Indagare Insiders: Five Beirut Tastemakers Share Their Favorite Places to Eat, Shop and Visit in Lebanon

Five of Beirut’s most stylish insiders reveal a few of their favorite things to do in the city.

Hoda Baroudi and Maria Hibri

Baroudi and Hibri are the creative team behind Bokja, a Beirut-based design studio.

Courtesy Bokja

Courtesy Bokja, Beirut

How long have you been in Beirut?
Beirut is home.

What is your favorite aspect of living and working in Lebanon?
Diversity is what makes this tiny piece of land so special. It’s unsettling and intrusive; creative juices flow and overflow. There is everything and its opposite, so you are constantly challenged. It’s a city that agitates and keeps us on our toes; there is never a dull moment.

What should every visitor be sure to do while in Lebanon?
A visitor to Lebanon should strive to grasp the cultural richness found in the country, and a good way to do that is through the food. Some of the country’s major exports are its signature dishes, like hummus and tabbouleh. Each local community has its own way of concocting these delicacies. A good place to start to experience the discrepancies in flavor is Tawlet Restaurant, inviting cooks from villages all over the country to prepare their traditional recipes at their space in Mar Mikhael.

Related: The Best Restaurants in Beirut

Another place not to miss is the Cornishe, the seaside promenade connecting eastern and western Beirut. While there, be sure to stop by Sporting Club, an old bastion with an outdoor pool and restaurant managed by the same family over the past half-century. It’s most popular during the summer, thanks to its nice view of the sea.

And no visit to Beirut is complete without visiting Bokja’s textile workshop in Basta, located in the midst of one of Beirut’s biggest antique districts and surrounded by dilapidated heritage buildings. Many of these buildings house astute merchants offering treasured family heirlooms from back in the day. The workshop itself has an archive of unique textiles from along the silk road and a solid team of specialized craftspeople coming from countries such as Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Kurdistan, among others.

– Melissa Biggs Bradley on February 19, 2019

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