I've been a fan of Urbanista since they first opened in Gemmayze a few years back. Serving tasty food in a unique ambiance filled with positivity and joy, Urbanista is the perfect way to start your day, stop by for a quick lunch or spend hours surfing the net relaxing on one of their designer sofas.
Priding itself on being part of the cosmopolitan city of Beirut, Urbanista mirrors Beirut’s vibrant character. Located in Gemmayze, Achrafiye, and now Bliss street, Urbanista emanates distinctive positive vibes, inspired by both Manhattan and London, and sealed by Beirut. Western delicacies have been combined with Mediterranean hospitality to create the ideal setting for your every mood. Urbanista serves delicious dishes, fresh-brewed coffee, sandwiches and desserts for you to enjoy while you sink into comfortable leather couches or sit around the famous, thought-provoking and idea-sharing communal table. Among the delicious treats you will find on our menu, our highly recommended specials are the Salad Bar – composed of only the freshest ingredients, the Seared Tuna, the famous Fish and Chips and the Organic Smoked Salmon. The Seared Tuna is scrumptious: garnished with sliced carrots, scallion, apple sticks, sesame and coriander with wasabi sauce, spread over whole-wheat brown bread. As for the Smoked Salmon, it is complemented by spinach, chive, dill, onion, lemon and topped off by a delicious avocado sauce on a loaf of whole-wheat bio bread. Urbanista also exhibits original and iconic urbanwear, Moleskine accessories and other stylish creations designed by local and international established and emerging designers in tune with Beirut’s cultural vibe.
Urbanista's Beautiful Decor
- The restaurant can be accessed from two sides. One from the cinema side and another from the terrace facing Bliss Main Street.
- Modernism mixed with an old style transports you into New York's industrial look.
- The ceiling is painted in white, while metallic structures add the industrial feel to the place.
- Green lights are suspended from the ceiling over the green sofas, other larger one lights the bar and more designer lanterns decorate the other corners of the space.
- A salad bar, centered in the middle is the signature item Urbanista is known for in Gemmayze.
- Real wood tables supported by metallic structures fill in the space, surrounded by designer metal and wood chairs.
- A long green leather bench follows the right wall from side to side.
- Stairs take you to the first floor where a study area welcomes students from AUB and beyond.
- Four light brown leather sofas near the door, add an old-fashioned, designer touch.
- The space is beautifully designed and perfectly lit and light enters from two sides, creating interesting shadows.
- On the terrace, metallic chairs surrounding round wooden tables make you feel like you’re on a cafe trottoir in Europe.
- Mixing modernity, style and authenticity, traditional Lebanese tiles cover the floor.
- Look after the different chandeliers designs suspended from above: a handful of different industrial designs in every imaginable size add just enough light.
- A bar at the end prepares the orders.
- Paper placemats decorate all the tables as well as the signature coasters along with their salt and pepper mills.
We tried to order as many dishes as possible to have a complete idea of the offering:
- Brie and eggs with Sundried tomatoes: In a copper casserole, eggs are mixed with Brie cheese and dried tomatoes as well as some black olives. A perfect mix combining the brie’s juiciness and the perfectly cooked eggs that are full of flavor and taste. I think the picture speaks for itself.
- Pancakes served with strawberry coulis, Nutella and maple syrup: though thinner than I expected, these pancakes are tasty as well as the sauces that come with them.
- French baguettes, slightly toasted: With labneh, cheese and the many orders, we received two baskets of French baguettes, kept as is but gently toasted to give them a crispy feel.
- Scrambled eggs with mushrooms, parsley and tomatoes: Perfect! A thick layer of eggs mixed with vegetables and well cooked. Salted and peppered in style, they are enjoyable, served with plates of fresh vegetables. It's not as easy as you think to create perfect eggs. Those should be moist without being undercooked, well seasoned without an overdose and shiny without being dried out. Urbanista manages to offer a fine quality.
- The hash brown potatoes were crunchy and tasty, but a bit oily
- The halloumi platter is worth trying as well, especially for its freshness, served with olives and fresh vegetables.
- The labneh is superb: hard and with a fresh authentic feel, I enjoyed its non-commercial feel and it's served with a breadbasket, olives and fresh vegetables.
The Things I Liked
- The food is tasty and fresh
- The portions are generous
- They use Zejd, my favorite local olive oil
With the opening of this new center where Roadster, Bunz, Paul and Urbanista have landed, Bliss regains its popularity offering to the AUB students more refined choices of food. I previously wrote about Urbanista Gemmayze which I like, despite its claustrophobic feel and "unwelcoming waiters". I always enjoyed Urbanista's vibes and good food, which were transferred from Gemmayze to Bliss giving the students a cafe to enjoy.