Category Archives: Food

Review: BRGRCO, Still My Favorite Burger Joint, Now Open At ABC Achrafieh

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I often brag about Brgrco and recommend it to all my friends but I’ve never done a proper review of that place surprisingly, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to do that especially that Brgrco just opened its third branch in Beirut at ABC Achrafieh. Brgrco has been my favorite burger joint in Beirut for almost 4 years now and I have yet to find a better place even though I’ve tried many, if not most of the burger places in town.

So what makes Brgrco so special?

1- Simple Burgers, Prime grain-fed Angus Beef & High-Quality Ingredients:
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Brgrco is all about the meat. The patty is 100% grain-fed Australian Black Angus beef, cooked on real charcoal grills without any sauces, spices or artificial flavors. The bigger the patty is, the juicier and more flavorful it is. All burgers are served medium and a couple of signature burgers are best served medium-rare. When I order Hussein Haddid’s signature burgers like the Butcher’s Cut, I don’t even ask for cheese on top and as I just want to enjoy this thick piece of meat served on its own. If you don’t like your meat medium or medium-rare, you can always have it well-done but you’d be ruining the burger and the whole Brgrco experience in my opinion. Of course you can add whatever you want to the burgers (pork bacon included) but I’ve never asked for anything except cheese on top.

2- Fries, Cheese Fries, Parmesan & Truffle Fries:
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Not every potato makes it to be Brgr.co fries. I don’t know how they pick their potatoes but their fries are quick amazing and the cheese they use on top makes them even better. Parmesan and truffle fries are a must-try!

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3- Redefining Gourmet Burgers & Always New Menu Items:

Every now and then, there’s a new exciting gourmet burger at Brgrco. The ones that I know of are The Raclette BRGR which is served during winter, the “Café De Paris” Burger, which consists of a fat and juicy medium-rare patty topped with a special butter-based complex sauce with over 12 ingredients and a fresh soft bun with a bit of Dijon mustard spread on it, The Falafel BRGR, the Truffle BRGR which I’ve never tried and the newly introduced Stroganov BRGR. My favorites are the Raclette and Café De Paris.

Café de Paris BRGR

Aside from burgers, Brgrco introduced last summer lobster rolls imported from Maine and Nova Scotia and boiled on a daily basis. It’s the perfect add-on to your main dish and it’s also the best lobster roll I’ve tried in Beirut.

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4- The Desserts:
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Make sure you always leave room for dessert when you’re eating at Brgrco. The Cheesecake pudding, The Banoffee cream cheese pudding, the toffee date pudding and the malted rich soft chocolate ice cream are all great choices. My favorite right now is the malted rich soft chocolate ice cream.

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5- The Atmosphere, The Service & The Friendliness of the Staff
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Every time I’ve been to any of the Brgrco branches, the staff was friendly, the service was impeccable and our food was ready in less than 15 minutes. More importantly, the quality and taste are always the same. The venues, especially the ABC Achrafieh one, are also very cozy, the music is nice and the cleanliness is showing. I remember having two minor complaints over the past 3 years which were resolved quickly and on the spot. Also, smoking is forbidden inside. Price-wise, some may argue that the place is expensive but if you truly compare the quality of meat and service that you are getting vs popular diners and fancy restaurants that serve gourmet burgers, you will realize it’s pretty much the same if not less.

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Let’s not forget the cows of course, which are showcased in all BRGR.CO restaurants and are pretty cool. There’s also a small cow that I decorated and that is on display at Brgrco Sodeco branch. If you ever go there, check it out as there’s BlogBaladi written all over it.

All in all, these are the reasons why I appreciate Brgrco and why I keep coming back there. I have friends who fell in love with the place and others who just didn’t like the idea of having medium or medium-rare burgers. For me, burgers are all about the quality of the meat and I’m not interested in bulky burgers with burned patties, or low-quality meat topped with a zillion ingredients.

Brgrco is now located in L3 at ABC Achrafieh.

