With two branches in Paris, one at La Défense and another at Val D’Europe, La Cantine Libanaise is a proud ambassador of Lebanese cuisine - at least the way French people like it. I came here with low expectations and left impressed by the quality of food and attention, which are way better than Noura, the direct competitor. Many of the sandwiches are prepared a la minute, good quality meat is served, fresh salads, an appetizing display, all in a pleasant ambiance. The restaurant is handled by a staff of young people making the experience fun and cool.
White is the signature color, the restaurant's name is written in gold and neon lights. White tables and stylish chairs set around a food display. Shawarma, sandwiches, hummus and appetizers with a selection of Lebanese desserts and baklava.
Order, pay, grab your tray, choose a table and start eating. It's a fast casual Lebanese a-la-Francaise.
- A large sized sambousik stuffed with minced meat. A crunchy border and tender dough with soft meat that's juicy and lightly salty. It's a good for a sambousik sold in Paris.
- The cheese rakakat reheated on demand are oily but offer a crunchy envelope and a generous heart of melted white cheese. It is also good enough for one found in Paris.
- The shawarma: two layers of bread, toasted to crunch, the shawarma has a little more bread than what I like but is good enough! Tender - premium quality - beef, crunchy pickles juicy tomatoes and flavorful tarator. Bravo for creating a tasty shawarma in Paris. I felt proud and happy.
- The Kebbeh is great! Super tender, non oily and rich, minced meat and pines, a thin envelope and a mushy heart. An equilibrium of spices creating an end note of perfection. Two thumbs up!
- Shredded parsley, lemon, diced tomatoes and onions. For a tabbouleh in Paris using a quality of parsley that was never intended to create Tabbouleh because of its hardness, the tabbouleh has an interesting zesty touch and no borghol to avoid it being soaked.
- Manakish, crunchy with bitter zaatar. Sfi7a with spicy meat, the bites at La Cantine Libanaise are good!
- The mashawi: even though prepared hours earlier and reheated, the kafta remained juicy and the chicken tender and soft. Enjoyed both!
- The hummus was my least favorite. It lacked lemon and strength, it's too sweet for a Lebanese hummus. Good quality but not the real hummus, not an ambassador of our culture. I would put more effort into this plate.
- The baba ghannouj is bad! Creamy to the limit of being unpleasant under the palate. It's more of a mashed purée which needs more body and texture.
- Order the stuffed grapevine leaves; they're good!
I like the name, the decor and vibes around here. There is a lot to improve but it’s good for what it is. I’ll recommend it to my French friends planning to have a Lebanese bite in Paris.