Sunday or what can be considered a family day can beautifully be enjoyed at Al Mandaloun Dbayeh, where good food, joyful and pleasant ambiance, professional staff meet. And to top things off, there's a play area for the kids who never seem to stay at the table for more than ten minutes.
Today, accompanied with the extended family, we decided to go out for lunch at Al Mandaloun. We reached at 2pm to discover a place fully packed. Everyone seemed jolly, happy, smiling, mingling and eating in a pleasant ambiance we often miss in our country. Lunch started with homemade chips followed by some Lebanese specialties we ordered specially from the salad bar: mashed potato with olive oil, baba ghannouj and fatayer. What I thought would be normal appetizers turned out to be superb. The baba ghannouj is better than many Lebanese restaurants around, the mashed potato is close to the one mezze restaurants offer and the mini crunchy fatayer are simply WOW! All of this is accompanied with two baskets filled with a selection of homemade French bread. We enjoyed Lebanese bites in an international restaurant, without the Lebanese restaurant feel where waiters run like headless chickens as they throw plates on the table one on top of the other.
To tell you the truth, I was looking hard to find one single negative comment to make, with no success.
Salad bar time before moving to the interesting stuff. In the middle of the space, a long salad bar fridge displays fresh items. Plates are refilled on the spot as each finishes. There's a variety of bread and a large choice of sauces. A rich bowl of salad with a slice of Marguerite pizza and on it's way, the main dish was coming. The pizza is very, very good. Thin and generous with a round and slightly crunchy border.
What better than a homemade plat du jour to quench your hunger on a Sunday. Today's suggestion was Arnabiyeh. Two bowls, one filled with rice and the other with Arnabiyeh. A well cooked rice with Virnecelli and a bowl of mashed Arnabiyeh that made the mix become like a soup where four empty kebbe and three pieces of meat are floating in.
I like the taste of this dish, although I would have preferred that it included less chickpeas and be more consistent. We're not having balila here. This plat du jour would be great with some fine tuning... But I did finish my plate. It's correct but not perfect.
It was already 4pm and despite all the things I've already eaten, I couldn't resist trying one of Al Mandaloun's new desserts - their Banana Split. The plate I received is more of a dessert that can be shared by three. A banana, sliced in half set around three scoops of ice cream - strawberry, chocolate and vanilla - covered with whipped cream and decorated with chocolate chips and lines of chocolate and strawberry syrup. A beautiful decorated plate topped with two cherries. I enjoyed the three different ice scream flavors, as well as the overall taste. I recommend this creation.
There were seven of us enjoying lunch this Sunday. We enjoyed appetizers, a main dish each, followed with desserts and coffee for only 170$, that's $24/person - all inclusive. A pleasant atmosphere, a soothing ambiance, professional waiters and a kids' playground, all at a reasonable price...