Seven Sisters: Beirut’s Newest Nightlife Venue Is Opening Tonight!

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The hottest nightlife destination this summer in Beirut is Seven Sisters and it’s opening tonight. I passed by the venue yesterday for a sneak peek visit and it’s a pretty cool concept at an ideal spot in Beirut Waterfront next to O1NE and Garten. Seven Sisters is basically an outdoor garden, a sort of green island in the skyscraper-packed capital where you can enjoy sunset drinks, listen to loungy music or a live-band, party on the weekends or even enjoy a good Sunday brunch.

Speaking of food, Seven Sisters are very keen on the food they are offering and the owners told me they will have an international menu, live cooking with Chef Danny Khairallah and a BBQ station, a show kitchen as well as a Sashimi station by Le Sushi Bar. They want their Sunday brunches to be memorable and they are working hard to achieve it.

I think this place has a lot of potential and I’m in love with the concept. It’s always a great idea to add some grenery to the city and I’m glad they are focusing on the food as it’s usually a weak point in most nightlife venues. I unfortunately missed out on the opening tonight but I’m going there for drinks sometimes this week and I’m definitely trying their Sunday brunch.

Here are few sneak peek pictures to show you how the venue looks like:

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Sound of Monte-Carlo will be playing on Sunday at Seven Sisters. You can check out more info [here].

Things To Do In Jbeil (Byblos) During The Summer

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Jbeil, one of the world’s oldest cities, has always been one of my favorite cities in Lebanon and I tend to visit it quite often. There are so many things to do there and you can spend a whole weekend touring the city and having fun, especially during summer. A couple of months back, I criticized these unheard of awards that Jbeil is being awarded every year and mentioned that our primary focus should be on promoting tours and activities in Jbeil because these awards won’t help much if tourists don’t know how to get to Byblos. In fact, most of the tourists and a lot of Lebanese want to go to Jbeil but they have no idea what to do there or what to expect, so here’s a small post to highlight some of the things that you can do there:

Spend the day at the beach:
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Most people know Edde Sands in Jbeil and it’s a beautiful resort but there are others like Santa Prairie, Ocean Blue, Bay 183 and Byblos Sud. You can also find a couple of public beaches, especially one near the Crusader Castle called Al Ba7ssa.

Visiting the Old Souks:
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The old souks connect the centre of the city to the sea side and are packed with restaurants, cafes and souvenir shops. There are also beautiful churches and a mosque to visit. You can either take a calm walk during the day or wait till the souks get really packed at night. If you are looking for Arabic places to try out, I recommend Bab El Mina, Beit Nezha, La Locanda (especially the desserts), 1188 lounge and bar resto or Feniqia (Lebanese food with a twist). If you are looking for international cuisine, ecafé is a good option even though I was rather disappointed by the food and service during my last two visits. There’s also a small place called éBaladi that serves breakfast (manakish, eggs, etc ..) and is worth a try if you want to grab a quick bite. If you head out of the souks, there are plenty of fast food chains and restaurants to check out (Roadster, Zaatar W Zeit, Crepaway, Ksar, Mon Maki A Moi and others). There’s also one of the first ever Mexican restaurants in Lebanon El Molino that you can check out.

PS: You can also rent bicycles and tour the city but bike tours and tracks are not well organized.

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Take a boat trip and have lunch by the sea
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For those who enjoy the sea, you can head down to the Byblos port and go on a boat trip for 1 hour or more. It’s a fun ride and if you are lucky enough, you might spot dolphins. Once you are back to the shore, you can enjoy lunch at one of the many fish restaurants by the sea. Pépé Abed (Byblos Fishing Club) is a must-visit.

During the summer, you can also enjoy the Byblos International Festival which takes places right by the sea.

