There are many outstanding restaurants and bars in Beirut that boast a vibrant food scene. Beiruti cuisine has more than just exterior influences: historical native recipes have been passed down from generation to generation within Lebanon.
Dishes made their way through villages and towns before arriving in the city with economic migrants or internally displaced people. What are the city’s most well-liked foods? What are some tasty options for dessert, lunch, and breakfast? How can you alter the food that people eat in Beirut? Here is your quick guide.
Kibbeh, a meatball croquette made of bulgur wheat, pine nuts, onions, lean beef, and spices, has many variations in Lebanon. Among the varieties, the local favorite is kibbeh bathed in citrus sauce, a dish native to Beirut.
Manakish is a circular flatbread, usually sprinkled with olive oil and zaatar (sesame seeds, thyme, and sumac). It is a popular breakfast dish in Beirut. In addition, you can use cheese, lamb mince, spinach, or fried eggplants as toppings.
The word “decorated” or “stamped” in the dish’s name refers to pressing dough with fingertips to create a decorative design. Lebanon thought of Manakish as a dish for the poor, but people from all social groups adore this dish. It comes with tomatoes, cucumbers, yogurt, cheese, or a nice cup of tea.
Knefeh or Kunāfah is the dish of choice for individuals who love their breakfast to be sweet. A semolina cake crisp with shredded filo and sprinkled with finely chopped pistachios oozing slightly salty cheese. With a glug of sugar syrup scented with orange blossom or rose water, diners cover everything in it. When filled into a Kaak bread, the Ramadan dessert Knefeh can be enjoyed all year long as a filling, sugar-inducing breakfast.
Samke Harra is a classic Lebanese dish that translates to “spicy fish” in Arabic. It is composed of baked fish served with nuts and a sauce made of tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and spices like coriander, cumin, chili pepper flakes, and cardamom.
Bayd Bi Qawarma
Over the spring, villagers would feed a fat-tailed newborn lamb mulberry, grape leaves, wheat, and grass to prepare the confit. The tradition of frying eggs with Qawarma arose in these rural districts of Lebanon, offered with lemon juice and bread.
Shish Barak, a Lebanese variation on Menti, is regarded by some to represent Ottoman cuisine. The main distinction between the two is that shish Barak is prepared as a stew and eaten with rice. Tortellini-style dumplings have flavors like mint, cilantro, and garlic. In addition, shish Barak has toppings like seven spices, pine nuts, and goat yogurt.
Toum is a traditional Lebanese garlic paste. Toum can be used to flavor and enhance any dish as marinades, sauces, and dips. You can consume it with beef, lamb, or goat meat in traditional meals such as roast chicken, chicken skewers, or chicken shawarma.
Kibbeh is a unique cuisine made of bulgur wheat that has been soaked with other ingredients, usually lamb meat. It is also the national food of Lebanon. Kibbeh Nayyeh is a delicately flavored appetizer that gets prepared in various ways. It can be served raw, baked, fried, stuffed, or vegetarian by stuffing it with potatoes, pumpkins, and tomatoes.
Roasted eggplants, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, yogurt, olive oil, and salt make up Mutabal. The dish Mutabal gets topped off with parsley, pomegranate seeds, or cilantro. Onions can also be included in the mixture if preferred. We recommended having Mutabal alongside pita bread as part of a meze platter.
In Beirut, parsley and mint take center stage in Tabbouleh, made with bulgar wheat and other ingredients. Tabbouleh is one of the healthiest meal alternatives in Lebanon due to bulgur. It offers fiber, protein, and minerals. In addition, its chilled flavors are perfect for a hot summer day.
The Egyptian dish Ful, often known as Foul, is well-liked in Beirut, Lebanon. It is already a winner in our opinion because it is frequently consumed as a dip with Hummus for breakfast. Fava beans constitute the dish. For flavorings, they add cumin, olive oil, and lemon juice.
It is hard to believe a salad could be healthy when it tastes as good as Fattoush. Although the ingredients are simple, the taste is incredible, making it the ideal side dish for any meal. For example, consider a salad with mountains of parsley and mint, crunchy cucumbers, juicy tomatoes, and fresh, crisp lettuce. Add freshly baked pita bread on top and a delicious dressing with sumac and lemon or lime as the star ingredients.
