When you fall in love with something nothing can stop you from coming back for it again and again... I fell in love with a village and here I am again. I came to eat fish, fresh fish from our sea at "Masmaket el Bahar".
Masmaket el Bahar, located in Nabathieh, has been open for the last three years or so, providing locals with fresh fish from the sea. Fresh fish Hassan Safa picks himself at the neighboring coastal cities of Sarafand and Tyre.
A two door shop, open on to the street with its glass facades, hosts a square space as clean as your own kitchen. The fish doesn't smell in this restaurant, where three fridges display food of the day.
Tiles cover the floor, mosaics decorate the walls, an open kitchen, fresh aromas, all well lit. A casual street style restaurant where you can enjoy flavorful fish and go back to work without feeling bloated.
Lunch is served:
- The battered shrimps are prepared in house. Every shrimp is opened down the middle, covered with breadcrumbs, and then fried. The most amazing thing is the quality of the shrimp. Those shrimp are so moist, so tender, so light in color. Bite into one, feel the outer crust crunch, followed by a heart of gold. Don't forget the sauce with its subtle spiciness.
- The French fries reminded me of my grandma. Those tender freshly peeled potatoes covered with an excess of salt. I loved their oil, their tenderness and freshness. That's really good food.
- The grilled fish is awesome, exceptionally awesome. A sea bass I ate as is with my hands. Hassan manages to flavor it with a load of spices without it being dry or oily. No oil is used in the process but a mix of rich spices and a hint of ginger. So intensely flavorful, the fish was devoured as is with its crispy skin and its grilled taste. I've rarely eaten fish that way.
- Lunch was not yet finished. We were promised some fried fish to continue our journey along the Lebanese cost.
- Red snapper (jarbideh/farrideh), bream (sarghouss) and hamoor fish (lokos). Local fish, fried to perfection... And I asked to see the oil they use, it was clean and transparent. With that came moutabbal made in-house and enjoyed with fried bread. I'm not sure if you will, but I'll come all the way from Beirut to enjoy some good fish at a very reasonable price; you can enjoy a kilogram of ready to eat fried fish starting from LBP15,000 up to LBP45,000. Locally fished Sultan Brahim is for LBP90,000. Definitely cheaper than Beirut and indeed tasty.
We were not done yet, one more fish, best for last. White fish or "Bassas Farrideh", fried to perfection, smooth and moist, full of flavor... I never imagined eating fried fish with such an intense taste. Bravo.
No spices, no lemon, no sauces are needed to boost the taste, the fish is good as that at "Masmaket el Bahar".
Masmaket el Bahar, +961 70 070458, Nabathieh