I was excited to find a recently opened pastry shop next to my house, and so I went to taste a sample of their products. The lady that helped me there was very friendly and the items were nicely displayed in the shop. I chose some treats for my breakfast and headed home to devour them. I started with the croissants. They were pleasantly crispy and flaky, yet very heavy on the butter, which was a shame. Then I tried the flutes with thyme, which were crunchy and surprisingly not oily, but I would opt for the ones with the cheese next time. As for the sweet confections, the chocolate sable was good. However, the soft and fluffy madeleines were my favorite, and it was difficult to stop myself from eating them all in one go. I think that I would return to try other delicacies they have to offer, as well as their bread.
DELI.CO – Downtown Beirut
Based on my positive experiences with the food offered by the Hadid restaurants, as well as the delicious Classic Chicken Club sandwich at DELI.CO itself, we decided to try it out for brunch. We started out with hot drinks; the hot chocolate was fine, nothing memorable. Then, I had the omelette with cheese, which was average in terms of texture and flavor (it was kind of bland). I stuffed part of it inside the plain croissant I had also ordered. The croissant itself was okay as well, although there were parts of it that were unpleasantly cold. The Eggs Benedict looked appetizing, but the sauce seemed to be coming apart. We ended the meal with waffles and maple syrup. The waffles were light and crispy—I enjoyed eating them. However, I preferred them without the maple syrup that was provided because it felt like it was somehow diluted. Honestly, I had expected more and my taste buds left feeling a little disappointed.
La Creperie – Jounieh
We chose to go to La Creperie for the view and due to its proximity to our house. What captures your attention first is the beautiful pathway leading to the entrance of the restaurant. The greenery is appealing and already you can feel the tension in your body fading away. It totally fades away when you set your eyes on the view of the sea and neighboring mountains. Unfortunately, it was too hot to sit outside, so we opted for an indoor table by the window. Our waiter was very careful while taking our order, and he catered to my pregnancy restrictions in a friendly manner. Hot bread was served first with olive tapenade and butter—I love it when that announces the start of a meal. I had the shrimp risotto and the chicken escalope. The rice in the shrimp risotto was not as firm as it should be, and the shrimps were a tad salty. However, I did enjoy the chicken escalope because it was thin and herbs were mixed into the crispy breading. We couldn’t leave La Creperie without having some crepes, so we had them as our something sweet. I had the crepe which had good chocolate lurking inside it, but the texture of the chocolate was unpleasantly grainy, instead of it being smooth and creamy. All in all, it was a relaxing lunch experience.
the spoonteller – Zouk Mikayel
Meticulous is the word that comes to mind when I think of the spoonteller. Being relatively close to home, I have repeatedly passed by this restaurant until I finally made it through its doors. Inside soothing music is played, which makes you forget you are located a few steps away from the highway. Warmly greeted by a motherly woman who seemed to be the owner, we were lead to our table. That is where the adjective meticulous comes in; she wanted to make sure that everything is just right. If she wasn’t attentively taking our order, she was supervising the waiters, or visiting the kitchen. Hot bread landed on the table, crispy on the outside with a soft and fluffy interior, it was difficult to resist eating more than one slice. Then as my starter, I had tender chicken with a crunchy exterior; they were tasty and not oily. For my main course, I had the shrimp risotto and I enjoyed the mouthfuls of flavorful firm rice. To sweeten things up, I opted for the pain perdu. What stood out was the caramelized crust of the brioche—it seemed like it had taken its time forming the delicate envelope. Although, I do usually prefer the insides of my pain perdu to be more soaked with milky liquid. However, I have to admit that maybe if I had eaten the accompanying ice cream with it, it would have provided some needed moisture to the beautifully caramelized bread. There is much more to taste here, so this visit to the spoonteller will not be my last…
Italian Project Kitchen & Bar – Broumana
I have tasted Italian Project in its Mar Mikhael location a while ago and I remember I liked it. During the Summer, one looks for a cool breeze to accompany their good meal, so we went up to the eatery’s new location in Broumana. Let me start with the service; it was excellent. From the moment I reserved until the end of our dinner, the staff was the right amount of friendly and professional. The waiters also accommodated my temporary ‘pregnancy-peculiar’ requests with a great attitude, and they were always standing attentively nearby. I enjoyed the atmosphere, especially that since it was still early in the evening, it was not too crowded yet, and yes, toddlers are catered for with high chairs there. I tried two pasta dishes, which were both delicious. The tomato sauce that coated the gnocchi chunks was very well-seasoned that I found myself enjoying the last tasty spoonful even after the gnocchi was gone. As for the creamy sauce in the other pasta platter, it was rich and covered the succulent pieces of chicken with flavor. I will definitely be coming back to taste their other Italian savory and sweet treats!
