From mezzes and shawarmas to the ultimate fatteh and falafel to grilled fish straight from the sea—in Beirut, the options for delicious Lebanese food are endless. Whether you’re looking for traditional Middle Eastern fare or Mediterranean flair (or both), Melissa Biggs Bradley and Paul Jebara round up the top tables in the city right now.
Best Restaurants in Beirut for Lunch
Foodie Favorite:Tawlet, founded by the patriarch of communitarian cuisine Kamal Mouzawak, is a buffet-style restaurant that showcases regional recipes from around Lebanon, prepared by female home cooks.
Insider’s Choice: Joseph, the incomparable shawarma restaurant, might have the best version of this iconic chicken or beef pita sandwich in the entire country.
Hole-in-the-Wall Classic:M. Sahyoun is the purveyor of the ultimate falafel sandwiches from a secret recipe that’s been around since 1935.
Relaxed, but Refined:Enab, located in a restored traditional house on Mar Mikhael’s main strip, has a stellar reputation for modernized takes on classic Lebanese food.
Lunch with a View: Al Falamanki, a Beirut institution serving some of the best mezze in the city, was built as a son’s homage to his father.
Related: 7 Reasons To Visit Lebanon Now
Best Places in Beirut for Dinner
Fine Dining: Em Sherif, an emblematic upscale restaurant that’s highly regarded as one of the best fine dining experiences in Beirut.
Classic: Al Ajami, old-school fine dining by the beach with sophisticated Levantine dishes, from mezzes to mains, without the flashy ambience.
Al Fresco: The Gathering, a trendy spot in the Gemmayzeh district, comprised of three different eateries that surround a verdant courtyard.
Dining under the Stars: Hotel Albergo has a charming rooftop restaurant with views over the city and lantern-lit tables.
Hot Spot: Liza, a design-lover’s dream, is undeniably one of the most stylish restaurants in Beirut, with a fashionable crowd to match.
Cocktails: Ferdinand, a cozy gastropub with strong cocktails and global snacks from burgers to bao buns.
Sweet Treats: Hanna Mitri, an Arabic-style ice cream purveyor, hand-churned by Beirut’s king of bouza.
When You Have Had Your Fill of Middle Eastern Cuisine:Casablanca, a traditional Chinese restaurant located in a sea-facing villa, feels like a slice of California in the Middle East.
Dinner on the Water:Em Sherif Sea Café, the newest restaurant in the Em Sherif empire, in the Zaitouna Bay Marina, serves reliably delicious Lebanese food (traditional mezzes and fish).
Related: Beirut’s Best Shops