If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know I never review restaurants. The reason why I don’t do it is because I am not a restaurant expert, nor do I pretend to have the qualifications to professionally rate the service, prices, décor, etc. of any given restaurant. Moreover, my aim in writing blog posts is to simply talk about good food, regardless of where it is found.
But today I decided to make an exception and talk about a restaurant, because I’m appalled by the amateur reviews I’ve been reading about it. The restaurant I want to talk about is Le Gargotier and the reviews I’m targeting are ones asking for more modernism in this place. Let me start by saying that Le Gargotier has been around for 46 years, way before these so called foodies and sometimes even their parents were born. It has a typical French bistro architecture, décor, carte and style, the very elements these foodies are criticising. It is a cozy restaurant whose charm is built on its old décor, old music, old waiters and Hoda. Hoda is the owner who knows everyone’s name and everyone’s parents. She is the very reason this restaurant exists and is a landmark in an otherwise forgotten area.
The menu is simple, straightforward and simply good. It is authentic in everything that’s served. It may not be the best food you’ll ever get served in Lebanon but it is damn good and totally worth your dining experience.
When you ask Le Gargotier to become more modern and change its decor, music and staff, it is exactly like when you tear down another old house in Beirut to replace it with a faceless, characterless building; it will lose its identity and the very essence of what makes it what it is and what it has always been.
To me, Le Gargotier is a place where my parents, my family and hopefully my children have had and will have great memories to share. It has an unparalleled value proposition that the best modern restaurants haven’t been able to compete with.