Issue No.
179, March 2013 Latest update 9 2014f August 2014, at 4.39 am
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Al-Aresheh Lebanese Restaurant

If you’re after grandeur in an Arabian setting, then this is most definitely the restaurant to head to. Located in the upscale Jacir Palace InterContinental Hotel in Bethlehem, Al-Aresheh is a restaurant where you’ll dine on carefully prepared Oriental specialties, all in a peaceful, relaxed, yet elegant environment. The palace itself is full of architectural splendor, and the restaurant is located in a quaint corner of the second floor. It is not a very spacious restaurant, as it holds less than 10 tables, but not for one moment do you feel smothered. The high ceilings and stone walls bring you back to the essence of the old times, yet blend with the modernity of the casual wooden tables, dark brown parquet floors, and ceiling-to-floor glass windows. The place itself is a combination of old and new, pure tradition mixed with innovation.

I have to be honest and say that I was curious to see what a “Lebanese” menu was like. While many Oriental dishes similar to other local restaurants can be found on the menu, like hummus, sambousek, tabbouleh, and Arabic salad, there were numerous other choices that are not commonly found in other local eateries. So, I suggest ordering numerous hot and cold mezzes, and trying as many dishes as possible. You will not be disappointed. My friends and I ordered several appetizers and the waiter kept bringing us more and more plates to try. One dish was as tasty as the next. Fattoush, labneh with mint, hummus with meat, shanklish, kubbeh orfalieh and neiyeh, jalandi, and mousa’quet betingan were followed by arayes, chicken liver with pomegranate sauce, kubbeh sagieh, pickled beets, stuffed lamb spleen, and pickled olives. After a while, even though we all couldn’t take another bite, I was still trying to scoop a last taste of that heavenly baba ganouj sprinkled with pomegranate and pine nuts. Literally divine!

The restaurant also serves a variety of Arabian entrees, including delicately marinated and grilled meats, poultry, and seafood. Choices include lamb chops, kifta kabobs, shish taouk, and baby chicken in garlic lemon sauce. There are also several fish choices such as denise, salmon, shrimp, and loukus.

If there is any room left, don’t forget to end with any one of the popular sweets, including osmalieh, mafroukeh, qeshtah with honey, or mohallabieh.
The hospitality and warmth of the people of Middle East couldn’t be more clearly represented than in the classic concept of the cuisine of Lebanon, the mezze. The menu of Al-Aresheh is a true reflection of this highly entertaining and welcoming food culture, not to mention the wholesome main dishes that will complete your journey through the whole range of the earthy, robust, aromatic flavors of Lebanese cuisine.

We left truly pleased and satisfied!

Al-Aresheh Lebanese Restaurant is located in Jacir Palace InterContinental in Bethlehem. It can be reached at 02-276-6777, and is open daily from 5:00-11:00 pm.

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