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Food is one of the great passions of the populace in Beirut, and there are many inviting places to dine, especially since international chefs have taken to opening restaurants here. Most offer fresh, Mediterranean style cuisine, but it’s possible to find almost any type of cuisine. Forbes Travel Guide editors suggest you dine at these five spots in Beirut:
1. Le S.T.A.Y. A chic, cream-colored spot overlooking the Beirut Souk, S.T.A.Y. was created by Yannick Alléno, an internationally acclaimed chef from Paris. S.T.A.Y. offers original and uncomplicated French fare and delicious pastries sold by the centimeter. You’ll have to decide whether to dine at a communal table or in the suspended second-floor bar that’s shaped like a ship.
2. Lux. Owner Johnny Farah is a noted accessories designer and restaurateur, so which explains the stylish décor. Many ingredients on the Mediterranean-inspired menu are sourced from Farah’s own organic farm in the mountains.
3. Couqley. If you’re craving cuisine with a Gallic flair, then head to Couqley in Gemmayzeh area. It’s run by French chef Alexis Couquelet, who worked for star chefs like Alain Ducasse and Jean-Georges Vongerichten. You’ll find housemade charcuterie, classics like duck confit and steak frites.
4. Momo at the Souks. You’ll find African-French fare and an energetic vibe at this international hot spot. The menu offers such delicacies as North African harira soup with lamb and chickpeas, tabouli and bistilla (or pastilla) the flaky phyllo pastry filled with tender pigeon scented with cinnamon.
5. The Gathering. This new concept in Gemmayzeh is actually three restaurants in one gathered around a courtyard with olive trees. Choose between Cantina which creates southern Italian dishes; the Butcher Grill, which offers meaty options like veal chops and organic filet mignon to roasted chicken and all manner of burgers; or a wine bar that serves Lebanese, Greek and Spanish tapas and international wines by the glass.