Schedules are updated every Thursday.

Danielle Issa 20 Mar 2015

For Third Year, Taste of Beirut Delivers a Delicious Dose to ArabNet Attendees

Techies, media folks, and gourmets gathered at Beirut Digital District to enjoy a savory food festival this week dubbed “Taste of Beirut.” In what has become an annual tradition coinciding with the ArabNet Conference, which attracts peeps in the digital creative sectors from across the region, Taste of Beirut affords a delectable journey through some of the city’s best eats, straddling flavors from both near and far and animating them with an equally rich beverage selection.

Up for grubs were eight different dining options. Moules et Frites served up mussels in three distinct savors, including a gratin smothered with Emmental that paired famously with its fries. China Club, Lebanon’s only Chinese buffet house, boasted fresh summer rolls stuffed with mango, rice noodles, shrimp, crab and coriander, along with stir-fry noodles, chicken sweet and sour, and other spell-binding specialties. Central Park took the game to a whole new playing field with thin-crust pizza decked with fresh mozzarella and zesty tomato sauce. Succulent steak in a creamy mushroom sauce also pleased the heartier of appetites.

Morenito brought its A-game with a refreshing mango-octopus ceviche, smoked salmon-avocado rolls, and beef-stuffed empanadas. Next door, Al Hindi upped the ante with a generous sampling of its dine-in menu, including veggie pakora, mini samosas, palak paneer, daal makhni, freshly-baked naan—plain and cheese—and gulab jamun for a sweet ending. Mezyane, a Mediterranean bistro, featured beetroot-eggplant puree, lamb tagine, and Damascene fatteh. Representing Armenian cuisine was Badguer with mouhammara, vospov keufteh (lentil kibbeh), and bourani (pumpkin soup).

In the corner of the tent, a charming Ethiopian woman named Raheel put her country on the map with generous servings of a lentil salad, lemony beets, mashed potatoes, and chicken with boiled eggs.

No meal is near complete without dessert, namely the renowned Gustav Pastry’s decadent cake balls and mini fruit tartlets. Lebanese sweets from Rafic Rashid tempted the more Oriental of palates with baklawa, 7alewet il jibn, and 2atayef.

To help wash down all the edibles, 961 Beer, 42 Vodka, and Chateau Nakad offered quench-worthy bounties from the heartland, while Jack Daniels and Budweiser rounded it out with Americana brews. Award-winning Bacardi-based punch named “El Mediterraneo,” invented by Jad Ballout of Central Station Boutique Bar, enjoyed a buzz among beverage connoisseurs.

As guests noshed and networked, Oriental music by band Meza coupled with the quintessential Lebanese folkloric dabke by Marhabtain animated the scene.

The evening did not end before ArabNet CEO Omar Christidis ascended the stage to thank those in attendance and to honor the restaurateurs and chefs who had helped make Taste of Beirut a resounding success.

And indeed it was, judging by the totally wiped-out tabletops that bared themselves as cheerful guests piled out.