August 21, 2019

These Are the World’s Best Restaurants: North America, South America, Africa and Middle East: LEBANON's Al Soussi Makes it on the List!

One anonymous critic traveled the world to give you 30 reasons to book a trip now.

For the first time ever, Travel + Leisure and Food & Wine have partnered on an ambitious and exciting new platform — curated by one anonymous critic, who journeyed around the world to discover the best restaurants that travelers must visit right now. As much about the destinations as it is about the food, this list aims to reflect the most vibrant aspects of each location it represents, capturing dining experiences that fully express the culture of each country, city, or region.

The list was curated by James Beard Award-winning writer Besha Rodell, who has been reporting on food and culture for almost two decades, in multiple cities and across two continents. Currently the dining critic for the New York Time’s Australia bureau, Rodell accepted recommendations from a global panel of experts across the hospitality and restaurant industries made up of our own editors and 22 noteworthy culinary personalities.

Over four months, she visited 81 restaurants in 24 countries and across six continents, stayed in 37 hotels, spent 279 hours in the air, and traveled more than 100,000 miles to arrive at the list of 30 restaurants. To read more about how our critic chose the list, check out the explanation of our methodology.


El Soussi, Beirut, Lebanon

El Soussi is not in a fashionable part of Beirut; the dining room is as basic as they come. But this is also one of the most welcoming restaurants I visited, despite the language barrier, and where I felt as though I was experiencing the warm, generous heart of the city.

It is a given that Lebanese breakfast is superior to most other kinds of breakfast—who wants cornflakes when you can have fatteh? At El Soussi, a famed morning spot, Raji Kebbe fills a bowl with crisp pita bread, spoons warm stewed chickpeas over top, then covers it in a blanket of tart yogurt. The final touch is a crown of sizzling pine nuts, cooked in lamb fat with gobs of garlic.

The bread becomes moistened but retains much of its crunch, the crispy pine nuts and garlic zap the other ingredients with flavor, and the chickpeas provide a comforting, creamy texture.

There are also salads, plus hummus topped with meat or ful (stewed fava beans), which may be the best hummus you’ve ever eaten. Chicken livers are cooked with onions, and the eggs with awarma, aka lamb confit, are not to be missed.

Kebbe has been cooking in the L-shaped nook of a kitchen in his modest storefront for 43 years. His warmth and energy as he mans the single open flame are part of why El Soussi is legendary. If I could choose to eat breakfast at one restaurant every day for the rest of my life, this would be that restaurant.

So if you're looking to get inspired for your next food-focused trip, this list if for you:

  • 4Roomed The Restaurant, Cape Town, South Africa
  • Antichi Sapori, Montegrosso, Italy
  • Attica, Melbourne, Australia
  • Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, New York, USA
  • Burnt Ends, Singapore
  • El Soussi, Beirut, Lebanon
  • Fuunji, Tokyo, Japan
  • Ganbara, San Sebastián, Spain
  • Hiša Franko, Kobarid, Slovenia
  • Jose Enrique, San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • La Mar, Lima, Peru
  • Le Wine Chambre, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Maní, São Paulo, Brazil
  • Mariscos Ruben, Tijuana, Mexico
  • Masque, Mumbai, India
  • MIL, Moray, Peru
  • n/naka, Los Angeles, California, USA
  • Nang Loeng Market, Bangkok, Thailand
  • Noma, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Restaurante Alfonsina, San Juan Bautista la Raya, Mexico
  • Samcheongdong Sujebi, Seoul, South Korea
  • Saturne, Paris, France
  • Shree Thaker Bhojanalay, Mumbai, India
  • Sorbillo, Naples, Italy
  • St. John, London, UK
  • Sushi Yoshitake, Tokyo, Japan
  • Swan Oyster Depot, San Francisco, California, USA
  • The Grey, Savannah, Georgia, USA
  • The Ruined Garden, Fez, Morocco
  • VEA, Hong Kong


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