Beirut: retro intimacy and international food at the old mansion of Makan
If you’re looking for a place to take someone on a date in Beirut, Makan should be on top of your list. Unpretentious, stylish, and relaxed your date is bound to love the setting - now it’s up to your personality to do the rest.
If you walked past it, you probably wouldn’t suspect that the old mansion in one of Mar Mikhael’s side streets is home to this gem - you’d probably just be jealous of its luscious front terrace. That’s what makes Makan such a good date spot: the sense of intimacy. Its back garden is “hidden” from the street noise and the dimmed lights in the garden add to the romantic atmosphere. They’ve also added terra cotta pots with candles and jasmine flowers which make the place smell like my idea of summer!
But Makan is more than its garden. You also have the option to eat inside, in one of the most stylish places I’ve been to in Beirut. Owned by the same team that owns multiple guesthouses throughout the city, such as BEYt, it’s a mix and match of old furniture pieces. Quirky with a modern feel - like your grandma’s house if she had let an interior designer work their magic!
As for the food - here’s the catch. Makan’s menu changes every week featuring cuisines from all over the world. If you decide to go, I would, therefore, recommend checking their Facebook page a few days in advance to see whether the featured cuisine suits your fancy.
We chose to book for a Thai night, as it’s one of my boyfriend’s favourite cuisines. The fixed menu didn’t disappoint and the portions were perfect in size. We started off with a cold soup with coconut milk, mango and coriander - it whetted our appetite for more. The appetizers also included a glass noodle salad, a small cucumber salad with peanuts and pickled onions and fresh spring rolls. For the entrees, we had a green curry, a yellow curry with squash, two types of rice and sizzling beef tenderloin with tamarind. The yellow curry and the beef were the absolute winners of the night - I’m definitely going to try to replicate the recipes at home.
Makan’s drinks menu features wines from small and medium Lebanese wineries - a good opportunity to try local wines. And if you’re not into wine the bar seemed to make cocktails as well.
Should you decide to come for lunch, Makan is open during the week offering two menus, a Lebanese and an international one (which changes weekly as well - this week it’s Persian cuisine). I’m definitely going to pop by and try it next time I’m in the area.
As for the price, there’s a fairness element about Makan that I really appreciated: you pay as much as you feel the food was worth. It is a great opportunity to praise (or not) the team for their work - I’m sure that it’s also a motivation to make sure that their menus are always of the best quality.
By the end of my meal, I was extremely happy. Makan’s relaxed vibe and good food were the perfect way to ease into the weekend. Can’t wait to go back!