For the sake of tradition, I had to visit Popeye. Opened in 1963, Chez Popeye has been serving the same items since, including the charming Popeye classics (kellage, Armenian Sausage, Asbet Djeij, Mushroom Popeye, Ras Asfour, Popeye's Fries, Onion Soup, Popeye Burger, Popeye Pizza).
In here everything dates back to the Sixties. A broken signboard, simple, photocopied placemats far from the norm and an occidental name serving a meli melo of food.
The menu offers appetizers, finger food, warm and cozy classics, fresh salads, main courses, great burgers, la pizza, pasta, true temptation and drinks.
- Facing Pigeon Rock, next to Rotana Hotel.
- Old-style decor, dark wood, a wooden ceiling and a dark ceramic floor.
- Wooden tables surrounded by dark blue chairs.
- Paintings decorate the walls.
- Dimmed lighting and metallic chandeliers light up the place.
To have an idea of the classics we ordered the deep-fried shrimps, mini cheese cake mozzarella, Popeye’s burger and Popeye’s pizza.
- Deep-fried shrimps: Coated in multicolored vegetables and served with tartar and cocktail sauce. LBP16,000. Very crunchy battered shrimps, oil-free and feeling fresh. A crisp shrimp with its tail, a crunchy envelope and a tasty sauce to add the needed sweetness.
- Mini cheesecake mozzarella: A blend of Swiss cheese, American and French cheeses served honey mustard sauce. LBP12,000. Those are divine. Honey mustard sauce, next to crispy balls filled with melted cheese. I ate them with my hands and loved them.
- Popeye burger: A double char-grilled beef patty, melted cheddar and mozzarella cheese. Grilled onions and tomatoes, cocktail sauce, coleslaw and pickles. LBP21,000. Even though very heavy and oily, the burger has a homey feel. A thick bun, grilled onions, cocktail sauce, grilled tomato, a meat with a heart of diced fat and even more cheese on top. It's extremely heavy, but as good as you’d expect from a homey burger or a burger they used to eat back in the Sixties.
- Popeye pizza: Tomato sauce, mozzarella, black olives, artichoke, fresh mushrooms, turkey ham, salami, hotdogs, oregano, onion, green pepper and basil oil. LBP23,000. Homey, like we do it at home. A soaked dough and lots of fresh ingredients topped with melted cheese. That's a simple Lebanese-style pizza without any touch of modernism. It's good as it is.
Popeye is not a fancy restaurant; it might be dark and dimmed, the food is old school, but the experience has a certain nostalgia I enjoyed along with the good food. Now I understood why many asked me to come here.