Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Where to chow down in Beirut these days

Nicholas Blanford, author of some book about the Hezbies, discusses the Beirut food scene in Ex’s blog: "I am out of touch with most bars in Beirut these days. I preferred the good old days when there were perhaps three bars in Beirut, the best of which was the Lord Kitchener which was at the ...

Serge Melki/Flickr
Serge Melki/Flickr
Serge Melki/Flickr

Nicholas Blanford, author of some book about the Hezbies, discusses the Beirut food scene in Ex's blog:

"I am out of touch with most bars in Beirut these days. I preferred the good old days when there were perhaps three bars in Beirut, the best of which was the Lord Kitchener which was at the back of an abandoned shopping center in Hamra and had a very laid-back speakeasy-type atmosphere and a wicked oud player. As for food, still love Le Chef, an institution. Best cafe is Cafe Younes in Hamra. I used to live above the cafe in 1995-96 when it was just a place to buy freshly ground coffee and knock back a double espresso in the morning. Otherwise, it's local cafes and restaurants dotted around the country. Eat foul in the Tyre souq. There's a brilliant sandwich place in Dar al-Wassah in the Bekaa -- best labneh sandwiches in Lebanon. I also stop at Abu Rashed next to the army barracks in Marjayoun. They make terrific shish taouq. Corny though it may sound, the best meal is the one with a couple of spit roast chickens, olives, bread and with the family on a picnic somewhere high up in the mountains."

Nicholas Blanford, author of some book about the Hezbies, discusses the Beirut food scene in Ex’s blog:

"I am out of touch with most bars in Beirut these days. I preferred the good old days when there were perhaps three bars in Beirut, the best of which was the Lord Kitchener which was at the back of an abandoned shopping center in Hamra and had a very laid-back speakeasy-type atmosphere and a wicked oud player. As for food, still love Le Chef, an institution. Best cafe is Cafe Younes in Hamra. I used to live above the cafe in 1995-96 when it was just a place to buy freshly ground coffee and knock back a double espresso in the morning. Otherwise, it’s local cafes and restaurants dotted around the country. Eat foul in the Tyre souq. There’s a brilliant sandwich place in Dar al-Wassah in the Bekaa — best labneh sandwiches in Lebanon. I also stop at Abu Rashed next to the army barracks in Marjayoun. They make terrific shish taouq. Corny though it may sound, the best meal is the one with a couple of spit roast chickens, olives, bread and with the family on a picnic somewhere high up in the mountains."

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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