The United Arab Emirates prides itself on being the epicenter of world class experiences for every aspect of lifestyle. This includes quality of life, hotel, home and apartment living, shopping malls, schools and of course restaurants. With that understanding in mind and stomachs hungry for Lebanese (considered the essential middle Eastern expression of cuisine) we booked ourselves for a visit at Li Beirut known as the best Lebanese Restaurant in the UAE.
The Restaurant is located in the heart of Abu Dhabi’s fast growing center. Along the iconic Corniche which boasts beaches and blue gulf on one side and some of the most impressive towers currently going up in the Emirates on the other side. The Li Beirut location is convenient for guests of the Jumeirah Hotel and local visitors too.
It is situated within the expansive Etihad Towers complex. This includes complimentary valet parking, a luxury shopping gallery and the lobby and public areas of the Jumeirah hotel. The restaurant is well marked and sits on the Podium Level Two of the tower.
A reservation is required and lunch hours are from noon till 3pm. Dinner takes place from 7pm till Midnight. Dress is business casual. In August dinner only is served.
Upon entry we found the environment to be sharp and chic. There is a lot of use of dark woods, stone, some Arabic stylization and red lighting. The reservation was immediately recognized and the staff had reserved two tables for our use, one inside and outside. Besides the private dining area, the restaurant looks as if it can serve 50 people comfortably. It gives off an atmosphere of elegance and exclusivity, from the treatment by the attentive and quick staff to the spaces between the tables.
Our menu and specials were explained and dispatched. The waiter made recommendations based on our preferences and the food was indeed delicious. The Chef masterpieces each creation and the kitchen is a true workshop, a place of creation and innovation. Towards the end of the meal the chef stopped by to make sure everything was to our liking.
Dishes are odes to traditional Arabic and more specifically Lebanese specialties. Some remarkable platters are Foie Gras Kebbeh as a starter, Zaatar Crusted Rack of Lamb as a main dish or the Arabic Mixed grill for the real meat lovers. Vegetarians will find many pleasant options available too. The BaBa Ghanoush, and many of the Cold and Hot Mezzeh plates feature rich cheeses, hummus, tahine and savory vegetables.
The menu has a succulent wine list which features a good sampling of Lebanese wines by the glass and bottle. For dessert the Blood Orange Crème Brulee is without equal, its saffron, peanut butter, vanilla bean and peach accompaniments just give a surreal tasting experience to top off an already succulent meal. Best of all this restaurant is a very agreeable price considering it is the best of its kind in the nation. It is a fraction of what one would pay for a top restaurant anywhere else in a world class city.