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Public gardens, churches, ruins, museums and a lot of sightseeing:
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Byblos is one of the World’s 20 oldest continually-inhabited places on earth, and there are plenty of archaeological sites and attractions to visit there. There are several old churches, mainly St. John the Baptist Church and the ancient Our Lady of Deliverance Church, the Sultan Abdel Majid Mosque, the iconic El-Houssami Old Lebanese House and the archaeological site around it, the Crusader Castle, the Roman Theater, Roman columns and others …

The best part is that most of these sites are nearby and you can walk around the city discovering them one by one. There’s also a wax museum worth checking out and a public library.

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Jbeil by night:
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The souks are usually crowded at night and there are plenty of pubs and restaurants to visit. I sometimes used to go there just to walk around and enjoy the city by night. The harbor is a great spot to grab a beer and just watch the sunset. Some of the places worth checking out are Garten, Backdoor, Barbacane, Oasis and 1188. If you are looking for the real nightlife experience, you can head to Publicity, a large venue with many pubs and restaurants 5 minutes away from the souks.

Unknown parts of Jbeil:
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If you like Shawarma, there’s a popular place called Rock. There’s also another place called Kaddoum that has all sorts of sandwiches and has great cocktails. Sub-Omelette or Chicken Sub at Mike Snack are also worth a try. Ice cream (Achta) at Nashawati comes highly recommended as well.

All in all, Jbeil is a beautiful city that can easily become a tourist attraction if it’s promoted properly. If you feel like I’ve missed something worth mentioning, please email me (nmitri@gmail.com) and I will gladly add it to the post. Until then, spread the word and Live Love Jbeil!

Special thanks to Sophie and Chadi!

I’m Taking Part In The Uber Food Drive To Help Families In Need This Ramadan

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Uber Beirut and LiveLoveBeirut are teaming up to launch a food drive in Beirut to provide food to families in need during Ramadan. The food drive took place today and was extended for an extra day tomorrow to give those who couldn’t donate today another chance. Over 200 bags full of food were collected today which is quite awesome.

I’m requesting the food drive tomorrow and I’m hoping everyone else will as well as it’s for a good cause and barely requires any effort.

Here’s what you need to do:
– Open your Uber app [Android] [iOS] tomorrow Friday July 10th between 11am and 4pm
– Request the FOOD DRIVE option in your app (Move the slider to the far right)
– Bring at least five canned goods / non-perishable food and hand them to the volunteers who will be in the FOOD DRIVE cars (For ex Tuna, Beetroot, Homos, Beans, Rice, Pasta, Lentils, Burgul, Jam, Halawa, Processed cheese, Sugar, Salt)

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You will then receive a thank you perk of $5, $10 or $200 worth of Uber credit automatically in your account at the end of the day and a complimentary Live Love Beirut bracelet. The food will be distributed to families in Beirut by Iftar time.

If you are taking part in the campaign, send me a picture of the goods or how you delivered the goods to the Uber car and I will gladly share it on the blog. The Food Drive is taking place in Hamra, Verdun, Downtown and Achrafieh only.

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How Do You Like Your Meghlé?

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Meghlé is a traditional dessert that is served when there is a new born in the family, but a lot of families prepare it often because it’s that good. Meghlé is basically a rice pudding prepared with sugar, caraway, cinnamon and other spices and then garnish it with coconut spread, almonds, pistachios, pine nuts, walnuts and dried raisins.

Even though the list of ingredients to prepare this dessert is quite simple, adding more sugar or more spices makes a lot of difference in the taste and even the add-ons on top can drastically change the taste. Personally speaking, I absolutely love Meghlé but I can’t have it when it’s too sweet and a lot of people tend to prepare it that way. Moreover, I hate it when they add small dried raisins (Zbeeb) on top as I believe it ruins the whole thing. My favorite has always been my mom’s Meghlé because it’s not too sweet and the spices are not too strong, and because she hates Zbeeb as well. I will ask her for the recipe and share it later on today for those interested.

PS: It is important to soak the almonds, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts in separate bowls overnight and then peel them off the next day. It makes a world of a difference in terms of taste.

