1. The Bread Basket
Okay, so every restaurant in the country serves a bread basket. But more often than not, it’s dry and halfheartedly heated to reignite some semblance of taste. Other times, they might as well give you crackers for how brittle the bread is. But not at Eau De Vie, the Phoenicia Hotel's rooftop restaurant and bar. Set at each table is an assortment of whole grain and rye breads, served with fresh butter and olive paste. Word of wisdom: as delicious it may be, don’t fill up on the bread. There’s so much more to come.
2. Baby Leaves With Smoked Salmon and Dill Sauce
Tired of the fishy-tasting, rubber-like, wallet-breaking smoked salmon other restaurants offer? Eau De Vie’s smoked salmon appetizer comes with a garnish of pickles, capers and onions set beside an adorably wrapped lemon half. The salmon tasted tender, fresh and, most importantly, didn’t reek of fishiness. The perfect way to start three courses of heaven.
3. Beef Carpaccio With Spinach and Parmesan
Can you say “oh my God this is so goo—mmmmmmm”? If the look of it wasn’t enough, digging my fork into the thinly sliced beef and watching the delicate meat fall to pieces convinced me of its awesomeness before the fork even reached my mouth. Sure enough, tasting it was an entirely different level of “holy crap I need to bathe in this for the rest of my life it’s so ughhhhh.”
4. Exotic Farmer Salad
I think this is the only instance that the words “exotic” and “farmer” could go together, if you weren’t talking about, say, a keeper of peacocks. This salad, filled with chicken, mangos and herbs, is certainly something worth talking about. Though it might not appeal to the more conventional of taste buds, experimenters should not pass up this salad.
5. Brak Grilled With Braised Fennel and Tomato Basil Confit
Let’s just pause for a moment and admire how much this dish looks like a pirate ship. A fishy pirate ship, on a sea of tomatoes. With a basil sail. So, so much awesome and before you’ve even dug in. The brak itself was tender, seasoned to perfection, and all around as great as a fish dish could be. And my friends, there’s a lot of things to be done with fish.
6. Beef Medallion Grilled With Root Vegetables, Jus
No, my fellow not French speakers, “Jus” does not mean “Juice.” You do not get a complimentary cranberry cocktail with this dish. And it’s totally okay, because “jus” is actually a French term for “in its own juices.” Which, when you’re talking about steak, is just about the best thing ever. Needless to say, this is without doubt the best steak I’ve had in all of Lebanon, and I may or may not have wanted to break in to their kitchen and steal their supply, because if I had my way, I’d be eating that steak until I die of a cholesterol-induced heart attack. Such a good way to go.
7. Mixed Nut Tart With Oriental Spices and Lavender Ice Cream
Pistachios and walnuts and lavender? Oh my. In an unexpected twist, a dessert I would never have ordered turned out to be one of my favorites. Tasting oddly like Aladdin, this tart throws all other Middle Eastern desserts out of the running for “best pistachio dish ever.”
8. Vanilla Chocolate Meringue, Light Raspberry Sorbet, Fruit Salsa
This is now officially my all-time favorite dessert (besides cheesecake, of course). And I didn’t even know it had chocolate until just now. With a perfectly baked flaky meringue and a raspberry sorbet to die for, this dessert had my taste buds singing hallelujah. This dish wins best dessert on the table, though followed insanely closely by the tart.
9. The Decor
From the giant wine bottles sitting at the edge of the bar, to the plush leather couches that just scream "gentlemen", Eau de Vie's decor is as classy as it can get. Intimidated by posh? Don't worry, there are different corners of the restaurant for every type of person. Whether you're a housewife looking for a classy dinner with the gals, a businessman hoping for a quick lunch, or just a teenager chilling with a couple of friends, Eau de Vie is for you.
10. The View
Admittedly, I would walk to Phoenicia, climb all 11 flights of stairs, and sit on the floor of Eau de Vie by the window. I've been to a lot of rooftops in Beirut, and nothing, nothing beats the gorgeousness of Eau de Vie's view. Overlooking downtown, Zaituny Bay, the mountains and the Mediterranean, I can confidently say that Eau de Vie's unobstructed view makes your dining experience all the more brilliant.
Intrigued by all this? You should be. Get the menu deets here.
1. The Bread Basket