At Maison Issa in the 15th arrondissement, chef Hassan Issa brings the best of Lebanese flavours to your plate with a menu packed with fabulous shawarmas and mezze dishes. For just €10, you can get a tasty shawarma sandwich served with falafel and a dessert of your choice, an excellent and affordable weekday lunch treat. On Sundays the space offers an epic feast for brunch (€18-€20, €14 for kids).
Baladi may not look like much – but rest assured they know what they’re doing in the kitchen; producing simple, fresh Lebanese food from hummus to lamb skewers. Customers queue around the clock for their mezzes, dish of the day and sandwiches. Expect the stars of Lebanese cuisine: hummus, baba ghanoush, labneh, falafel, sambousek, fattoush, tabbouleh or mujaddara. Either go ‘à la carte’ for small hot and cold portions at €4-6 each, or, better still, opt for the assorted platters, like the €9.50 ‘Baladi’.
If you’re looking for high-quality, good value Lebanese cuisine, Libshop is a very safe bet. Eat in or use their efficient home/office delivery service. From the delicately spiced red lentil soup with bulgur wheat and herbs (maybe a little on the salty side, but absolutely worth the €6), to their perfectly smoky baba ganoush, tabbouleh and delicious shawarma, this is good, colourful Lebanese food. The sandwiches are another great option at €5 each.
If you’re looking to eat well without spending too much at lunchtime, Chez Nagi is the place. Unfortunately a lot of other people in the area know this too and by 12.30 there are no more tables so it’s best to make a reservation. There’s a lot (and we mean a lot) to choose from on this menu so go for the set menu (€14-18) which includes a wide choice of mezze dishes, skewers, tea and a dessert. We opted for their must-try hummus and the perfectly balanced baba ghanoush.
Liza Soughayar's restaurant showcases the style and superb food of contemporary Beirut. Lentil, fried onion and orange salad is delicious, as are the kebbe (minced seasoned raw lamb) and grilled halloumi cheese with home-made apricot preserve. Main courses such as minced lamb with coriander-spiced spinach and rice are light, flavoursome and well presented. Try one of the excellent Lebanese wines to accompany your meal.
With its pretty pink tablecloths, black leather seats and glittering chandeliers, Assanabel is a kitsch and cosy place to spend an hour two over a Lebanese meal. The menu offers hot and cold dishes that include grilled meats, fish, salads and platters. You can compose your own mezze selection (€5-€7.50) or opt for a set menu: tabbouleh, hummus, mouttabal or labneh with a plat du jour (€16), or veal or lamb shawarma, hummus, tabbouleh and dessert (€18).
A beautiful terrace on the roof of the Institut du Monde Arabe, Le Zyriab by Noura isn’t just a high class Lebanese restaurant - it’s also a daytime café open to all. Elegant outdoor tables topped with parasols offer a sublime view over the Seine and the Ile Saint-Louis, with the Notre-Dame cathedral in the background. Try the home made lemonade - a rose or jellab date syrup drink - or the strained yoghurt laban aryan.
True to 17th arrondissement affluence, Rimal boasts a large terrace, pristine white tablecloths, flower arrangements and dapper waiters. But step inside and Rimal reveals itself to be a welcoming, family-run restaurant with a laid-back vibe and attentive staff. The mezze for two people (€56) is made up of 10 hot and cold plates. Other dishes include quail with fried shallots and pomegranate molasses or grilled meat platters, shawarma and kafta (€20 approx).
Serving homely Mediterranean cooking to take away, Mezz is housed in a clean and chic space hard by the Canal Saint Martin. French, Moroccan and Greek influences can all be found in the serried ranks of colourful, well-designed little boxes and sachets on display. There’s no question of a starter, main and dessert, rather you take the convivial Southern small plate approach. Choose one of the their set mezze formulas (from €10.50 to €15)./
More Levantine and Mediterranean cuisine
Don't be put off by the newspapers in the window – this unassuming restaurant-cum-newagent, in the middle of the hip rue Faubourg Saint-Denis, has a class all of its own. The Middle Eastern menu is cooked by Ahmad, who grew up in Nawa in southern Syria and emigrated to Stockholm before coming to Paris...
This sweet little Syrian restaurant on the Rue des Dames is done out like a pretty doll's house, with a freize running around the walls and coloured cushions everywhere. There are only twenty or so tables, although they don't tend to fill up until later in the evening. On our visit we shared a mezze plate for two, with six small dishes for €40...
Just minutes away from the Rue des Rosiers and the every-popular As du Falafel, Miznon has wisely decided to stick to what it does best – pitta sandwiches – rather than try and compete with its chickpea-cooking neighbours. The original restaurant in Tel Aviv has been wining over customers for some time, and the Parisian branch follows the same formula...
By noon on a Sunday there is a queue outside every falafel shop along rue des Rosiers. The long-established L'As du Fallafel, a little further up the street, still reigns supreme, whereas Hanna remains something of a locals' secret, quietly serving up falafel and shawarma sandwiches to rival any in the world...