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Giveaway: Win An iPhone 6 With Zomato, My New Favorite Restaurant Guide In Lebanon

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Update: Deadline is extended till Tuesday 16th of June at noon as a lot of readers asked me for more time to write their reviews.

Update 2: And Our winner is Rita AS! We will contact you by email to inform on how to collect your prize. Thank you all for participating and I wish you the best of luck next time.

Zomato is going to offer the below 10 people (picked randomly) food vouchers as well to thank them for participating:
1- DanielaSK
2- Sam_LB
3- Fadi Bteich
4- Hala
5- Charbel Jammous
6- George Saliby
7- Michel Bseibes
8- Ralph Dagher
9- Roubz
10- Roy el Hachem

I’ve used many restaurant guide apps in Lebanon over the past years but nothing compares to Zomato in terms of user-friendliness, ease of use and the amount of information available. I was addicted to Four Square previously and I still use it from time to time, but ever since they came up with Swarm and messed up their whole layout, I lost interest in it. Zomato is a much simpler platform where you can browse places easily and find all the relevant information from updated menus, location, price range, reviews in seconds. You can also build your foodie profile by adding reviews and pictures and I like how you collect points for reviews and pictures and people get to see that.

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What I love most about Zomato is how simple and efficient the search is there. You can either perform quick searches, by cuisine or just switch to the Nearby feature and see what’s around you. For example since Ramadan is near now, they already have two categories up “Open During Ramadan” and ” Iftar & Suhoor”. I know some of these features are available in other apps but they are not as clear and easy to access and the information is quite relevant and accurate but that’s probably because Zomato has a team in Lebanon working on the app and on updates daily and did not just deploy here.

big foodie Follow me [Here].

As far as food bloggers are concerned, it’s a great platform to get more exposure as you get to write your reviews and link back to your blog. I have already 28 reviews and 137 photos and I’ve already received almost 150,000 views for my reviews and pictures combined. You can check out my profile and follow me [here].

Moving on to the giveaway part, I met with the Zomato guys last week and decided to spice up my review to encourage people to use the app and understand why I like it so much, so we decided to come up with a small competition where one of the readers will win a brand new iPhone 6.

The conditions are quick simple:

1- Download, install and register on Zomato. [iOs] [Android]
2- Follow me [here] and update your Zomato profile with a picture and useful information and write at least 2 reviews (new reviews if you already have a user).
3- Write a comment on the blog post sharing your username and the names of two restaurants or places that you reviewed.

The Zomato team and myself will be going through every entry so please avoiding copy pasting reviews or creating several users as you will be instantly disqualified. I will draw a name by Sunday night and the winner will be awarded an iPhone 6.

NB: You need to put your proper email in the email field while commenting since winner will be contacted by email. You can only comment once, anyone caught commenting more than once will get disqualified.

The Best Chocolate Bars You Can Buy For 500 Lebanese Pounds Or Less

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I found this funny video of Shant and Elie trying out chocolate bars that cost 500 Lebanese Pounds or less and it made me crave a Tutti Frutti bar. I love how you can’t really tell what’s the flavor inside the Tutti Frutti bar but it’s amazing!

Here are some of the chocolate bars they tasted and my take on them:
– Tutti Frutti (My favorite)
– Pick One is indeed a fake Kitkat
– Metro sucks
– Apello (I never heard of that one) but it looks like the Halo. I never liked it.
– Break is ok.
– Flute & Kinder are quite amazing but we can’t really put them in the same category as others.
– Unica is awesome but I loved their description (layers of biscuit with a chocolate smell hahaha).
– Addicto is everything but addicto.

I would add Nouba, which I love, to the list, as a well as a coconut bar (fake bounty) but I can’t remember its name, and the Pick up as well which is not that bad.

[YouTube]

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My Favorite Ice-cream Shop Helado Is Finally Relocating To A Bigger Branch!

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Helado has been my all-time favorite ice-cream place for quite some time in Lebanon but its only inconvenient is that the shop is tiny, there’s no parking space around it and it gets really crowded during summer specially in the afternoon. I never really minded the wait but I always thought he should move into a bigger location given how popular the place is and it’s finally happening.

