If someone were visiting Lebanon for 24 hours where would you take them?
To start with they should eat well – in the morning a Lebanese breakfast at the roof top garden of Albergo (01 339797, albergobeirut.com, 137 Rue Abdel Wahan El Inglizi), then a second foul breakfast at Le Professeur (01 703666, Mar Elias Street). Then street food as an early dinner, falafel, shawarma, followed by the perfect mezze dinner. End the day with a sunset drink at Sporting Club (01 742482, El Manara). In between all the indulgence take a drive through the city to understand Beirut, taking in the Corniche, Hamra, the former Green Line, Gemmayzeh, Mar Mikhael and Achrafieh, a visit to the National Museum (beirutnationalmuseum.com) and of course some Beirut socializing... salut, ca va?
Name your favorite places to go for Sunday brunch?
For an early family lunch go to the seafront restaurant Chez Maguy in Batroun (03 439147, Mak’ad el Mir). For a fancy French meal go to Villa Clara (70 995739, villaclara.fr, Mar Mikhael, Achrafieh).
Where is the olive oil in your kitchen from?
The north! That’s what my father decided for us, for all of our lives! With the competition between north and south over their olive supremacy, it was Koura and the north that won over my father. He used to go for the day, buy his olives, then go to an olive press and extract "his" oil – a two year stock in huge old clay jars.
Tell us about one destination in Lebanon that nobody knows about – your hidden gem awaiting discovery.
Jord el Batroun with its dramatic valleys and villages, and then, at the end of it, the majestic Laklouk.
Name one village or region that feels like home.
Any high mountain village – I’m definitely a son of the high altitudes, the jord, deep valleys and high mountains. One of my favorites is the Adonis Valley and at its top Charbineh in Jord Qartaba.
What's your favorite outdoor activity in Lebanon and where to do it?
I love to do nothing in the middle of nowhere; in nature or in the high mountains.
Where would you go for the perfect spring weekend in Lebanon?
Anywhere in Lebanon where it is green, clean and flowery in spring is just perfect. For me, it’s the mountains again... where melted snow flows into the rivers everywhere. I love the green West Bekaa, the lush Ammiq wetlands, the Cedars and the surrounding mountains from Jaj to Tannourine, where you can find the most precious wild tulips and iris. Though they are just for the pleasure of the eyes ... don't pick! soukeltayeb.com
Passionate foodie and founder of Tawlet restaurant and Souk el Tayeb, Kamal Mouzawak shares some of his favorite eating spots and rural destinations in Lebanon