In Beirut, Shawarma is a delectable meat dish. First, it gets marinated and cooked over a spit. The meats used to make shawarmas are lamb, turkey, chicken, beef, or other meats. They get slow-cooked for hours, basted in their juices and fat to achieve an incomparable deliciousness. But the marinate is the real key to delicious shawarma.
The Lebanese Mezze is a snack served as an appetizer in the Middle East, North Africa, and Greece. Mezze is part of multi-course meals, served as a sequence of nibbles during a social gathering.
Ka’ak is a type of Lebanese street bread eaten as a snack. It has a circular shape with a hollow section on the outside border. In Beirut, they use sesame seeds on top of the bread. The bread has fillings with zaatar or picon cheese. It has a chewy texture, and the flavors are rich and aromatic for the use of sesame, sumac, and thyme.
Baba Ghanoush is a Middle Eastern meal most commonly associated with Lebanon. It has roasted and puréed eggplants, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, tahini, mint, onions, and various spices. Baba ghanoush is typically served as an appetizer and used as a dipping sauce. It is also great as a spread for open-faced sandwiches, especially when topped with parsley, tomatoes, and sliced cucumbers.
Batata Harra is a spicy Lebanese vegetable dish created by frying potatoes in olive oil with garlic, chili, and coriander. As an appetizer, the dish gets served in a flatbread with tahini sauce or a salad on the side.
It is a traditional Arabic dish made of pockets of dough filled with spinach, cheeses like halloumi or feta, meats like chicken, beef, lamb, potatoes, or soft cheeses made of Arabic yogurt. You can consume this meal as a snack or a light lunch.
The dish’s original preparation involved filling brined grape leaves with ground lamb and spices. It gets served as a snack with tahini sauce or a bowl of yogurt garnished with pomegranate seeds, coriander, or diced cucumbers.
The famous chickpea-based dip known as Hummus has a Lebanese variation called Hummus Beiruti. Traditional ingredients for this widely consumed, beige-colored spread include mashed chickpeas, tahini sesame paste, lemon juice, and garlic. Everyone adores this dish for its sour flavor and nutritional value. With freshly cooked pita or lavash flatbread, Beiruti serves Hummus. It is also often served with a sprinkle of olive oil and used as a delicious filler for flatbreads like pita or as a dip for vegetables.
From chocolate sweets to ice cream, crepes, croissants, and everything else you can think of, Beirut has it all. It is no surprise. The Lebanese have a sweet craving, and they are well-versed in desserts.
This baklava consists of layered rectangular pieces of phyllo dough filled with a selection of chopped nuts. For example, Bukaj Baklava contains fillings of pistachios or a blend of pine nuts and cashews.
Meghli typically served as a treat on the occasion of childbirth and is especially popular among Lebanon’s Christian community during the Christmas season. It is vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free Lebanese rice pudding. The nuts on top symbolize developing seeds, while the brown color of the spiced pudding symbolizes the richness of the soil.
The caraway in the pudding is supposed to help new mothers with lactation and reduce bloat. Rice flour, caraway, water, sugar, a variety of nuts and spices, and other ingredients are combined to make Meghli.
Ma’amoul is a traditional cookie made with fruits and nuts. The cookies are often made into balls or domes and served during holidays like Easter and other festivals.
Turmeric Rice Pudding (Moufataka)
A typical Lebanese dessert from Beirut is called Moufataka. Short-grain rice (like Arborio), tahini, turmeric, pine nuts, sugar, and water prepares the dish. Before serving, Moufataka is poured into bowls or serving dishes while still hot. It is then allowed to cool to room temperature. As a top garnish for dessert, Pine nuts get used.
Ice cream is a must-have when in Beirut in the summer. Mastic, a tree resin that gives ice cream an almost taffy-like texture, is frequently added to Arabic-style ice cream. And it can also be scented with rose or orange blossom water. Ice creams made in Europe are also well-liked.
Lebanon’s most famous alcoholic beverage is Arak, a grape spirit flavored with anise found in every Beiruti home and pairs well with local cuisine.
The principal source of the clear, anise-flavored alcohol known as Arak is fermented grapes. Arak is typically paired with many appetizers and tastes best when diluted with ice-cold water that turns it milky white. It comes with tea or fruit juice to form other drinks. Usually, it gets served in tall glasses.
Beirut is brimming with culinary pleasures. Because of its unique history, it has created such pleasant dishes. While these are Lebanese classics, there are many more that you should sample during your visit.