Luxury and Lebanese cuisine seamlessly combine at Em Sherif, the top culinary destination in the centre of Beirut. At the head of the operation is restaurateur Mireille Hayek, the self-taught chef who, after discovering a love of cooking for her family, strove to offer hungry diners in her city the best home-away-from-home gastronomic experience.
The restaurant is truly a family affair, named after Hayek’s son – the moniker means ‘mother of Sherif’ – and with her daughter Yasmina leading the charge as executive chef. Having grown up surrounded by food, Yasmina found a natural path in the culinary arts and trained in London’s top kitchens as well as at the world-renowned Institut Paul Bocuse in Lyon before joining her mother on Em Sherif’s pass.
Featuring endemic produce, traditional recipes and ancient culinary techniques from all over Lebanon, the menu is a true ode to the country's aromas. Presented as a procession of 30 dishes designed to share, it whisks diners on a journey of flavour discovery guided by the friendly and knowledgeable staff.
The tasting menu offers delights such as kreidis mechweh – succulent, marinated grilled prawns –, the crowd favourite beef tartare, and batata w kharouf of pulled lamb with potato mash and peppercorn sauce. It’s worth saving room for dessert, which comes in the form of atayef bouza achta, a Lebanese pancake stuffed with clotted cream ice cream, and a homemade mulberry sorbet.
The jaw-dropping array of dishes is complemented by the opulent setting: the dining room is bedecked with low-hanging chandeliers and ornate golden mirrors, while the sound of trickling fountains and taarab music drifts over the scene.
Catering to guests’ every whim with faultless service and unparalleled Lebanese fare, Em Sherif is the deserving winner of the Art of Hospitality Award 2023.
The Art of Hospitality Award is a special recognition for excellence in restaurant service and dining experiences. It is voted for by over 200 independent restaurant industry experts and well-travelled gourmets from across the MENA region.
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