Here at Warsaw Local we are always on the search for something new and interesting. We recently came across Le Cedre which labels itself as a Lebanese restaurant and this is something we have never experienced here in Warsaw. On their website they say:
Every visit to Le Cedre in Warsaw is a fascinating and delicious journey not only to Beirut, but also to the whole of Lebanon.
With three different locations round the city they must be doing something right in a business when more and more restaurants are opening and more are closing their doors. We visited Le Cedre on 4th November 2017, so lets discover what has made them so successful.
Finding Le Cedre
In all our reviews we use the Palace of Culture and Science as a point of reference as it is the tallest building in the city (and Poland!)
Le Cedre is reachable on foot from the Palace of Culture and Science. It took us about 20 minutes, but if you don’t want to walk there are lots of trams and buses that head in this direction every few minutes. If you’re new to the city and you’re not sure what bus to tram to take then check out Jakdojade. It is a free public transport app that will plan your route for you. Just enter the name ’84 Solidarnosci’ in to the app and it will direct you to the front door. We have an article explaining Jakdojade here: Jakdojade Explained
Here is a picture of the outside to make it easier to spot:
Price and Menu
One cool thing we noted when we first opened the menu was that all the options where presented in Polish, English and Arabic. This is one of the first time we have seen a full Arabic menu in Warsaw. A very classy touch that shows the kitchen and its staff take their culture and cuisine seriously. I personally don’t have much experience with Arabic food, so I was a little lost with the choices available on the menu. My guest had shortly lived in Libya as a child, so she has some basic understandings of some dishes. As the waitress seen my guest explaining the dishes to me in English, she quickly and kindly joined the conversation to help and answer any questions. Our waitress was Polish but very knowledge about what seem like every single dish, explaining the cooking processes, the flavors and even how it would be presented.
After reviewing the menu for sometime we discover something called the ‘Beirut Menu’. It was explained to us as a tasting menu where you get the opportunity to all the classics and discover something new. It sounded perfect for us as we were looking for some interesting and it looked like we had found it.
The set menu consists of a cold section, a warm section and a main (meat) Section.
The cold section of the menu was a set of eight cold mezzah (pictures below):
Lebanese salad based on Parsley
Cucumber, yogurt, mint and garlic
Cooked chicken with vegetables
Tahina mixed with sole fish
Green beans, tomatoes, onion and olive oil
Pureed chickpea with sesame sauce
Spicy homemade cheese, tomato and onions
A warm section of the menu was a set of three different pastries:
Pastry filed with spinach and pine nuts
Pastries stuffed with meat and tomatoes
Deep fried pastries stuff with cheese
The last section (the main) was a selection of meats:
Zucchini stuffed with lamb
Skews of grilled chicken
Minced grilled lamb served on a skewer
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The cost of this set menu for two people is 150zł (about 35 euros). Here at Warsaw Local we review a few restaurants a week and an average that we have come to expect in the city center for two people is around 100-110zł. For this Beirut Menu we paid a little bit more, but just look at the amount of dishes available. This is a lot more than the two pizzas and glass of wine we’d get for 100zl elsewhere. There are other options available if you’d like something smaller and this would make the bill cheaper but we really feel that the Beirut Menu is the best value for money. You can view their full menu on their website: Le Cedre 84 Menu
No Arabic meal can start without some Arabic tea so when in Rome…
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The tea was nicely presented on a metal tray, with the tea severed in a metal kettle and two small glasses with mint leafs already inside. The waitress explained the tea was mint and cinnamon. It was served at a temperature that was ready to drink almost instantly, so we poured a glass and kicked back and relaxed to the Arabic music. Your mind really starts to wonder away and you can easily forget you are in Warsaw. This tea is a must to create that perfect atmosphere.
After a short wait from placing our order the cold starters were presented. They were all brought at once with the help of another staff member.
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The dishes were served in small bowls which were pretty deep for their size so each portion was larger than expected. The dishes were also presented with a basket of flat style pita bread:
It was nice that everything was served at once so that we could dig right in! So that we wouldn’t forget what we were trying to worked our way down the menu list starting with the Lebanese salad based on Parsley. It was very fresh and light with an almost sweet sort of taste matched with the strong earthly Parsley taste. I could see this being a great summer dish. We then moved on to the Cucumber, yogurt, mint and garlic mix. It was thick with the consistency of cream. It was easy to scoop up with the pita bread and even easier to eat. The flavors were perfectly match with not one flavor being too over powering. You could taste the cucumber, but the garlic was still there too. A fine balancing act. The next dish on the list was cooked chicken with vegetables. It was pretty easy to guess which dish this was because it was the only one with meat, which makes this easy to avoid for vegetarians or those who are just not fans of meat. The chicken had a texture that it was pulled from the bone and not some frozen and fried meat. It was extremely soft and tender. You could cut through it with the edge of a spoon. I am not sure if it is just a bit of a messy dish or if I just eat like a baby, but some of the sauce dripped on my sleeve when eating so something to note if you’re wearing white.
