With the week finally closing in, exhaustion has hit its peak and nothing but a good meal would do some justice. With a restaurant in mind that I have been wanting to revisit for the longest time, I picked my friend up and we headed to Leila, a traditional Lebanese restaurant. Located in the downtown area circling Burj Khalifa, we walked into a surprising full restaurant. With people mostly seated outside and in the smoking area enjoying their shishas we opted for the none-smokers area to enjoy our dinner in peace. In a rather friendly and family-oriented ambiance, we prepared ourselves for a taste of the traditional Levant.
Without any hesitation, I ordered a plate of “hommos with pine and meat”, which is my favorite appetizer. My friend on the other hand ordered a side of cheese rolls. The hommos was, nothing too special, the “garlic cheese rolls” on the other hand were perfectly salted with a tiny hint of garlic.
Not fully satisfied with the appetizer though, my friend ordered a side of “batata bel kazbara”, a generous amount of fried potato cubes mixed with lemon, pepper, garlic, and coriander were served. Though I can’t stand spicy food (they were a tad spicy) I can say that it was the best of all three.
For drinks we both had the “Sparkling Leila” which was recommended to us by our waiter, and we loved it! It’s basically soda water mixed with kiwi and apple syrup, and served with apple and kiwi cubes inside, yum!
Having visited Leila before I had an idea about which main I wanted to go for, so I picked the “Leila Light Beef” from their light section. The steaks were marinated with pomegranate and served on a bed of rocca, with a side of grilled potatoes and onions, the only problem with the dish is that half way through it became too sour to handle due to the pomegranate.
However, my friend’s dish was a win. The “kafta bel laban” was a first-ever experience for us, and it was an interesting yet delicious mix of grilled kafta meat and crunchy Lebanese bread topped with warm yoghurt.
For desserts we opted for their most famous one, the “ghazl beirut” , consisting of musk ice cream served between two layers of toasted sweet flour (think cotton candy-like) and topped with pistachio. Although my friend did not like it what so ever, I was in love with this and I can pretty much say it was the best ending for the night.
All in all, for some one who lives away from home with a longing for home-made food, Leila fulfilled my cravings, for everything from the decor to the food was very home-like.
As we were stepping out I saw an endless line of people waiting for a table, so a little tip I’d give is make sure you reserve, otherwise a table in the weekend is going to cost you some waiting time.
Where: Downtown, they have another location in Mirdiff City Center.
Best for: family lunches, weekend shisha sessions
Recommendations: Ghazl Beirut, Sparkling Leila
For more information about Leila restaurant find their Facebook page here