May 13, 2013 Beirut Lebanon Middle East

Chenbao: Beirut's Finest Chinese Restaurant is a Must Try (Restaurant Closed)
Non-smokers friendly

4.05 out of 5 based on 1 professional review.

RATING:81/100

Welcoming: 5/5

Food Temperature: 10/10

Ambiance / Music: 8/10

Menu Choice: 5/5

Food Taste: 27/30

Architecture / Interior: 9/10

Food presentation: 9/10

Service: 9/10

Value for money: Soon

Last September, on a hot summer evening, my wife and I decided to try Chenbao Chinese Restaurant in Downtown Beirut, a place which markets itself as a fine dining Chinese. Indeed it was. I remember that it only needed to fine tune a few small things... Eight months later, visiting Chenbao again, I forgot all the negative details of my previous visit.

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Situated in Saifi Village II of Downtown Beirut, CHENBAO – the Chinese word for castle – is a modern and fine dining Chinese restaurant. It provides an exceptional dining experience with an exquisite cuisine, serving the best of what Chinese food has to offer. Chenbao is by far the best Chinese in Lebanon with no potential competition. We arrived at 9pm and were welcomed by an Asian hostess/waitress who showed us to our table. At the end of the restaurant is a round table over viewing this unique place and its beautiful details. I sat down, took my iPad and started taking notes.

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The place:

  • Five pending chandeliers add a touch of yellow and make the ambiance even warmer
  •  Wood ceiling breaks the cold the white ones give
  • Marble reflective flooring gives the place the needed class
  • Soft musical background plays continuously
  • A full table setup is prepared to satisfy the demanding clientele
  • Next to the stairs taking you down to the restrooms, an electrical chair transports the people with special needs
  • The view of Beirut's main roundabout (Martyr's Square) is nice
  • The bar decorated with many bottles serves the drinks
  • At the end of the place, a separate room for the privacy seekers

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We ordered:

  • Chenbao salad: tomato, cucumbers, pine nuts, lollo verde, lollo Rossi, radish, avocado. 14,000L.L
  • Crispy shrimp toast with sesame seeds 24,000L.L
  • Steamed prawn dumplings 21,000L.L
  • Crispy vegetable mango roll 16,000L.L
  • Beef with butter black pepper sauce 42,000L.L
  • Vegetable fried rice 9,000L.L
  • Thai chicken fried rice with pineapple 12,000L.L
  • Sweet and sour prawns 33,000L.L
  • London crispy duck 65,000L.L
  • Fried chicken with fry chili and cashew nuts 35,000L.L
  • Sautéed eggplant with Schezuan sauce 17,000L.L
  • Vegetable fried noodles 9,000L.L

In the middle of the table is a mix of four sauces:

  • Chenbao salad sauce
  • Sweet and sour
  • Soya sauce
  • Chili sauce

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Dinner started with Chinese nuts and kimchi (Chinese cabbage pickles) in the middle followed by the order that took some time to arrive. The wait was better than that of the last visit. Instead of waiting 40 minutes like we did last time, we waited 20 minutes. This point should be looked into.

The fine culinary experience:

  • Each and every single platter was just great. We couldn't say a word about anything. Generous, well presented, oozing beautiful colors, tasty premium ingredients...
  • The meat is soft and tender with a quality s few Chinese restaurants in Lebanon propose
  • My favorite was the sweet and sour prawns: Delicious
  • Even though the duck platter is expensive, it is worth every penny. Yummy!
  • The Chenbao salad is huge and contains ingredients that should make its price higher. $10 only for a preparation that can fill five plates
  • The crispy vegetable mango roll is a must try: wrapped in nori leaves, the spring rolls are crunchy and super tasty
  • Even the rice is unique and tasty
  • The only plate we all didn't like is the chicken and cashew nuts which was way too salty. I would imagine that it was a cooking mistake

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The pluses:

  • The table setup is up to the standard of starred restaurants
  • The plates were changed after every course. Mine was replaced 3 times
  • The waitresses are professional, well trained and very good looking
  • The waitress outfits are very nice
  • The place's decoration does indeed reflect the classiness of the restaurant
  • The air is fresh
  • All plates are supper tasty
  • Thinking of guests with special needs is just awesome. Bravo for installing the restroom's escalator

The improvements since last time:

  • The place is now smoke free
  • The food is even tastier than ever
  • The portions are bigger and more generous
  • The air is fresher

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Simple required fixes:

  • Even though smoking is not allowed inside and we all know it, little small round containers are a must. You can use the ashtrays without cigarette support. I was confused as to where to put my paper napkins

A superb dinner which has reconciled me with the brand. We really enjoyed a rich and fine dinner for $60 per person. Be sure that we tried almost everything leaving a lot of food behind. Many other "so-called" Chinese restaurants in town offer you mediocre food for higher price.

Chenbao: The Only Chinese Fine Dining Restaurant in Beirut




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