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Best restaurants in Lebanon: Three Beirut spots make 2023 Mena’s 50 list

The Mena’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023 list was revealed in Abu Dhabi on Monday. Recognising top spots from the Middle East and North Africa, Dubai’s Orfali Bros Bistro clinched first place, jumping from sixth last year.

Lebananese cuisine is some of the most popular in the region, with some likely to argue its reputation extends around the world, too. For many, it’s no surprise that a handful of restaurants from the nation’s capital made the list.

Here are the three to make the cut.

Baron

Mena’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023 ranking: No 16 (down from No 12)

Award: Best Restaurant in Lebanon

Baron has been named the Best Restaurant in Lebanon for the second year in a row on the culinary list.

Located in Beirut’s trendy Mar Mikael district, Baron is a friendly neighbourhood restaurant with a reputation for outstanding cuisine. Each plate is designed for sharing, with diners expected to select a few options as a group rather than choosing individually.

Whether it’s grilled meats, fresh fish or some of Baron’s unique vegetable creations, it is popular for having something for everyone on the menu. A crowd favourite is the lamb shank slow-cooked overnight, and crusted in mint and mustard seeds and served with farro wheat.

Diners in the UAE may have come across Baron’s popular Expo 2020 Dubai pop-up.

More information is at eatdrinkbaron.com

Tawlet Mar Mikhael

Mena’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023 ranking: No 19 (up from No 28)

Tawlet Mar Mikhael rotates its menu weekly. Photo: Tawlet Mar Mikhael

Championing a farm-to-table approach using only seasonal, organic produce, Tawlet‘s food is popular for being fresh and combining a multitude of flavours and textures.

The restaurant’s mission is to reinvigorate recipes found around different villages and regions of Lebanon, crafted by home cooks to make sure the food is exactly as grandmothers make it, using recipes passed down through families.

More information is at soukeltayeb.com/tawlet

Em Sherif

Mena’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023 ranking: No 20 (up from No 22)

Award: Art of Hospitality Award

As well as being ranked at No 20 on the Mena’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023 list, Em Sherif took home the Art of Hospitality Award, which recognises excellence in restaurant service and dining experiences.

The spot is known to be a relaxed and charming place to grab lunch or dinner with friends, with many mezze options for sharing. It serves hearty, authentic Levantine food.

The menu is seasonal and changes to utilise local produce. However, timeless standout dishes include pumpkin kibbeh stuffed with Swiss chard, summac and walnuts; and the grilled shish tawook or kafta skewers.

Lebanese mother and daughter duo Mireille and Yasmina Hayek opened the brand’s 16th location, Em Sherif Sea Cafe, at the Rosewood Abu Dhabi on Al Maryah Island, last November.

More information is at emsherif.com

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