My Favorite Quick Eats in Beirut This Winter

When the weather takes a turn for the frigid, thoughts of warmth and good food bring comfort. Fortunately, Lebanon’s got its fair share of comfort food, from the traditional manakish pies to more international chow (namely, burgers).

Here’s the round-up of my favorite spots this winter, in no particular order.

The seasonal Raclette burger at BRGR.Co


An unlikely find: The J’s 6oz. Black Angus burger 
This was a chance discovery, thanks to a Zomato voucher. The J’s is a delivery joint operating out of Verdun, and they serve up a slew of salads, sandwiches, burgers and mains.

The namesake 6-oz. burger for 14,500 LL caught my eye, and when I read the beef is sourced from Black Angus cattle, I was sold. Delivery to downtown Beirut took the estimated 35 minutes, and the sandwich was pretty darn exceptional. 


Nifty packaging!


A thick, juicy beef patty topped with lettuce, tomato and a light signature sauce is jacketed in a soft, seed-free bun. Except for a few bits that turned soggy from the transit, this all-American burger went down without a hitch. I’d definitely repeat it.


The J's Burger


6-oz. Black Angus burger with cheddar


Delivery only
01-805008


Gourmet and well-balanced meals: Casper & Gambini's
For years, I couldn't get past the deliciously fresh salads at Casper & Gambini's, an upper-end casual eatery that's long defined the Lebanese dining scene. Then they introduced a salad bar spanning everything you'd demand from a self-service cart: marinated grilled chicken breast; shreds of Swiss and turkey; roasted bell peppers; and much, much more. 

More recently, I discovered their mains, which aren't much pricier than their salads. So I gave it a go, and let's just say there's no going back to Greens-ville. 

The Chicken Escalope is ultimate comfort food, stuffed with smoked turkey and gooey mozzarella. For an unusual spin on the classic seafood risotto, Casper's swapped rice for barley and added a touch of lemon to make one at-once creamy and sharp dish. 

Their newly-released delivery menu doesn't cut corners, as you'll find with the heartwarming lentil soup complete with croutons and a lemon wedge. For pescetarians, the grilled salmon filet with a side of basmati and soy-kissed vegetables are alluring. Now that's a feast for the office.



Lentil soup with toasted croutons


Grilled salmon atop a bed of crisp veggies tossed in a light soy sauce, with a side of basmati


Casper & Gambini's hotline
01-252627


Consistently superb manakish: Furn Beaino
It's all about the paper-thin lahm baajin at this storied family-run bakery located in Sarba (Jounieh) about 18 km north of the Lebanese capital. But defer your devotion to these minced meat pies and explore other superb specialties.

The Kafta & Cheese number tops finely ground lamb with a generous blanket of melted cheese. Crown it with pickles and sliced tomatoes, and you’ll be wolfing down a home-style Lebanese burger. 

Kafta & Cheese topped with sliced tomatoes and pickles


Ham & Cheese with olives and a dash of oregano

Don’t overlook the chanklish mankoushe, with its crumbly sharp cheese scrambled with diced tomatoes. 

For a real treat, strike up a conversation with the friendly young owners, who are brothers. Samer's at the helm in the morning; Wissam, in the afternoon. Their congeniality is irresistible.


Sarba
09-910306


Premium-grade burgers: BRGR.Co
I know it can be difficult to associate terms like "high-quality" and "premium" with something as mundane and common as a "burger." But the truth is, BRGR.Co brings a high-end burger to the table, and there are no fancy bow-tie waiters or knitted tablecloths to jar the experience.

The Raclette burger makes a brief appearance every winter


This season the Raclette burger, featuring the molten eponymous cheese atop a juicy 6-oz. Angus beef patty, makes a comeback. Pair it with a side of fresh-battered buttermilk onion rings or Panko-crusted veggie spears, and you're good to go. If the budget permits, the spiced date cake is worth its weight in toffee sauce.


Downtown Beirut
01-999739

Comments

  1. Mouthwatering photos. Thanks for this report.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I so agree with you on Casper & Gambini's. Since ABC has banned indoor smoking, I've become a regular at that place. Sometimes, it's the only reason we venture out into the torrential rain, flooded roads, and the craziness of some Lebanese drivers. You pay the bill and leave the place with thoughts of warmth and good food blanketing you.

    ReplyDelete

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