May 17, 2012

The Urbanist’s Beirut: Where to Eat in 2012

Where to Eat If You Crave …

The below is part of an article The Urbanist's Beirut published in the new York Times. Add your list of places you think we should recommend to people coming this summer... I am sure that there is a lot more...

Next-Gen Cuisine and a Hip Scene:

The Gathering (Pasteur St.; 961-156-6196) Powered by rooftop solar panels, this courtyard combination of wine bar–grill–Italian restaurant is a sustainable first in Beirut.

Zabad (Zaitunay Bay; 961-137-6640) After riding a wave of success in Paris, chef Karim Haïdar returned home to launch a bold tasting menu of Lebanese-fusion dishes within the glossy marina-side Zaitunay Bay development.

S.T.A.Y (Fakhry Bey St.; 961-199-9757) Overlooking the Beirut Souks, Yannick Alléno’s restaurant has a bar, pastry counter, and communal table where guests can try a chef-selected meal from the contemporary French menu.

Lux (Al Gamarik St.; 961-144-4311) Accessory designer and restaurant guru Johnny Farah has his own organic farm in the Lebanese Mountains where he grows ingredients for Lux’s well-priced Mediterranean fare.

Momo at the Souks (Beirut Souks; 961-199-9767) Momo’s Franco–North African spot was a hit in London and Paris before opening in downtown Beirut, where it quickly became a lair for serious party animals. —Ellen Hardy, travel writer


Traditional Lebanese-Grandmother-Style Dishes:

Furn el Hamra (Nehme Yafet, Hamra; no phone) Every Beiruti has a trusted man’ouche dealer. The best is this closet-size bakery, where crowds mill outside waiting for warm, doughy breakfast pies to emerge from the oven slathered in the perfect thyme-sesame-sumac mix. —Salma Abdelnour, food writer

Varouj (Maracha Royal St., Bourj Hammoud; 961-388-2933) Varouj is a minuscule four-table spot in the mazelike Armenian neighborhood of Bourj Hammoud. No one can outdo their spicy soujouk sausages, meaty manti dumplings in minty yogurt sauce, and luscious basterma, a pastramilike cured meat. —S.A.

Al Halabi (Antelias; 961-452-3555) Pay no mind to the tacky decor. The Lebanese meze is like no other. Meze, as opposed to tapas, are a proper meal of many small dishes ranging from cold salads to raw-meat platters. Typically, the meal ends with skewers of barbecued meat, and Halabi does them best. —Kamal Mouzawak, founder of Souk El Tayeb farmer’s market.

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