May 12, 2014 Beirut Lebanon Middle East

Y. by Yabani: Reinvented Perfection at the Souks (Restaurant Closed)
Non-smokers friendly

Phone Number: +961-1-99 22 33

Address: Beirut souks, Downtown Beirut, Lebanon


Price Range: 0-0 $


Welcoming: 5/5

Food Temperature: 9/10

Ambiance / Music: 9/10

Menu Choice: 5/5

Food Taste: 27/30

Architecture / Interior: 9/10

Food presentation: 9/10

Service: 9/10

Value for money: Soon

Y By Yabani at the Souks, Beirut (Restaurant Closed)

What an improvement since I last visited Y. by Yabani almost two years ago! I remember walking into a badly finished white space, to be welcomed by untrained staff and having to browse a paper menu without any photos. Today, on a Sunday, coming in with a group of 12 people to enjoy a casual lunch, I changed my mind on many levels. The food was good, the staff welcoming and the ambiance up to the standard of an upscale, casual Japanese diner.


It was pure coincidence that I visited two of Yabani's restaurants in a single week. But doing so made me compare and reassure myself that the same supreme quality and taste are served at both venues, the casual one in Beirut Souks and the upscale fine dining in Downtown Beirut... Y. using the same quality for a lower price.

Menu Sections:

  • Salads and Starters
  • Hot Dishes
  • Izuzukuri
  • Beef Items
  • Special Tuna
  • Chirashis
  • Sashimi
  • Nigiri Sushi
  • Gunman Sushi
  • Y Special Maki
  • Hozo Maki
  • Crazy Maki
  • Ura Maki
  • Desserts


The place in few lines:

  • Located in the street between Librairie Antoine and La Cave De Joel Robuchon, Y is a small trendy place with a simple and casual decoration
  • Wide glass facades keep the restaurant open to the souk's ambiance
  • Choose to sit on the terrace or inside in the air conditioned space
  • A long bar can seat a dozen, set up with a line of blue high chairs
  • Square tables fill in the space, surrounded by light wooden chairs
  • The floor is covered with a light concrete-colored, polished material
  • The place's general feel is white, decorated with squares of glass cubes covering the floor and walls
  • Relaxing reflections and simplicity create a casual diner that fits the mall ambiance


Without going into a detailed food review, be assured that lunch was excellent. We had a bit of everything, orders to cover all the menu, and everything was just as good as you would expect it to be. A tasty rice, premium fresh fish fillings, smooth sauces, crunchy, crisp, fresh nori leaves and overall creations that are up to the standard of this fine diner. Twelve people ate, laughed, drank and enjoyed a fun Sunday lunch with two bottles of white wine, all of that for $50 per person. If a comparison is to be made, we could have paid the same or more at any of the cafes down the alley and surely would have eaten less. I still remember until now the panko tuna and salmon bowl, their freshness and soft cubes of fish that melt under your teeth like butter. The imperial eel, one of my favorite pieces, has a richness that's unique, a freshness that will put a smile on your face and a rice that's really cooked to perfection. The crazy shrimp, a simple order, turned out to be appreciated... The temaki, richly and generously filled with fish and wrapped in a crunchy, fresh nori leaf. Honestly, not a single item deceived me. I still can't believe this change and improvement, putting back Y. on the map, competing with all the casual diners out there. Playing in the middle category and despite his location in a mall, Y. is a restaurant to be considered for a dinner or even a lunch with friends.

Y_Yabani_Japanese_Downtown_Beirut_Souks36 I Liked:

  • The staff's professionalism and attention
  • The pieces decoration and size
  • The complementary wet towels distributed at the end
  • The menu, available on white iPads, protecting the environment by avoiding the use of paper
  • I found the prices reasonable for the quality offered

Finishing with perfumed hot towels left a great impression. I would love to come back to Y., keeping in mind that some places offer a "fine restaurant" quality in a casual ambiance. I think the photos will speak for themselves and show my true feelings about today's lunch.


Sandwiched: Delicious Diner Food and a Mouthwatering Chocolate Cake


Captain Davis: A Successful Concept in the Making (Restaurant Closed)