on Oct 12, 2014 By Danielle Issa
So far in this series, we’ve helped you hone in on affordable eats in downtown Beirut, Gemmayzeh, Mar Mikhael, and Achrafieh. How about we foray out of the country’s capital into the bustling suburbs?
We scoped out the hood so you can get a solid bite to eat at a pocket-pleasing price in the area of Jal el Dib and Antelias, about 10km due north of Beirut.
Follow me on a hunger-busting mission in Beirut’s very own backyard banlieue.
Shop Talk Beirut
Al Halabi is recognized by most as a reference in superior Lebanese dining, but few actually know that below the dining salon there is an open kitchen where passersby can pop in for a quick sandwich of their choosing. In addition to all the essentials like fried chicken liver and kafta khachkhach, you can order a succulent chich taouk sandwich (6,500 LL) stuffed with fragrantly marinated chicken cubes and an aromatic garlic spread. Try the kebab (5,500 LL) as well, a hearty wrap cushioned by hummus with a bed of parsley for the tender lamb to cradle in.
For the freshest, softest, and tastiest wood-fired Lebanese pasties and pizzas, visit Forn Bechara, a stone’s throw from Al Halabi. Order the the zaatar-and-cheese manouche, which pits thyme, sesame and olive oil on one half of the pizza and grated white Akkawi on the other. Once heated, the oozing cheese is allowed to cool before olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, and mint are added as garnish. Rolled into a sandwich, the crust melts in your mouth even before your teeth sink in, and the tartness of thyme perfectly tempered by the gentle sweetness of the cheese leaves you in an ethereal trance.
Facing Al Halabi
Abou Jihad is a casual Lebanese eatery that has been around for half a century, and with its signature kafta sandwiches and affordable prices, it’s no wonder. Start with a classic kafta wrap (5,500 LL), which comes with two skewers of minced meat smeared with hummus and topped with chopped onions and parsley. Next opt for a more complex specialty kafta, such as the orfali, which features grilled tomatoes crushed over the kafta skewers, or the khachkhach, a spicy meat mix accompanied by grilled onions and bell peppers.
Abou Jihad Website
Green Falafel is the latest restaurant concept of Christine Sfeir, the woman beyond Dunkin Donuts Lebanon and Semsom. Serving up its signature grilled falafel whole-wheat wrap (4,500 LL) weighing in at less than 300 kcal, Green Falafel also proposes innovative new recipes like falafel fajitas and the falafel burger: this is a vegan foodie’s paradise. The restaurant also features classic Lebanese breakfast dishes on its menu, including hummos, fatteh, foul, and balila. Who said breakfast has to be in the morning?
Green Falafel Website
One of the newest eateries to hit Antelias is Sandwiched, which, as its name attests, creates incredible edibles in baguette or toasted bread form. Try the “Turkey and Cheese” (8,000 LL), a square sandwich with butter-toasted American sliced bread grilled to a beautiful golden brown.
Cut down the middle, it exposes a warm, stringy web of cheese layered with deli turkey meat and animated by a mix of Italian herbs. For the heartier of appetites, “The Mighty” (12,000 LL) will thrill. An assembly of marinated chicken breast, bacon strips, sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions and a rich dose of melted Swiss, it is brought together with a home-style BBQ sauce. Sandwiched has got the stuff all-American diners are made of.
Antelias inner road
Near Byblos Bank
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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