Our discovery tour around Zahle ended at Al Tanbakji, this famous restaurant facing the Ksara winery. Al Tanbakji is a revival of our traditions within a restaurant. Enter a reconstructed Lebanese village, with decorative items taking you back dozens of years to when the houses were all made of stones. Enter the world of Tanbakji and plunge into Lebanese heritage.
Do you feel like escaping the city? Take the road up to Zahle where a world of culinary discoveries awaits. During winter when the Berdawni is deserted, visit the Ksara caves and have lunch at the restaurant on the opposite side of the road.
Al Tanbakji serves Lebanese food with a twist, a simple twist.
- Square tables fill in the square space, pumping with a colorful spirit.
- Flowers decorate the table covers.
- Old Lebanese tiles cover the floor, decorating the glazed concrete.
- Benches and wooden chairs set with cushions around the wooden tables fill up the space.
- Facing the entrance is the long bar, like a dresser, where food can be served and is normally used as a buffet table.
- Photos fill the walls with a Lebanese spirit and painted flower pots decorate the walls. Tourism and portraits, the history of Lebanon in black and white decorates every corner of the restaurant.
- Hanging from the ceiling is a large lantern.
- Windows open up inside the restaurant to remind you of a Lebanese house.
I believe we ordered everything on the menu:
Liver with lemon and zaatar, tabbouleh, fattouch, makanek, hrisseh (chicken, meat and wheat), eggs with awarma, hummus, moujaddara, fatteh with almonds, koussa, fasoulia harra (lightly sweet and lightly spicy), meat which was very tender. The cheese pops are amazing. Each plate has something in it giving it a unique flavor of the valley.
Food at Al Tanbakji is good, flavors are felt in every plate, and there's a certain know how and surely a big passion. Some minor flavor adjustments could be made, but I believe the experience is good, covering up any imperfections.
The best part is surely dessert. Don't miss their crepes, the Lezze2iyet, or sticky wraps as they call them in Zahle, are superb. Smidiyeh bel khebez el mar2ou2, which is inspired by tamriyeh, is a successful innovation. Toasted and crunchy markouk bread filled sweet ingredients. The chocolate biscuit tastes exactly like home. Meghle hosts balanced ingredients and the Mouhallabiya is superb! The chef is better at desserts than main plates.
Lunch was enjoyable. I was happy to have discovered a restaurant like Al Tanbakji and will surely will be coming back with my family in the near future.