December 21, 2013 Hamra & Verdun Beirut Lebanon Middle East

Villaggio: Attention to Some Cooking Details is Required (Restaurant Closed)
Non-smokers friendly

Phone Number: +961 1 371155

Address: Kantari, Downtown, Beirut, Lebanon


Price Range: 45-70 $


Welcoming: 4/5

Food Temperature: 3/10

Ambiance / Music: 8.5/10

Menu Choice: 5/5

Food Taste: 20/30

Architecture / Interior: 8/10

Food presentation: 6/10

Service: 7/10

Value for money: Soon

Every one who’s in Lebanon heard about Villagio when it first opened. The advertising campaign organized by this Italian spot, made waves all over town. Everyone rushed to try it bot not me. I wanted the hype to calm down before actually giving it a try. It was time as I was preparing my TOP10 Italian restaurants of 2013. I drove down to Qauntari to where Villageo welcomes its guests to enjoy an Italian culinary experience. It is indeed one of Lebanon's biggest Italian restaurants. Inside this complex you will find a lounge-bar-arguile caffe, Limoncello and an Italian restaurant called Villagio.

Villaggio_Italian_Restaurant_Beirut01 The feeling of an Italian piazza atmosphere is instantly experienced as you step into this huge setup located in one of Beirut's busiest streets. Wood structure cottage, fountain among other details give that Mediterranean buzz that guests can enjoy. Walk in. Look around. You feel a village style place. Painted windows and street lamps on the walls, wooden roof, a long bar, their signature pizza oven, dark wood tables with relaxing chairs on concrete floor. Nice.

The place in few lines:
  • A long bar to the left can host up to 12 guests with stools surrounding it
  • Behind the bar is an isle richly filled with alcohol bottles
  • Lemons are everywhere. Displayed in paintings, placemats and serving cloths
  • In the middle is a lounge covered with lemony fabrics
  • Look up for the big chandelier which decorates the place
  • You get the feeling that you're dining in a mountainous lodge with the wooden roof, you'll feel dining in a log house up the mountains
  • Over the bar, a village theme (three windows) are painted over a yellow wall
  • The place can host couples, groups of four on round or square tables as well as large groups on their big dining tables
While Italian soft music played in the background, we browsed the menu of wide choices of Italian food. A basket of crunchy fresh and warm bread followed. We enjoyed them while making the order.
"Lemons reflect freshness" Mohammad the professional waiter told us.
The menu:
  • Zuppe del Giorno
  • Anti pasti
  • Insalata
  • Risotti
  • Primi Piatti
  • Pizze al Forno de Legno
  • Secondi Piatti
We ordered:
  • Melanzane alla Parmigiana 22,500L.L: In a ceramic dish, layers of eggplant and cheese bathing in a rich tomato sauce. Ideal dish for sharing. Unfortunately the plate was served warm, the cheese inside and outside was not melted and the inner core was cold. Such a plate should be super hot not warm. The ingredients are there and know how also seems there, but the delivery was not right. Make sure it’s hot with its ingredients melting like butter.
  • Risotto Al Limone con Gamberetti 33,000L.L: I was expecting it to be different. The lemon flavor is not prominent enough and the crunchy things around are too many. It should be less cooked, more aldente and more pure. The greenery mixed with it makes it look like a Lebanese stew (Yakhne). It can be done much better
  • Villaggio Salad 26,500L.L: A generous mountain of lettuce mixed with cranberries, endives, goat cheese cubes, dried raisins, fresh mushrooms and cherry tomatoes. The mix of different types of lettuce and rich balsamic vinegar is interesting. I enjoyed its presentation and the sweetness that is added by the fresh apples. A nice, innovative and tasty salad
  • Mezzelune con Spinach 25,000L.L: Yum! This is a good one. Half circle well aldente ravioli filled with a thin layer of moist spinach and basil, bathing all together in a tasty tomato sauce that stays around your palate for long. I loved this plate. Having in mind only to taste, I couldn't but entirely finish the plate. On the other hand, the presentation of this dish should be reconsidered. It doesn't look appetizing at all
  • Pizza Diavola 29,000L.L: Thin dough generously covered with mozzarella cheese decorated with pepperoni slices. An interesting spicy aftertaste that just right for everyone to enjoy. The sides are small and a bit crunchy. I enjoyed it, but would personally make the sides bigger to crunch more
  • Apple Tart 12,500L.L: A mistake spoiled the recipe. This apple tart has been reheated and has lost its crunchiness. Slightly crunchy on the sides and spongy in the middle, the premium quality of ingredients and taste of this dessert is ruined by reheating it before serving. This is not a hard point to fix.  It might have been my luck on that day...
Villaggio_Italian_Restaurant_Beirut46The food in general is not bad but not great. I felt their strong know-how and definitely premium ingredients used in all the plates ordered. They just need some fine tuning back in the kitchen. Heating, seasoning, mixing as well as presenting. I would advice more importantly more simplicity.
The things I enjoyed:
  • The staff is smiling, professional and attentive to details
  • The architecture and decoration of the place are soothing and relaxing
  • The wide choice of items on the menu satisfies all needs
  • Giving my opinion about the plates, the waiter offered to change them automatically without giving any excuses. Well appreciated
I would change and improve:
  • Add fabrics table napkins that are definitely more pleasant than the paper ones proposed
  • The main "food" issue is the fact that they reheat. It doesn't work. Their precooked Melanzane was not reheated properly. The same goes for the apple tart. Maybe a new oven should be installed
  • The plates are not very appetizing and their presentation is not as clean as it should be. I think the pictures speak for themselves
  • The Pizza would be perfect if done the same way shown on the Facebook page. Look at the thick crunchy sides. Since you're convinced it should be done this way, just do it.
  • Ham was introduced lately to the choice of items but not printed on the menu. Maybe new menus should be printed highlighting ham and pepperoni, two major and important items in Italian cuisine
Before publishing my TOP10 Italian restaurants of 2013, I wanted to give Villaggio a try. It may not be on this year's list, but I'm confident that it will be part of my 2014 TOP10. Keep it up guys.





loading ...


Fat Burger... I Am Not Sure This is Even Called a Burger (Restaurant Closed)


Furn El Sabaya: Innovative Homemade Wonders