The Best of Beirut
on Jan 9, 2014 By Danielle Issa
Nothing warms the tummy quite like a hearty soup, and we've been filling ours to bring you the best Beirut has to offer. Here are our top picks--and by all means, slurp away. The noisier, the better!
Photo via beirutrestaurants.com
This ultimate version of the bistro classic is made with homemade beef broth and caramelized onions. Aged Gruyère is piled high atop a bed of croutons. Once you actually pierce through the insulative layer of bread and melted cheese, the piping-hot liquid exhales a deep steam cloud.
Mandaloun's onion soup has a bit of a sweet tanginess to it, which contrasts marvelously with the sharpness of the cheese. And at 15,000 LL, this massive goblet of soup can easily weigh in as a meal.
Charles Malek Ave.
Fragrant and light, yet filling, this soup opts for a subtler taste than the traditional high-on-cumin Middle Eastern preparation. Add croutons and a squeeze of lemon to thicken the consistency and round up the dish.
It is an absolute steal and this city’s best deal at 6,750 LL
Beirut Central District, Near Parliament
The soup is offered by the cup or bowl, but you're going to want the bowl which easily affords you five cups (15,000 LL). The savory clear broth leaves nothing to be desired, consisting of hand-folded chicken wontons (think dumplings) swimming with chunks of chicken breast, baby shrimp, fresh leaves of spinach, water chestnuts, and mushrooms.
Healthy, hearty, and light!
Photo via Ivysays
Bar Tartine is definitely the new favorite kid on the Mar Mikhael block, and for good reason. They bake their own bread in-house at the adjacent Tartine Bakery, which deserves a visit in its own right.
But back to the food, and particularly the tomato soup, which is a creamy Mediterranean potage made with fresh Roma tomatoes, carrot, and basil. It’s served with warm sourdough bread on the side, but if you really want to play it à l’Américain, order a grilled ham and cheese and dunk it in the soup. Can you say divinity incarnate?
Mar Mikhael Street
This Punjabi delicacy might be considered a stew to some, but in our book, it’s definitely—and happily—a soup. Rich, creamy lentils slow-cooked with assorted spices make it one of the best warm soul foods ever.
Jaipur’s Dal (lentil) Makhani (cream/butter) also adds a touch of cardamom powder, which gives this dish a bit of a lift from the traditional cumin-coriander blend. Wait for the soup to cool so that you can appreciate the subtle interplay of the spices. And don’t forget to use the naan as a dipping device. At just 9,000 LL a bowl, we’ll merrily slurp to that!
Markaziah Monroe Suites
This hot and sour Thai creation is from the kitchen of Wael Lazkani, who reinterprets classical Indian, Indonesia, Thai, and Chinese dishes with his own signature touch. His gem of a kitchen, located across from Najjar Hospital in Hamra, is stripped of any airs or lofty décor since its focus is mostly on delivery.
The Tom Yum Goon (10,000 LL) is an incredibly fragrant broth made of lemongrass, lime juice, crushed chili peppers, mushrooms, coriander, ginger and shrimp. Packed with aromatic herbs, spices and vegetables, this is our go-to when the frigid weather sets in.
Photo via tripadvisor.com
Danielle Issa is a food blogger in Lebanon. You can find her on Twitter, and be sure to check out her blog, Beirutista.
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