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Best gourmet Lebanese

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We have a friend visiting who wants some gourmet Lebanese before she leaves. I have read on this site about Daou and about Kaza Yaza. Which would you pick and why? Or are there others that are recommended?

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  1. BTW it's Kaza Maza. It's good, as is Daou. Daou has more meat dishes, Kaza Maza has a lot of smaller plates IIRC. Both are worth trying, but Daou is probably closer to what she wants. Even better than either of the above, IMHO, are Alep/Petit Alep, although they are Syrian - but food is very similar, with many of the same dishes. You really can't go wrong with any of the choices. Alep is the fanciest, followed by Daou, then Kaza Maza. However, Daou may be closed for vacation - I seem to recall they close at some point over the summer, but not sure when, and if it's only their Faillon location or both of them.

    2 Replies
    1. re: cherylmtl

      Alep and Petit Alep are closed for vacation and I think Daou is closed as well. Anyway, although it's very good, I wouldn't call Daou a "gourmet" restaurant. It's family-style and extremely casual. Ezo on L'Acadie would probably qualify as fine dining, but I've never been there and have read mixed reviews. I'm sure there are other places, but Lebanese/Syrian people in Montreal seem to favour banquet-style dining over white tablecloth places.

      1. re: SnackHappy

        Daou is *not* closing in July this year (the Faillon location). We ate there last night and I double checked (after seeing a post in the construction holiday thread)

    2. I would pick Kaza Maza on the strength of the restaurant's impression on Carswell.

      Daou's food is okay but their service is problematic (as in frequently non-existent).

      1. Other possibilities include La sirène although more focussed on fish and seafood, the grilled meats (chicken, filet mignon) and appetizers were excellent at a 'banquet' I attended about 6 months ago. If you want to make an evening out of it complete with entertainment (belly dancing and singing), Lordia in Laval may fit the bill.

        2 Replies
        1. re: hungryann

          Went to Sirene two weeks ago and had the worst meal possible..got the wrong meal they took it back but not my companions plate. I was then served my correct plate and it was overcooked they didn't seem to think so.Service was lack luster and the quality of the entrees and main courses was not what it used to be ( at the Jean Talon location ) would never want to step foot inside that place again.

          1. re: finefoodie55

            I was never a fan of the Jean-Talon location. The banquet I attended was at the l'acadie location, maybe they took extra care of us because we were a large group and they wanted our business but that meal was impressive from beginning to end. It was definitely an on-night. I'll have to go back and see if they impress me as much as an individual.

        2. Note that Kaza Maza (like Alep/Petit Alep) is Syrian, not Lebanese.

          After a string of stellar meals at KM (a few days after one of them, a fellow hound and first-time visitor confessed he couldn't "stop dreaming" of the food), I'm sad to report that last night's dinner was lacklustre. The mouhammara was brown (!) and lacked fruity allure, flavours seemed muted in general, and several dishes were oversalted (albeit nowhere near as heavily as on my first visit). The food wasn't bad -- my companions, none of whom had been there before, all thought it was fine -- but it wasn't as vibrant, as dream-worthy, as before. It left me wondering whether the regular chef had Sunday night off and, if so, what might happen when they open their fancy branch.

          On the plus side, they've been working on their wine program. Tables are now set with good stems, ice buckets are provided for whites, there's a small selection of wines by the glass and carafe and the list has been expanded to a couple of dozen bottles, the majority of which are priced under $35.

          2 Replies
          1. re: carswell

            i went to kaza maza last week and it was as good as ever
            sorry to hear about your lackluster meal carswell

            1. re: celfie

              «i went to kaza maza last week and it was as good as ever»

              That's reassuring and lends credence to the Sunday-is-chef's-night-off theory. It had been five or six weeks since my last visit. As mentioned, on Sunday it wasn't that the food was bad, just that it wasn't, well, as one friend put it after her first encounter with the beet muttabal, "this isn't good, it's orgasmic."

          2. I would say its between Daou and Alep but Alep is closed so that makes it pretty easy for the next couple weeks. Very similar menu notwithstanding Alep's insistence that it is Syrian (unsurprisingly since the Brits drew the map relatively recently). Alep pushes the envelope a little bit more than Daou which is very old school but does old school well. Alep has also put a lot of effort into its wine list over the past few years. There are items I prefer more at each place so hard to pick definitively.

            I prefer the Daou on Marcel-Laurin by far although a lot of people seem to prefer the one on Faillon. Having eaten at the former hundreds of time and the latter only a few times I have always found that position bemusing. I would boldly say that the one on Marcel-Laurin is significantly better. I haven't had an issue with service at either one, although I wouldn't qualify them as fancy.

            Ezo is run by another Daou sister (Celine's favourite). It is fancier in an aseptic manner and is strong on mezze but weaker on the grilled stuff. I understand it was firebombed (apparently more than once) last week and this may have affected hours of operation, although I don't actually read the Journal de Montreal so I can't confirm this.

            3 Replies
            1. re: thelonious777

              Yes, it was firebomberd twice last week(I didn't initially recognize the restaurant name in the news reports, but now remember the name).

              1. re: thelonious777

                I am coming to town and was looking forward to Alep ! Do you know when it reopens?

                1. re: missclaudy

                  It reopens on Wednesday, August 4.