Lebanon — Food and Restaurants
Nightitme activities in Lebanon are generally restricted to the large cities, but the bars and clubs in Beirut do not disappoint. Lebanese cuisine is famous the world over and there are several restaurants that serve up top-notch local fare. There are also many international options which represent regions across the globe.
Lebanon Bars and Pubbing
Most of the nightlife is concentrated in Beirut, which is quickly gaining a reputation for its glitzy and glamorous nightclub scene. Downtown is the place to see and be seen, but travelers who aren’t into flashy nights out will be glad to know that there is a range of low-key entertainment options, as well. Everything from cabarets and casinos to English pubs and discos stay open until late.
B018 (La Quarantine, Beirut) is one of the best known clubs in Lebanon. Located in the trendy downtown area, this thumping disco is in an underground car parking lot and boasts décor which is reminiscent of the Addams Family house. While not everyone’s cup of tea, this alternative establishment makes for a memorable experience.
A bit more traditional, Gemmayzeh Café (Rue Gouraud, Gemmayazeh, Beirut) harks back to the days of the Ottoman Empire, with the finest live Arabic music. Dinner is usually served in the style of a mezze menu and is certainly true to the era, although most people go for drinks and a show.
Travelers looking for a traditional English pub in Lebanon should head to the Hole in the Wall. Unlike many of Beirut’s other establishments, you won't find over the top interior design or thumping music, simply pub décor and large pints of beer.
More local than most of the other bars in town, Bar Louie (Rue, Gouraud, Gemmayazeh, Beirut) is laid back and has a nice mix of residents and tourists. There is live music almost every night and travelers will find they can order a decent pint here, as well.
Other tourist spots such as Baalbek feature outdoor shisha (hookah) bars that serve food and drinks. The coastal resort destinations are the best place to relax with a coffee, with Tripoli’s Mina Road a hub of late-night people watching spots, bars and pubs.
Lebanon Dining and Cuisine
Lebanese fare is arguably the tastiest and most diverse in the Middle East. Vegetables are at the forefront of every menu and are guaranteed to be locally produced and therefore as fresh and delicious as ever. Popular ingredients include herbs like mint, parsley and coriander, and fruits like melons, tangerines and figs. While Lebanese cuisine can be found everywhere, even on most street corners, there is also a wide range of international dining options.
For a sample of local cuisine, travelers should try Abdel Wahab el-Inglizi (Rue Abdel Wahab el-Ingliza, Achrafiye, Beirut). Known for serving larger-than-life buffets, this establishment is sure to not leave you hungry. Serving Lebanese favorites like mezze platters, this restaurant is an absolute must-see.
Another favorite is Al-Balad (Rue Ahdab, Downtown Beirut), which serves up traditional Lebanese cuisine at reasonable prices. It is particularly well-known for its homemade hummus. Located in trendy Downtown Beirut, it's the perfect pit stop before heading out on the town.
Travelers looking for something a little more familiar should try Pasta di Casa (Hamra Ashkar Building, Beirut), which serves the best Italian food in town. This humble venue offers dishes such as lasagna, bolognaise and ravioli, and the portions are large, so go hungry.
For a bit of everything,Tanit Restaurant in Tyre (Christain Quarter, Tyre), offers everything from mouthwatering steaks to Chinese stirfry. While a bit pricier than nearby eateries serving local food, the range and quality of the dishes are well worth it.