Five of the Best: Lebanese restaurants

Founder of Comptoir Libanais, Tony Kitous, shares his favourites


Tawlet El Souk

This small restaurant is owned by a good friend of mine, Kamal Monzawak, who is the creator of Souk el Taybeb, a weekly farmers' market that helps local families, and where farmers sell (mostly) organic and artisanal products.

The food at Tawlet is cooked each week by different women from the farmers' families, who come from outside Beirut with their produce. The menu for this tasty,homemade Lebanese food changes on a weekly basis.My favourite is the delicious kibbeh neyah - the Lebanese steak tartare.

Chalhoub Building, Naher Street, 00 961 1448129, Beirut,



This Beirut restaurant is one of the most glamorous in town. During the day it is full of ladies- who- lunch and by night it is the place where locals love to bring out-of-town guests f to show off the rich Lebanese culinary experience. The food here is some of the best in Beirut. You don’t need to worry about what to order, they have one feast menu for everyone, so you just sit and wait for the food to arrive. One of the most memorable mezze dishes I've ever had was their baked aubergine topped with a light yogurt and tahini dip.

Achrafieh, Monot, Rue Victor Hugo, 00 961 1206206, Beirut,


Comptoir Libanais

This is one of the five branches of my restaurant in London (in Soho, Marylebone and South Kensington). I love hanging here with my friends, or even have informal meetings. I enjoy having a simple mezze selection with a freshly squeezed juice or a cold orange blossom and pomegranate lemonade. It’s a fun, informal and friendly place for all -day dining.

ONe of my favourite dishes is the grilled Halloumi steak served with figs in Rose syrup.

59 Broadwick Street, W15 9QH, 020 7434 4335, London W1,


Maison Issa

This little Lebanese canteen is owned by a young, passionate Lebanese baker called Hassen. The place is small but full of locals and regulars. Try the different Man’oucha (Lebanese flat bread) fresh from the wood oven.

81 rue Oliver de Serres, 75015, Paris, 00 331 45 31 24 71,


Ilili Restaurant

This is the coolest Lebanese restaurant in New York. Philippe Massoud is a very talented chef/patron, who makes some seriously good, modern Lebanese food. New Yorkers are going crazy about his hot and cold mezze. One of my favourites is duck shawarma with figs jam- it's a really great dish. They also have a cool bar serving delicious cocktails.

236 5th Avenue, New York, 001 212-683-2929,

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