You’re probably on to a good thing with a seafood restaurant “owned by fishermen” right? Right! Ibn AlBahr is a dreamy beachside fish restaurant where “no catch is kept longer than 12 hours to guarantee impeccable freshness and flavour”, situated along The Palm’s pretty Club Vista Mare. Read on for The Huntr’s full review and pictures…
One step inside Ibn AlBahr and it’s clear what the theme is here: It’s a seafood restaurant. And it’s impossible to ignore. From the fishing rods doubling up as table lighting to the giant fishing boat suspended from the ceiling, to the anchor that hovers over one circular table – this Club Vista Mare eatery isn’t afraid of a little gimmicky decor, and it works well. Because let’s face it, it could be tacky. But it’s not. It’s cool and it’s quirky and you can’t help but snap pictures. Ibn AlBahr also offers diners a large beach and sea-facing outdoor terrace for the cooler months and shisha smokers –and what could be better than eating fresh fish by the sea?
At the back of the expansive restaurant is where the magic happens. A part-open kitchen is flanked by the seafood market, where diners are invited to step right up and pick their fish from a tempting selection of fresh, on-ice seafood. This is then weighed and passed over to the chef with your cooking preferences. The a la carte menu features an array of Lebanese and seafood dishes. Think salads, all of the traditional Lebanese starters and mezze, raw ceviches, shellfish and classic dishes like fish and chips. Vegetarians are catered for through a large selection of meatless sharing-type dishes, there’s a (small) kid’s menu and if you don’t like fish there’s also 1/2 chargrilled chicken on offer. The dishes are strikingly fresh and full of flavour, and there’s a lot of variety on the menu. The Huntr recommends the clams, ceviche and hummus to start, and we opted for the lobster and shrimps from the seafood market – both cooked provincial style and both absolutely impeccable.
One thing that let this place down was that they did not have the traditional Lebanese garlic cream, which is such a shame as it is essential with cheese rolls and would have been delightful with some of the fish dishes we sampled. We were, however, so happy to learn that the team at Ibn AlBahr believe in the importance of serving locally caught fish and its fishermen use rods not nets – to reduce the environmental impact.
All and all, this licensed restaurant is the perfect place to bring clients, to enjoy a romantic dinner for two, a casual lunch with friends or a family affair. It’s casual in its vibe but feels special thanks to the great quality dishes and service on offer. Two big thumbs up. Go, go, go! (We’re already planning our next visit).