In Lebanon, there are a handful of gems found in different parts of the country. I recently stumbled upon one, just 45 minutes away from Beirut heading North. Get into the car, drive towards Batroun and you'll discover a beautiful restaurant with a dreamy view of the Mediterranean sea. It's colorful, humble, comfortable, homey and more importantly tasty- Chez Maguy.
This is my second visit to Maguy’s and everything was as god as I left it the last time. Meet Maguy Al Mouhawas, the owner of Chez Maguy, the joyful woman who welcomes you into her home offering a large selection of charcoal grilled fish and seafood preparations prepared with love and dedication.
To get to Chez Maguy, you have to ask around…There are no signs, no markings but everyone knows the place. A cozy home with a terrace, a dinning room and Al Mouhawas family bedrooms. You walk into the the terrace and you're welcomed into an attractively mix of different kinds of chairs and tables and colorful table clothes... She welcomes you into her own home... where she lives with her two children. The view and positive vibes will make you forget the chaotic life we live in.
A soothing view of the sea and a host who's warmth and welcoming spirit accompanies your every bite. Maguy shares her story and passion for the sea... Chez Maguy has been around for 27 years. Her love and passion for the sea started a long time ago. She did what she knew best and that was diving. After her husband's death, she decided to live from the sea and with the sea.
After selling fish at the closest market, her friends started to ask for more:"Maguy, why don't you cook for us?". "Your today's catch with a plate of hummus is all what we are asking for". It took more than 20 years for Maguy's place to get famous. I honestly thought it's a new restaurant. She dove day and night and caught a variety of seafood to sell to the local fish market. Her knowledge and passion for fish quickly gained her recognition. She then started selling fish in her parents home, where she lived, and built a small place to sell the fish. Slowly she added a kitchen, a living room and bedrooms... Then after, she would catch the fish and prepare the day's catch and welcome people to come eat, along side a variety of Lebanese mezze which she learned to prepare herself…
You eat what Maguy's children do. Same quality and same taste. A simple and humble restaurant, Chez Maguy has become a stop where people come to enjoy good food in an unpretentious environment. She has been written about in Paris Match, The New York Times and Le Figaro to name a few, but her simplicity remains… After meeting and talking with Maguy I realized that this lady is warm and kind and this is exactly how she makes her guests feel – warmth. Her passion for food and what she does in inevitable. Maguy herself welcomes us, cooks for us, stayed with us and for the first time ever revealed her secret recipes. Leave your arrogance at home, forget about your fine table manners and come eat at a home; At Maguy's to enjoy a real deal of simplicity.
Two waiters help Maguy around the place. A simple place indeed. Ask for a drink and it will be served as it is, in its bottle. Peanuts and pumkin seeds are placed on the table to munch on before the food is served.
Fresh fish, charcoal grilled crabs, calamari, scallops… everything was superb. With that we had a selection of salads, hummus and moutabbal. After lunch, we were offered a fruit basket before hitting the road back to Beirut. If you’re not an Arak fan, don’t forget to try Batroun’s local beer, Colonel.
I love this place, its vibes and food and I believe the video will express my feelings. Watch Maguy in action and plan your next visit to Batroun.