Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Lunch at Liza - Beirut, Lebanon

I came across Liza restaurant Beirut on Instagram, and have wanted to dine there (when a trip to Lebanon was in order) ever since.  The place was magical in a sense. Historical yet modern.  So it was the first restaurant we head to for the first meal (excluding the hotel's breakfast buffet) after booking a table through our hotel concierge for lunch.  When we arrived to the homelike premises set in Achrafieh area, we were taken back by how it transferred us to the yesteryear, even though we weren't born at the time, something about the place just made it easy to psychologically time travel to old Beirut.  This was the second opened restaurant, Paris being the home of the first restaurant. Inside everything looked incredible beyond words. 
Marble and brass.
Gold and ivory.
Contrasting wallpapers.
Different wallpapers adorned each rooms.
Liza served Lebanese cuisine with a simple twist.  Half the place was taken over by upper class local women party.  The section occupied was the most beautiful in the restaurant.  I think the high point of the design was the actual wallpapers used, especially the banana room (pictured below). Luckily for me, the manager came up to our table and mentioned that he was my cousin's friend and offered to show me around and give me a bit of history of the place.  I found out there was truly a story behind this house turned to restaurant, one of the main reasons owners Liza and Ziad Asseily chose this place to turn their dream into reality.  Wanting to own this place and turn it into a restaurant.  The food was good, the dessert was what blew me away.  Presentation and taste!  The manager's recommendation and complimentary dessert platter to try their signature options.  We enthusiastically devoured everything, and my ultimate favorite was both the Biscuit Ghandour Rose Lokum (biscuit sandwich with Turkish delight rose icecream) and Sfouf bel Laktine (pumpkin and saffron dessert pictured below). 
Address: Metropolitan Club Doumani Street,
 Trabaud, Achrafieh, Beirut
Opening times: 
Tues-Sun 
Lunch 12:30 pm - 3:30 pm
Dinner 8:00 pm - 11:30 pm
 Brunch Sunday 12:00 - 4:00 pm
Closed Sunday nights and Mondays

Friday, July 24, 2015

My Stay at Le Gray Hotel - Beirut, Lebanon

I haven't been to Lebanon more than a decade.  And when I did I visited Beirut only three times in three consecutive years, I didn't like it much.  It was all about people watching.  I did love the food though, they have one of the best cuisines in the world.  Super sweet locals. It was naturally a beautiful country, with its green mountains.  We've visited various mountain towns which had great sea an city views, the weather was always beautiful in Lebanon.  There's Faraya, which is famous for skiing. At the time, we usually stayed at the famous classic luxurious Phoenicia Intercontinental Hotel Beirut, it was the best at the time and its still one of the best now.  After that things were not stable in the country for a while, and still are but less so. Anyways, earlier this year, we had to go to Beirut on two short visits for a specific reason, the first being for 3 days.  This time I wanted to stay somewhere different, a newer hotel.  Le Gray boutique hotel was nicely situated by the famous Solidere, which is Beirut's downtown.  When we used to travel to Beirut before, it was all about shopping in Solidere in the daytime and dining or having coffee there in the nighttime.  Now things changed and have been different for some years now.  Because of various conflict in the area, its more deserted now, but there's a few new establishments around which are really nice.  The hotel was small but really nice, not that I liked the interiors, it was okay.  But it was a nice neigborhood and the restaurants are really good.

من زمان مو رايحة لبنان تقريبا عشر سنين ووقتها ما كنت حابة بيروت وايد.  الطلعات ما يازتلي الناس تروح تشوف الناس.  الحلو في لبنان جوها والمناظر وخاصة المناطق فوق الجبال مثل فريا واللي مشهورة بالتزلج على الجبال.  المنظر على بيروت والبحر من فوق كان روعة.  غير جذي المطبخ اللبناني هو من أحلى المطابخ بالعالم.  لكن بالنهاية الجو العام مو جوي ولهذا السبب ما كنت اروح مع أهلي لما كانوا يروحون عقب وطبعا بعد الأزمات السياسية تغيرت وايد لبنان وخفت السياحة عنها شوية.  المهم في زيارتي لها هالسنة وهي عبارة عن زيارتين قصيرتين ومتقاربين لأن كان عندي بعض الأشغال اخترت اني أجرب فندق غير فندق انتركونتيننتال فينيسيا اللي كنا متعودين نسكن فيه لأن وقته كان أحلى وأرقى فنادق المدينة.  سكنا في فندف لو قري وهو فندق بوتيك صغير عند حي السوليدير. موقع ممتاز مع ان سوليدير حاليا مو نفسها أيام اللي كنت أروح لبنان.  الفندق زين الغرف العادية والمطاعم حلوة. أنصح فيه بسبب موقعه الممتاز

Friday, July 17, 2015

A Friend's Experience: Trip to Bodrum, Turkey

My friend and her family first time visit to the port city of Bodrum in Turkey.  A place that comes to life in the summer.  They chose to stay at Kempinski Hotel Barbaros Bay Bodrum, which in my opinion is the best resort choice.  She thought it was nicer than most hotels there because it had a private and quiet beach.  They also visited the new Jumeirah Bodrum Palace, which she also thought was beautiful, being bigger than Kempinski, but their beach wasn't private because of nearby hotels.  They also visited Palmarina which was previously known as Port Bodrum Yalikavak Marina and has been recently developed.

زارت صديقتي وأهلها مدينة بودروم الساحلية في تركيا وهي مدينة سياحية أفضل وقت لزيارتها هو بالصيف.  اختاروا منتجع كمبنسكي بارباروس بي وهو برأيي أفضل اختبار عائلي في بودروم.  رايها ان الشاطيء أحلى من غيره لأن خاص بالفندق.  أيضا زاروا الفندق الجديد جميرا بودروم بالاس وكلوا في مطعم سي قريل للمأكولات البحرية والستيكات وعجبهم.  زاروا بورت بالمارينا واللي كان اسمه من قبل بورت بودروم ياليكافاك مارينا وتم تجديده

Jumeirah Bodrum Palace
منتجع جميرا بودروم بالاس
Palmarina Port
بورت بالمارينا
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