The Best of Beirut
on Jan 23, 2014 By Danielle Issa
Who said sandwiches HAVE to be street food or grub that you grab while on the go? A gourmet sandwich can be a lavish affair on its own, and we’ve got the juicy details to prove it.
Here are five of our favorite sandwiches in and around Beirut. You may even need to yield a fork and knife for these sammies. But one thing’s certain: you’re gonna drool all over our picks (and pics), so brandish a handkerchief, and follow our lead.
Photo via cookingclassy.com
TSC Signature in Beirut Souks is home to a variety of kitchen outlets serving diners everything from wood-fired oven pizzas to sushi to freshly squeezed fruit smoothies. Make a beeline for their deli department and ask for a sandwich to be made right before your very eyes.
We adore the smoked salmon which comes in a grainy whole-wheat baguette slathered in cream cheese and stuffed with fresh spinach leaves, gherkins, capers, avocadoes, wedges of lemon, and—provided you make ample conversation with le charcutier—black caviar.
You won’t find a heartier, plumper, more colossal smoked salmon sandwich anywhere else, trust us. Side note: the sandwich is served alongside TSC’s very own Sultan chips, which are similar to Pringles, only beefier. Get snacking!
Paul has, rather deservedly, succeeded at becoming the authority in fresh-baked French bread in Lebanon. In fact, Paul has three outlets in near proximity to each other: Gemmayzeh (the original outlet), downtown, and most recently, Zaitunay Bay.
Ask for the dedicated sandwich menu, and let your eyes quickly scan over the different varieties on offer—Paul leaves nothing to be desired. We suggest you try the classic camembert, which features thick slices of creamy, nutty Camembert cheese layered with cucumber inside a sesame-crusted golden baguette. Simple yet elegant. And please do knock yourself out when they bring round the bread basket and house-made butter.
You might even find yourself spooning the softened salted butter directly into your mouth. Heaven.
Avenue Georges Haddad
photo via blogspot.com
St. Elmo’s Brasserie has managed to weather the restaurant slump in Zaitunay Bay, and we’re pretty sure their inventive dishes have something to do with it. Along with a variety of ocean-inspired grub on offer, their sarnies (that’s the British nickname for ‘sandwiches’) are quite simply scrumptious, and believe it or not, it’s their chicken number that keeps us sailing back in.
The Cajun Chicken Sarnie (26,000 LL) chucks the sliced bread that is characteristic of a club, instead opting for a toasted ciabatta whose deep nooks are ideal for absorbing the chipotle mayo dressing. The sandwich itself is an ode to a tender flame-grilled chicken breast layered with fresh avocado, red-ripe tomato, melted Swiss cheese and arugula. Make sure you leave your diet at home and go for the house fries—they are thickly cut, fried to a crispy golden-brown of an outer shell and giving way to an ethereally soft white core. A feast for a king!
Photo via cloudface.com
Ginette in Gemmayze is a café that not only serves up healthy sandwiches and salads but hosts a concept store with apparel, accessories and other products for sale. Tucked behind a line of potted trees on Rue Gouraud, Ginette is your sanctuary from the loud noises typically characterizing the street.
We have a thing for Ginette’s roast beef tartine (27,000 LL), a rather simple and unadorned open-faced sandwich of slightly pinked and tender Australian roast beef with arugula, radish, and parsley. The sourdough bread is a chewy artisan loaf that is mildly sour and pairs wonderfully with the deli meat.
Bar Tartine in La Cour Saint Michel is not so much a bar as it is a gourmet sandwicherie, and we’re rejoicing at that! Their sandwiches (and salads and pizzas and everything else for that matter) are simply superb, fresh, and innovative.
You really can’t go wrong with any item on the menu, but may we direct your attention to the seared tuna wasabi sandwich (22,000 LL), which is a feast of flavors and colors neatly arranged on toasted pain de campagne, alternating between thick cuts of fresh tuna steak, cucumbers, avocado, and hard-boiled egg and potato. The open-faced sandwich is finished with light wasabi seasoning and sesame seeds. France meets Japan in this savory food art.
Mar Mikhael Street
Photo via nogarlicnoonions.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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