CHECK OTHER REVIEWS FOR THIS PLACE:
Shakespeare and Co. Café: From Dubai to Beirut. Now Open!
Shakespeare&Co: A Clear and Impressive Improvement
The long awaited Shakespeare & Co, one of the most famous cafes of Dubai has now opened in Lebanon. The anticipation of trying this popular place in my homeland made me want to be the first to experience it in Lebanon. The restaurant opened two weeks ago. Emphasizing on the fact that it has been open for a whole two weeks because it's a long enough time for the staff to have trained, and the chef to have mastered his preparations... Hint of disappointment started... More so, my disappointment in this place lies everywhere. Put the decoration aside, the food is bad, the service is slow and more importantly we are obliged to follow their rules rather than the international idea, 'customer is king'. Customers must be given the choice to eat what they want and not what is imposed upon them. This is Lebanon, a country that enjoys different religions, respects others beliefs and so much more. When a franchise decides to open in a country they should at least follow the country's culture... Don't you agree?
Shakespeare & Co. is one of the most beautiful restaurants you can imagine visiting. An architectural perfection embracing an extraordinary design of artistic pieces of art. In this old English style place your eyes can't stop looking and touring around the many colors and details all mixed together creating Shakespeare's Cafe and restaurant. The place is composed of a cozy room with a chimney on the right side of the restaurant and the other big reception room on the left with the bar facing the entree without forgetting what made Shakespeare famous: it's chicha, enjoyed on the open terrace.
Details of the beautiful decoration:
- A mix of different colors in the tones of pink and purple, green blue and beige
- Even the concrete floor is decorated
- The wooden tables are covered with glass showing pictures and frames underneath
- Different paper place mats each different and looking like a painting
- Beautiful sofas and relaxing chairs, each different and unique
- Artistic curtains that look like a painting
- All walls are covered with frames or old English cupboards
Unfortunately... It all stops here. Tonight, and after enjoying the decoration to the ultimate, I had the 'bad luck' to experience one of the worst restaurants I've ever been to.
- No ashtrays or maybe we should call them dirt trays are presented on the tables. Where should we throw used tissues? We all know and understand that smoking is prohibited inside but that doesn't mean dirt trays should be removed.
- The place has a dull and boring ambiance that some music could fill. Music is very important to be played in the background.
- Breakfast: American, English, Healthy, Lebanese
- Eggs and specialties: Eggs, Foul, Pancakes
- Crepes: Savory and sweet crepes
- Saj: Zaatar, cheese, turkey and Mediterranean
- Soups: Tomato, lentil, onion, chicken
- Hot appetizers: Calamari, spring rolls, mozzarella sticks, chicken choices
- Salads: Cobb, quinoa, fish, Mediterranean, nicoise, caesar, smoked salmon...
- Sandwiches: Chicken, tuna, vegetable, halloumi, steak, croque monsieur...
- Shakespeare burgers: beef, chicken, fish
- Pasta: fettuccine alfredo, bolognese, lasagna, buckwheat...
- Pizza: Charcutier, barbecue, bresaola, frutti di mare, margherita...
- Main courses: salmon filet, ribeye, salmon, chicken...
- Dessert: Apple tart, creme brûlée, fruit salad, cheese cake...
- Beverages (No Alcohol proposed on the menu)
We ordered more than nine items... All inedible:
- Pizza Charcutier: Tomato sauce, mozzarella, spicy salami, pepperoni, bresaola, turkey ham and Kalamata black olives
- Crispy Calamari: deep fried calamari rings with tartar sauce
- Spring rolls: deep fried vegetarian spring rolls, sweet chilli sauce
- Mozzarella sticks: breaded mozzarella sticks, sweet and sour sauce
- Beef burger: grilled beef patty, lettuce, tomatoes, mustard and mayonnaise
- Lentil soup: served with lemon juice and crispy Lebanese bread
- Onion soup: with gratinated cheese croutons
- Tortilla wrap: Sautéed chicken with mushrooms, bell peppers, onions and turmeric, served with sour cream, avocado guacamole, mixed greens, french fries.
- Spaghetti frutti di mare: sautéed prawns, mussels and calamari in a rich tomato sauce, Parmesan cheese
The disastrous food experience:
- Prawns in the spaghetti were served with their tales
- Spaghetti is not even cooked al dente; it chews like kids food
- Calamari and Mozzarella sticks were served cold (Even though they are listed on the menu part of the HOT appetizers)
- Calamari is over oily, cold and lacks taste
- The "Sob" as the waiter calls it (I think he meant SOUP) is tasteless. Lentil soup: imagine cold soup, watery, sour and lacks taste. Onions soup: the bread tastes BBQ and the soup is tasteless.
- Burger is not tasty at all with a weird after taste in the meat and more mayonnaise than cabbage in the coleslaw. The meat even looks cheap. It was overcooked even though I asked for it to be cooked medium.
- The only edible and tasty preparation was the Halal Pizza. A crunchy dough beautifully decorated with tasty ingredients making this a successful mix. Pay attention: It is extremely spicy.
What I love about Shakespeare:
- Finally a new place giving you the choice to choose between having a Coca-Cola or a Pepsi.
- Their food menu is so incredibly wide and diverse.
- The menu is printed on thick paper in a book-like style: Professional and pleasant to browse.
- Each place-mat has games for kids on its back
- Beautiful sculpted thick glasses: short ones for water an long wine style glasses for soft drinks
- The big and generous food portions
- Extremely slow service
- Very unprofessional staff that knows nothing about this industry or the job they are doing
- Staff shouting in the kitchen
- A menu that contains "no pork!" When asked why they don't have pork... the waiter replied with pride: All our ingredients are Halal! Euh... With all due respect to all beliefs, you opened in Dbayeh! Pork is enjoyed in this part of Lebanon, why not give the choice at least to the customer to decide what they want to eat.
- Remember: Pork is one of the main ingredients of the Pizza, Croque Monsieur and other preparations and also remember Lebanon is diverse in cultures and religions.
- A separate alcoholic beverage menu! Again why? It seems this part of the highway has something against alcohol as Fuddruckers, the neighbour does.
- The plates were all sent back to the kitchen untouched and no one even cared!
Bad service, tasteless food, unprofessional staff, halal ingredients, no pork, no alcohol unless you ask for the special menu are few of the many things you will experience at Shakespeare and Co... So good luck...! The biggest disappointment ever!
If you were not ready to open, don't. What we experienced tonight was far too unacceptable.