Beiruiti Restaurant serves specialty Lebanese dishes in a space attached to a sprawling grand cafe by the same owners. Everything here is prepared by hand and mostly served sharing-style.
Many Toronto Lebanese restaurants are actually serving Lebanese street food, whereas at restaurants like Damas and Sirene de la Mer in Montreal more upscale renditions are featured. Beiruti aims to provide Toronto with more of the latter.
The restaurant space is dim, elegant and luxurious, all velvet curtains and ostentatious light fixtures and sculptural elements.
Hummus ($8) is a typical cold mezza, these usually served first.
Kibbe nayeh ($16) is a beef tatare dish drenched in olive oil elegantly presented rolled in bulger, sesame, pistachio and black sesame garnished with mint, onion and pine nuts. It’s a potent dish that can be eaten with pita or on its own for even more punch.
Raheb ($10) brings artistry to the peeling of roasted eggplant stuffed with beef and tomato sauce served crispy pita, roasted almond slivers and pomegranate seeds.
Shanklish ($12) is deconstructed into layers of aged feta with black seeds, tomato and scallion. Combine the layers with the swipe of a pita for a bright and fresh salad.
Warak Inab ($10) are served in an order of six bitter rolled vine leaves offset by yogurt and lemon.
Fattoush ($10) sticks more to the homestyle version of the chopped salad of tomatoes and cucumber but presents toasted pita in pretty strips.
Riyash ($24) or grilled lamb chops in a portion of four are, if you can believe it, actually a substantial hot mezza, served on a luscious layer of labneh with couscous.
Rkaykat ($12) are a little lighter, an order of six hand-wrapped filo cigars stuffed with akawi and halloumi.
Arnabit ($10) carefully puts a head of cauliflower back together using the individually fried pieces, a crunchy and buttery veggie dish that goes perfectly with the pool of torator sauce it sits in.
Mains consist of mixed grill platters like kefta tawouk ($20) with chicken shish tawouk and beef kefta.
Up it to $30 to add a filet mignon kebab for the Trio Grill, or opt for the Urfa Kebab of grilled kefta with eggplant which serves two.
Kebbe Labaniyeh ($18) is a less typical dish of kibbeh cooked in yogurt with a classic flavour combination of mint and paprika. Olive oil and chili accent this tangy yet creamy and comforting chef’s specialty.
Lebanese spirit arak typically accompanies these extravagant meals.
It’s served one part arak to two parts water which tones down the medicinal flavour drastically, and here they’re using the Ksarak, the best Lebanese brand.
Thankfully, huge tables are capable of holding massive parties at this spacious restaurant.