February 07, 2013

Falafel Le Zyriab 1 2 13

As beautiful as Paris can be, it is not rich in restaurants with grand views or open terraces. Le Zyriab, perched high in the sky on the 9th floor of the architecturally modern Institut du Monde Arabe on the Left Bank, fills that bill. Even if you don’t intend to dine there (and you should) you can take the elevator up to the terrace floor just to admire the spectacular view: Notre Dame is almost in your face. The towers of Montmartre and the Bastille are there for your eyes to explore. The cuisine here is authentically Lebanese, and comes from the omnipresent house of Noura, which has several restaurants, cafes, catering shops and patisseries around the city. (See for details.) The dining room, which seats 90 guests indoors, is bright, spacious and comfortable, and each table offers diners a stunning view. Service is efficient and warm, and the food clean, clear, well-seasoned and memorable. All the favorites are there, from the refreshing parsley-rich tabbouli to a particularly spicy version of the chickpea puree, hommos Beyrouti. The thick, white drained laban cheese comes well-adorned with crisp cucumbers, and the falafel (deep fried balls of seasoned chick peas) arrives crisp, crusty, moist, and satisfying.

Do try the mixed grill, kebabs of moist, seasoned chicken breasts, lamb, as well as a particularly assertive version prepared with ground lamb.. I could easily make a meal of the yeasted flatbreads --- including manakiche, a pizza-like pleaser topped with zaatar, or a local blend of thyme leaves, sesame seeds, sumac,  and the lamb-stuffed arayes, a dish that with a touch of leban could become a major snack of its own. There’s a good list of Lebanese wines, and we loved the  white  Chateau Kefraya from Lebanon Bekaa Valley, a complex blend of Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc,  Ugni Blanc, and Chardonnay. This is a great place to go with a group, so one can share in a multitude of flavors

LE ZYRIAB BY NOURA, INSTITUT DU MONDE ARABE, 1 rue des Fossés Saint-Bernard,Paris 5, Tel: +33 1 55 42 55 42

Métro: Cardinale-Lemoine. Open: lunch only Tuesday-Sunday. Dinner Friday & Saturday. Closed Monday. Lunch: 45€ menu. A la carte, 35 to 45€. Dinner: A la carte 35-55 € Reservations: Recommended

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