Al Falamanki, a restaurant from Lebanon, is now open in Dubai, across from the Four Seasons Hotel on Jumeirah Beach Road.
The restaurant opened in Lebanon in 2008 as a nostalgic cafe that transports guests back to 1960s Beirut. The founders came up with the concept after hearing about Al Khalil Al Falamanki, a Lebanese wrestler turned bodyguard who lived life to the fullest, travelling the world and winning over local and foreign celebrities with his charm.
The Dubai branch, a makeshift shrine to Al Falamanki, is filled with items from his personal collection. The restaurant seats up to 500 people and has a casual atmosphere with music from Fayrouz and Sabah. Al Falamanki’s signature dishes include classic tastes of Lebanon with a personal touch including ‘Khalil’s saj’ with thyme and a cheese mix made exclusively for Al Falamanki and ‘kbaibet in yogurt’ — fried kibbeh balls mixed with garlic, pine nuts, and coriander.
Famed for its superb baked goods as much as its charming, mismatched garden, Al Falamanki is one of the highlights of Dubai’s casual Lebanese dining scene.
Set on the side of Jumeirah Beach Road, with high walls that keep out the growl of traffic and keep in the strains of classic Levantine music, the scents of fresh saj and fruity shisha draw diners in off the street. Established in Beirut, the restaurant thinks of itself as a haven of tranquillity in a busy city – and it absolutely lives up to that aspiration.
Take a seat on one of the jumbled assortment of lounge chairs dotted around the lush patio and dive into house specialties including the excellent hummus Hachim-style, packed with pine nuts and chunks of chickpea, and draped with a spicy, bright green Jordanian sauce. Those aforementioned pastries, meanwhile, include a spicy akkawi cheese, and a house kofta recipe, plus lighter saj options. It’s the tangy, charred taouk skewers, however – among the absolute best we’ve eaten anywhere in the city – that really knock it out of the park.
Must Try: Ghazel Anis, the famous kashta ice cream dessert with white cotton candy.