An Enduring Restaurant: Michael in Ghazir

If you’re ever driving along the Ghazir highway toward Jbeil, you might notice an older restaurant whose overhead sign is scripted in a wavy, emerald-green font: Michael. Michael has been around for nearly three decades, catering, delivering plats du jour, and serving as a kitchen to its acclaimed wedding venue in Kfarhbeb, Michael Garden. In September, we hosted our wedding at Michael Garden, and there’s no doubt as to how superior the food is in freshness, flavor, quality and presentation.

It was high time we tried the restaurant proper, so this past Sunday, we found ourselves in the area and dropped in around 1:30 pm. The place was packed with diners. Miraculously, a table for two was readied at our arrival, and as we settled in, we scanned the list of plats du jour—11 in total!—before making our selection: Couscous with lamb and vegetables and roulade de poulet stuffed with jambon, hot dog, tomato sauce and mozzarella.

Each dish was heaving with generosity and could easily satiate two. The couscous was smothered with a melted white cheese, and albeit unusual, it tasted delicious. The chicken breast roll was encrusted with sourdough crumbs and had a strong Italian influence thanks to the combination of tomato paste, Italian herbs, and a liberal portion of penne arrabbiata to go with it.

We were served toasted bread slices with Michael’s signature butter-and-crushed-nut spread, along with fresh vegetables and pickles to whet our appetites. After we obliterated the main dishes, a platter of fresh fruit and two ramekins of dessert emerged, one a banana-infused crème caramel and the other, mafroukeh with achta.

Your jaw will drop once you know how little we paid for this kingly feast. How does LBP 18,000 per person sound to you? Indeed, Michael’s plats du jour range between LBP 18,000 and 21,000 and include the traditional bread starter kit, fruit basket and dessert samplers. It’s no wonder the restaurant throbs with diners young and old breaking bread as they dig into Sunday lunch.

It’s heartwarming to see a family business thrive because of its unwavering commitment to quality, value, and homeliness. Pay Michael a visit, and if you do, ask for Toni, the restaurant owner. A hard-working family man in his early 40s, Toni can be found shuffling between kitchen and dining room, making sure his guests are perpetually 100% satisfied.

Roulade de poulet farcies avec jambon et fromage

Couscous with lamb and vegetables, topped with melted cheese
(apologies for the blurry snapshot--blame my impatient, unsteady hand)


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