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Beirut is one of the most vibrant, cosmopolitan cities in the Middle East. It’s the perfect place to kick back and relax while discovering a new city.
Beirut’s great dining options set the town apart, Lebanese cuisine is famous all over the world and Beirut sets the bar high. Tawlet is a favorite where renowned Kamal Mouzawak works with women from different parts of Lebanon who create a buffet of Lebanese delicacies and sweets. For some internationally inspired seafood and great steaks visit Meat the Fish in Saifi Village, or head to Onno Bistro in Badaro to enjoy the wonderful blend that is Lebanese-Armenian cuisine.
Mótto in Mar Mikhael offers an ever-changing menu of international foods and Zaitounay Bay is host to a wide variety of great dining spots including a wonderful Indian experience. Whatever you’re in the mood for, Beirut has it, but don’t forget to sample the local sharwarma and maanaeesh with zaatar for the ultimate insight into Beirut street food.
Beirut by Night
Before starting your night out, head up to The Roof in the Four Seasons Hotel Beirut for a full view of the city by night while enjoying one of their special cocktails. Try The Happy Prince for some of the best cocktails in town before climbing up a flight of stairs to Fabrk for open-air food and drink in one of the city’s most engaging spots. Then there’s the up and coming area of Badaro; mixed in terms of age, Badaro is home to one of the best cocktail bars in town, Jerry Thomas, Kissproof, the second branch of Dany’s and some other great spots. When the night is drawing to a close, BO18 has to be seen to be believed; if pubs are more of your thing, then Miss Jones in the center of Downtown offers up great food and drink while overlooking the souks and Al Mandaloun screams old-school Beirut with its slightly decadent vibes.
Walk Along the Sites
Downtown Beirut makes a great starting point for a cultural walking tour; with ancient churches and mosques to Roman ruins, memories of Beirut's turbulent past and sites such as the parliament, the old opera house and a theater in the shape of an egg, there's plenty to see and feel in the heart of the city. The parliament building sits just across the road from an ancient Roman bath complex and just outside the modern Beirut Souks sits the remains of an ancient mosque. Around the iconic Martyr’s Square sit a huge number of churches and mosques and all are more than welcoming to respectful tourists – be sure to check out the mosaic of Georges and the Dragon in Place d’Etoile. Outside of Downtown the sites become a little different, stroll along the Corniche on your way to the American University of Beirut, full of classical accents, AUB forms a social hub at the bottom of Hamra, one of the city’s most vibrant shopping areas and head into French-accented Ashrafieh to discover myriad quaint streets.
A Shopping Moment
If you’re looking for designer brands, head into Downtown to take in some great Lebanese names like Nada Debs, Boca Design and innovative jewelry brands like L’atelier Nawbar and other more renowned one like Tabbah. Labels galore away in Beirut Souks and the streets around it and you’ll find Dior, Chanel, Vivian Westwood and more. In the narrow streets of Ashrafieh lie any number of smaller designers and stores, along with great bakeries to fuel you as you walk. Hamra offers up the best street shopping experience in Beirut with hundreds of unique shops.