Next was the Tahina mixed with sole fish. My guest really does not like fish, so this was up to me to taste and I can report it was great (I am a fish lover!). Sole fish is not a partially strong ‘smelling’ fish and the taste is not as strong as other commonly known fish. It has a light background taste similar to Tuna, just not as strong. Next we tried the Green beans, tomatoes, onion and olive oil. The color of this dish was darker than the other dishes, so I wasn’t sure whether to expect something that would have some spice in it. It was not spicy as were none of the dishes. I went on to learn that it is uncommon for Arabic dishes to use hot spices that we might associate with Indian food. The green beans were fresh and with a slight soft crunch to them. It was a great dish, but it is something I would maybe like to try warm. We moved on to the pureed chickpea which is what you’d expect from a venue with an Arabic menu. It was creamy, full of flavor and served in the right portion size.
The last dish we tried was the Spicy homemade cheese, tomato and onions. As all the ingredients were separated, compared to all the other dishes which were mixed we were not sure if this was something you eat like the other dishes or if something you mix with other dishes. Luckily our amazing waitress was back to the rescue to let us know that this was a salad that we should mix together ourselves and then eat like any other dish. It tasted just as good as it looks, but it also smelt amazing!
After we had finished most of the dishes the table was cleared and then the second part of the menu was severed. The first course was only cold mezzah and now this next course was only warm mezzah.
It is pretty hard to present small pastries in a meaningful way, but they did a pretty good job. On first touch of any of the pastries on offer you can feel the quality. They are not dripping in oil or fats. They are soft yet firm at the same time, with a smooth feel and heavy in weight for their size.
We first tried to the pastry filed with spinach and pine nuts. There was two of everything, so as this is a menu set for two people it makes perfect sense. The pastry was easy to tear with only your fingers and the content was nicely package that it didn’t just all fall out on to the plate. The pastry tasted as great as it felt. Soft and chewy and matched perfectly with the very natural tastes of pine nuts and spinach. A killer combination.
Next we tried the deep fried pastries stuff with cheese. These were sort of spring roll style pieces with a more flaky and stronger feel to them than the pastry. On breaking them open there is a crispy crunchy sound and as the name states they were stuff with cheese enough for nothing to fall out. We really enjoyed these. The cheese was full of taste without being too over powering or sickly. A perfect contrast from the spinach we just had. Last on the list was the pastries that were stuffed with meat and tomatoes. These had the same quality pastry that we loved from the pine nuts and spinach. Fresh as always and meat and tomatoes are a great combination.
There were two small pieces of falafel on the plate that were not on the menu list, so that was a pleasant touch and even shows more value for money.
This was all a lot of food so far and we had not even gotten to the main yet! We highly recommend this set menu for those that are hungry, however it is not the best option for those who recently ate in the last few hours.
Once our table was again cleared there was a short wait for our main, so time again to enjoy our tea.
Our eyes opened when the last section (the main) of the menu was served. We were shocked by both the amazing quality, but also the portion size. We mentioned at the start of the review that the cost was slightly higher than most restaurant reviews we do, however we feel this amount of food in most restaurants we recently visited would be more than double what we were paying here.
The main dish was Zucchini stuffed with lamb , skews of grilled chicken and minced grilled lamb served on a skewer. All of these were served on top of a bed of rice with a selection of different grilled vegetables. Our first victim was the Zucchini stuffed with lamb. I am personally not a big Zucchini eater, but in this match it was perfect. The two taste with lamb being the stronger of the two was well placed. Next we moved on to the grilled chicken. After doing some many reviews we have almost become an expert a spotting when a venue is using frozen chicken over fresh chicken and we can say hand on heart that Le Cedre only serve fresh chicken that taste, looks and feels like it was never frozen. It was smooth, the chicken meat when cut up was consistent all the way through. The chicken was perfectly cooked and was of a great portion size. As with everything two of each were severed, so in total there were ten large pieces to share. The last thing we go to which was a struggle because of how much we had eaten was the minced grilled lamb served on a skewer. Overall they were perfect as with everything else. They were packed with flavor, of a good texture and perfectly cooked. We didn’t have much space for the rice and grilled vegetables, but what we did try were great.
