March 13, 2018 Metn Mount Lebanon Lebanon Middle East

SAI: Rabieh’s Neighborhood Japanese Eatery is a Favorite
Casual Dining

Phone Number: +961 4 403020

Address: Azar Centre, Rabyeh, Metn, Lebanon


Price Range: 35-60 $


Welcoming: 4/5

Food Temperature: 9/10

Ambiance / Music: 8.5/10

Menu Choice: 5/5

Food Taste: 26/30

Architecture / Interior: 9/10

Food presentation: 8/10

Service: 8/10

Value for money: 9/10

When I noticed that I'd been away from Sai for the last two years, a Japanese diner I used to enjoy at least once a month, it was time to visit again! Sai is much more than a Japanese eatery like any restaurant but feels like a bistro-de-quartier for the Metn residents. We come here for the calm ambiance and great food.


Sai is a Japanese restaurant that caters to the upper Metn area; In Azar Centre, next to L'Univers D'Albert, Sai welcomes you in a small place fitted with eight tables and a bar. As I live in the region, where an excellent Japanese restaurant is not available, SAI still is the best choice for a Japanese night out. They even added outdoor seating space.

Sushi rolls are prepared in front of you while the place is brought to life with a TV screen and background music. It's small, so you feel like you're sitting on a single table sharing conversations. A square on the wall is decorated with graffiti on one side and the bar on the other. You’ll find one white wall, a green and a black one. Red adds a touch of freshness while the light wood tables are set up and ready to welcome the first guests. On the table are placemats and a ceramic plate, a small bowl and the usual soy sauce bottles. We ordered San Pellegrino as usual, and they have it. 


As good as the old days, SAI still has the same decor: let’s enjoy dinner.

  • Start by the Yusuf flower, fresh and smooth salmon with a kick of acidity. Dip it in crunchy panko, adding an enjoyable crunch to every bite. Yummy!
  • The pancit and crab salad is simple as the name suggests. Moist Crab sticks and pancit mixed with a creamy mayo sauce.
  • Salmon cubes on a bed of crab sticks with Miso spicy sauce served cold and fresh.
  • I enjoy the sushi rolls every time I visit: nonsticky rice, not chewy, not sweet and rolled with fresh fish. I love the salmon quality, the fried tempura’s taste and crunchiness of the envelope. 
  • Salmon, crab, tempura, Philo cheese, teriyaki sauce and the special mayo sauce; this giant roll is called the USA, a signature Maki served warm, a crunchy envelope and a juicy heart with a kick of spices at the end. One of my favorite orders.
  • The first wooden board and then came the next: bravo for such sound quality, the simplicity of flavors, richness of ingredients and quality of rice. Loved them!
  • If you’re a salmon skin fan, order the temaki. Crunchy salmon skin, not the ones mixed with sauces and sugar.


The Pluses: 

  • Porcelain plates for a cleaner touch, different from other restaurant using wooden ones. 
  • Crispy and ginger served on the table in front of each person. 
  • I loved the porcelain soft drinks cups which transports the freeze effect out to your fingers. 
  • Order the soup; you'll like the bowl and its content. 
  • Sai's salmon skin is unique; not crunchy, not chewy and not mixed with Teriyaki sauce. 
  • I like their thick delivery menu.
  • San Pellegrino sparkling water matches sushi.
  • Meet Rabih: a very professional manager.


Conclusion: delicious casual sushi is served here with no complication and excess of mayonnaise.

As a good and affordable Japanese restaurant, SAI is part of the medium range class of sushi restaurants in town and I can safely say that it still is on my top 10 list, serving high-end preparations in a pleasant and cozy restaurant owned and managed by professionals.

Suitable For: Casual Dining





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