March 07, 2015 Hamra & Verdun Beirut Lebanon Middle East

Ci Gusta: Good Looking Plates... (Restaurant Closed)

Phone Number: +961 1 740 141

Address: Jeanne D'arc Street, Hamra, Beirut, Lebanon


Price Range: 10-20 $


Welcoming: 4/5

Food Temperature: 7/10

Ambiance / Music: 8/10

Menu Choice: 4/5

Food Taste: 13/30

Architecture / Interior: 7/10

Food presentation: 6/10

Service: 6/10

Value for money: 8/10

Down on Jeanne D'Arc Street in Hamra, next to my favorite Cupcakery, is a brightly lit cafe called Ci Gusta. Ci Gusta serves a large selection of crepes, waffles and pancakes, ice creams and frozen yogurt. The first impression is great, the place is beautifully lit, French music plays in the background and the staff is welcoming.


The high ceiling, white space and light blue and grey colors prepare your senses. Ci Gusta is a franchise, so everything is imported from Italy. You'll find the Ci Gusta logo everywhere... and all the tables are set with plastic boxes full of napkins and placemats. 

Walk in and be welcomed by the ice cream display, a bar at the very end with a large coffee machine and yogurt dispensers. What caught my attention are the funny posters like "ice to meet you" or "cake a break" and "have a food trip".

Look under the bar, and you'll feel a nightclub spirit where LED lights change colors by the second. 

The menu has a range of choices:

  • Gelato
  • Soft ice cream
  • Frozen yogurt
  • Specialties
  • Crepes
  • Waffles
  • Fondue
  • Cakes
  • Cold and hot drinks 


So we ordered:

  • Nutella and cookie crêpe: Freshly baked hot crêpe spread with Nutella, banana slices, crushed cookies and rich chocolate sauce. On the signature oval plate is a large crêpe folded, like Crepaway does it, in a rectangular shape. Around it is a line of bananas and a decorative mountain of cream. What is it with this chewiness?! Why would a crêpe be chewy? Now for the taste, Nutella inside and more chocolate, an overdose of chocolate that surely would give you diabetes. The Nutella is great, but why all this chocolate, not only milk chocolate, but white chocolate as well for more sweetness!? Ci Gusta's chocolate is good and not too sweet, but there's simply too much of it here.


  • Choco-banana waffle: A fresh, hot waffle smothered in a warm, smooth chocolate syrup, served with slices of banana and fresh cream or vanilla ice cream, drizzled with a lattice of luxury chocolate sauce. A large oval plate branded with the place's logo has a waffle in its middle and is topped with a blend of white and milk chocolate with bananas on the side. The waffle, in my opinion, is dry; the borders are hard and the filling is not moist enough. I expect a waffle to be fluffy, spongy and airy and it shouldn't need to be chewed. As for the chocolate topping, it's adequately sweet and enjoyable. That's a very good dish for a place like Ci Gusta. With that, the decorative mountain of whipped cream tastes fresh and isn't watery.


  • The pancakes: As chewy as the waffle... there shouldn't be a border when you're talking about pancakes. Trying to be creative by making a mountain of pancakes from different sizes means that they're thinner than they should be, with a very thin border that's unpleasantly chewy. Reaching the heart, the thin pancakes are too gooey because they're too thin. Five very thin pancakes, when they should be thicker and where four would be enough. On the top is the same chocolate, but again, there's too much of it and the different sizes aren't obvious, creating a sweet explosion. Way too sweet! Trying to be generous is something and over doing it is something else. This is not a plate I enjoyed.


The pluses:

  • I loved the branded plates.
  • The frozen yogurt is cheaper compared to the competition.

Some details that need fixing:

  • The table menus are kind of dirty and should be looked into.
  • The dirty menus should be thrown away.
  • We were two, why one set of cutlery?

The frozen yogurt is not as light as it should be, it's more of a Merry Cream. I tried the peach, chocolate, plain and peanut butter. I missed the real flavors and felt something heavy and very acidic that you don't normally get with yogurt.

Let me understand something. DipnDip and now Ci Gusta, what is it with this new trend of flooding the crepes, waffles and pancakes with rivers of chocolate covering over the Nutella taste and dough, the very basis of the dish? For the love of God, let those plates have a taste other than that of strong, sweet sugar and chocolate. Chocolate should add a touch of finesse and not create a mess.

I believe the place has potential that's not taped on yet.





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