Reem Al Bawadi is one of the oldest Lebanese restaurants in Dubai, and if you’ve lived here for a while, you would have at least seen it a few times moving around town.
Over the past few visits to various branches, I have had several different experiences, and this visit is an excellent opportunity to give Reem Al Bawadi a good memory-refresh. Let’s go!
The staff at Reem Al Bawadi were very welcoming and sweet and showed us around for a preferred table.
Reem Al Bawadi has several branches around Dubai, but for the review, I visited the first ever branch located in Jumeirah. There are hundreds of tables with different settings sectioned off by the names of countries and split between smoking and non-smoking sections. They also have a lovely outdoor area as well for when the weather is good. During winter, Reem Al Bawadi is also equipt with outdoor heaters, for when it gets chilly.
We were welcomed to a lovely table by the window, with great sunlight coming in and very comfortable seating. Time to get this review cracking!
Reem Al Bawadi’s menu is massive and has hundreds of Lebanese cuisine options from hot and cold mezze, grills, cooked dishes, sajs, and many more. You can find the whole menu here.
The servers kept coming around serving us water, table settings and ensuring everything was okay. We asked for their recommended/suggested starters, and we were ready to go.
First up, the signature Fattoush which included fresh mixed salad (A serving of lettuce, radish, cucumbers, tomatoes), dressing (A mixture of lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil), crispy bread on top and seasoned with pomegranate molasses.
Definitely a great way to start our meal with bits getting our palates in high gear and the crispy bread gave everything a lovely crunch.
Alongside the Fattouch came a plate of Hot Spicy Potato (Batata Hara), which is mainly hot potatoes mixed in a spicy sauce giving it a red spicy coating.
I would have loved for it to be a little spicier but it was terrific as the potatoes had a slight crispiness on the outside while soft and well cooked on the inside.
Another classic Lebanese salad is their Vine Leaves, which is a vine leaf wrapped around cooked rice, herbs and vinegar – also topped with pomegranate molasses. This was delicious. Only wished more were served per serving.
The last appetizer to be served was the hummus with meat. I generally like hummus plain, but the server suggested we give it a try, and it was quite alright.
A couple of things to point out though; the meat was fine but honestly not necessary nor does it add anything to the hummus, so I’d order a regular plate of hummus instead.
The second thing is, it had pine nuts, but that is not mentioned on the menu – a flag for people with nut allergy. Definitely requires a nut-check when ordering at Reem Al Bawadi.
Of course, it wouldn’t be an enjoyable hummus experience without bread, and they had the most delicious and soft bread one could ask for. Fresh out of the oven and the bread pulls apart like butter in a cloud of smoke from the inside. So dreamy.
At this point, we were pretty much full but there were mains coming, also suggested by the server, so we had to put the brakes on the appetizers. The servers and manager at this point ensured to pass by, check on our dining experience and insisted on letting them know if we needed anything.
Appetizer and salads either taken away or put to the side, it was time to get serious!
The first main was their grilled half a chicken. This was served with a side of french fries, herbed and spiced slices of bread, grilled onions and a few greens.
The chicken was very well marinated, succulent and grilled to perfection. The only comment I would have is that the chicken had an excessive amount of skin still on it, but once that was cut off, the chicken was delicious. All grills are also served with a side of garlic paste, which was not overpowering and quite creamy.
The chicken is pulled and has no bones except for the wing.
The other dish was their marinated lamb chops, also served in the same style with a side of french fries, herbed and spiced slices of bread, grilled onions and a few greens.
The lamb chops were grilled really well, soft, and marinated well but were a little too grey on the inside for my liking. I think they needed to ease off the cook a bit to have the flavors and colors still intact.
The serving had 4 pieces, and the ends were wrapped in foil if you chose to eat them caveman style 😀
At this point, we were entirely stuffed, and although the servers wanted to bring us dessert, we decided to take a break. So, a few hours later the review continued…
Their first recommended dessert was Baklava with fresh pistachio ice cream. This is had made ice cream that is soft, creamy and also a bit gooey, which is a unique texture you find in Syrian, Lebanese and Turkish ice cream.
The Baklava was incredible, crispy, crunchy and full of flavor and the ice cream gave it that cold and juicy balance it needed to be perfect. Absolutely delicious.
Second up was their Kunafa, served with a side of strawberries (honestly, no clue why nor that it needed fruits) and sugar syrup.
The Kunafa was lovely, but probably not a signature dessert. The top was crunchy, and the cheese was creamy but could use a tad more flavor.
Overall, Reem Al Bawadi is still a classic in the Lebanese cuisine space, with great ambiance, service and good food. It is a really nice and comfortable hangout spot where you can spend hours on end working, chilling or just pop by for a quick meal.
The service: this has been the primary concern over the years and across a few branches, especially when the restaurant would be super busy or understaffed. That being said, I have had great experiences in the past, and this experience was also quite good. The servers were always ensuring our satisfaction, willing to suggest food items off the menu and always served with a smile.
The value: checking the menu, their pricing is fairly average to places serving the same cuisine around Dubai – it has become a bit of a standard pricing. Their entire menu with pricing can be found on Zomato directly.
The Place: 6 / 10
The Service: 7 / 10
The Food: 6 / 10
Overall: 6.3 / 10
If you have not tried Reem Al Bawadi before, I would definitely suggest giving it a try, especially for a timeout chilling with friends. The comfortable locations, good service, food and even shisha makes it a great hangout and dining spot.