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What a night, what an experience and what a restaurant... Simply amazing! The combination of authentic Chinese atmosphere with the well-known Lebanese hospitality is what made this night such a big success and is sure to make the restaurant a great hit in Lebanon.
Accompanied with Lucien, my "tasting buddy" I headed down to P.F Chang's. It was the first day of operations here in the Beirut City Centre, a Chinese restaurant that I have previously enjoyed at ABC Achrafieh. Lucien and I were both literally amazed: Nothing, not a single detail was left unattended to. The welcoming was exceptional, the service was excellent, the decoration transports you to a Asian cultures, the food was exquisite and the atmosphere was enchanting.
P.F. Chang’s has more than 200 restaurants in the United States and over 18 internationally, and serves Asian cuisine from 5 regions of China (Mongolian, Sichuan, Beijing, Shanghai and Hunan) along with unique desserts, signature drinks while also delivering impeccable service. The restaurant caters to different dietary and cultural needs, offering also a vast selection of gluten free and vegetarian dishes. Nestled on the highest floor of the Beirut City Centre, right next to Shake Shack and Crepaway, is a grandiose place where real Chinese food is served. Occupying a huge space with two exits, one to the mall and one to the terrace, P.F Chang's welcomes you into an attractive setting. Step in and find yourself traveling across the borders into the rich Chinese culture.
The place is beautifully decorated and worth looking into:
- The restaurant is nestled on the highest level of the mall boasting a spacious setup and relaxed ambiance
- With its two entrances, an access to the place from the right door where an army of hostesses welcomes you. The left door is only used as the exit
- Two majestic horses grace the entrance of the restaurant. The horse symbolizes the original Forbidden City in China, which was built for China’s first emperor Qin Shi Huangdi
- As you walk through the place, an open kitchen to the right shows the busy beehive preparing fresh plates
- To the left is the main bar and its coffee machine, alcoholic beverages and most importantly, the cat
- In the middle of the bar is The Lucky Cat part of P. F. Chang’s culture. Every Chang’s has a large Asian-styled ceramic cat, which is holding one paw up. The 'Lucky Cat’ is a symbol of wealth and luck and many Asian businesses use it in the hopes of attracting customers and wealth. While predominately associated with Japanese culture, the Chinese has appropriated it as well.
- The place has a general wood feel that follows you around
- Waves of wood cover the entire ceiling
- High glass facades let day light enter in style while giving an open view to the surroundings
- Wood square tables fill in the space, surrounded by brown leather chairs
- Around the place are grey sofas known to be found in diners, with a pending lamp over each one of them
- A long glass bar takes over the middle of the restaurant
- An enjoyable music plays in the background
- At the end of the restaurant is the mostly lit and intimate seating area, separated from the rest of the place by five Bonsai trees
- Interesting elements showcase the cuisine and create a stylish, comfortable, upbeat dining experience for everyone that comes in
The Beirut City Centre branch Signature in few lines:
- You feel the modern creativity all by maintaining the authentic Chinese ambiance
- Terracotta Chinese warriors decorate the four corners of the restaurant
- Two big horses protect the entrance
- The painted mural is a unique design found in each of P.F Chang's locations around the world: This one is the story of a dragon that attacked the city than turned into a man... Ask one of the waiters to give it to you in details
- 70 members of staff move around in a synchronized way: They are wearing three different shirts. Blue are the trainers, black are the waiters and red are the runners
- The place has a total of 328 seats
- Search for the famous lucky cat hidden around the bottles in the middle of the bar
- Soup & Salads
- Beef & lamb
- Noodles & Rice
- Salt and Pepper Calamari 21,000L.L: (Delicious soft calamari strips, battered and tossed in the wok with our salt and pepper mix and scallions. Served with our special chili bean sauce) These calamari have an enjoyable light color, non oily and covered in salt and pepper. Each is crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle making them unique on all fronts specially with the salty aftertaste that erupts. Nobody does them this way in the country. The side sauce is very good and the rice sticks combination beneath adds to a slight sweet aftertaste that makes all the difference.
- Chang's Chicken Lettuce Wraps 19,000L.L: (Our most popular appetizer, always copied but never equaled. A delicious combination of chicken and other traditional ingredients prepared in the wok. Served with fresh iceberg lettuce cups) This is a light dish you'll enjoy. You will be wrapping up the chicken mix in a lettuce eating something light that brings up the real flavor of chicken. This plate is served with carefully cut lettuce and a plate of chicken cubes marinated in a unique sauce giving them a dark color. Every bite is carefully mastered. Be prepared to feel the richness of the chicken mixed with water chestnut and wrapped in fresh lettuce. The textures of this plate are unique indeed. I personally ended up eating the chicken with the fork to feel the love inside...
- Dynamite Shrimps and Scallops 23,000L.L: (A cup of flavorful battered shrimp with an explosive spicy sauce. A true favorite) Served in a martini cup with a cabbage leaf cut in half for decoration, this plate is unique of its kind. The shrimps melt under your teeth like butter while the sauce explodes on your tongue to reveal its freshness and spiciness. An interesting and acceptable spicy aftertaste, tasty flavors, beautiful textures in a mix that brings up the ingredients flavors and not mayonnaise. This is how real dynamite shrimps are done. Many have to learn from it.
- Crispy Honey Chicken 27,000L.L: (Diced pieces of chicken breast prepared with a rich, sweet and tangy sauce. Served over a bed of rice sticks) Even though this plate doesn't include any honey s don't expect something too harsh, these little chicken cubes are perfectly cooked, soft and tender and served on a bed of rice cake and green onions. They are soft, tender and moist, filled with an adequate sweetness that makes them superb. The best thing here is that sweet plates at P.F Chang's do not stick or chew
- Mangolian Lamb 27,00L.L: (Our perennial guest favorite. This traditional recipe from the Mongolian region of China is prepared with thin slices of caramelized lamb in a very balanced sauce and tossed with green onions) Yes indeed... I understand now why it's a favorite. A neat meat embraced by a slightly crunchy cover, while the caramelization doesn't add any sweetness but a balanced flavor of Asiatic wonders
- Kung Pao Shrimps 35,000L.L: (A quick - fried traditional dish with peanuts, chilly peppers and scallions) This is my personal favorite. A generous and tasty portion of shrimps served with grilled peanuts. Spicy and crunchy. It was so good that I devoured the whole plate. PS: Do not and I repeat do not eat the chili that comes with it. I did and ended with numb head and ear pain for the rest of the night.
- Banana Spring Rolls 19,000L.L: (Six pieces of banana rolled in cinnamon and sugar then wrapped in a wonton and fried. They come out crisp and warm enough to complement the heaping scoops of vanilla ice cream placed in the middle) Vanilla ice cream, crunchy spring rolls with banana inside.
- Organic Agave Margarita 17,000L.L: (Patrón Silver Tequila and Organic Agave Nectar shaken with fresh lime juice)
- Chinese 88 Martini 16,500L.L: (Tanqueray Dry Gin shaken with fresh lemon juice and topped with sparkling wine)
- The service is excellent
- The food is exquisite
- The place is beautiful
- The drinks are tasty
- All drinks should be served with coasters
- With such a large and complicated menu, photos are a must. An iPad displaying photos can be a good idea