Indigo on the Roof – Beirut

Indigo was a last minute decision, but it was exactly what we needed at that moment. After a long marathon-like day, we were looking for a place to just relax. Situated at the top of the fancy Le Gray Hotel in Beirut, Indigo provided an outdoor seating area underneath the stars. Dim lights created a cozy and romantic atmosphere, granted they also resulted in the reduced quality of my photographs. The lower part of the view was obstructed by pretty flowers and vines, but the upper part of tall structures managed to make it up to this restaurant perched on the roof. The waiters guided us to our table, and when they were present, the service was great. They were attentive, polite, and very professional. However, at times it was a bit difficult to get a hold of them. My significant other ordered wine from the wine list, but I felt like having a cocktail, which they readily made available from the bar next door. I should add that the Strawberry Mojito was really good and refreshing. The waiter came to us with a bread basket in hand, from which we chose the olive and multi-cereal pieces of bread. They were soft and delicious, especially after they were smeared with the complementary rich butter. We ordered the Crispy Duck Salad and Ahi Poke as appetizers. The crispy duck salad was a pleasant surprise, the crunchy bits of the crispy duck were a perfect addition of texture to the salad. As for the ahi poke, it was very flavorful and the sauce complemented the tuna well. For mains, we ordered the Thai Baked Sea Bass in Banana Leaf and the Black Angus Tenderloin. The sea bass baked in the banana leaf was as moist as it could be; it was extremely tender. Unfortunately, the accompanying rice was forgotten until we reminded the kitchen. However, the waiter was quick to apologize and did end up bringing the rice to our table. Moving on to the steak, it was a good chunk of meat, but nothing outstanding. To satisfy our sweet tooth, we ordered the Valrhona Chocolate Fondant and the Namelaka, which consisted of chocolate mousse, hazelnut biscuit, and passion fruit ice cream. Needless to say that everything becomes better with chocolate, and these were two solid chocolate desserts. The warm chocolate inside the fondant was a great way to end the meal. In general, Indigo has good food, mostly great service, and an intimate setting, with nothing separating you from the sky above.

Les Papilles – Paris

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A French bistro on the Michelin Guide, a cozy restaurant lined with wine bottles, Les Papilles left a lasting impression. For dinner, the chef prepares a single set menu – take it or leave it. We decided to take it. It was as if we willfully succumbed to the chef’s desires. I loved the fact that this was it; no choices, yet all unexpected goodness. The first surprise was a gazpacho and I have mentioned before that I am fond of a flavorful gazpacho. The main item on the menu was next;a succulent duck breast with roasted vegetables and potatoes. The sauce was more like a glaze and in my opinion that was the real star of the dish. Then came a slice of tangy cheese that was perfectly complemented by the jam reduction. As a finale, we had the panna cotta which successfully completed the whole meal. I was so satisfied with this hearty meal that on the way back from the bathroom, I caught a glimpse of the kitchen. I was lucky that the door was open in that instance and when I saw the chef I could not stop myself from complementing him on his skills. I won’t forget this restaurant that “forces” you to eat what they want for dinner, in a good way of course.