I recently made it to Beirut for a quick 36 hour trip during which we managed to consume so much food that I am too embarrassed to even remember. Needless to say, the city offers a lot of options for every cuisine imaginable so the below is by no means an exhaustive list, but is only based on my latest experience in the city. Despite making frequent stops for food, coffee, and tea, we managed to cover a lot of ground for one day, so think of this as a food/sightseeing itinerary that also works perfectly for first time visitors of the city. Without further ado, let’s go!
1. Breakfast (8 am): We stayed in the Radisson Blu Martinez so our closest place to look for breakfast was Zaytouna Bay, where BarTartine offers a solid breakfast menu. The Mexican omelette did not disappoint and neither did the pain perdu.
2. Coffee (9:30 am): I heard a lot about Sip in Gemmayze so I made sure it was going to be on the list. It is one of the coziest coffee shops I have ever been to and I just loved the tiles on the floor there.
3. Pre-lunch (10:30 am): Another place that I had been meaning to try was Mathieu in Mar Mikhael, which is known for its out of this world crepes. Without hesitation we got the pastrami crepe, which is huge and comes with pastrami, grilled halloumi, tomatoes, rocket, and pesto sauce to tie it all up. This was easily the best crepe I have ever tasted. Walking to both Sip and Mathieu will allow you to see most of Gemmayze and Mar Mikhael, and you will burn at least some of the huge crepe you just ate!
Repost from @touchepasamonplat Specialité bretonne oui, mais qui de mieux que les francais pour nous préparer les meilleures crêpes! Entre Mar Mkhayel et Gemmayzeh “Mathieu” est toujours prêt à assouvir nos envies après nos soirées bien arrosées surtout minuit passé. Délicieuses et savoureuses, crêpes à essayer sans hésiter!
4. Lunch (1 PM): This was probably the highlight of the trip as we had lunch at Liza in Achrafieh, which occupies the second floor of a 19th-century palace. The beautiful restaurant is so well-decorated and designed that you will most likely forget about the food and start walking around taking pictures of the interiors. I highly recommend asking for a table by the windows when booking as it allows for more natural light. We ordered some mezze/appetizers as we were too full for a main course. Everything tasted great especially the tabboule and the raw kebbe meat.
5. Dessert (3:00 PM): Leaving some room for dessert, we hopped over to the legendary Hanna Mitri for a scoop or two of his outrageously delicious ice cream (voted the world’s best at some point!). All flavors are good but I love the rosewater and lemon — perfect cooler for a warm afternoon.
Can you spot this little shop in the background? This is where the best ice cream in Beirut is freshly made daily. —————————————————————————— So many traditional flavors to choose from but my favorites are the Rose Water, Mastic Milk, Crunchy Almond, and Apricot. Try it out and let me know your favorite flavor!! 📌 Proudly voted the best ice cream in the world by the @businessinsider – no kidding 🇱🇧
6. Tea time (4:30 PM): After walking for the better part of the day, you probably need some rest in a relaxed setting and Blue House Tea Garden, a quiet hidden gem in the heart of the city, is the place for that. If tea is not your thing, head to Cafe Younes in Hamra which is one of the city’s oldest coffee roasters. Try their unique creme brulee cappuccino if ice cream at Hanna Mitri wasn’t too sweet for you!
7. Light dinner (6:30 PM): Assuming you are too full for a proper dinner and the tea did not help in digesting, head over to Falamanki on Raouche to snap some pictures and watch the great sunsets that Beirut is known for. Munch on some mezze while you do that or grab a cold beer with some snacks as you look back on the copious amounts of food you ate on this day.
What are your favorite restaurants in Beirut? I’ll check them out the next time I visit!