With most reviews we don’t like to tell the staff what we are doing because we want to report on the services we would receive as a standard customer. This venue had pretty romantic and dark lighting, so it became too difficult to take good pictures in the low light so we needed to use our camera tripod. This caught the attention of someone we later found out to be the owner. He was very friendly and very interested to learn more about Warsaw Local. Once we had explained what we were doing he was very excited to show us more dishes that were some of his favorites. The dishes below are NOT in the set menu.
Disclaimer: We were given these extra three dishes below for free but it in no way changed our opinion and we were not asked to say anything or change anything in our review.
One of the owners favorite dishes was Lebanese Tatar with parsley, onion and olive oil. This was one of the nicest presented dishes we had seen from Le Cedre. The Tatar was nicely presented on a long plate with two correctly sized portions as a cold starter. As always there were two which makes it perfect for sharing. The Tatar was perfectly seasoned. The meat was soft and moist without being overly wet. We still had some pita left over from the cold mezzah’s so we used some of that to scoop the Tatar up. Really great dish, but raw meat is not for everyone. Give it a try. You come to restaurant like this to try something new.
The next dish the owner wanted us to try was called ‘Warak Inab’ on the menu. We were told it is a unique dish that is not commonly found in Poland, but is common and well loved in Arabic cuisine. The dish is vine leaves stuffed with rice, herbs and spices. This dish was served cold and even though the menu labelled the dish as with spices, they are not the typical spices you might think of. The dish was mild with a focus more on flavor than trying to be ‘hot and spicy’. The vine leaves had a unique flavor unlike anything I had tried before. They were very earthy and had a very ‘green’ natural taste if that makes sense. The rice was just simple white rice, but the herbs and spices made it more than just plain. They were the right size to eat in one bite.
Now we were really struggling after such a large meal and as politely as possible we were asking for no more, but the owner said there is one more thing we must try! I am glad he didn’t take no for an answer.
As a meat eater this was by far my favorite dish of the day. The dish was labelled as ‘Basterma’ on the menu and in English under it was labelled as slices of dry beer with spices. They were absolutely beautiful. Firm and chewy, but not like jerky you might find in America. It was packed with meaty flavors and a real pleasure! I would have asked for more if I had not already said I was too full.
Service and Waiting time
With the services we received we would easily put Le Cedre in the top five of restaurants we have visited for both services and food quality. We were greeted kindly at the door when we enter, we were presented with a table, but asked to change (for extra lighting as its a dark venue for photographers) and that was no problem. All the staff were very knowledge on the menu and polite. A simple raise of your hand and you could have the attention of two or three different servers within five seconds.
The waiting time was normal and what you would expect for freshly cooked food. Our first set of cold starters took about ten minutes from ordering and as we were finishing we can only guess the staff were communicating with the kitchen because there was only a short wait between each course.
Decor and Atmosphere
Le Cedre has three different venues, the venue that we visited is best know as Le Cedre 84. By looking on their website we could see that all of their venues have the same theme. Our venue had a very beautiful and authentic Arabic feel to it. This is normally the part where we would show you some pictures of the inside, but Le Cedre actually has a 3D tour available on Google Maps…cool, hey?
As a native English speaker that doesn’t speak Polish I sometimes struggle with restaurants in Warsaw that don’t have English speaking staff or menus only written in Polish but that is not a problem with Le Cedre. The menu is presented in Polish, English and as mentioned in Arabic too. Their website is also available in English, so you can easily book a table if you don’t speak Polish
Final Impression and things to note
Overall, we loved our time at Le Cedre 84 and would highly recommend it to somebody looking to try something new and to somebody that expects a high level of service. This would be a perfect place for a romantic dinner or a birthday party. It is hard to find any faults. Great value for money, great service and central location.
Something to note is that we went on a Saturday and almost all of the tables had a ‘reserved’ sign on. If you are planning to go in a large group (four or more) on a busy time such as a Friday or Saturday night, we recommend calling ahead to avoid disappointment.
One other cool thing to note is that they have a children’s menu. This is something that most restaurants in Warsaw overlook.
Have you visited Le Cedre 84? Leave your own review here or share you experience in the comment section below.