Elissar is a Lebanese restaurant in the heart of Vienna. The first dining room has tasteful dark paneling and a long bar. The second room reminded me a lot of the breakfast room of my hotel in Beirut. So this is quite authentic.
Arriving at Elissar on the evening after most Covid restrictions were announced to be suspended in the near future, no one checked the green pass. Our waiter informed us that he was disappointed, about what exactly he wouldn’t tell, but that was that. We didn’t get checked and I assume everybody else in the full restaurant either. Since Omicron was already in town there was a good chance that we would all get it, but what the heck.
We decided on sharing a couple of starters, always the best way to judge a meal. Plus I totally love sharing. We got some Tabouleh (a parsley salad), Hummus bi Lahme (hummus with lamb filet), Bemieh bi Zéet (okra in tomato sauce), Kibbe Traboulsiye (minced meat balls wrapped in bulgur), Fatayir Sbenigh (flatbread filled with spinach, tomatoes, and onions), and more pita bread.
The pita bread funnily enough would not have been needed at all. The hummus with the lamb was good without the bread. Even though I was the one to suggest the version with lamb, the meat didn’t convince. It was rather chewy and didn’t seem like filet at all. Maybe one should go for the regular version here or the one with pesto.
The Tabouleh salad was absolutely perfect. Super refreshing, very tasty, and overall a winner all around.
The Kibbe on the other hand were okay but nothing really too interesting. I had some in Beirut and I remember them as delicious pockets of meat and bulgur. I am not sure what I was missing here, maybe some spice or an overall juiciness. Whatever it was, the Kibbe left me wanting.
The Bemieh bi Zéet, or okra in tomato sauce on the other hand was wonderful. Okra can be difficult, but the one served here at Elissar was delicious. Definitely a wonderful vegetarian starter.
The flatbread with spinach was also tasty if a bit difficult to eat. Usually this is something I want to eat by hand, but the juices inside made it a challenge. Still, a lovely dish to share which comes with a lot of different fillings.
Elissar reminded me a lot of restaurants in Beirut. Not just the interior design but also the manner of the service. Still, it didn’t really convince me. The setting is beautiful and if you want to eat Lebanese food in a stylish restaurant, this is the place to go. I am just not sure this is the best place for Lebanese food in Vienna. Yours, Pollybert
1010 Wien, Johannesgasse 27
Tel: +43 1 5128282
Mon-Sun: 11:00-23:00, Sat: -24:00