The Best of Beirut
on Jan 15, 2014 By Danielle Issa
Sometimes, nothing says satisfaction quite like a hefty sandwich.
Whether you're on the go, looking to save a few bucks, or simply in need of a homestyle pick-me-up, these are the joints you want to hit up.
Ain't nothing more sincere than the love of, er, sandwiches.
Photo via erickimphotography.com
Go for the succulent no-frills shawarma sandwich (5,000 LL).
Ask for a lean cut of meat without the fat, and make sure your wrap avoids a dip in the pool of grease swimming below the meat spit. While the menu is extensive, stick to the wholesome goodness that is shawarma--it's the restaurant's specialty!
Al Saydeh Street
This place is the basterma stronghold of Lebanon. Bourj Hammoud is home to spiced air-dried beef prepared in the traditional Armenian way.
Mano sells it by the gram or, for those on the go, in a Panini-style sandwich piled high with basterma, pickles, and tomatoes for 3,500 LL. You can also try the soujouk shawerma if you’re craving something hot and spicy.
Photo via Flickr.com
This casual Lebanese eatery has been around for decades, and with its signature kafta sandwiches and affordable prices, it’s no wonder. You can have the classic kafta for 5,000 LL, which comes with two skewers of minced meat smeared with hummus and topped with chopped onions and parsley.
But you should really try one of their specialty kaftas, such as the orfali (grilled tomatoes crushed over the kafta skewers) or the khachkhach (the spicy version accompanied by grilled onions and bell peppers).
Mar Takla Street
Photo via nogarlicnoonions.com
Hands down the best taouk joint in Lebanon. Farouj el Achkar’s infamous taouk sandwich (6,000 LL) comes loaded with two perfectly flame-grilled chicken breast skewers, fries, pickles, and dollops of aioli (if you’re afraid of intense garlic breath lingering for days after consuming this wonder, opt for hummus instead).
Also try the chicken sandwich that gets pressed into a panini and is garnished simply with --you guessed it-- garlic.
For the freshest, softest, and tastiest wood-fired Lebanese pastries and pizzas, visit Forn Bechara. Be sure to ask that your pizza be made then and there rather than having one whisked off the rack and reheated. The extra five-minute wait will be worth every second.
Order the the zaatar and cheese manouche, which arranges thyme, sesame and olive oil on one half of the pizza, with shredded white Akkawi on the other. Once heated, the oozing cheese is allowed to cool before olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, and mint are added as garnish. The pizza is then wrapped into a sandwich.
The crust melts in your mouth even before your teeth sink in, and the tart richness of thyme perfectly tempered by the cheese leaves you in an ethereal trance. Also try the cheese calzone with mint leaves and tomatoes if you’re looking for a bit of glutenous heaven.
Antelias Intersection, across from Al Halabi restaurant
This snack-style eatery is home to the “extra” kafta sandwich, which is a thick, heaving wrap stuffed with four flame-grilled minced meat skewers for only 6,000 LL. Ask for only one side of the Arabic round loaf and watch intently as the chef slices tomato, scatters chopped onions and parsley as a bed for the meat, and spreads hummus and a lick of hot sauce before gently laying down the kafta.
Ask for a pinch of salt, sumac, and cumin for an even richer array of flavors, and make sure to inhale the aromatic spices wafting into your nose between each bite.
Asseily Street, Bauchrieh, across from Le Charcutier
Photo via Wordpress
Danielle Issa is a food blogger in Lebanon. You can find her on Twitter, and be sure to check out her blog, Beirutista.
He really is a saint!
That poor Egyptian guy has been at Bechara for ages. God bless him for having to put up with all the rude drunk people/brats that spill over the counter yelling at him every night.
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