Dining out has become more about providing a “cozy home” experience than a traditional dining experience with just tables and chairs! At Amal, a new and modern Lebanese restaurant, they have succeeded in providing that lovely “cozy home” experience!
Amal means story and hope, love that! The same hospitality group who opened the popular Byblos, focuses on Mediterranean food in South Beach is responsible for Amal.
About the decor…
There are two sides to Amal with three types of seating! You’ll be able to view your dish being prepared in a spotless, open kitchen on the left. I discover Executive Chef Wissam Baki knew my ex-assistant when they were at The Setai.
On the right side, you can choose to sit at sofas divided by dining tables for a leisurely dine.
On the left has more of the traditional tables and chairs kind of dining.
Or for bites while enjoying your cocktail, there are high round smaller tables and very comfy high bar stools. These are on one side of the sofa arrangement and also by the glass windows looking out to the garden.
Then there are cushioned banquettes by the glass window with chair arrangements. This is where my dining partner @Epicurean305 and I sat, a “power table” to view everything on the right side of the restaurant. And what an incredible coincidence, we sat next to a friend and yoga instructor, Tanya Pergola who was celebrating her weeklong birthday.
Heads up: Our server mentioned they’ll be opening their rooftop with 360 views of my adopted city, Coconut Grove and a separate menu soon, woohoo!
About Lebanese food…
I love that @Epicurean305 and I like the same kind of food, so it’s easy to share dishes.
We started with 2 Lebanese appetizers from the Starter section. I chose Crispy Eggplant & Zucchini. What a beautiful presentation and so addictive, they were stood up and wrapped with a slightly pickled zucchini slice sitting on a bed of labneh and garnished with snow pea tip tendrils. Colorful pomegranate arils dotted around a special Amal platter.
The other was a popular Lebanese appetizer, Truffle Rakakat, such a cute name. It’s like a Spring Roll but has Lebanese akawi cheese wrapped in phyllo and very, very lightly deep fried, then tips are dipped in chopped pistachios. Honey drizzled around them, garnished with mint leaves and grapes gave them a nice pop of color.
Next dish was Black Cod, perfectly cooked on bed of tahini, piled high with crispy pita chips, cilantro and garnished with pine nuts and edible flowers. Such an interesting combination.
You can’t go to a Lebanese restaurant and not have a Skewer! Minced lamb and beef skewer with their own house spice blend came on a bed of biwaz, a mix of grilled onion and tomato topped with more onions but raw. And pita triangles. Very tasty.
Our sweet end was a Date Cake with pecan tuile, vanilla ice cream and drizzled butterscotch sauce with a bright blue flower garnish. Our server swayed us from the typical Baklava, ha, ha.
What a superb dining experience, not only with the cozy home feel but Lebanese food is so good for sharing over conversations about more food.
My approach to eating out…
We took a stroll around Coconut Grove, my adopted city and bumped into another friend, Brie having fun with friends.
Would you believe it? My dining friend, @Epicurean305 had another sweet! A gelato at Bianco Gelato to “clean his palate”, what an excuse! We bumped into a lovely Chinese couple who own Sushi Maki and their 3 kids.
Get out there, enjoy a wonderful dining experience and meet people!