From its high-end restaurants and chic yacht parties to its activity centers for children and cultural exhibitions for adults, Zaitunay Bay has proven to be a heavy attraction for tourists, locals and Beirut-lovers alike.
Located in the Beirut Marina with a spectacular view of the Mediterranean, the area has over 15 restaurants and eateries to choose from. Here’s a look at our favorites.
Ideal for: A beautiful burger. Yes, burgers can be beautiful. Average Price: $12 dollars and up
If you’re a Beiruti and you’re unaware of the burgerful wonders that happen in this small joint, then we need to seriously reconsider your status as a Beiruti.
For those of you who are new, I forgive you, and will therefore proceed to highly encourage you to drop by Classic Burger Joint you’re looking for a quick bite on the bay. Not a classy choice to most, but if you ask me, there’s nothing classier than munching on a burger with melting cheese while simultaneously enjoying the picturesque view of the sun melting into the Mediterranean.
Pro-tip 1: Their fries are on a free refill policy, you just have to ask. Pro-tip 2: if you tattoo their logo on your body, you will get free burgers from them for the rest of your life. But we advise you not to. Pro-tip 3: Their healthy burger is JUST as good, and it’s cheaper.
Ideal for: a heavenly dessert that reminds us there’s some good in the world. Average Price: $15 and up
It has a reputation for serving up Lebanon’s number one cookie, but you should also pay attention to its diverse menu options, including the lobster roll, shrimp toast and Waldorf salad. And don’t forget to try their delicious Sangria. The ambiance is spot-on with vintage sailor-esque garnishes and cozy, rustic tables. And, oh boy, the bathroom is as badass as it gets (spoiler alert: the flush mechanism for the toilet is a rope).
Ideal for: Coffee date or drinks at night Average Price: $15 dollars and up
The up-side to Cozmo is its international cuisine; it has a mix of different options that make it a good choice for a group of people with different cravings. The downside? The taste and price just don’t match up. Fortunately, their coffee selection, cocktails and fresh juices make up for the food (not entirely, but you know what I mean) and they have, perhaps, the best view in Zaitunay.
Definitely worth a stop if you’re looking for a coffee date, but not the best place for food.
Cozmo Cafe Beirut Marina Zaitunay Bay Tel.: +9611361690 Tel.: +9611361650
Ideal for: a fancy date/family gathering over some good fish Average Price: $40 dollars and up
Its candlelit tables and cozy seating options by the sea gives Babel Bay a romantic ambiance that is unrivaled in Zaitunay. Their menu, albeit pricey, boasts of seafood offerings that, for the most part, can be chosen from a mini fish market inside. Enjoy a fattoush salad mixed with calamari and shrimp and finish it off with the flawless kebbet samak and octopus. For a sweet tooth craving, indulge in areesh with blackberry jam or their impeccable seafood fruit salad.
End the night with their complimentary fresh fruits and an endless plate of dates, figs and jams.
Babel Bay Beirut Marina Zaitunay Bay Tel.: +9611370847 Tel.: +9611370846
Ideal for: Breakfast or Dessert Average Price: $10 and up
As someone who personally loves Paul, I am forced to admit that the Zaitunay branch doesn’t do justice to this haven of fresh baked-selections like warm bread and lasagna. First, their bread tends to be a bit too crunchy (read: hard) and secondly, they’re not as generous with their sandwich fillings as I’ve found in other locations.
But their delicious desserts do uphold the Paul name. The Tartes et Croissants, cheesecakes and omelet are perfect choices for breakfast and the music is always catchy in this French bistro.
Ideal for: Steak (coupled with a heavy wallet and a fondness for high-end cuisine) Average Price: $30 and above
With its impressive wine selection attentive waiters, simple but focused décor and perfectly cooked, savory meat, Cro is a steakhouse that definitely deserves more fame than it has garnered. For those that are knowledgeable in meaty affairs, I double dare you to find a flaw in their veal escalope or tartare. In addition, their salads and sandwiches are mouth-watering, and washing it down with a chocolate martini or a lipsmacking crème brulee makes life seem complete.
Pro-tip: you can order St. Elmo’s cookie for dessert in Cro.
Ideal for: Fancy Indian food Average Price: $30 dollars and above
Moti Mahal, which is Indian for “Pearl Palace”, is a refined Indian/Pakistani restaurant that serves up the savory and spicy flavors of Southeast Asian cuisine. Try the tandoori chicken, it’s incredible. Their menu is first-rate as a result of five decades of successful business (yes, Moti Mahal has been around for quite a while and its 80+ franchises are living proof). For those that enjoy seeing chefs at work, ask to be seated inside and watch the chef chop the vegetables and spice the meat as you munch on freshly baked naan.
Moti Mahal Minat Al Hosn Zaitunay Bay Tel.: +9611371002
Ideal for: Pizza Average Price: $15 dollars and above
Dive into an authentic, soft centered pizza in this relaxed Italian abode. Their pizza, fresh tomato toppings and olive oil-dipped breads are just perfect. No complaints about this one; it’s always dependable and reasonably priced.
Ideal for: expensive fish. Average Price: $55 dollars per person
Their fish is undeniably fresh and delicious, but for the expensive menu, you’d expect a unique ambiance with a more welcoming waitstaff. Their service has been improving with every visit, but my advice is if you’re looking for a more unique approach to high end fish dining, this might not be the place. If you go, try the squid. It’s always on point.
Karam Al Bahr Tel.: +9611123456 Tel.: +9611360777 Mob.: +96171777797