I’ve always associated Lebanese food with health and nutrition. To me, it seems that everything in their menu is either baked, grilled and sauteed… in olive oil no less! They rarely use butter or cream; and red meat has rare appearances in their dish. How did I know? I visited Leil Nhar in Tahlia Street and got smitten with the simple yet filling comfort food of Lebanon.
Founded in March 2007, Leil Nhar is a unique casual eatery that serves a wide array of savory dishes from salads, sandwiches, pizzas, and desserts. When compared to anything similar, you’ll think of it as Beirut’s answer to a pizzeria. Only theirs seems to be much more light and healthy. I have this feeling that Beirut is a very nice city just by looking at the Lebanese restaurants in the city. Have you noticed the clean lines, fresh colors, and lively atmosphere that most Lebanese restaurants have? I do and I believe when they say that Beirut is an upbeat, bright and lively urban city. Leil Nhar wants to re-create that mood here in Riyadh that’s why theirs is a place that offers quick bites around the clock.
The Leil Nhar branch in Tahlia Street was opened in October of 2012 but we only discovered it around the third quarter of 2013 when we frequently visited a friend’s office in Tahlia. She’s the one who introduced it to us and we liked the place. It’s one of the restaurants housed in that quite tall structure in the busy street. The family section is quiet and calming; a good place to relax. My friends and I were quite the chatterboxes when we were there. Perusing their menu, we found out that their items are really affordable. Don’t judge us, we nearly ordered everything because we wanted to try them all!
From their hot and tender starters, we selected the Grilled Halloumi Platter. It has my friend’s favorite halloumi cheese partnered with tomatoes. I’m quite sure you’re familiar with this unripened brined cheese made of goat’s milk and sheep’s milk. Now, halloumi can be a bit of a surprise if you’re not used to it. It’s salty and a bit dry but a lot of Middle Eastern people like this and my friend who grew up here in Riyadh is a fan. I’m not much of a halloumi lover but I finished a slice.
The Chicken Tenders is that – tender on the inside, crispy on the outside. It’s partnered with a honey mustard sauce that made the mildly-flavored white meat tasty.
I thought the Falafel bites were burnt but they were just browned a bit longer than the usual. I had little expectations of these but they were actually flavorful. It doesn’t even have to be dipped in the accompanying dip of tartar, mint, pickles, parsley, tomato and hot spices for it to be appreciated.
The Baked Potato was nothing to write home about. It’s bigger than most steakhouses though.
And we went crazy with our orders of mains. You see, we only saw wraps and pizzas in the menu so we thought, “Hey, we can devour them all! There’s not even a steak in that menu!” And so we ordered one kind of wrap each and a pizza. Wow right? My friend who is a halloumi fan gravitated towards the Halloumi Bacon Sandwich of course. Apart from the halloumi cheese, it has beef bacon, tomatoes, and mayonnaise. It was salty all over but my friend loved it. (She loves everything halloumi!)
I ordered one of their cold sandwiches… Crab Sandwich layered with lettuce and carrots and laced with a lemon mayo sauce. I was quite disappointed with this one because I can’t seem to taste the marinated crab. I guess the brown flat bread they used made this sandwich a bit boring and dry. This is probably the reason why it’s no longer in their new menu (we visited last year).
For pizza, we went with one of the simplest… Four Cheese. Who doesn’t like cheese in our table? Apparently, none. And so we devoured this pizza devoid of any toppings other than glorious emmenthal, mozarella, fondel, and bleu cheese. Yummy! The crust is light and a bit soft. With the cheese, it was chewy in a good way. I think all we ever thought was CHEESE! YEY! CHEESE! Hahaha!
We ended our meal with really good desserts. Again, I wasn’t looking forward to their sweets since I’m not familiar with Lebanese desserts but I was surprised that the desserts of Leil Nhar delivered much more than sweetness.
Their Fudge Cake was oh-so moist and yummy! It’s one of my favorite cakes in Riyadh. The cake was soft and wasn’t overly sweet despite of the glistening, dark fudge above and between its layers. The fudge was thick but I couldn’t get enough of it. We also ordered the Chocolate Biscuit out of curiosity and we ended up with a slice of crushed biscuits packed tight enough by chocolate. It was covered in a think layer of melted chocolate and drizzled with chocolate syrup. We drowned the chocolatey goodness with black coffee.
The service in Leil Nhar is fast and the waiter is attentive. He really should be because we were the only ones in the family section during that time! Haha!
Leil Nhar is also at the Faisaliah Mall food court. You also have to check their website; it’s quirky and fun! This Lebanese restaurant is one simple dining place that serves quick, affordable food. No fancy anything, no pretences. We kindda really like it this way. Oh, and did I tell you about Leil Nhar? Yes, Night and Day.
Leil Nhar Restaurant
a. Tahlia Street Branch
b. Food Court, Al Faisaliah Mall
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Find their MENU here: www.Leilnhar.com/#nhar/menu