Ali Ibn Abu Taleb Street
Open daily for lunch and dinner
The Patio Restaurant is located within the Christmas Hotel, which is one of the city’s better hotels. The relatively small size of the establishment (37 rooms) gives it the feel of a boutique hotel.
The restaurant occupies a veranda that is enclosed by huge glass doors in winter that trap the sun. In summer and in warm weather, however, the glass doors are thrown open to reveal the splendour of the garden. A well-tended lawn covers most of the garden, with tiled islands here and there, mostly on the sides, where tables of various sizes and shapes are placed. There is lush vegetation all around, with a variety of flowering plants and creepers that cover the garden’s high walls, concealing it from the outside world into a sort of refuge.
Do not bother to order an appetiser here. Specialising in Lebanese food, your waiter will laden the table with an array of salads and hot appetisers that could constitute a meal in themselves. In addition to the ubiquitous humous (which could be also ordered with minced meat and pine nuts) there is foul medames (fava beans), several eggplant salads, baqdunsiyeh (chopped parsley with tehina) and the traditional Arabic salad of finely diced tomatoes, cucumbers and onions enlivened with the addition of green hot pepper. The hot items include crunchy falafel balls, kubbeh, grilled white cheese, and sfiha (meat pizzas).
For a main course (if you still have room for it) consider the mixed grill, the de-boned and grilled chicken breast or msakhan, country bread covered with onions cooked in olive oil on top of which a generous piece of chicken is placed and the whole is baked to perfection.
In addition to fresh fruits in season, there are several home-made desserts such as apple pie, crème caramel, chocolate cake and mhalabiyeh, a milk-based pudding.
Service is prompt and courteous and prices are fair. It is also possible to go there for a drink and to smoke a water-pipe (hubbly-bubbly).