My Summer Hotlist for Delicious Treats in Lebanon
You know how the saying goes—nothing good lasts forever. And in Lebanon, this self-truth proves itself all too often. We simply don’t have a knack for permanence, and that applies to everything from the grocer’s inventory to the latest edition burger at your favorite diner: here today, gone tomorrow.
So when I spot something good, I make it my mission to enjoy it as frequently as possible before it becomes a figment of an irretrievable past. Whether you’re visiting Lebanon for the summer or you reside here (semi-)permanently, be sure to get your fill of the following foodstuffs before they become so passé.
|The Avocado Dragon Roll at Také|
I remember passing by a sushi joint in Broumana on a bend not far from the city’s renowned English high school. This was before the sushi hype seized the nation in a delirious raw seafood fit. Také has since relocated to Badaro on a street parallel to the main avenue. With a seating capacity of 20, the restaurant crafts delicious, noticeably fresh sushi, and you don’t want to overlook its specialty dragon rolls drawing on a spine of battered prawn. The owner Emilio is extremely hospitable and attuned to customer satisfaction, and the service is attentive without being smothering. Each table is treated to Také’s unique dessert boasting rice, three types of chocolate, banana coins and crushed hazelnut.
01 390 456
La Cigale bon bon glacé
|Pistachio-flavored ice cream ball coated in chocolate|
As a child, I used to adore the ice cream bon bons my father would buy us. Bite-sized globes of vanilla ice cream dipped in chocolate, they’d come in convenient individual portions, and you’d pop one into your mouth, allowing it to melt slowly to its core. When I beheld the giant-sized ones at La Cigale, a rush of memories overcame me, and I instantly knew we’d become inseparable summer chums. There are six flavors—chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, salep, pistachio and almond—and in addition to the chocolate coating, they feature a soft, chewy, almond-derived biscuit for a base. Try the salep (sa7lab in Arabic) perfumed with cinnamon and rosewater. Simply grand.
01 219 400
|Seasonal salad at PZZA.Co|
If you think pizza is the only attraction at PZZA.Co, you couldn’t be more mistaken. With an enticing menu paying homage to innovative salads, appetizers, pastas, and mains, you might actually find yourself unconsciously foregoing the iconic pie altogether (as we did on our last visit)! The seasonal salad is an uplifting fusion of corn, cilantro, tomatoes, onions, and crunchy corn nuts in every other bite. I liken it to pico de gallo with a heavy corn influence. Another superb number is the red quinoa homogeneously tossed in a citrusy vinaigrette with thin slices of radish, scallions, fava beans, parsley, dried cranberries, and almond slivers. Make sure you wash it all down with one of PZZA.Co’s cupped desserts, namely the tiramisu.
01 999 838
|The martini sampler crafted by mixologist Natasha Abou Moghli (my photo, also featured here)|
It’s not easy homing in on a pub in the ever-extending lineup along Uruguay Street in downtown Beirut. Next time a cocktail craving sets in, head to Bronx along the left edge of the first block of watering holes. Graced by one of Lebanon’s most credentialed mixologists—the inimitable Natasha Abou Moghli previously of Le Gray’s Cherry on the Rooftop & Bar 360—Bronx proposes delicious drinks, smooth vibes, and a big U-shaped bar donning you a front-row seat to all the mixing magic. Be sure to ask for Natasha’s newest cranberry concoction, or, my perennial favorite, the sangria.
78 969 999
|Evening view from the veranda of La Crêperie (photo credit: instagram.com/lacreperielb)|
There’s been some decidedly mixed feedback about the cuisine at newly-reopened La Crêperie, and I hesitate to fully weigh in on the restaurant’s culinary prowess. On my last dining excursion, I sampled two different galettes (savory crêpes) and a tarte tatin for a sweet nibble, and they were tasty, albeit far from extraordinary. However, I think we can unanimously agree that the venue's views of Jounieh Bay and the Ghazir mountainside are stunning. Beyond that, the restaurant is plush with nice décor and furniture outfitting both the terrace and interior. In the evening, the vista from the veranda evokes the French Riviera.
71 202 022