When I heard of a restaurant in a “Disney castle” a couple weeks ago, I knew I had to try it. I missed my first chance when a few friends said they were going out for dinner there the week before but I was busy so I couldn’t make it. As it turns out, they couldn’t figure out where the mysterious castle was so they never made it. Then, on the bus ride back into Beirut from Baalbek a couple weekends ago, we spotted it on the Airport Street behind the Al Aytam Gas Station. Plans were arranged to go there the following week.
The square and spring.
The castle restaurant is called Assaha Lebanese Traditional Village (01 451 513), and it is not only a restaurant but a mini community with a classy hotel, shops in the courtyard, the restaurant, a museum and a health club. The food was spectacular as well. That night, we dined like kings and queens, ordering what seemed like one of everything on the menu and chowing down. Everything was delicious and fresh, from the giant platter of vegetables they gave us while we were waiting for our meals, to the fresh bakes bread that came right out of the oven to our table. The meat was tender and tasty and the dessert pudding was a perfect blend of sweet and spicy. I don’t remember the name of it, but apparently it is a dessert typically eaten when babies are born. I’d say that’s a good way to be brought into this world. They also serve narguile to your table, though we opted out this time.
Our feast, half-demolished.
Yummy soujuk and meat hummus.
After we finished up our long, leisurely dinner and paid the check (a major plus to eating with a lot of people, everyone’s cost goes way down), we went to explore the castle for a bit. It was pretty late at this point, so the whole place was dim and quiet. Small details that made the place so interesting was the indoor square surrounded by souks, a spring, narrow passageways, and a completely glass elevator. Exploring was fun but we eventually had to leave, though I will definitely remember Assaha for a nice group meal in the future, especially in the summer when the restaurant moves in the square and there are colorful flowers in bloom!
Assaha also has similar locations around the world, such as London, Qatar, and Sudan. You can check them out at http://www.assahavillage.com.