Situated in Beirut’s Saifi district, under La Maison Du Caviar, the Café La Joie is a casual and chic French café just a short walk from the Downtown area. From falling into conversation with a stranger, taking a bite out of a Madeleine, eating a perfectly cooked egg, finishing the Sunday crossword puzzle, carrying a gentle cool winter breeze, eating tiny fraises de bois that stain your fingers red or sharing a creamy cup of hot chocolate with your friends, Café La Joie brings pleasure to its customers through the little things. The décor is a combination of rustic ambiance and modern design. High ceilings and a mixture of restored antique and modern furniture make for a colorful setting. The attention to detail stretches further than the seating with elegant china, and patterned silver ware. Luckily there are no dried out cakes found here – far from it. The Pecan Chocolate Fondant Coulant is the perfect light hit when only chocolate will do, and Blueberry Madeleines burst with fruity flavor and moisture. My colleague and I visited Café La Joie for lunch, on a sunny winter day. Calm, peaceful, hospitality and light music relax your senses before getting down to business and more importantly before the more important part: eating. You even forget that you are coming here for a quick business lunch break and you end up wishing you can call your boss to take the afternoon off. To start, I ordered the Cherche-Midi salad, a perfect mixture of wild rice, grilled chicken, black olives, sun-dried tomatoes, aromatic herbs with vinegar dressing. You can easily feel the freshness and purity of the ingredients. It is very hard to have an adequate cooking of the rice, to mix it with the proper ingredients without it feeling like a home-made hot dish, but Cherche-Midi manages a success. The salad was followed by the Club La Joie, a grilled chicken breast accompanied by smoked ham, crunchy bacon, tomatoes, soft lettuce, mimosa egg and plain bread. The freshness of the bread, the cleanliness and tenderness of the chicken, the crunch of the bacon and the size of the eggs layered by the perfect sauce makes the club the sandwich to order. My colleague chose two different plates, starting with Rue Vignon, an iceberg salad that comes with chicken, avocado, palmetto and coriander sauce. It was a complete iceberg salad, as is, emptied and filled in its center with a mix of small cut cubes of chicken, avocado and palmettos marinated in coriander dressing. Followed by Croque Monsieur with turkey slices and emmenthal cheese. The experience didn't stop there, I couldn't leave Cafe La Joie without tasting some of their talked-about deserts, like the Caramel Choux Sucre followed with a traditional apple tart. Who would want to go back to the office now… Café La Joie is a place where sumptuous sweets and delectable savory treats come together. It’s a place friends can gather or individuals can comfortably sit alone and work. It is in my opinion a place where you can quell your hunger anytime of the day; enjoy a good cup of coffee, sip an aperitif, but above all, it’s a beautiful place to get away from it all.