From small cafes to fine dining and even a magnificent nightclub, we bring you our pick of the best Lebanese restaurants in the capital:
The buzzing Al Waha in Westbourne Grove is one of the most popular Lebanese restaurants in town. It is known for its vibrant atmosphere as well as its exceptional food. The restaurant moved from its home in Piccadilly to the Notting Hill area. But it still serves up Middle Eastern favourites prepared with traditional techniques. The mezze (starter) includes falafel (£5) and grilled chicken wings (£6); main courses include the mix grill (£13.50) and Lamb Cutlets (£15). Al Waha has won a number of awards, including a 5-star rating from Time Out London, and is regularly praised by London’s food critics.
During lazy summer evenings, Massis offers the right mix of traditional Lebanese dishes and good, reliable shisha, reasonably priced at £20. The Paddington restaurant, well known for its generous portion sizes, has a cozy outside area where shisha is offered during summer. The menu is quite rich in choice, and extremely friendly to vegetarians. Enjoy Halloumi Couscous served with roasted vegetables (£9.50), Falafil Massis (falafel crust with vegetables and pickles – £6.25), or Aubergine stew (£14).
Wholesome Lebanese food, created by chef and founder Tony Kitous, is available at the newly opened branch of Comptoir Libanais on Soho’s Poland Street. The restaurant, with its souk-like setting, is also offering grab-and-go meals and a shop selling Lebanese foodie gifts, hand-crafted accessories, spices and sweets. The Comptoir Libanais Souk Shop takes its inspiration from the vibrant marketplaces of the Middle East. The food at Comptoir Libanais stays true to this tradition, with mezze, salads, dips, soup and warm wraps as well as a selection of pastries and freshly prepared breads. Chicken wings from the hot mezze menu cost £5.25, a mixed grill plate £13.25, and moussakhan (a roasted half chicken marinated in pomegranate molasses and cinnamon), one of the chef’s specials, is priced at £10.95.
If Latin diva Gloria Estefan enjoyed her time here, then maybe you will too. Al Sultan is a Lebanese restaurant in the heart of Mayfair that was founded in 1986. Recently refurbished, the interiors shimmer with multiple shades of gold fit for a sultan, while the outside is a haven for smokers and shisha lovers. The restaurant says that all its meat is halal, and better yet for many, marinated for a minimum of 24 hours. Indulge in a Hummus Shawerma, a dish to celebrate both Middle Eastern delicacies (£8); Tawaya, a dish of fried vegetables and small slices of lamb in tomato sauce (£17); or order a fried Red Mullet with sesame sauce and pita bread (£25).
Al Hamra restaurant is named after a palace in Granada, Southern Spain, and serves up some of our favourite flavours from the Arab world. The restaurant is located in Shepherd Market, affectionately known as the village of Mayfair. It was established in 1984 and is now recognised as one of the foremost Lebanese restaurants offering authentic cuisine in an old-school setting. And for the smokers, Al Hamra also has an outdoor area which serves shisha. The restaurant is busy with both Londoners and visitors from the Middle East, so booking a table is recommended, especially in the summer months. The menu, available in Arabic, offers great Lebanese dishes including Grilled Baby Chicken (£18.50), Baked Dover Sole Fish (£28.75), and Prime Cut of Lamb Fillet (£22.75).
Maroush is something of an institution on London’s Arabic restaurant scene – with more than a dozen outlets, under different brands, across the capital. This branch, at 21 Edgware Road, is the original. Opened by Marouf Abouzaki more than 20 years ago, the first Maroush restaurant is still thriving today – a staple of the Edgware Road experience. The lively two-floor restaurant sits 150 people, with a casual sit-down area on the main floor, and a larger dining room in the basement. The evenings are exceptionally lively, with live Lebanese music and belly dancing until closing time – 2am. The Lebanese food includes favourites such as hummus (£5.75), kibbeh (£6.50), fattoush (£6.25) and mixed grills (£16). Arabic menu available; open 7 days a week.
Maroush V, near Oxford Street, is part of a popular chain formed by Lebanese expatriate Marouf Abouzaki. This branch, on Vere Street, seats 210 across three floors. The basement is particularly lively at night, thanks to the live-music performances put on Wednesday to Sunday (often with belly dancing too). For a quieter spot, head to the mezzanine floor. A plate of Bastrma (Thin slices of smoked beef fillet) from the mezza menu costs £8, roast lamb is £16.50 and a mixed grill costs £17.
The Akkadia Lebanese restaurant on London’s Kensington High Street serves authentic food with plenty of favourites on the menu, from beautiful lamb dishes to mezze like hummus and falafel. The upstairs dining room provides a peaceful refuge from the high street below, and the restaurant also features a takeaway service.
Based in Edgware Road in London Beirut Cafe is a perfect place for a quick authentic Lebanese bite. They are open from breakfast through to midnight. This budget cafe serves all the favourite dishes – from lentil soup (£4.50) to fattoush (£4.95) and shish taouk (£10.50).
If you fancy living the tales and splendour of One Thousand and One Nights, head to the Mamounia Lounge in Knightsbridge, just a few steps away from Harrods.The restaurant and club promises an indulgent Middle Eastern experience through its exotic menu, entertainment shows with DJ nights and belly dancers, and extensive shisha list.
When it comes to food, Mamounia Lounge is just as adventurous, offering modern twists on Lebanese and Moroccan classics. Enjoy the Marrakesh salad, with its mix of chicken, mango, pineapple, and peanuts among other ingredients, all soaked in olive oil and lemon (£9.50); Chakshouka and smoked anchovies, a modern take on the classic Middle Eastern delicacy of fried tomatoes and eggs (£7.50); or the more traditional Moroccan lamb tagine (£18).