When it comes to choosing somewhere to eat in Los Cristianos, we invariably head to the little row of restaurants and bars known as San Telmo. With large dining terraces overlooking Las Vistas beach, this eclectic row of eateries includes the ever popular Watermelon and Sal Negra, and in comparison to the ubiquitous, bland offerings of chicken, pizza and burgers on offer in much of the resort, is as welcome as a breeze on a hot day. As big fans of Lebanese and Middle Eastern food we have long wanted to try Habibi to see how it compared to our local Lebanese restaurant of Al-Amir in Puerto de la Cruz.
Arriving at the front entrance to the restaurant, comparisons in the looks department were instantly obliterated as the neon, red, purple and green lighting and the ornamental hookah pipes adorning mosaic tables paled our humble local Lebanese into insignificance. Walking through to the dining terrace it took my eyes a while to adjust to the near complete darkness of the ambient lighting and when they did, I could see that almost every table was occupied, except the small one right in front of us. Grabbing it without hesitation, we settled down to squint at the extensive menu.
Festooned with decorative Moroccan lamps, pot plants and tiled tables set around a small fountain, the large terrace does an excellent job of convincing customers that they have left Tenerife to find themselves in Beirut. The menu reveals an enticing list of starters which includes all the classics such as fatusch, baba ghanoush, hummus and falafel and an overwhelming choice of main courses, every one of which would be on my ‘last meal before you die’ wish list. We could have ordered lamb, beef, chicken or prawns in ginger and tomato, curry or mango sauces served with rice or couscous and we could have chosen not to have meat at all by opting for any of the salad and vegetable dishes or selecting from the vegetarian menu. In the darkness, dithering reigned.
Luckily, our bubbly, smiling waitress came to the rescue which is just as well as I might otherwise order one of everything. We opt for a mezze experience which will allow us to try lots of different dishes and order the mixed starter which our waitress suggests would go well with Lebanese bread with cheese.
The Lebanese bread arrives topped with tomato chunks, smothered in melted goat’s cheese and spiced with roasted cumin, za’atar and mint. Suffice to say, they didn’t need to wash that plate when we’d finished. When our mixed starter arrives it’s accompanied by a full explanation of what every item is. There are rice and potato balls stuffed with chicken and vegetables; cheese taboulleh; baba ghanoush; hummus; cheese with roasted almonds; falafel; little pies and dips. It’s hard to say which starter we enjoyed most, possibly the rice and potato balls, but there was nothing we wouldn’t order again and again.
With just enough room for dessert we order chocolate cake and baklava but really didn’t need the chocolate cake. With half a litre of house wine and water, the bill came to a very reasonable €45. Great service, fabulous food. We’ll be back.
Habibi, CC San Telmo 11B, Los Cristianos; (+34) 922 75 09 51; open Tuesday – Sunday midday to 01.30, closed Mondays.
Category : restaurants
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