Zahli Sydney outside

Like Lebanese food? You need to try Zahli

Imagine everything you know about Lebanese dining in Sydney. Got it? Good. Now throw it out the window and prepare yourself to shake-up what it means to enjoy the cuisine in inner Sydney.

Zahli in Surry Hills is Sydney’s own modernised take on Lebanese cuisine that provides the best the food has to offer, without betraying the fundamental values of Lebanese restaurants: welcoming atmosphere, quality and accessible menu items and a memory to last.

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The restaurant

Inside Zahli is unlike many other Lebanese restaurants with similar menus for two reasons. The decor is sophisticated, has been designed with practicality in mind, as well as a stylish overtone that almost, just almost takes you away from the traditional Beirut feel we’re accustomed to. That and the elongated, stocked bar, option to seat couples intimately, or groups festively and the inclusion of homely, stylish touches like an array of Marimekko plates on the walls give it a distinctly inner Sydney vibe.

Marimekko plates Zahli restaurant Sydney

The food

Zahli prides itself on what comes out of the kitchen and it’s easy to see why. They do everything you’d expect from the kitchen of a Lebanese restaurant, only better, with the inclusion of something less often seen not only in Sydney, but other restaurants around the country.

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The dish is called kibbeh nayyeh and is a Levantine take on tartare, only it seems a lot more raw. The meat is treated with herbs and spices and served with olive oil and green onions, giving it a unique but ‘moreish’ flavour that works so ideally with flatbread, it’s almost a meal in itself.

Though be mindful to not fill-up on the tartare, as the rest of Zahli’s menu is devoted to rich, full flavour, delicate salads and the traditional dips and sauces accustomed to Lebanese food that without, almost doesn’t constitute a meal at all!

Zahli is a passion project of owner, Mohammed Issmail, who after a life in suit and tie behind desks, took upon a city change and moved in to the Zahli space, transforming what was once there into the successful locally-owned restaurant business tory it is today. It’s worth a visit.

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