Nestled on Batroun’s seashore, San Stephano beach resort is known locally for its private, sandy beach, outdoor wedding venue and its fish restaurant, which offers a wide selection of freshly caught seafood.
San Stephano’s restaurant offers a relaxing 360° view of the port and sea. Forget your average four-walled restaurant, this is a terrace filled with tables and chairs facing the bar and the wine fridge. Welcoming you is a beautiful display of fish and a colorful setup; "Lo2os, Malifa, Jraidi, Ijaj…"
I enjoyed the simple and clear setup. Blue wooden sofas covered with yellow cushions, thick wooden tables and wood, lots of it, under a pyramidal hut. Decorating the tables are yellow and green placemats with napkins alongside a bottle of olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Cold Appetizers
- Hot Appetizers
- Seafood Appetizers
- Main Platters
- Seafood Main Platters
Lunch started with a basket of fresh bread while the starters landed on our table. The food as good as you’d expect, sitting at the beach under the sun. The moutabbal was very good, lemony and fresh. The hummus was spot on, a perfect mix of balanced ingredients. The salads were crunchy and fresh. Now that we were at cruising speed, we went for the raw kebbet samak. A plate that looks like raw meat is in fact raw tuna fish. Beautifully presented, the raw fish was displayed on an oval plate and looked like a live fish. The same feel, but a premium taste for you lovers of raw meat.
Tuna was the menu’s main item that morning. Raw tuna, marinated tuna, tuna sashimi and grilled tuna to end the lunch in style. I loved the marinated tuna in lemon juice as well as the raw mix, but the cooked version would have been perfect if only cooked for five minutes less. It should be red inside, not dark brown. That was the tuna steak served with cherry tomatoes, grilled capsicum, onions and lemon quarters with tarator sauce on the side.
Not only that, but more was yet to come. The tuna sashimi was served with spicy green pepper and garlic slices alongside white onion rings. Marinated calamari followed a grilled octopus. A large octopus, with a burned aftertaste, great with tartar sauce.
Such a lunch wouldn’t be complete without some fine Lebanese wine. We had the Batroun Mountains Chardonnay (2011) followed by the Batroun Mountains Riesling (2013).
Lunch was very good, but lacked some finesse. Having said that, I didn’t expect anything else from a seaside restaurant where people come to eat wearing their swimsuits after a morning of sunbathing. The food contained too much garlic. Garlic was everywhere, inside out and covering the plates as decoration. The tuna was overcooked, making it loose its juiciness. But as an overall experience, it was good.
Stay until the end when a platter of fruits lands on your table. Beautifully decorated, this is a good last impression that will take you smiling on your way home...