The U.S. government strongly urges U.S. citizens in Lebanon to exercise extreme caution and to avoid hotels, western-style shopping centers, including western-style grocery chain stores, and any public or social events where U.S. citizens normally congregate, as these sites are likely targets for terrorist attacks for at least the near term.
After reading the U.S Embassy warning to its citizens who are currently in Lebanon, I thought I share some of the not so Western-Style places that American Tourists, at least those adventurous enough to stay in Lebanon, could safely visit:
1- Al Falamanki – Sodeco, Beirut
One of my favorite chillout spots in Beirut. Great Lebanese Food, Old Arabic songs all in a beautiful setting. Arguile and Backgammon also available. All the items on the menu are “Lebanonized”, even the “Red Bull“.
2- 3al Baladi – Jeita
If you don’t want to stay in Beirut, you can always head to 3al Baladi in Jeita. Labneh, Bayd Baladi, Saj, Chanklish and of course Arak Baladi. There’s also Arabic entertainment (one-man show), which I would never go to personally, on weekends.
3- Al Saniour Sea view – Maameltein
Arguile and Beer over a great view of the Jounieh Bay. This place has a style of its own when it comes to food as it has a Scud and a Patriot Man2oushe on the menu (I kid you not!).
4- Kasr el Helou – Tripoli
Despite all the armed clashes in Tripoli, Kasr el Helou is the safest place in town as everyone from all around Lebanon (except Douaihy) loves that place. Try the Halawit el Jeben and the Sfee7a.
5- Furn el Sabaya (The Ladies’ Oven) – Amchit
Picture via Paty
This is an authentic Lebanese (Not so Western-ZWZ-like) Furn. It is run by three ladies (Lorenza, Martha and Lucy) who serve their visitors unique and delicious home-made food. They take pride in their food and have been delivering the same quality for almost 20 years now. Read more about it [here].
6- Afif: Emperor of Lahm Baajeen
Even though this guy only serves Manakish, you could spend the day there listening to his stories and jokes. He speaks 3 languages (At least he tries to) and is more interested in making you laugh than finishing your Man2oushé.
7- Massaad – Zahle
Massaad is known as the best place to eat Taouk in Lebanon. It is located in Zahle and it is apparently recommended to have a Zehlewi with you when you’re ordering.
8- Al Sa’eh Library (مكتبة السائح)- Tripoli
Even though the decades-old library got torched by some idiots, all of Tripoli is working to restore this precious library back to what it was. The library is owned by a Greek Orthodox Priest and contains tons of documents and books on Islam.
9- Mir Amin Palace
If you want to know how Lebanese are able to have fun and enjoy life despite the troubles in their country, go visit the Mir Amin Palace and you’ll forget about everything.
You can’t visit Beirut and not try the best shawarma in the world.
11- Falafel Joseph – Sin el Fil
The most famous Falafel place in Lebanon. During the Christian fasting, you could wait up to 1 hour to get a Falafel Sandwich.
12- Jeita Grotto
It’s probably the safest place to be in Lebanon because Lebanese never go there (they’d rather have arguile), even though it’s a wonder of nature (Not one of the 7 new wonders though).
13- Cave Al Siwan – Mayrouba
Good Lebanese Food, Loud Arabic Music and an out of the ordinary cave. It doesn’t get better (and safer) than that.
14- Saida’s Soap Museum
A charming place to visit when you are visiting Saida. Make sure to pass by El Baba sweets and try Knefe there.
15- Kaak el Asmar – Ehden
Ehden is one of the most beautiful and peaceful towns in Lebanon, and Kaak el Asmar is the best Kaak in Lebanon. Everytime someone’s coming down from Ehden, I ask them to bring along Kaak from el Asmar. They’re heavenly and taste much better than the stuff we have in Beirut.
I know there are tons of places I could add on this list, but I think it’s a good start for now.