Tag Archives: Dining in Style

Dessert

Dining In Style At Pasquale

It comes as no surprise that the Grand Hills Hotel is the place to be this season. The Fall weather is absolutely the perfect time to take a stroll in this extravagant village that boasts the world’s largest presidential suite and offers more than breath-taking views of the Lebanese mountains as well as the mesmerizing Mediterranean Sea.

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The Grand Hills Hotel is also home to the county’s newest Italian restaurant, Pasquale. The eatery has just recently opened and features truly authentic Italian delights and specialties that aim to satisfy every Italian food lover’s appetite. Pasquale boats  spacious indoor seating, but we chose to sit outdoors among the Fall trees as soft Italian music played into the background on the first day of November.

 

Pizza

Soon after, our waiter came with menus and started making suggestions to assist us with our order. Following a brief discussion, we decided to share the Pizza Funghi as a starter, and surely, we were not disappointed. This pizza is truly by far one of the best I’ve had in quite some time and featured what can only be a homemade tomato sauce with heaps of tastefully melted Mozzarella.

 

Chicken

 

As for the main courses, we ordered the Gnocchi Al Sorrentina – which was exquisite, the Risotto Porcini, and the baby chicken with potatoes and vegetables. All dishes were perfectly cooked and full of flavor.

 

GnocchiRisotto

Although we were stuffed, we couldn’t resist but share the chocolate dessert specialty at Pasquale. Three layers of thin chocolate bars were pressed together in between rich creme chantilly and hazelnut that provided the perfect sweet ending to a great experience.

 

Dessert

Meal for 3, with drinks: USD 120.

Special thanks to our waiter Paul, who was knowledgeable as he was courteous!

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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!

 

Place

 

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.

 

 

Indoor

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!

 

Indoor2

 

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

chicken

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

more pain

 

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!

 

screen

 

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

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Dining in Style | Going Mexican at Palmilla

After a super stressful day, we arrived at Palmilla shortly after 7:30 pm. The relatively new Mexican pub restaurant is located on the ever vibrant Uruguay St. in Downtown Beirut and has both indoor and outdoor seating areas.

We were so hungry but decided to start off our meal with some drinks. Ralph went for the Kiwi Daiquiri (I hate kiwi, but he said he loved it) and I decided to go wild and order a vodka cocktail with chilli and jalapeños. It was a different taste than what I’m typically used too, but nonetheless refreshing and interesting!

 

drink

We started our meal with the vegetable and cheese quesadillas. The appetizer was tasty, but I felt like the vegetables were a little overcooked and the different kinds of peppers were completely overlooked and non existent in the dish.

 

Quessadillas

Shortly after, our two entrees arrived; the beef burrito was delicious! The mix of Monterey Jack cheese and the rich tomato sauce was just perfect. The meat was cooked just right and the tortilla was warm but crunchy. Mexican cooked rice completed the rich dish.

 

Burrito

For our second entree, we chose the chicken fajitas. I loved this plate the most. The chicken was just perfect with the right amount of seasoning. The sides included cheese mix, pico de gallo, sour cream, guacamole, Mexican rice, and strained beans. I honestly haven’t had such good fajitas in Lebanon for as long as I can remember!

 

fajita

fajita extras
All in all our early dinner was a good one. The staff is really friendly and quick to serve and comply with a customer’s request. The food was good in general, although there are some details that should be considered. The only thing I would change ASAP is the extremely loud and annoying music that really does not compliment a Mexican restaurant whatsoever! Please please do something about it!

With an average check of 120,000 plus one drink for two, I recommend this place for dinner, drinks, or happy hour with friends.

Palmilla is located on Uruguay Street. For reservations, call 01 999 798.

Dining In Style | Celebrating World Pasta Day

Since it’s World Pasta Day today, I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I have found the best pasta dish in the country!

No for real. For over a year now, I’ve been going to Signor Sassi to enjoy their succulent Spaghetti Pomodoro with basil leaves. This extremely simple dish is so delicious that I’ve never ordered anything else in this Italian restaurant by the bay. The cherry tomatoes are perfectly cooked, but still taste fresh and the spaghetti is perfectly aldenté.