Felicie (French Eaterie) – Mar Mikhael
I actually saw the sign of the name of this restaurant being put up from where I was comfortably seated at the neighboring “parlour of sage”. I was excited when I read “French Eaterie” and placed it at the top of my list of new eateries to try out for lunch when it opened. First of all, I would like to point out that we were warmly welcomed and shown to a table, and that our waiter was great. It was very clear that he cared, and he put in so much effort to make sure our order was correct and that we had everything we needed. This was in contrast to the other waiters who looked like they were on a coffee break behind the counter. I would like to also praise the manager who came to our table twice to ensure all is well because they have opened their doors recently, and then asked for my feedback taking into consideration my honest comments gracefully. While we were waiting for our order to arrive, I looked around at the decoration. I liked how the bottles were used for that purpose, as well as how jars and other products were put on display along the length of the wall. My favorite part of the meal was at the very beginning; the bread, butter, and olive tapenade. The bread was warm, the olive spread was tasty, and that ball of butter with herbs was delicious. As a starter, we ordered one of their galettes. It was fine; not out of this world but also not bad either. For my main dish, I ordered a burger–honestly, if I weren’t pregnant with zero immunity, I would have tried something else. I did enjoy the flavor of their candied onions with the meat and cheese, but at a point I encountered an unpleasant chewy chunk within the patty. I also thought that the bun (especially the top part) was too thick and I had to remove it midway through eating the platter. As I previously mentioned, the friendly manager showed interest in what I had to say and seemed dedicated to improving their dishes. I genuinely wish Felicie the best moving forward.
L’Atelier du Miel Workshop & Garden Cafe – Mar Mikhael
We got stuck in so much traffic on our way to have breakfast at L’Atelier du Miel but it was worth it. The staff was very friendly and we were welcomed with a taste of just-made chocolate confections. What I liked about L’Atelier du Miel was the pride and passion that seemed to exude from their products. This was shown in the knowledge of how their honey is made, as well as in the various types of honey featured in the items on their food menu. I appreciated that the paper placemat had the map of Lebanon on it, with a colored legend telling us which honey was made where. I also loved that my hot chocolate was infused with honey and that their strawberry jam was deliciously sweetened with the golden syrup. While my other half indulged in poached eggs with smoked salmon (one of the things on my list to eat as soon as I give birth), I had the scrambled eggs. They were so fluffy and creamy sitting on a slice of bread, and I really enjoyed them. I added some of the olive tapenade that came with the bread basket to them as well. The olive paste was great and nothing beats freshly baked bread. As for the croissants…yummy! They were so crispy and flaky. The stack of pancakes was my least favorite item; I did not feel that they were as fluffy as they should be. They were generously engulfed with honey, which rendered them a tad too sweet. However, to be fair, I was the one that had to order them without the accompanying berries, which I am sure would have added the necessary tartness that would balance the flavors. At the end of the breakfast, I was surprised with a lovely gesture: a box of Nougats as a gift for the constantly hungry baby kicking in my womb. We also could not leave the premises before taking some of their honey home with us. The comfortable ambiance at L’Atelier du Miel made me feel good on the inside, and I will be returning to taste their salads, sandwiches, and hot platters—of course, adorned with honey.
Far Eats – Naccache
For a change of cuisine, we opted for that of the Far Eats. Lunch started with crunchy prawn chips with sweet chili dip. They were addictive but the ones at the bottom of the bowl were a tad too oily. As for our order, first and foremost, I would like to commend our waitress who was not only friendly but went out of her way to make sure every platter was safe for me to eat, with my current lack of immunity. The beef yakitori starter had a great blend of flavors and the melted cheese center complemented it well. I also liked the teriyaki sauce with the robata shrimp, as well as the freshness of the sweet and sour chicken. The battered chicken pieces were tasty, yet my personal preference would be the simplicity of plain rice accompanying this dish on the menu (instead of the veggie rice). However, the best was indeed kept for last. Those chocolate bonbons were delicious! The outer crispy shell encasing chocolate that oozes out when you bite into it…I could have kept on nibbling on those all day.
Sofita – Broumana
I love going up to Broumana when Summer comes around, especially for an early dinner because of the cool breeze the evening provides. Situated in the Printania Garden, Sofita is an Italian restaurant with a relaxing environment. As for the food, I did appreciate the creative manner of treating pasta, turning it into a crispy appetizer. It had an interesting taste and a nice crunchy texture to it, but I found it to be a bit heavy as a starter. For my main dish, I ordered the shrimp risotto. I enjoyed the rich and creamy rice, and the grilled shrimp enhanced the flavor of the dish (although they were a bit salty). Also, maybe a few more of the sea creatures embedded within the dish would be great. There was no room for desert this time. However, they did offer us a drink on the house to end the meal. Here, I should add that the waitress was friendly and very dedicated to her job. On the whole, we had a pleasant experience.
The Sage Parlour – Mar Mikhael
Usually when I think of eateries in the streets of Mar Mikhael, most of the time what comes to mind is a tiny space to dine in. I was delighted to see that The Sage Parlour was not one of them. The larger size of the restaurant left me feeling comfortable, and the interior was beautifully crafted. The glass doors and facade let natural light in, the accessories were carefully coordinated, and the “greenery” sprouting from the wooden ceilings added to the relaxing ambiance. Also, our waitress was great; she was meticulous and attentive, as well as being friendly and polite. Our drinks arrived first. Not a keen coffee drinker, I ordered the hot chocolate, yet I was slightly disappointed because I like my hot cocoa to be richer and more creamy. I love it when the chocolatey drink is thick and dense. Then, their fluffy pull-aparts graced our table. I enjoyed biting into them, although I preferred them with the salt and butter more than with the sweetness of the jam. However, I would have loved it if the butter had been a tad more “spreadable”, instead of it just sitting there on the bread. For our mains, I liked the presentation of the Shakshouka and Merguez sausages on the side that my husband ordered, and loved my omelette platter. To sweeten things up, I had the buttermilk pancakes which were very good. All in all, I was looking for a laid back breakfast experience, and that is what I got. I would like to come back to The Sage Parlour to try their daily bakes and soft boiled eggs, and I also do have to try their Eggs Benedict!