Beirut Updated

As you may have noticed, I’ve just been to Beirut. Beirut has always been lauded as the Paris of the Middle East and while this may certainly be true, the Lebanese also know how to cook and eat really good food. Beirut always has a new bar or restaurant opening and some new hot-spot to check out. Following my trip, I’ve updated my favourite and trusted hangouts and added a couple of new ones.

Casablanca in Beirut. This place most definitely belongs to my ultimate favourites. I believe it was here that I realized just how much I love good food and good drinks. So, where to begin? The place is owned by a Chinese woman and the food reflects that. The Asian influence in the dishes are perfectly integrated. However, the food is much more than Asian fusion cuisine and includes Mediterranean, Lebanese and American inspirations. While this may not sound so enticing, believe me it is!  The food is delicate and spectacular. The drinks are too. Also, much of their food is organic, which is always nice in my opinion. The place itself is beautiful too, overlooking Beirut’s corniche and the Mediterranean sea. I will go so far as to claim that this is one of my favourite restaurants world-wide! Fotor0825201520

Ironically, it was in Lebanon that I found my love for Japanese cuisine. And I did so at Yabani. This place is considered to be among the best  Japanese restaurants in Beirut. The new location, while not as extravagant or unusual as the old one, is hip, sleek, and elegant. The most spectacular aspect of Yabani is of course the food. Everything I have tried and tasted here has always been delicious…so go and try everything that appeals to you. Though I admit the Japanese Moshi ice cream is definitely a must! They have also opened a smaller, chic take-away location and restaurant called Y by Yabani in Beirut Souks!

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And of  course there is delicious Lebanese food in Lebanon! There are a couple of Lebanese restaurants I like in Beirut. First, Falamenki (Damascus Road, Sodeco). I love coming here because of its location, flair and food. It has a beautiful green open-air courtyard (which is a true treasure in Beirut), where you can play Tawla (aka Backgammon) and smoke Nargile (aka hookah or shisha). The food is traditional Lebanese, so lots of Mezze to satisfy the many cravings.

Another establishment I like to visit is Tawlet (12 Rue Naher, Armenia St). This restaurant is much more than simply a restaurant; all their produce is organic and locally grown, the cook changes on a daily basis and always comes from a different region cooking food particular to that specific region, and the profits are used to support the local farmers and cooks. The food is always served as a buffet and guests are able to choose their own menus. The restaurant has a fresh and healthy ambient and that is reflected in the food. Also, with care toward the decor, the food and the local community it is most definitely unique in Beirut, where organic, eco-friendly and community projects are rare and often outshined by the glitz and glamour that Beirut offers. They also have a weekly farmers market!

Zaatar wa Zeit! This is a chain found across much of the Middle East, with various locations in Beirut, and that should be kept in mind when going here. But nonetheless it is one of my favorite places to go to for a tasty (potentially greasy) quick bite. It specializes in Manouche, often referred to as the Lebanese version of Pizza…Manouche is like pizza dough that is traditionally covered in the local herb concoction called Zaatar or folded with cucumbers, tomatoes olives and labne inside. There are however, many different toppings, my favorite being melted cheese or haloumi…oh, I have cravings simply writing this down. So, trust me, go and try some and you wont regret it. (On a side note, Manouche are served everywhere throughout Lebanon and are always worth a try wherever you are.

On my last trip I discovered Café Diem – I love the play of words 🙂 It is a lovely little Café that serves delicious tea (which I love) and has a perfectly selected menu – French breakfast, sandwiches, salads and light lunch. Cute and hip little cafes aren’t an easy find in Lebanon, making this all the more special. It is perfect to meet a friend and catch up or simply take a magazine and enjoy the delicious tea!

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A Beach Day in Beirut

After a night of partying in Beirut you need a day to relax at the beach. The perfect place to do that is Lazy B!

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I love Lazy B because it seamlessly combines the best of hippy style and luxury! It is magical and peaceful, allowing you to relax and recharge in the perfect surrounding. There are two different pools, both with great views out onto the ocean, and plenty of space to chill and relax. I personally prefer hanging out at the beach and swimming in the sea. In fact, the natural creeks in the sea are the best thing about Lazy B. It’s a naturally created bay, giving you the feeling you’re swimming in a swimming pool in the sea.

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Also, typically Lebanese, everything is done with extraordinary care and with the perfect eye for detail. The sign posts throughout the complex, the different coloured deck chairs and sun beds, private decks, the hammocks, and spa area all make for a unique relaxing atmosphere. My personal favourites are these beautifully decorated and comfy beds, where you can enjoy your afternoon siesta or read a book and treasure a quiet moment!

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There are also two restaurants and a fantastic bar, serving delicious drinks that keep you hydrated and happy throughout the day. You can enjoy a healthy lunch at the Lebanese restaurant “Lebneniyet A la Mer” with traditional salad dishes like Tabbouleh or Fattoush (my personal favourites when I have lunch here), freshly caught fish of the day or some really tender and juicy Shish Taouk. For something more European, there is an Italian restaurant “La Posta Estate,” which is served throughout the club, meaning you can have lunch right on the beach!

So go ahead and enjoy a truly unique and beautiful spot on earth!

For details on where to eat in Beirut following your day at Lazy B, click here.

A Party Night in Beirut

Beirut is known for its party scene and rightly so. I went last weekend and had a fantastic time. And here’s where…

If you’re looking for a beer and the opportunity to see where the night will take you, go to Gemmayze where you have one bar after the other and the guarantee of a great night out. My go to places are Charlie’s Bar, perfect for a chilled drink to start the evening, and Behind the Green Door, where the 70’s raunchy décor and strip  is just the beginning.

For the ultimate rooftop bar experience head out to SkyBar. Known to be one of the world’s best bars, it doesn’t disappoint!

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The atmosphere is fantastic with the music and location providing the perfect party place! Every detail has been considered with great staff and perfect theatrics. The fact that you’re dancing under the stars is simply the icing on the cake! SkyBar also offers live performances by local and international bands and performers. Definitely worth checking out!

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For a more low-key night out, head to Capitole. Rooftop bars litter Beirut’s skyline but Capitole is my personal favourite. I love the fact that it’s all open air and has an awesome view across Beirut – in my opinion, one of the best Beirut has to offer! Capitol also has the perfect layout – you can have dinner on one side, go dancing on the other, and grab a drink at the bar in between.

A more grungy addition to Beirut is the Überhaus. A little darker and little less chic, this place is great if you want to escape the otherwise glitzy night scene that defines Beirut. They refer to themselves as “all-dancing and all-punching social-faux-pas of this city’s nightscape,” which is what you can expect as you dance in their old warehouse surrounded by abandoned buses. Also, don’t expect this years summer hits to be blasting through the speakers!