May 15, 2019 Beirut Lebanon Middle East

Rossini Caffe and Osteria Opens at The Phoenicia Beirut
Lunch Escape

Mondo Cafe, Phoenicia Mondo Cafe, Phoenicia
3.2 out of 5 based on 1 professional review.

RATING:64/100

Welcoming: 3/5

Food Temperature: 8/10

Ambiance / Music: 6/10

Menu Choice: 3/5

Food Taste: 17/30

Architecture / Interior: 7/10

Food presentation: 8/10

Service: 7/10

Value for money: 6/10

After decades of success, “Cafe Mondo” leaves its legacy to “Rossini Osteria and Caffe.” Upscale and renovated to cope with the century’s new decor trends, you will dine in a fresh and colorful ambiance inspired by the colors of Andy Warhol, the traditions of old Lebanon, the Italian style and French savoir-faire. Rossini is your new Italian destination, and it was time for me to try it.

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I was always a fan of Cafe Mondo; the renowned and famous salad bar, the tasty pizzas, fresh pasta and exciting international dishes we all enjoyed for years. It’s where I met the world champion pizzaiolo Pasqualino Barbasso in 2013 among many other events that happened at the restaurant. Unfortunately, things have changed...

Details I liked: I loved the white tablecloth with red lines. Robert Welch cutlery. Adon & Myrrh premium olive oil. Italian music playing in the background. Vast glass facades with a view on the waterfront. A team of young waiters wearing happy outfits.

On the menu: Antipasti, panini, prosciutteria, pizza, pasta and risotto, secondi piatti, desserts.

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Let’s eat:

  • I enjoyed the fried calamari with tartar sauce. Interestingly crunchy envelop and moist heart. A bit salty though but I liked it.
  • The speck panini looks like old bread sandwich; not appetizing to start. Crunchy but dry, the filing needs to be warmer and juicier. I added olive oil to it that improved its taste and texture.
  • Seafood linguini cooked Aldente; the plate is good enough, despite it swimming in water. The overall taste needs a kick, a bit of salt, a bit of oomph. 
  • The pizza is made with good ingredients. I liked the tomato sauce, the generously of the cheese, the acidity of the tomatoes, the crunchiness of the border but unfortunately, the crust is too chewy.

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Things I disliked:

  • Where are the vibes? Where is the positivity? They turn a place for everyone into a “hotel cafe”?
  • No desserts???? Come on!!!! Only cakes from the display? Why not have a Nutella pizza? A pain perdu? A creation?
  • Desserts are not what I expected to eat after my meal; they are too complicated.

Desserts: 

  • Halawa éclair looks great! Desserts of a grand decorated. A tender dough, a crunchy top but a gooey strongly flavored Halawa heart. I prefer it to be lighter and smoother. Intense chocolate, intense crunch, and intense Halawa are too much altogether.
  • Dates tart: interesting but still too complicated. I loved the crunchy fresh crust then comes something too complicated for a cafe and to be enjoyed as a dessert after a meal.

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Good enough for a cafe, food at Cafe Rossini need a kick, tightening and rounding of borders... some “Nafass”; today was a discovery visit, I will be back for more.

Suitable For: Lunch Escape



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