36m - This place is for the Italian purist, the lover of authenticity. No menus...
50 years and going strong: Welcome to Le Chef
Not far from the St Nicolas Steps, on Gemmayzeh’s Gouraud Street is Le Chef, a well-known and much-loved, small restaurant that attracts a healthy mix of loyal locals and visitors, keeping it busy all year round. The family-run business was set up over 50 years ago and managed to survive throughout the war years, still.
Regulars are greeted with a booming “Welcome” by Le Chef aka Charbel and promptly given the update on daily specials, which cover the gamut of local home-made cuisine. Locals tend to go for the “plat du jour” (daily specials) more than foreigners who taste their way through the mezze.
Daily specials include dishes Le Chef will gladly explain to the non-initiated such as “kebbe” (bulgur, onions and lean red meat), “moujadara” (lentil stew), “mouloukhie” (stew made from leaves of the same name), “kharouf mehsheh” (stuffed mutton) or “siyyadieh” (fish dish) that can be paired with salads. Desserts include cheesecakes and caramel puddings as well as local specialities such as “meghle”, rice pudding and “mhalabie”.
Le Chef is like an Eastern European eatery, the functional interior is not much to write home about except for the wall painting signed Joseph Chamoun, adding a Tretchikoffesque note. It is a perfect spot to sample local food at a reasonable rate but not a place where you linger. Le Chef is also popular with nearby office workers who enjoy the quick walk and the healthy portions that never require a long wait.
Le Chef is a “must do” Beiruti destination, open 6 days a week (Mondays to Saturdays from 10am to 12am) and also does deliveries.