortly after 10:30 PM on Valentine’s Day. The place is literally the size of a standard salon, which made it incredibly cozy. There was no big fuss about Valentine and no set menu which was perfect!

 

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After being seated at a cozy table for two by the window, we ordered two glasses of Italian white wine which we enjoyed with the tastiest freshly baked pain au fromage and parma ham.

 

pain au fromage

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Shortly after, our Caprese salad and special house roasted potatoes came in. The Mozarella was so fresh and the pesto dressing was just right. The roasted potatoes had an addictive scent of rosemary and were as crunchy as they should be.

 

Caprese

 

We enjoyed our starters while staring at pedestrians passing by on a big television screen. This sight turned out to be a live camera installed in La Traviata’s home restaurant in Bologna, Italy. We loved this detail!

 

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It was time to order our entrees and to our surprise and it turns out, La Traviata makes all their pastas in house. We had a true Italian experience by ordering the Spaghetti with mushrooms and Parma ham and the most delicious Parmesan Ravioli. Simply YUM!

 

parma ham spaghetti

 

Ravioli

 

Our experience came to a perfect end with the Nutella Tortellini (also homemade). The dessert was fresh out of the oven, which made the nutella simply melt in our mouths. A true perfect ending to the best Valentine’s dinner date ever!

 

tortellini

 

 

You simply have to try it!

 

La Traviata is located on Pasteur Street, Gemayzeh. To reserve, call 01 444 471

Meal for two with wine: USD $90