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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…
Fouad is a restaurant in Nabe3 el Mghara, Hrajel situated in a location far from tourists’ vibes. In here, they know nothing about marketing or the use of social media for advertising. But that’s just it! The best authentic Lebanese restaurant that serves food the way our ancestors used to prepare them, they don’t need advertising – they are always fully booked. Opened since 2003, Fouad welcomes you in Hrajel from June 15 until October 15, he then takes two months break and opens again in Ain El Rihani (Aintoura) from December until June. Fouad, enters the kitchen at 7pm every night to prepare with his own hands all orders. At Fouad’s, every dish has a story and every recipe exudes an immense passion. Fouad himself, welcomes you to his house’s balcony hosting up to 180 chairs and decorated with old Lebanese farmers harvesting items. The minute you pass the doorstep, he welcomes you with a proverb depending on his mood and the season’s popular songs and always with a smile.
You automatically feel relaxed and know that the journey of enjoyment has already started.
Peaceful and down to earth:
- A generosity, close to none
- Huge portions at reasonable prices
- Arak is served for everyone
- Credit cards are not accepted
- The bill is written by hand, the old fashioned way
- Smiling and having fun are a must
The place is simple and soothing:
- A large place, distributed on two levels
- Concrete floor
- Bamboo shoots cover the ceiling
- A couple of light spots illuminate all the corners and walls
- Bamboo baskets, pending from the ceiling are turned into lights
- New metallic chairs covered with relaxing cushions surround the long rectangular tables
- Old garden tools decorate all the walls
- Two-level space, able to host up to 180 chairs
Fouad himself takes the order of every table... On the menu, the way Fouad describes them, with a melodious and singing accent:
- Tabboule am fattouch?
- Hommos! Ma3 kabis wou ba2douniss wou basal akhdar m2atta3 wou makhlout ma3o
- ...A7san wou a7san...
- Hommos ma3 lahme
- Mtabbal batenjen ma3 debes remmen wou basal bi nosso, atyab may koun seda
- ...Men tebe3...
- Bemye bil zeit, msa23at batenjen, hendbe?
- Batata mad2ou2a da2!
- Batata ma3 el kezbra, mouka3abet
- Arnabit toum kezebra basal akhdar tarator janba
- Basterma bidouuun shamannn! Basterma bala el ghilef el mouz3ej
- Tajen ma3 el jawz woul lawz
- Rocca, batrakh
- Ba2le batenjen ma3 debs el remmen wou basal akhdar
- Fishe bi t7ine, 3al 3edet el 2adime
- Borghol 3a banadoura
- Balila, mtarbakha etterbokh
- labnet me3ze mka3zale ma3 el jawz
- Makanek ma3 el batata. Atyab makanek bel joumhourieh kella
- Gebne baladiye, moubastar: Meghle wou salekh 3al boukhar
- ...wade3 el nayy, salim 2aw ghayr salim...
- Soujouk ma3 che2af el 7amod wou el banadoura el 7arra chway
- Sawda djej ma3 debs el remmen
- Sawda ghanam me2liye bel 7amod metfiye
- Omelette bel jebneh, me2liyye ma3 2awarma laban 7adda
- Bayd 3youn me2le 3al khebez festo2 rachet mele7 wou semsom
- Shmamit mghatsa bellaban
- La7me ras asfour file ma3 debs el remmen
- Ferkha 7arra
- Batenjene bel foron jebneh 3ala wejja
- Sader m7alwan
- Haniba3el (La7met el ketef bi wara2 el ghar)
- Kebbe ma3 laban
- Halloum bel halioun el barre
- Atyab la7me mechwiyye 3a kell el 2arade el lebneniyeh. Tene wa7ad bya3mol la7me mechwe byotla3 warana ra2em 3echrine...
Men machiyon wara b3don... Weelcom! Weelcom! Next time you visit, open this list and follow him word by word... He won't forget a comma.
This place is truly your home away from home; Fouad Khalil's heaven makes your smile come out naturally. Helped by a staff that believes in their patron visions, making them act, smile and welcome you the same way. No school and no training needed, they are more professional than most pretentious waiters in Beirut.
“Mech ghalat abadan” is what made Fouad famous.
We enjoyed tasting tonight:
- Fattouch: A huge plate filled to top and filled with small pieces of purslane, tomato, radish, lettuce, parsley, bell pepper, green onions and toasted bread adding to that a tiny bit of garlic, pomegranate molasses and lemon
- Tabbouleh: A rich and generous plate with more tomatoes than parsley and borghol. Super delicious and adequately seasoned. Lemon has a strong interesting aftertaste
- Mtabbal: Very nice
- Hummus Special with pickles, parsley and bell pepper. That's awesome
- Mashed potatoes with tomato sauce in the middle. Superb!
- Labneh prepared in small balls and mixed with nuts. Simply breathtaking!
- Halloumi bel halioun: Soft and tender, juicy and seasoned with oregano. With mini wild asparagus. A great idea indeed
- Eggs with peanuts: Toasted bread with sumac, nuts and eggs
- Haniba3el with potato wou wara2 el ghar. The softest meat ever imaginable. You can't help closing your eyes after every bite
- Kebbe and laban: Nothing close to any kebbe or laban you eat in town. Kebbe without minced meat floating on a special laban mix
- Makanek with pomegranate molasses on the side
- Hommos with soft tender meat with grilled cut almonds and pine nuts. Crunchy soft and tenderness blended together. Yum!!!!
- Borghol and tomatoes: Soft, tender and served hot with a strong spicy aftertaste. One of the best I've ever tasted
- Raw meat with pine nuts and garlic slices
- Raw Kebbe
- Meat and taouk: fresh, soft, juicy and tender. Really great. The meat is unique and one of the best as Fouad describes it. Goats, called "3weiss" are the local speciality of Hrajel's mountains. Only 15 shepherds still have this unique breed and Fouad serves it to his clientele. A meat soft and tender like nothing you tasted before
Desserts are mouthwatering:
Dessert at Fouad is something else. Every time I try it I am amazed at how good they are. Every bite is like a perfume in the mouth.
- Nammoura and Mabroum bel loz
- Helween bel joz
- Homemade Apple jam
- Mouhallabiya bakhara with meske from greece. Yes, the world's best Mouhallabiya with no close competition.
What can I say that has not been said before? You are welcomed by Fouad, the order is taken by Fouad and you eat the food prepared by Fouad himself... All I know is that if you enjoy Lebanese food and crave for that genuine Lebanese hospitality and generosity Fouad is the place to go… I don’t think that any other restaurant in Lebanon can offer you this experience.