The Best of Beirut
on May 5, 2014 By Danielle Issa
What better occasion than now, on Cinco de Mayo, to explore Beirut's best quesadillas? It's Mexico’s classic comfort food, featuring copious amounts of “queso” (that's Spanish for cheese) toasted inside a soft flour tortilla.
The ultimate snack, quesadillas are crispy and gooey, and the perfect accompaniment to a beer and nachos. So what makes for a perfect quesadilla? For starters, you want to use enough cheese to bind the whole thing together, or else the filling may fall out. And nobody likes a grease-sopped quesadilla dripping with oil.
Not to worry. We're bringing you the best of these savory Mexican treats. Come, mi amigos, for we have mucho to bite into.
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Brick’s in Hamra is an inviting resto-pub boasting smooth vibes, great tunes, and one damn good chicken quesadilla (18,000 LL). The crunchy little pockets of tortilla bread come stuffed with substantial chunks of savory chicken and cheddar. Then, they're topped with a scoop of freshly-made guacamole (not the powder derivative), another scoop of whipped sour cream, and some Pico de Gallo. Hands down the star dish on Brick’s menu, the quesadilla is a contender for Beirut’s best, and you’ll want it all to yourself.
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For a real authentic Mexican experience, head to Garcia’s where both the food and drinks are topnotch. In fact, Garcia’s very own Jad Ballout competed in the 2013 Diageo World Class Championship for Bartender of the Year.
With a cocktail (try the signature Tiki Wiki rum drink) sorted out, order a platter of shrimp quesadillas (19,500 LL) to snack on. A crunchy outer shell gives way to a soft, warm, oozing core of cheddar cheese, marinated shrimp, and a fiery bean mix. Condiments include fresh guacamole, slices of jalapeno, and whipped sour cream. Sit back and indulge.
Nehme Yafet Street
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One of the latest entrants to Uruguay Street is Palmilla Coctel Y Cocina, a restaurant bar dishing up sizzling Mexican-style cuisine alongside international cocktails. The cozy interior features a hand-painted wooden ceiling and gorgeous wooden trim. Dive into your meal with a scrumptious vegetable-cheese quesadilla, which layers grilled bell peppers, onions and tomatoes between melted pools of cheese. Jazz it up with the requisite avocado mash and sour cream, or try Palmilla’s salsa verde, a tangy dip made from the tomatillo, a first in Beirut.
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Pacifico is a relic of Monot’s vibrant past. Back in the 90s, you couldn't even walk down that street without being stuck in a crowd of scenesters vying to get into one of the neighborhood's hot spots. Today, Pacifico still packs a crowd every night of the week, and it’s not simply because of the drinks. With arguably the best Tex-Mex food on offer, Pacifico’s quesadillas boast generous fillings of spicy chicken, melted cheese, and black olives squeezed between homemade flour tortillas. Slather on guacamole and jalapenos and you’ll start to understand the real meaning of 'muy bueno'.
Image via Beirutrestaurants.com
Yes it's an American chain, but the restaurant packs big, bold flavors of Southwest-inspired cuisine with its mouthwatering burgers, fajitas and margaritas. Chili’s has long been a reference in Tex-Mex food, and their take on quesadillas is fresh, innovative, and delicious. The quesadilla explosion salad (23,500 LL) merges appetizer and healthy greens into one, complete with grilled chicken strips, shredded Monterey Jack and cheddar, tomatoes, corn relish, cilantro, and classic tortilla ribbons, all tossed in a citrus-balsamic dressing. Griddle-kissed cheese quesadillas round out this colorful dish.
Facing Red Cross
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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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