Helado is currently a small pink kiosk located in Sahel Alma in a tiny street but they are moving in a couple of weeks time to a bigger shop few hundred meters away next to Le Raclot and the big blue gas station in Sahel Alma. For those of you who are not familiar with the area, you take the Jounieh highway and go up before Crepaway and Caliprix on the main road, then you take your left on the roundabout and Helado will be there right after the gas station to the right.

I strongly recommend Helado to every ice-cream lover as it’s my favorite ice-cream place in Lebanon. The flavors are quite original and delicious, the cone is also good and the owners are extremely friendly. I will be visiting the new branch as soon as it opens.

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Smoking Bun Mar Mikhael: A Joy To Any Burger Lover

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Back when I was in Berlin a couple of years ago, a friend took me to a burger place called Burgermeister located in a tiny street underneath a bridge. The place, previously a public toilet, wasn’t very appealing but it had one of the best burgers I’ve ever had in my life. The meat was perfectly cooked and juicy, the bun was a bit grilled and tasted great, the fries and toppings were amazing and the price was ridiculously low (7 Euros).

I think Smoking Bun is the closest thing to Burgermeister in Beirut, and it is by far the best street burger place that I’ve been to in Beirut, and in Mar Mikhail more specifically. Smoking Bun is located underneath Secteur in the middle of Mar Mikhail and is a small shop that only offers one burger. It’s small, simple, relatively cheap but its burger is fantastic and the fries are great as well. The meat is cooked medium (medium rare if you want to) and is covered with aged cheddar, the bun is tender and holds up nicely to the burger’s juices and it’s all topped with lettuce, tomato and pickles. The fries are not-too-crispy not-too-soft and come with a house sauce.

Smoking Bun is street food done right and my favorite burger in Mar Mikhael right now (and I’ve tried most of them there). The burger costs 12,000LL, the fries 5,000LL, beer is for 7,500LL and soda for 3,000LL.

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Rating 4.5/5

La Crêperie Kaslik Is Back!

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Ever since I posted sneak peek pictures of the newly renovated La Crêperie, a lot of people have been asking me about La Crêperie’s official opening date, and whether the menu and venue have changed drastically. Luckily enough, I was among the few invited to check out La Crêperie last Sunday and taste the new menu before the official opening which is scheduled for April 28th, so I’m gonna tell you everything you need to know in this post and show you how awesome the new restaurant is.

For those of you who don’t know La Creperie yet, it’s is one of Lebanon’s most authentic and beautiful restaurants and has been serving great food since 1968. The restaurant is an 18th Century Picturesque Ottoman House that offers a breathtaking view across the Jounieh bay and has welcomed several celebrities, presidents, ministers and diplomats. It’s an ideal place for family gatherings, couples, first dates, romantic dinners and events.

So what’s new at La Crêperie?
La Crêperie’s renovation kicked off almost two years ago and was completed a few weeks back. The main purpose was to ensure authenticity of the architecture and to keep the spirit of the place while reinforcing the worn out walls and foundations. Add to that the beautiful landscaping. To begin with, the restaurant’s entrance and parking lot were both enhanced to fit more cars and you are now greeted by a 1000-year old olive tree set right before La Creperie’s entrance. As you walk into the restaurant, you are surrounded by walls of hanging jasmine flowers that lead right to the restaurant’s terrace and main door.

As soon as you step inside, you notice how spacious the new place has become. The big old wooden bar is now gone and was replaced by an open bar in the middle of the restaurant. The paintings on the ceiling were also removed but the tiles as well as the tables and chairs look almost the same as before. The main room is now connected to all others and there are preserved butterflies displayed in glass frames are all the walls. The old chimney room kept its warm feel and looks amazing now.

