Kahwet Leila: old Beirut with a touch of modernity

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Kahwet Leila is a traditional Lebanese cafe-restaurant with a modern and unique cuisine. Knowing how big your love for Lebanese food is, we decided to tell you all there is to know about this wonderful place.

Replacing a beloved landmark is never an easy task, especially when this landmark is none other than “Kahwet el-‘Ezez” (The Glass Cafe).
Back in 2010, Kahwet Leila took up this challenge in a bid to preserve the reputation that was left behind by the legendary Kahwet el-Ezez… three years later, Kahwet Leila did more than just that.

Salads, Kaak, Shawarma, traditional and modern beverages… Kahwet Leila’s menu is an unusual mix of old and new, East and West enjoyed in a unique setting.

The one and only: Kahwet Leila
The one and only: Kahwet Leila

Whether you’re visiting for an early breakfast, dropping by for a quick lunch or enjoying a long dinner with friends, you will definitely be “eatertained”.

Atmosphere and setup ♦♦♦♦♦
As soon as you step inside Kahwet Leila, you feel like you just went back 50 years, like you were walking into the cafe from Rue Gouraud in the 1950’s.

The setup is very traditional, the space is very well used. The white chairs inside are very comfortable, even though they look old (they are not).

Couch-chairs are available for tables on the outside, which in my opinion is the perfect place to sit on and enjoy Gemmayze, at night.

The people behind the Kahwet Leila concept paid a great attention to detail, and it shows.

The Salad Bar is a must-try.
The Salad Bar is a must-try.

There is a reminder of old Lebanon in every corner, and wherever you set your eyes on. A Ghandour box, the old Pepsi bottle with the old logo, an old cookie box here a spice or olive jar there… who doesn’t miss that.

The cafe is very much alive all day, all night. The music is just what you would expect you listen to if you were at a Beirut cafe 50 years ago.

The entertainment is what sets the cafe apart from other places in Lebanon. It is truly an authentic traditional Lebanese atmosphere. Expect to listen to musicians playing the Oud to Fairuz songs, to the late Wadih el-Safi’s song and others.

The food♦♦♦♦
The menu is slightly similar to the Leila restaurant menu, but it has its own unique meals. The Kahwet Leila Salad Bar itself is a revolution to Lebanese cuisine. The bar has everything you would expect, I especially loved the fried eggplants, and the quinoa Tabboule they are delicious! However, I do think a wider choice of dressings should be available.

Club Baladeh.
Club Baladeh.

The Mezze is perfect, I would recommend the spicy hummus: a traditional hummus neatly paired with the right spices for an amazing taste.

In the Kaak and Club section, I advise you to try the Club Balade and the Club Sandwish el-Kahwe… those two meals are a Kahwet Leila specialty and without a doubt one of the highlights of their menu.

Club Sandwish el-Kahweh
Club Sandwish el-Kahweh

Every single meal is served at the right temperature, they are neatly presented in generously large plates. So yes the Mezze portions are more than enough when you’re dining out with friends.

The Service ♦♦♦♦♦
The waiters at Kahwet Leila are overly friendly, the will go out of their way to help you out with the menu, to find you the perfect table to sit or just to answer any request you may have.

Lahmeh Ras Asfour
Lahmeh Ras Asfour

The staff is always on guard, they know when they should take your plate or whether or not they should keep it. They do not harass you even if you are enjoying that one last sip from your drink or that one last bite from your Club Balade.

Value ♦♦♦♦
Kahwet Leila is a very affordable place especially if you are dropping by for a quick coffee. Meals are reasonably priced, given the fact that you are at a high standards cafe-restaurant.

Verdict ♦♦♦♦
All in all, I think Kahwet Leila is without a doubt the only high quality authentic Lebanese cafe-restaurant. I think the people behind this concept worked hard in order to let their customers enjoy such a unique experience.

☼ Kahwet Leila’s website
☼ Kahwet Leila’s Facebook page
☼ Address: Beirut, Gemayze, Gouraud Street.
☼ Opening hours : Mon – Sun: 12:00 pm – 1:00 am
☼ Telephone: (+961) 01 561 888 / 70 184 033