Places to eat in Baladiyat al Jabal al Akhdar

  • Libyan lunch
    Libyan lunch
    by TheWanderingCamel

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    Eating our way around Cyrenaica: Time for nosh

    by TheWanderingCamel Updated Jun 1, 2009

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    Given that, like us, you're almost certain to be on some sort of organized tour for your jaunt around Cyrenaica,you're really in the hand of your your tour "guide" (see the general tips section for more on what constitutes a Libyan tour guide) when it comes to where you're going to eat. As to what you're going to eat, apart from Benghazi, it's really going to be variations on a theme which usualy means standard Libya fare - soup, salad, and meat and vegetables with couscous or pasta.

    For the most part, town restaurants are fairly ordinary, there's not much here in the way of carefully created atmosphere to be found, though the Cave Restaurant in Shahat near Cyrene is an experience, albeit a chilly one the wintry day we were there.

    Benghazi saw us eating Turkish in a busy restaurant patronised by large groups of men and families with young children alike. Service was prompt and efficient, the food was simple, fresh and delicious - and served in copious quantities.

    The site restaurant at Ptolemais is a large barn of a place with long tables laid out for tour parties - serviceable, basic ... and deserted.

    Our Susa hotel's ground floor restaurant was anything but deserted when we arrived down to dinner each night. Undoubtedy the best and most popular hotel in this part of Cyrenaica, it's a tour group favourite. What it may lack in atmosphere is made up for somewhat by the top floor tearoom - traditionally furnished, with a view and just the place for an after-dinner tea or coffee.

    The afore-mentioned Cave Restaurant at Shahat was a winner - pleasant service, good food and a fine view from the large terrace - just be sure you have a jacket if the day outside is chilly.

    Tobruk's offerings were pretty ordinary - a lunchtime stop at a very green (walls and lighting)cafe offering the usual menu, and a fish restaurant in the evening where we made our choice from a selection on a slab and had it served to us at a table in the drab room next door. The meal was definitely better than the surroundings might have suggested.

    To round things off, our lunchtime stop on the way back to Benghazi was a jolly roadside place with gardens, outside tables, elaborate stone walls and a small shop - same menu of course.

    Favorite Dish: What with yummy Turkish cheese bread in Benghazi, the wide selection of dishes, including several that featured vegetables cooked in new ways, in the generous buffet served at the al Manara Hotel in Susa - the fresh lemon juice laced with mint served from the bar there was delicious too - and a good grilled dendici (fish) in Tobruk, we ate pretty well on this leg of our Libyan travels. Nothing was outstanding but we certainly never went hungry.

    We usually put our collective feet down at lunch time and insisted that we neither needed nor wanted the full lunch that is the norm, so while our guide and driver tucked in to the regulation Libyan lunch, we usually managed to get a bowl of soup - lentil or Libyan (a variation on minestrone but always with meat in it - vegetarians beware) and a tomato or tuna sandwich, which suited us just fine.

    Breakfasts were simple affairs of yoghurt, fruit, bread, the ubiquitous cheese triangles that turn up everywhere, the occasional egg and our own Vegemite. Tea is usually green and coffee instant. Despite there being oranges for sale everywhere, morning juice is inevitably artificial - don't ask me why!

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