CHECK OTHER REVIEWS FOR THIS PLACE:
Al-Halabi, Antelias: Mistakes Happen for a Reason
Al Halabi: A Revamped Look... Same Old Taste
Al Halabi: As Good as Always
Al Halabi Lebanese Restaurant, Antelias
Al Halabi: A Restaurant to Make You Fall in Love with Lebanese Food
Al Halabi: The Real Flavors of Lebanese Mezze
After undergoing a couple months of renovation the iconic restaurant Al Halabi, located in Antelias, welcomes you back for the same great taste but in a more modern and spacious set up! Now with a blue logo, valet service, and new staff members in new uniforms … I was excited to go and see the rejuvinated place and enjoy one of my Coup de Coeur restaurants.
The restaurant is still divided into three distinct spaces: a terrace; a smoking corner and a non-smoking area. The restaurant now feels more spacious, more modern and with more class. A higher ceiling, a wall of stone, another painted in white, more wood and columns support the building and divide the space. There are more white accents in the décor and highly designed lamps are suspended over each table… As you enter, you will notice that the restaurant now offers fish. The fish bar, with its catch of the day on display, occupies the right side.
Walk further in and you notice the new table setup. Tables are covered in a beige tablecloth and a decorative runner, two plates, a table napkin and sets of cutlery. The waiter approached us for the order. He was new, yet trained and professional.
We enjoyed exactly the same quality my grandfather introduced me to more then 25 years ago: the unique goat Labneh; the iconic Hummus; my favorite moudardara… lemony makanek; one of a kind Hummus with meat; spicy and sweet mouhammara; grilled birds; amourette lamb and much more. Meat followed, tender and soft like butter, the grilled beef and probably veal is exceptional. Do not leave without ordering kabab khechkhach.
I enjoyed dinner so much, but I adored two things: the hummus; the unique, light and smooth hummus worth visiting Al Halabi for alone. It is creamy, balanced in taste with a bit of lemon and the right amount of tahini. More importantly, no garlic is added to the recipe.
And the second thing I enjoyed is maître Haytham, a gentle and professional headwaiter putting all his know how and good manners to the service of his clientele. Attentive to every move, Haytham helps his clients with a big smile on his face. Thank you Haytham for a memorable night.
The only thing I'd change: don't serve your food with serving cutlery. Wait for people to take photos of their food then add some spoons or what have you. I, for one, need to take neat images for the blog. This will benefit the restaurant at the end of the day.
We were invited to a new table specially set with fruits and desserts…the mouhallabiya I love, grapes, katayef, kumquat, kiwi, seasonal fruits and a selection of jams.
As strong as ever, Al Halabi reaffirms its position as one of the country's best Lebanese restaurants, if not the best.