CHECK OTHER REVIEWS FOR THIS PLACE:
Maguy: Batroun’s Inspirational Hidden Gem
Lunch Chez Maguy but Surely not on a Sunday
In Lebanon, there are a handful of gems found in different parts of the country. I recently stumbled upon one, just 45 minutes away from Beirut heading North. Get into the car, drive towards Batroun and you'll discover a beautiful restaurant with a dreamy view of the Mediterranean sea. It's colorful, humble, comfortable, homey and more importantly tasty- Chez Maguy.
I have been meaning to visit Chez Maguy for a while now. To tell you the truth, I've searched for it before with no success. I finally did so last weekend, while my friend Alfredo from Spain was visiting. Showing him around the country, I discovered a great deal about Lebanon myself and meeting Maguy Al Mouhawas, the owner of Chez Maguy, was one of my greatest pleasures. To get to Chez Maguy, you have to ask around…There are no signs, no markings but everyone knows the place. A cozy home with a terrace, a dinning room and Al Mouhawas family bedrooms.
Chez Maguy has been around for 26 years. Her love and passion for the sea started a long time ago. She did what she knew best and that was diving. After her husband's death, she decided to live from the sea and with the sea. After selling fish at the closest market, her friends started to ask for more:"Maguy, why don't you cook for us?". "Your today's catch with a plate of hummus is all what we are asking for". It took more than 20 years for Maguy's place to get famous. I honestly thought it's a new restaurant. She dove day and night and caught a variety of seafood to sell to the local fish market. Her knowledge and passion for fish quickly gained her recognition. She then started selling fish in her parents home, where she lived, and built a small place to sell the fish. Slowly she added a kitchen, a living room and bedrooms... Then after, she would catch the fish and prepare the day's catch and welcome people to come eat, along side a variety of Lebanese mezze which she learned to prepare herself... You eat what Maguy's children do. Same quality and same taste. A simple and humble restaurant, Chez Maguy has become a stop where people come to enjoy good food in an unpretentious environment. She has been written about in Paris Match, The New York Times and Le Figaro to name a few, but her simplicity remains…
After meeting and talking with Maguy I realized that this lady is warm and kind and this is exactly how she makes her guests feel – warmth. Her passion for food and what she does in inevitable.
Maguy herself welcomes us, cooks for us, stayed with us and for the first time ever revealed her secret recipes. Leave your arrogance at home, forget about your fine table manners and go home. At Maguy's to enjoy a real deal of simplicity.
We had for dinner: Maguy's fresh catch...
- Fattouch 9,000L.L
- Raheb Salad 8,000L.L
- French Fries 6,000L.L
- Grilled Calamari 28,000L.L
- Grilled Scallops 30,000L.L
- Octopus 20,000L.L
- Raw Farfoura Fish 25,000L.L
- Grilled Squid 20,000L.L
- Grilled Prawns 25,000L.L
- Raw Shrimps 20,000L.L
Two waiters help Maguy around the place. A simple place indeed. Ask for a drink and it will be served as it is, in it's bottle. Peanuts and pumkin seeds are placed on the table to munch on before the food is served.
We deliciously devoured:
- Fattouch: Simple and uncomplicated: sumac, cucumbers, tomatoes, mint leaves, ba2le, radish. Maguy prepares it without bread and no onions for it to maintain its original tastes
- Eggplant: Even simpler than the fattouch: grilled eggplants in lemon sauce. I usually am not an eggplant fan, but this plate is just wow!
- Scallops: Served with lemon, freshly fished the same day and served in their shells. Extraordinary!
- Fresh shrimps in olive oil and lemon. Yes, fresh raw shrimps. Something you dont eat every day. It's just finger licking great.
- Homemade hand cut French fries. The same way my grandma used to prepare them a decade ago
- The grilled calamaris are a sin. I ate the entire plate by myself
- Raw fish (white fish and tuna): A unique seasoning, the Maguy's way: Ginger, sesame oil, lemon and a secret ingredient. I'm not gonna tell you everything after all :)
Chez Maguy is a place he visits occasionally while he's at home in Batroun. I can totally relate to Kamal's feelings now... This dinner was one of the few that has marked me and I'm still talking about it to date. Two weeks passed already and Maguy's place is still on my mind and Maguy's fish on my palate. I read few negative reviews here and there on blogger's sites in Lebanon: Guys, with all due respect, you simply didn't understand the place. Were you expecting a Sultan Brahim's service?
We were 3, ate like kings, drank beer, smoked a shisha, ate fresh fish that was caught just a couple of hours earlier, all for $50/person. Where would you find that elsewhere?