February 27, 2015

2014: My Coup de Coeur Restaurants


Onno: The Best Authentic Homey Lebanese Armenian Food

Onno has been feeding its customers authentic Armenian specialties in its charming 24 seats restaurant in Burj Hammoud since the year 1990. With its fairly priced menu, Onno serves items hailing from Armenian and Lebanese mezze in a simple non sophisticated manner, using premium ingredients you would buy for your home kitchen. After visiting Onno more than three years ago, I decided to come back and indulge in the best of the best: An authentic Armenian cuisine prepared with love and passion by Onno (Karnigue) himself, a father, chef, and professional cook. Onno is to Armenian cuisine what Fouad is to the Lebanese one. Do not expect anything fancy. The simplest restaurant you can ever imagine, nestled in the heart of the Armenian quarters welcomes you daily (excluding Sundays) for lunch and dinner with a plan to take you down memory lane, back to the old days when food was pure and tasty without any synthetic add-ons. Leave your manners and high expectations at home and head down to Onno where your taste buds will experience a new kind of extravaganza.

Fouad Khalil's Authentic Lebanese Food: History in the Making

I truly hope I will be able to describe my experience at the one and only Fouad. Giving justice to a place and finding the right words to describe is hard, especially when the overall experience is truly amazing. But I will try… At Fouad the experience is unique on many levels: An extraordinary welcoming, superb food, awesome choices along with well trained staff who will absolutely make you leave in total awe. Everyone I know who has visited Fouad plan on coming back again and again…

Homemade with Love and Passion: Maguy's Fresh Daily Catch

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. You walk into the the terrace and you're welcomed into an attractively mix of different kinds of chairs and tables and colorful table clothes... She welcomes you into her own home... where she lives with her two children. You forget everything when you reach. A soothing view of the sea and a host who's warmth and welcoming spirit accompanies your every bite. Maguy shares her story and passion for the sea...

The Grill Room: Meat has a Fine Dining Address

Up on the second floor is a wide restaurant welcoming you to the finest breakfast in Lebanon, as well as to a classy lunch and dinner. A superb and professional welcoming rarely found in the country, round tables for enjoyable discussions, exceptional bread... The Grill Room experience is guaranteed satisfaction.  It was 9pm when we arrived at The Four Seasons. A hosted welcomed us with a large smile. Seeing me taking picture she offered to immortalize the moment by photographing me with my wife; bravo! Other restaurants would have forbidden me photos. At the table, every detail is mastered to perfection. Water is served by priority, women first, older people then the younger generation. The menu followed, by order of priority. Fine wine glasses, colored water cups, a fork, knife and a butter knife. A bread plate on the other side was an wonderful piece of art. 

Frosty Palace: Trying Some New Burgers on the Menu

As always, Frosty Palace welcomes you into its small place. Three tables, a long bar and freshness will take over every sense as you walk in.  In the background plays joyful American music from the sixties, warm lights, blue neon light over the bar, and two large chandeliers hanging from the high ceiling. Next to the kitchen entrance is a blackboard where the specials are listed.

A Casual Chic French Restaurant

At La Petite Maison, you are guaranteed a great experience. This unique restaurant which has opened in some of the world's most beautiful cities, including Nice, London and Dubai and recently Beirut, offers a culinary adventure like no other. I've tried La Petite Maison over six times all over the world and after every visit I leave happy and satisfied. The amazement felt, made me think about the right title for my review. What should it be? "The Best Experience this Year?" Or maybe "A Cuisine Like No Other?"   This place, a chic French casual restaurant offering exquisite yet non complicated food is like no other; I decided to give it a section of its own. "NogarlicNoOnions Best of 2013: A Casual Chic French Restaurant... La Petite Maison, Beirut."

Beirut, Lebanon: "The Restaurant"

Sometimes, words are never enough to express the true intense feeling of how much I enjoyed a culinary experience. This is exactly how I felt after my experience at Burgundy. Welcome to Lebanon's finest. Touring around Lebanon's restaurants, I can safely say that around 190 of them have made it to one of my Top 10 lists of 2014. Each one offers something different which leaves you happy and satisfied... But a very few offer the ultimate perfection of fine dining, that kind of perfection that will leave you amazed on all level – starting with concept, décor and food.

PZZA.Co: Great Food and Extravagant Dessert Pizzas

Since it first opened, PZZA.Co was loved by many and critiqued by a minority. It was the negative comments that made me want to come again and see what was going on for myself. As we were going down to Beirut, I couldn't but dream about the marinara pizza, the rigatoni pasta and the caramel dessert. It was almost 10pm, so we decided to sit inside where a smooth breeze from the air conditioning was refreshing the interior. Under the artistic furnace we ordered a selection for the night.

Jai: Can't Get Enough of Exotic Flavors of Asia

Jai is the restaurant down on Hamra Street, which has now become famous for bringing Lebanon some real Asian food cooked in a simple not complicated way. Offering generous portions and a guaranteed joyful experience, this is a one of a kind experience in Lebanon. Please feel free to read the previous review for more details about the space… and believe me everything is still the same. We arrived at 9pm, and because the main four persons table was booked, we opted to sit outside on the sidewalk.  Five chefs led by Wael, the owner, creator and passionate cook behind the concept were running around at full speed. A group of seven women had just arrived, and they got their wine bottle with them. Remember, you can get your own alcohol bottle with you, served at the table at no additional cost.  The place has "the table" hosting four persons inside, the bar for four outside and a small table for two on the side next to Malek's Bookshop, which can't be used on rainy days.  

Casablanca: Discovering New Horizons While Staying in Town

I don't think that there's anyone out there who's not familiar with Casablanca. More so, every one agrees that this place, which has been open for a long while now, serves amazing food in a professional ambiance. Competing with the newbies in town is not even an issue. Casablanca is on a realm of its own. The fresh setup welcomes you for lunch and dinner, seven days a week and serving a large variety of organic preparations blending international cuisine together with seafood from the local market. It took me sometime to write a detailed review about Casablanca simply because I wanted it to be special. I had to choose the right people to accompany me, and of course I was waiting for the right mood. I wanted the experience to be memorable on all fronts. We walked into a white building facing the waterfront where an old Lebanese house is  transformed into a little heaven... a culinary heaven awaits you inside.

Categories: News Top 10 List





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