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April 5, 2023

The concept began with an elderly man named Habib, who was renowned by locals for his pickles and homemade dairy products. News of his outstanding goods quickly spread, and it wasn’t long before restaurants started serving his dishes. Forty years later, Habib Beirut was born, and today, the brand is synonymous with authentic Lebanese food cooked with passion and a twist. Elie Bassil, founder and COO of Habib Beirut, discusses the concept’s rise to fame and his plans for the future.

What inspired you to open Habib Beirut?
Our vision was to establish Habib Beirut as an ambassador of Lebanese food on a regional and global level. My partner and I made the decision to create a modern Lebanese concept that pays tribute to traditional Lebanese cuisine. We are very proud to say the concept can reach everyone and cater to all tastes. We take pride in the fact that we managed to create a concept that appeals to a wide range of tastes.   We used to dream of the day we would have restaurants in every city and spread our love of Lebanese flavors.
In the same year, we managed to open three branches in Dubai on the Palm’s Golden Mile, in the luxurious Dubai Marina and proudly at the heart of Expo 2020.

How do you ensure that your food is authentic and maintains the traditional flavors and techniques of Lebanese cuisine?
We focused on Lebanese cuisine from different regions, especially from the Lebanese mountains. In fact, each item on the menu is inspired by a story from Lebanon. For example, our shanklish originates from a lovely old lady in Akkar, our specialty raw meat is from a famous chef in the south of Lebanon.  Our creamy hommos has always been known as the best in any town where Habib Beirut is established in.
As guardians of our cultural traditions, we believe that consistency is essential. Each of our chefs is trained to follow the recipe and traditional method of preparation. We are renowned in the industry for sourcing the finest ingredients from farm to table because every ingredient must be served fresh to clients.
We have always considered it our responsibility to represent Lebanon in the best way possible and share our love for its cuisine.

Do you have any additional projects and new concepts in the pipeline?
Our goal is to branch out and expand outside Dubai. Habib Beirut’s rapid, organic growth includes plans to go beyond the Middle East and into Europe. We are currently opening a branch in Bulgaria, two in new Sharjah locations, as well one in Erbil and another in Al Ain.
Habib Beirut is the group’s flagship concept, and it always will be so. It’s more than just a restaurant; it’s our opportunity to showcase authentic Lebanese hospitality to the world.
At the same time, we are opening our Italian and Japanese concept Azzurro Ristorante, along with our food hall Suburbia, which opened last year with nine homegrown concepts. Furthermore, Mikel coffee company, our coffee concept from Greece, is being launched all over Iraq. It’s an exciting time for us!

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| savoring authentic lebanese food with elie bassil, founder and coo of habib beirut | 3  @habibbeirutrest 

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