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“A wonderful and RARE find in Beirut”

RARE The Restaurant
Ranked #103 of 826 Restaurants in Beirut
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $25 - $40
Cuisines: European
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic
Dining options: Private Dining, Reservations
Description: Open in one of the oldest food establishment locations in Beirut, Rare features a menu prepared by one of the best local chefs who is known for her extreme passion towards food and her awesome engineering of flavors and creativity while creating a dish, a graduate of the famous Paul Bocuse Institute in Lyon France, delicious food and beautiful historic venue built in the early 1800s.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
2 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“A wonderful and RARE find in Beirut”
Reviewed October 30, 2013

On my recent and first visit to Lebanon, a friend and I dined at RARE, at the urging of another friend. In short, this restaurant is a unique and rare find in Beirut. Of all the restaurants we visited during our ten-day stay, RARE was unmatched in its multifaceted excellence.

To start, it has all the elements of the famed Beirutian restaurants you might have heard about, but without the air of pretention and bad service which is all too common in such restaurants, also known as tourist traps. RARE strikes the perfect balance between great food, a welcoming and convivial setting, and a magnificently rustic decor which is the perfect combination of both classic and modern.

Charmingly tucked away in Aschrafieh, this family-owned establishment ensures that every patron receives the warmest welcome. The menu is a testament to the chef’s creative genius and talent for making pairings which will delight your palate. The rich wine list speaks for itself and the sommelier's knowledge. What I loved most is its diverse menu, with just the right number of items; there is nothing worse than a menu that’s long as a novel and confuses length for diversity.

The restaurant has beautiful stone walls and vaulted ceilings which are reminiscent of traditional Lebanese architecture. Adding a modern touch, the walls are adorned with irregularly shaped mirrors and quotes which prompt you to pause and reflect. All these elements, together with the unique chandeliers, the black-red contrast of the tables and chairs, and the soft lighting, make for an unforgettable setting.

The wait staff is very attentive, polite, and well-trained in asking patrons the right questions, before recommending a dish. My friend and I shared the ravioli as a starter. The filling was the perfect consistency and the pasta was plated over a delectable sauce which left me wanting to do something abhorrent to social convention: lick my plate.

Having heard of RARE's reputation for having the best and freshest moules in town, I ordered the moules-frites, which gave me a new appreciation for a dish I rarely order. I am happy to report that RARE lives up to it's reputation. The day after our return to Washington, DC, we dined in one of DC's "finest" restaurants, a Belgian establishment. Remembering our experience at RARE, we were unimpressed by the Belgian restaurant's moules-frites.

Next, I tasted the seabass my friend ordered. It was not just deliciously meaty, but accompanied by something you rarely come across: risotto cooked to perfection. Desert featured a triple layer pie with coffee, creamy mousse, and a hint of banana. I had never tasted such a combination and didn't instinctively expect it all to work together but was pleasantly surprised. This is further evidence that RARE is on the cutting edge of Beirutian culinary creation and innovation.

The meal was concluded with the greatest of honors, a visit from the chef, who came over to ask us how we enjoyed our meal and whether anything could be improved. I find this to be the mark of an extraordinary chef, one whose personal mission is to learn from each patron’s experience.

To sum, more restaurants in Beirut need to take a page out of RARE’s playbook. Rare doesn’t put up a front (like many other restaurants) and excels in tasteful simplicity. Bravo to the owners who have succeeded in introducing familial warmth, great cuisine, and a relaxing atmospheres to a restaurant scene that has become overly preoccupied with maintaining the illusion of Western poshness.

Needless to say, we have many reasons to look forward to our next visit.

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
6 Thank Moussa T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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51 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    34
    12
    2
    2
    1
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Beirut, Lebanon
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Bad experience”
Reviewed October 26, 2013

Had a bad experience: ribeye was cold, mussels were not fresh... Will not come back to this restaurant

  • Visited October 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
3 Thank Larachammas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
w_haddad, Owner at RARE The Restaurant, responded to this review, October 28, 2013
Dear Lara,
When I got an email notification that we got a bad review about for Rare I got worried, but then I read your review and was relieved!
Mussels at RARE are only served Wed till Sat for a reason and that reason is that our mussels come via air shipment on Wed and Fri directly from Holland. The shelf life of Mussels is one week however we only serve them within 2 days, hence i cannot even understand or find a way for them not to be fresh.
Seeing that this is your first ever review I feel bad that you started your restaurants reviewing with a bad review. I hope in the future you will be better satisfied and that you will find restaurants that serve food fresher than same day arrival.
Best of luck and again i am terribly sorry for your bad experience.
Wael Haddad
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Rare gem!”
Reviewed September 23, 2013

I visited rare on three different occasions in three different seasons! Had a warm and delicious onion soup on a rainy night! The second time I tried the chicken with locsl cheese and it was mouthdropping
On a hot summerish day, try the quinoa salad: healthy, crunchy refreshing, and light: will allow space for the unmissable dessert; banoffee tart...make sure you save a piece for me! Sahtein!

  • Visited October 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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Helpful?
4 Thank haniach
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Beirut, Lebanon
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“The best food in a great atmosphere”
Reviewed September 15, 2013

I just love this restaurant ! Not only the delicious steak but all the dishes are really unique; a special taste and presentation as well .. A warm atmosphere and a very friendly owner. I love the fusion of the old and modern decor at the same time. Feels like home, can be a great choice for a romantic tete a tete dinner, a joyfull friends gathering or a business dinner as well ..

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
3 Thank NBJK2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Great place ! Love the food!”
Reviewed July 10, 2013

It's not the first time we go to Rare. We used to have steaks or mussels but this time we decided to try The seabass with black rice and it was just awesome ! Will go back for sure to try more of the new items on the menu...

  • Visited July 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
4 Thank CarineBe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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