Every time my brother or my cousins from the States are here on vacation, we have to go have lunch at least once at Manarit el Khalij in Maameltein. The place has been there for years and is consistently good and generous. It has been redecorated and renovated few times and looks as if it’s brand new everytime we go there. It also has a great view of the Mediterranean and the Jounieh bay.

We are first greeted with a large bowl of iced almonds along with some carrots and crackers. Very few places still get you the iced almonds bowl even though they are great.

Afterwards, we are served each a large sliced piece of tomato with sumac (سمّاق) on top and you can add to it garlic and even Arak.

Then we are asked whether we want fish or Machawi. If you choose fish, you have the option to pick the fish by yourself and whether you want it as grilled or fried. They usually have Sultan Ibrahim, Lo2oss and Mallifa among others.

Aside from the main platters, you get to choose from a large variety of cold and hot dishes, basically the regular Lebanese mezza. Portions are relatively big and are all good. Added to that and while you are eating, a waiter with a large basket of hot bread visits the table every 15-20 minutes.

The service is quick and impeccable and the manager is always around to see if there’s any complaint. Once done with the food, you are given rolled hot towels to take out the fish smell.

After the table is cleared, Turkish coffee is served for free for those who want to and dessert is also on the house. You’d think it’s a small dessert but it consists of over 6 types of fruits, Ghandour Biscuits with “Ra7a” and Achta w Assal.

Price-wise, you pay between 30 and 40$ per person alcohol included which I find is very reasonable.