The first thing I noticed at Restaurant Manuella was the fantastic view of the Mediterranean. The second thing I noticed was that almost everyone in the crowd of hundreds was there to celebrate a special occasion, from birthdays to anniversaries to baby showers. If you want to take your entire extended family to eat seafood on your birthday, Manuella seems to be the place to go.
We, on the other hand, stopped by for a late lunch on our way to visit Byblos in Jounieh. In retrospect, our host had planned this perfectly, because eating at Manuella is a bit like a marathon. You’ll need a walk by the time you’re finished, and it may as well be in a beautiful, historical setting so you can learn something while working off your meal.
Every meal at Manuella starts with platters of nuts. If you make it through these snacks, the next round is meze, then mains. We started with hummus, moutabal, and tabouleh, then continued on with shrimp, calamari, and Sultan Ibrahim (red mullet). At the end of the meal, the attentive servers brought over platters of fresh fruit, fruit in syrup, and housemade fruit drinks.
Under any other circumstance, this would have been a great meal; the problem lay in the fact that we had nothing but great meals the entire trip, and this one didn’t land in the top five. The hummus and moutabal were pretty good, as was the calamari and the shrimp, but the fish was overfried and the tabouleh was nothing special. Regardless, the food is still pretty good, the service is impeccable, and it can’t be beat for people-watching. Plus, if it’s your birthday, you get to cut your cake with a sword.
If you can make it past the food photos, you’ll find some pics of Byblos itself.
Not only can you wander through the ruins of several successive civilizations in Byblos, there’s also a medieval souk where you can buy an EXO hat. If you’d like to know more, here’s a link to the UNESCO website.
Restaurant Manuella, Jounieh – Maameltein, Keserwan, Lebanon. +961 9 832 480