July 04, 2013 Beirut Lebanon Middle East

Marky's Philly Joint: Endless Surprises of Professionalism and Taste (Restaurant Closed)
Non-smokers friendly
Casual Dining

Phone Number: +961 3 677171

Address: Lebanon ( 08:00AM - 08:00PM)

Website: https://www.facebook.com/Markyslb

Price Range: 8-25 $

Marky's Smoke House Marky's Smoke House
3.65 out of 5 based on 1 professional review.

RATING:73/100

Welcoming: 4/5

Food Temperature: 8/10

Ambiance / Music: 8.5/10

Menu Choice: 4/5

Food Taste: 27/30

Architecture / Interior: 8/10

Food presentation: 7/10

Service: 7/10

Value for money: Soon

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A few days ago, Lucien, my friend, calls me inquiring where he could have a decent "Poutine du Quebec" here in Lebanon.  Thinking hard, the only answer I had was Lord of the Wings. I was not sure that this Canadian dish was served anywhere else… I started doing some research which led me straight to Marky's, a Philly Joint. I think I now found my new favorite spot. I was looking for a place that serves good Poutine, but that's not all I found in this restaurant that offers much more... including my newly discovered best burger in town.

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Heading down to Marky's for a quick lunch, I discovered something really amazing. Finally! A restaurant in Lebanon welcomes you with a genuine smile: "Good morning, welcome to Marky's," stated the cheerful waiter. Here, I knew that I was up for a unique experience. Marky's, which opened only two months ago, is nestled in the heart of Sin El Fil, just a few meters away from the famous Mkalles roundabout. What looks like a small place from the outside is indeed a three-story restaurant where an open kitchen, a central kitchen, huge fridges, a laboratory and two seating areas promise a culinary experience that's next to none.

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Let us start with some definitions:

  • Poutine du Quebec: is a common Canadian dish (originally from Quebec), made with French fries, topped with brown gravy and cheese curds. Sometimes additional ingredients are added. This fast food dish is found across Canada (and is also found in some places in the Northern United States), although it is still exotic enough there to sometimes need describing. It is sold by national and international fast food chains, in small "greasy spoon" type diners and pubs, as well as by roadside chip wagons. International chains like McDonald's, KFC, and Burger King also sell mass-produced poutine in Canada. Poutine may also contain other ingredients such as bacon, beef, pulled pork, lamb, lobster meat, shrimp, rabbit confit, caviar, and truffles.
  • Philly Steak: A cheese-steak, also known as a Philadelphia cheesesteak, Philly cheesesteak, cheese steak, or steak and cheese, is a sandwich made from thinly-sliced pieces of steak and melted cheese in a long roll. A popular regional fast food, it has its roots in the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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Marc Kandakji, the owner, approached me as he saw me taking photos. “Why are you taking pictures if I may ask?” he asked. I simply answered that I like shooting all the places I visit and the food I taste. Then he said: "And your name is?" I smiled and answered, Anthony. "Anthony? The Anthony? NoGarlicNoOnions? Wow! Thank you for coming. Please take as many pictures as you like." I don't mean to blow my own horn, but that honestly made my day. Marc, who's graduated from the Cordon Bleu school in Paris has been in the hospitality business for quite some time now. He opened his first restaurant in Monot many years ago, when he decided to move back to Montreal where he stayed ten years. He then decided to come back to Lebanon to establish his own business. In 2010, he started preparing for something new and unique without imitations. Marc decided to bring Lebanon the real and authentic version of the Cheese-steak sandwich, as well as producing a one of a kind burger without forgetting his signature item, the Poutine.

Today, I learned about interesting details none master. The Poutine is made with freshly cut and unfrozen fries topped with a gravy and white cheese that should be produced on spot as it only lasts for five days. It was impossible to import it from Quebec.

I had the privilege to go down to the basement and take a closer look at Marc's lab. A small room with mirror glass where all the secret recipes are produced. The gravy, the white cheese curds, the burger patty and even the American sweet pickles - all are produced down there.

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Order at the counter, and take a seat. The waiters will bring the food to your table. The place is nice:

  • Brown wood floor
  • Wooden tables and chairs
  • High ceiling
  • The counter faces the entrance
  • A long red bench follows the wall on the left
  • A mustard/yellow paint covers the other walls
  • Some bricks decorate the place here and there
  • A large LCD screen with many posters around
  • A long cow design poster decorates the left wall
  • A metallic board hosts the menu and its details
  • The upper floor hosts more seating and the restrooms

Markys_Mkalles_Philly_Steak53 The menu:

  • Sides/Appetizers
  • Cheesesteaks (Traditional and Specialties)
  • Skip the Meat
  • Burgers
  • Hotdogs
  • Desserts
  • Beverages

We Ordered:

  • Poutine du Quebec (French fries, homemade cheese curds, house poutine gravy)
  • Cheese Poppers (Fried cheese curds balls, marinara dip)
  • The Original Philly Steak with Swiss cheese
  • The Big Boy Burger (Daily fresh, never frozen, 100% pure homemade beef, flat top grilled and seasoned to perfection. Lettuce, tomatoes, dill pickles, mustard and ketchup. Sesame bread)
  • Chocoholic Cake (Gianduja and chocolate mousse cake)

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The Food is just superb:

  • A homemade cheese that is unsalted and not chewy. The cheese balls are unique and one of kind. A must try. Nothing to be compared with the average mozzarella sticks produced around town. The cheese in the breaded envelop is unsalted with a hint of sweetness that caresses your tongue. The final product is new to Lebanon.
  • The Philly Steak is awesome. One of the simplest sandwiches, filled with pure Entrecote beef and some additives, just needs to be prepared with passion. The vegetables are grilled to perfection and the onions caramelized to the extent you don't feel their presence. As for the bread, I'll keep it as a surprise. You have to taste it to understand its greatness.
  • Poutine: Simply WOW! Fresh French fries soaked generously in gravy and covered with chunks of cheese curds that gently melt by contacting the heat. That's a plate you'll be sure to fall in love with. Adequately salted and  not fatty, it is finger licking good. Nothing to do with the commercial one found at Lord of the Wings that I like as well
  • The Burger: A love affair. A mix of four cuts of meat that is all fresh, produced on a daily basis for the satisfaction of your taste buds: Lettuce, Tomato, American pickles, Hotdog, Eggs, Swiss cheese, Ground beef, Mayonnaise on top, Ketchup in the bottom, Amazing bread. All squeezable into a three finger size and easy to be devoured

I Finally Found It: The Perfect Burger… Here in Lebanon

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Everything was just great. Before plunging into the dessert trip, Marc took me down to the kitchen. I would say, more of a hospital surgery room. Clean and neat, the highest standards of hygiene are respected. I confirm that everything is produced in-house with professionalism. It was time for the best: Marky's dessert is a piece of heaven. Just to leave you hungry with a growling stomach which will entice you to head there… I'll skip its description and invite you to go try it for yourself: Simply Yummy!

I would only ask for one single thing: This 18,000L.L burger should be served with complementary french fries

One surprise followed the next, one positive encounter, taste, smell, sight... after the next, and the surprises didn't seem to stop. And the cherry on top is that I had the chance to enjoy my favorite Coca light: YES! They serve coke and not Pepsi. Yayyyy Marky's made my day. Affordable, tasty, professional and clean, Marky's is now my new favorite spot.

Suitable For: Casual Dining

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