27 February, 2023
Eating the Lebanese way: How restaurants in Sydney CBD are slowly ranking Lebanese cuisine as ‘best’

Whether cooking or consuming, food is a language that is spoken all over the world. Traditions are passed down from generation to generation and culture to culture.

Food. Nourishment, sustenance, nutrients, or whatever it is you prefer to call it IS without a doubt, the main focus of Lebanese culture.   

Food brings families, friends and people from all walks of life together for the common good of the community.

Middle Eastern cuisine, particularly Lebanese, is one that tells millions of stories, with centuries of various empires and rulers passing through Lebanon, influencing the country through culture and experiences, best expressed through food.

‘Food culture’ as we know it refers to the practices, views, beliefs and connections made by people which influence the construction, distribution and consumption of food.

Sydney has a very prominent multicultural presence, leading to the opening of some of the best restaurants, representing flavours from all over the world. The food culture of the city is diverse to say the least. One that finds itself shining amongst the masses are the flavours from the humble corners of Lebanon.

A humble restaurant in Sydney CBD showcasing a taste of the best Lebanese cuisine

In Sydney, there is no shortage of worthy Lebanese restaurants. Sprinkled all over the CBD, white-tablecloth restaurants are now serving the charms of Lebanon feastings.

Zahli Restaurant is no stranger to this. Inspired by culture, the restaurant which is tucked away in Surry Hills, starts impressing its guests upon entrance with its humble decor, perfectly fusing Australian, contemporary vibes with ornate, Middle Eastern charms.

From the wall decor to the flooring, the intertwining of Australian and Lebanese vibes is by far a ‘tick’ on the list for restaurants that showcase the best for its patrons.

Lebanese music fills the air, at times featuring lovesick tunes, the crowd is often a sea of seated animations; laughter, chatter and at times, love stories fill the restaurant.

However, the spotlight shines on nothing else when meals are served. The exotic flavours and colours of each meal, not to mention the aroma, fill the restaurant with the warmest vibe of all.

The owner is Mohammad Issmail, who bring generations of his family’s recipes to Sydney, all the way from his hometown, Zahlé in Lebanon. With a vision to serve fresh, robust and affordable meals to Sydneysiders, Zahli Restaurant is an example of the ultimate in customer service.

5 perks of Lebanese restaurants that Sydney CBD should be aware of:  

1 – Lebanese food is quality food
Lebanese food is all about organic, locally grown ingredients. At most, the inclusion of vegetables and fresh herbs are the simplest of ingredients. Lebanese cuisine is full of flavour that will be sure to excite the taste buds. Zahli Restaurant has adopted its home-grown, locally sourced habits from the humble hills of Lebanon and brought them to Sydney CBD. There is nothing less than quality served to each of our guests. Be sure of that.
2 – Lebanese food is affordable
The dining nature of Lebanese cuisine is that of sharing. A mixture of dishes is often served simultaneously;  the platters are shared, the dishes are coupled – nothing works alone, exactly how a dining experience should be. Apart from this, each dish is portioned to feed more than one – partners, groups, parties, anyone and everyone! Zahli Restaurant is the best option for affordable, generous and filling meals.
3 – Lebanese food is full of variety
Stemming from the point above, each and every single Lebanese dish is never served by its lonesome. Hospitality is the mainstream of Lebanese culture. There is never one thing on the table in Lebanon. Zahli Restaurant are proud advocates of this hospitality and knows how well each dish should be coupled with the other! The thing with Lebanese cuisine is that the flavours are meant to be complemented – from dips, to vegetarian meals, to meaty delights. Everything is perfectly conjured to entice your taste buds into mixing it up.
4 – Lebanese food caters to vegans and vegetarians!
Patrons will be delighted to know that many traditional Lebanese foods are naturally vegan. The wide variety of options for vegans and vegetarians make it easy for them to choose a dish that suits them when they dine. In fact, in the early centuries in Lebanon, fish and meat were delicacies and not something that working class people could afford to consume on a daily basis.

Falafel is definitely a popular choice for vegans at a Lebanese restaurant. It is a simple yet delectable dish, prepared with a blend of chickpeas, fava beans, vegetables and spices rolled into individual balls and then deep fried. Finished with some garnishing of pickled cucumber, fresh parsley and tomato, this dish is a hit, not only for vegans! This is why Zahli Restaurant has a variety of vegan and vegetarian options made from fresh, local ingredients, giving them a unique and delicious taste.

Good news vegetarians, the list doesn’t end there. There are delicious entree dips including hummus and baba ghanouj. These mezza options are made with chickpeas, lemon, tahini, olive oil and variety of spices. The choice is yours. Select between fried bread or vegetables to enjoy the array of dips, and we are sure will be wanting more.

Zesty vine leaves are another veggie option that will make your taste buds tingle. Stuffed with rice, tomato, onion, parsley and fresh lemon juice, these little bad boys make it hard to stop at one, two or even three!
5 – Lebanese food is healthy for you
Lebanese food is nothing but good for you. As we mentioned earlier, locally sourced ingredients make for a delicious tasting meal, also contributing to the nutritional value of the food. Lebanese food is fresh and wholesome, incorporating a variety of vegetables, fish, meat and poultry, covering all nutritional criteria. Don’t worry, you will be sure to get your protein, vitamin, carbohydrate and vitamin intake at Zahli Restaurant!
Benefits of choosing a Lebanese meal include:

  • Fresh ingredients
  • Use of spices, no sauces
  • Use of olive oil
  • Low in starch
  • Abundance of vegetables
  • Variety of protein options including lamb

Zahli Lebanese Restaurant is based in Sydney’s CBD and is the perfect location for your next dinner with family or friends. Catering for birthdays, weddings and other special occasions, it is the ultimate spot for your next function.

You will enjoy basking in the ambience of a warm and comfortable atmosphere, transporting you to a world where wine and poetry flow in equal measure. To enjoy a unique dining experience like no other, book your table at Zahli by calling up or making an online reservation today!