 

with flower

 

 

Sprinkle some Parmigiano Reggiano on the pasta and wash it down with the restaurant’s signature Italian white wine for a true Italian experience.

 

pasta with glasses

 

But leave some space for their tasty desserts; we had the crepes stuffed with creme and drizzled with chocolate sauce. Yum!

 

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Signor Sassi is a great location for a cozy dinner with a special date on the weekend or a big family gathering on Sunday. Great service, excellent food, and a truly dedicated Italian manager. Dine al fresco for a view of the bay or choose a table inside and enjoy the soft Italian music.

 

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Signor Sassi is located in Zaitunay Bay. Call 01 369 930 for your reservations.

Dining in Style | Holiday Breakfast at Shakespeare & Co.

To celebrate the Adha holiday break this past Tuesday, Ralph and I decided to go out for a late breakfast in the October sunshine. I had been to Shakespeare & Co. right after in opened and honestly, the experience was less than good. However, I recently heard from a few friends that their breakfast is quite a good one, so we headed there to check it out for ourselves.

We arrived at Shakespeare in Dbayeh shortly after 11 AM; the place has a large indoor area as well as a charming outdoor venue with old English garden furniture and is decorated with green flowers and plants here and there. I thought that sitting outside would be noisy with the cars buzzing on the nearby highway, but it was actually very quiet and peaceful.

 

salmon

 

Shakespeare offers a variety of items for breakfast; pancakes and manakeesh are available and you can get almost any style of eggs that you can imagine. Ralph went for the salmon eggs which is basically a rich salmon and egg mix laid on two English muffins and served with baked potatoes and Hollandaise sauce.

 

Labneh 1

 

I went for the Arabic breakfast combo; for around 20,000 LBP you can enjoy Labneh, grilled Halloumi, a few cubes of Halawa and a choice of Zaatar or cheese saj served with veggies. You also get a juice of your choice along with coffee or tea. Not a bad deal at all and a good meal in general, although I might recommend replacing the Arabic bread with fresh saj bread.

 

zaatar

 

Our experience was a good one in general; I would love to return for another breakfast or maybe try them again for lunch or dinner, but I would really recommend that they train their staff more; they sure need to smile and be more courteous to their guests!

 

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Dining in Style at the Fashionable Cavalli Caffé

Cavalli Caffé opened almost a year ago in Downtown Beirut, but I actually didn’t have time to check it out until one rainy night this past September.

While the weather was going completely crazy on a Tuesday night, we decided to drop by for an impromptu dinner. Well all you need to know is that the place screams “Cavalli” – from the furniture to the chandeliers and not forgetting the portraits on the wall, the place completely embodies the Italian designer.

 

Ambience

 

I loved that the restaurant was kind of empty; it made the experience more private and the atmosphere less noisy. We took our seats on a Zebra themed couch that was comfortable and cozy and started sifting through the menu. The dishes are mostly international; you can find a variety of starters, salads, sandwiches, mains, and desserts.

 

pics on walls

 

We ordered two glasses of what turned out to be a delicious Italian white wine and we chose the tomato bruschetta as a starter which was really tasty, but if you’re on a date, you may want to skip it since it contains a lot of onion.

 

ambience with bottles

 

For our main course, Ralph chose the Cavalli Entrecote complete with impeccably stacked French fries and fresh steamed vegetables. I must say that the portion was a pretty good one and the steak turned out to be pretty tasty! As for me, well I was delighted to find out that the Chef can cook almost any kind of Risotto of my choice, so I went for my favorite; safron Risotto with grilled shrimps.

 

steak

 

 

shrimp risotto

 

We enjoyed our dinner as we talked and looked around the place taking in everything Cavalli. Every detail was considered in making this place what it is; the spotless utensils, the plates with the Zebra motif on them, even the chocolate squares were individually monogrammed with the venue’s logo.

As for the dessert, well I can honestly say that I found the best profiteroles in the country! The soft profiteroles were filled with yummy chocolate and vanilla ice cream and drizzled with the tastiest chocolate fudge that made every bite even better than the one before!

 

chocolate

 

To sum it up, if you’re looking for a place to spend a quiet evening with a special someone, then Cavalli Caffé is the place to go to. The generosity, tasty dishes, friendly service, and overall atmosphere will make you want to come back and score major points with your date ;)