Insider Guide To Beirut: Eli Rezkallah, Artist And Photographer
Beirut is one of this year’s hottest travel destinations, with art, food, hotels and nightlife to rival London, Shanghai and New York.
We enlisted the help of local insider, Eli Rezkallah—the creative maverick and groundbreaking artist and photographer behind award-winning Plastik magazine—to share his favourite places to eat in Beirut.
Don't forget to check out all five of our insider guides to Beirut (links at the end of this article)
1/5 Lebanese breakfast
“My favourite place for an authentic Lebanese breakfast is Al Soussi in Mar Elias. Try the traditional foul—fava beans with lemon, crushed garlic and cumin —and the scrambled eggs with qawarma—aromatic fried chopped lamb.”
Find out more at facebook.com/elsoussiresto
2/5 Buzzy brunch
Located in the hip Achrafieh neighbourhood and occupying the second floor of a former 19th-century palace, Liza Beirut is the stylish hangout of Beirut’s bright and beautiful, so dress to impress.
The opulent interiors have a contemporary Middle Eastern flavour—think tropical wallpaper, geometric tiling, artsy hanging lanterns and ornate latticework. Eli recommends the Sunday brunch from noon to 4pm. Pair delicious Lebanese treats with a glass of Château Kefraya Myst Rose from the Bekaa Valley.
Find out more at lizabeirut.com
3/5 Super shawarma
“Restaurant Joseph serves one of the best shawarmas in Lebanon. It has layers of perfectly thin, delicious fresh bread filled with generous layers of juicy, tender meat served traditional style with lettuce and pickles. Everything is the best quality, which is why it tastes so good,” Eli enthuses.
This charming no-frills restaurant can be found in the heart of Sin El Fil. Just follow your nose.
Find out more at facebook.com/pg/restaurantjoseph
4/5 Lunching out
Another of Beirut’s buzziest hangouts is Meat the Fish in Saifi Village. Diners often spill out onto the pavement where they perch on wooden pallets sipping local craft beers. As to be expected from such a cool culinary institution, the produce is fresh, seasonal, sustainable and of tip-top quality. There’s also a mini market area selling seafood. “It’s without a doubt the best-quality fish in town,” says Eli.
Find out more at meatthefish.com
See also: A Food Lover’s Guide to Seoul
5/5 Dinner talk
Baron in Mar Mikhael is a small restaurant with a big reputation. Chef Athanasios Kargatzidis sources ingredients from Beirut’s farmers markets, Tripoli’s fishing boats and the fields of the Bekaa Valley. Expect traditional recipes and local ingredients presented in an imaginative new way.
“Athanasios is one of the most creative chefs in town,” says Eli, who has been a regular since Baron opened in 2016. Watch Athanasios in action by securing the chef’s table, which seats seven and overlooks the open kitchen.
Find out more at tastykitchens.com/baron
Check out more travel tips from our other Beirut insiders: Joanna Laura Constantine, Jewellery Designer | Nour Salamé, Founder Of Kaph Books | | Nour Al Nimer, Tableware Designer | Gregory Gatserelia, Interior Designer
Portrait photography: Walid Rashid