The Secrets To Ordering Like A Pro At The Best Lebanese Restaurant In Sydney
Have you ever wondered what Lebanese people eat in a Lebanese restaurant? The secret to enjoying Lebanese food or food from any other culture is to eat like the locals. For those not familiar with Lebanese cuisine, we’ll be sharing the secrets to not just eating like a local in Lebanon, but to appreciating the full beauty of Lebanese food. Remember, to eat like a pro at a Lebanese restaurant, you have to learn from a local.
At Zahli, our chefs and owner were brought up around a Lebanese table. They grew up eating the food, knowing the traditions and understanding that the beauty of Lebanese food is in its simplicity. Our restaurant attempts to replicate that through the authentic flavours of our dishes. However, to fully appreciate a Lebanese meal, you have to understand how to order and how to eat.
Understanding how to eat Lebanese food means departing from what you know
For many who are unfamiliar with Lebanese culture and food, the way our food is enjoyed may be considered counterintuitive. Reflective of our hospitality and appreciation of friends and family, we share dishes. This is a departure from what most people are accustomed to, however, it’s how our dishes were developed over time and how they are best enjoyed at our restaurant.
Let’s now dive into our secrets for eating at our Lebanese restaurant.
1: Mezza – order to share
In Lebanese cuisine, we have the concept of mezza. Mezza is a selection of small dishes served as appetizers that are meant to be shared. At Zahli, we offer both hot and cold mezza dishes. When you’re at our restaurant, it’s fair to order at least three mezza dishes to share with your table. Usually, a mix of dips, meats and veggie mezzas are ordered and enjoyed before and alongside the main portion of the meal.
2: Don’t forget the bread
Ordering bread with a meal is not practised in some cuisines, however, it’s an absolute must at a Lebanese restaurant. Many mezza dishes require bread to be enjoyed (e.g. hommos and labneh). It can also be filled with grilled meat, dips and salad.
At Zahli, we offer three types of bread:
- Lebanese pita bread (flatbread with a unique pocket shape); Lebanese gluten-free pita bread (a gluten-free version of the flatbread); Crispy za’atar bread (fried bread sprinkled with oregano is often used for enjoying dips. You can also find crispy za’atar bread in Zahli’s fattoush.)
3: Enjoy coffee before, during and after your meal
Lebanese people love coffee. There’s never a wrong or right time to enjoy coffee – it’s enjoyed throughout the meal. Don’t be afraid to offer coffee before, during or after your meal. However, we do find that coffee pairs well with dessert and is a great way to end your meal.
4: Pickles often make the meal
You’d never think of ordering pickles at a table, however, it’s an important and complementary part of Lebanese meals. At Zahli, we offer a mixed pickle plate that includes turnips, cucumber and green chillies. The sharpness of the pickles pairs well with many dishes, particularly shawarma chicken. Don’t miss out on the unique flavour that Lebanese pickles bring to the table.
Unsure of how to order at our restaurant?
There’s absolutely no shame in being overwhelmed by our menu or not understanding how to order for your group. We know that we offer several dishes, in fact, we’re proud of it, especially if it means that we afford our customers more options. However, if you aren’t sure about ordering at a Lebanese restaurant, consider the following:
- Ask our servers – Our servers will be delighted to guide you through our menu, make recommendations and help you determine how many dishes are appropriate for your table. Feel free to ask them for help whenever you dine at our restaurant.
- Research – Lebanese people have a very special way of ordering and dining, so there’s a lot of help available online. Before you visit any Lebanese restaurant, don’t be afraid to research dishes and customs. You’ll find that it will make your experience much more meaningful.
We hope our tips help you to enjoy your dining experience at Zahli or any other best Lebanese restaurant that you visit. Our way of enjoying food is near and dear to our hearts and we hope that you can appreciate it as much as we do.
At Zahli, we take the traditions of our people seriously and aim to do every dish justice. Our restaurant is here to provide you with a culinary experience like no other. Call us on (02) 9318 2228 to reserve a table or for pick-up orders.