April 26, 2014 Achrafieh Beirut Lebanon Middle East

Michel: Tasty Food and Positive Vibes
Non-smokers friendly

Au Bistrot de Michel Au Bistrot de Michel
4.55 out of 5 based on 1 professional review.

RATING:91/100

Welcoming: 5/5

Food Temperature: 10/10

Ambiance / Music: 9.5/10

Menu Choice: 5/5

Food Taste: 27/30

Architecture / Interior: 8/10

Food presentation: 9/10

Service: 8/10

Value for money: 10/10

Back in October, I discovered Michel, a casual bistro nestled in the heart of Achrafieh, offering some fine dishes without being pretentious or arrogant. A simple bistro where Michel himself makes sure every single detail is perfect. I didn't take me long before I came back to Michel and his tasty food, which never fails to put a smile on my face. As soon as I entered the place, I was welcomed by Michel, and I couldn't help but notice the improvements everywhere. Overall, it was the same feel, the same simplicity and same vibes with a touch of color and freshness. 

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Some Improvements I Loved

  • Peugeot salt and pepper mills installed on all the tables
  • An additional small round table has been added
  • A blackboard has been added proposing the day's specials
  • The tables have now a complete set of glasses laid out for you
  • A red table cloth - I love it
  • Flowers decorating the bar
  • 100% artisanal brown bread has been added to the basket. "Roger Le Boulanger" produces them down in Achrafieh and “The French Bakery” produces the white loaves.
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The Little Details
  • A one-door restaurant located in the heart of Achrafieh, behind bank Byblos’ Headquarters
  • Red curtains protect the restaurants from strong sunny spells during the daytime, as well as hiding the black wood supporting the glass doors
  • Two blackboards at the entrance display the menu and specials
  • Inside you find a cozy place with a white ceiling and light wood parquet
  • A bar at the end of the restaurant displays the wine collection
  • A long mirror to the left makes the place look bigger, supported by a long brown bench underneath it
  • To the right a beautiful bespoke wallpaper is decorated with two Parisian-style paintings and a black board
  • Three standing Burgundy lanterns lean over the tables
  • Over the bar, a basket of flowers adds a touch of finesse
  • Dark wood tables surrounded by brown chairs and decorated with nylon beige placemats, white plates and a tissue napkins create a classic ambiance
The Bistro de Michel welcomes guests from Monday to Saturday for lunch and dinner. The place seats 38 people inside and on the terrace, spread over an area of 90m2. Located in a quiet neighborhood, Michel’s place has a calm vibe, reflecting the real French tradition of a “Bistrot de Quartier” or a neighborhood restaurant. Michel does everything, making you really feel at home.
 
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Good to Know
  • The restaurant opens for lunch and dinner
  • It can host up to 35 people and can be booked for private gatherings
  • The bill is very reasonable with a $35 per person check including starters, the main dish and dessert
  • Plats du jour are changed daily and are all French choices
  • The bread is homemade and provided by my favorite place - The French Bakery
Dinner started with a basket of warm white, crispy bread served with crushed olives and a bottle of olive oil giving a good, tasty first impression. The bread deserves a minute: A thin crust with a light filling where the quantity of yeast is dosed perfectly, making it soft and tender, melting under your teeth like butter. I've always shown my appreciation to "The French Bakery" bread and have to write about it again: the white bread, it's thin crunchy crust and fluffy airy filling is exquisite, indescribable and incomparable. I would love to visit the bakery one day and eat their freshly baked.
Let's enjoy some fine French cuisine:
  • Carpaccio Michel: Served on a square plate, thin sliced meat filets are marinated in spices, lightly cooked in the oven and covered with wild rocca, truffle oil and grilled mushrooms. Soft and tender meat, perfectly spiced and seasoned while the juicy mushrooms add an interesting texture. Greenery, Parmesan and finesse added by the truffle oil. Perfect.
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  • Asparagus Salad: On a round plate, five freshly imported asparagus are served with palmito shoots that crunch pleasantly erupting into a hundred flavors. I loved its lemony effect and saltiness that tickles your taste buds. Perfectly cooked and served warm, they crumble gently and pleasantly. Some heart of palms and cherry tomatoes add a touch of color while the lettuce makes this plate filling.
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  • Salade Fromage de Chevre Chaud: The goat cheese salad might be a simple thing to do but at Michel’s things are different. Goat cheese is cooked meticulously on a thin slice of bread creating a crunchy/soft warm bite enjoyed with a smile. Four super thin green apple slices and fig pieces cut in half add the perfect final touch. The freshness and beautiful colors of this salad are mouthwatering. It's a must order.
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  • Fresh Crab Salad: One of the day's specials, this crab salad was so generous and tasty that it should be added permanently to the menu. Served with lettuce, endives and a lemon sauce, every bite is enjoyable and filled with a hundred flavors
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  • Foie de Volaille au Porto: One of my favorite plates at Michel’s is the chicken liver and its incredible sauce. Just throw your fries in and enjoy the mix in style. The meat is so tender and light and the sauce exquisite. The chicken liver plate with its strong peppery flavor is a unique dish, which I loved. Even though salty today, I finished it completely. I would recommend you try the chicken liver plate’s sauce with the meat - it is exquisite. I'll just suggest serving the fries without salt: salty fries added to the plate's sauce is an overdose.
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  • Asparagus Risotto: Just imagine a generous portion of white rice decorated with long asparagus cut in halves and a cherry tomato. A generous mix of rice with melted cheese that's tasty and full of flavors but needs a hint of salt and pepper. Don't forget to add some to be able to enjoy your plate. I would suggest a large pepper mill presented after the plate lands on the table, a nice, traditional ritual in French bistros.

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  • Tiger Prawns: Four prawns served in their shell. Juicy and covered with extra virgin olive oil, those are enjoyable as is, there’s no need for any sauce. You can try the tartar on the side: it's awesome.
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  • Seafood Pasta: Perfectly mixed and filled with flavors, but the pasta was a bit over cooked. We tend to forget sometimes that the pasta continues cooking on the plate specially when its mixed with a hot sauce. On the other hand, accidentally crunching on the shrimp tails is not the best of experiences. Please, the shrimp tail should be removed; they cannot be seen, mixed with tomato sauce and sometimes mistakenly swallowed.
Bistro_Michel_Achrafieh_Beirut50 The Main Points:
  • The food is really great
  • The ambiance at Michel's bistro is so enjoyable and simple
  • Michel is a professional person and acts like one – making sure things are done perfectly
  • The waiters help Michel in a synchronized way
Second time, second pleasant experience, second tasty discovery. If you haven’t visited Michel yet, please do so and enjoy a simple cuisine created with love, passion and dedication where everyone dines as if they’re at home.
 
Au Bistrot De Michel: +961 1 216772
 

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