20150419_212432 A Walk Down Memory Lane

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As far as the balcony is concerned, it’s much wider now and extends to the outdoor terrace and the chimney room on the other end of the house. The old railings were replaced by glass ones and the small tables and chairs by comfy couches and low tables. I have to admit I’m gonna miss the simpler tiny balcony with the small chairs and tables but at least this way, more people will get to enjoy the splendid views across the Jounieh bay. The caves were also revamped and I had a quick look at them but I’m not sure if they will be open next week as well.

Moving on to the most important part which is the food, the menu has few additional items but is very similar to the old one and still has some of the restaurant’s popular dishes (like the poussin desossé, crepe fait maison etc). Speaking of crepes, and this is great news, the same old women who were at Creperie are back and they’re doing the same amazing crepes!

What’s in the menu?
The menu consists of Salads and Appetizers, Pastas, Meat & Chicken, Fish and desserts.

The salads and appetizers include: a nicoise salad, goat-cheese salad, fresh mozzarella with tomatoes, Quinoa halloumi, Chicken Caesar salad, grilled calamari, smoked salmon, frogs a la provencale and bresaola with parmesan. There are 3 types of pastas, the Tagliatelle Alfredo, the Linguine Fruit de Mer and Penne Sauce Tomate. Steaks and Chicken platters include a filet de boeuf, steak frites, cote de boeuf, entrecote, escalope, tartate de boeuf, home-made burger, chicken escalope a la milanaise and a grilled chicken platter. For the sea-food lovers, there’s a seabass platter, grilled salmon, prawns and two mérou platters. Last but not least, the long list of desserts includes the traditional Baba au rhum, Tarte tatin with vanilla icecream, a cheese cake, tiramisu, chocolat fondant, creme brulee, tarte au chocolate, eclair au chocolat, poire belle Helene, salade de fruits, mille-feuille, icecream and sorbets, and the pain perdu.

Here’s what we ordered and some pictures:

Salads And Appetizers:
– Salade Nicoise a la vinaigrette de vin blanc.
– Salade de chevre chaud, sauce balsamique au miel.
– Salade de tomates, Mozzarella fraiche.
– Quinoa au Halloumi, sauce citron.
– Saumon fume ecossais et son toast.

Steaks:
– Filet de boeuf, haricots verts et carottes, pommes puree.
– Cote de boeuf grille pour deux, pommes au four.
– Pave de saumon, pommes rustiques.
– Crepe fait maison (Jambon, Fromage, Champignon)

Desserts:
– Creme brulee aux gousses de vanille.
– Poire Belle Helene.
– 2 Crepe Marron.
– 1 Crepe Chocolat Noir.
– Baba au rhum

As for drinks, we had a Beaujolais-villages 2012 red wine bottle.

20150419_215851 Salade Nicoise a la vinaigrette de vin blanc

20150419_220033 Quinoa au Halloumi, sauce citron

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20150419_221559 Crepe fait maison (Jambon, Fromage, Champignon)

20150419_223834 Pave de saumon, pommes rustiques.

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20150419_230627 Crepes in the making.

20150419_231627 The famous Crepe Marron (sweet chestnut cream)

20150419_232042 Poire Belle Helene.

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I enjoyed the salads and loved the quinoa. The salmon and mozzarellah were fresh, the steak and vegetables were great, the crepe fait maison was ok, the salmon was good and the desserts were all amazing! I ordered twice the crepe marron (topped with jam) and I highly recommend the Poire Belle Helene! The pain perdu wasn’t available yet so I will try it next time hopefully. All in all, it was a pleasant experience and I loved how simple the food presentation is and how much the new place reminded me of the old one. The new Crêperie has managed to keep the authenticity and originality of the old one with few changes and brought back a lot of memories from the old times.

Price-wise, the menu didn’t have any prices yet but from what I’ve been told, they haven’t change much and the price range will be around 35-50$ per person. La Crêperie will officially open on Tuesday 28th of April 2015. You can contact them on +96171202022. Here’s a link to their [website] and [Instagram] page.

Rating: 4.5/5