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Fateh, From Kahwet Leila, Gemmayze, Beirut


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Adan Herbert



Welcome to the fascinating world of food travel! If you are a food enthusiast, an adventurous eater, or simply someone who loves exploring new cultures through their cuisines, then this article is for you. In this article, we will embark on a mouthwatering journey through the realm of food travel, specifically focusing on the delectable dish called Fateh.


Food travel, also known as culinary tourism, is a growing trend that combines two of life’s greatest pleasures: food and travel. It involves exploring different regions and immersing oneself in the local food scene, experiencing the flavors, aromas, and traditions that define a culture’s culinary heritage.


One destination that has gained significant recognition in the food travel realm is Kahwat Leila, a charming café located in the vibrant neighborhood of Gemmayze in Beirut, Lebanon. Known for its welcoming ambiance, impeccable service, and mouthwatering menu, Kahwat Leila has become a favorite among locals and tourists alike.


At the heart of the Kahwat Leila experience is the signature dish, Fateh. This traditional Lebanese dish is a delightful combination of flavors and textures, designed to tantalize the taste buds and leave diners craving for more.


In this article, we will delve into the history of Kahwat Leila and the concept behind Fateh. We will explore the ingredients used in preparing this culinary masterpiece and take a closer look at the preparation process. Additionally, we will discuss the various ways in which Fateh can be served and presented, as well as explore popular variations of this beloved dish. Finally, we will share a personal experience of dining at Kahwat Leila and provide our concluding thoughts on this extraordinary food travel experience.


So, get ready to indulge your senses as we uncover the captivating world of Fateh and the remarkable journey that awaits you at Kahwat Leila. Whether you are a seasoned food traveler or someone venturing into this culinary odyssey for the first time, this article will serve as your guide to discovering the enchanting intersection of food and travel.


History of Kahwat Leila

Kahwat Leila has a rich and storied history that has made it an iconic establishment in the bustling neighborhood of Gemmayze in Beirut, Lebanon. The café first opened its doors in 2012, under the vision and leadership of Leila Maatouk. With a passion for Lebanese culture and a love for food, Leila sought to create a space that would celebrate the country’s culinary traditions and provide a warm and inviting atmosphere for locals and tourists alike.


From its humble beginnings, Kahwat Leila quickly gained popularity and became a beloved destination for those seeking an authentic Lebanese dining experience. The café’s commitment to quality, exceptional service, and attention to detail set it apart from its competitors and established it as a culinary gem in the heart of Gemmayze.


What truly sets Kahwat Leila apart is its dedication to preserving the rich cultural heritage of Lebanese cuisine. The café takes pride in sourcing the finest ingredients from local producers, ensuring that each dish is crafted with the freshest and most flavorful components. Additionally, Kahwat Leila embraces traditional cooking techniques and recipes that have been passed down through generations, paying tribute to the culinary legacy of Lebanon.


Over the years, Kahwat Leila has become synonymous with warmth, authenticity, and a genuine passion for food. It has welcomed visitors from around the world, serving as a meeting place where people can gather, connect, and indulge in the flavors of Lebanese cuisine. Whether it’s a quick coffee and pastry in the morning, a leisurely lunch with friends, or a romantic dinner in the evening, Kahwat Leila offers a diverse range of experiences to cater to every palate and occasion.


Today, Kahwat Leila continues to embody the spirit of Lebanese hospitality and culinary excellence. It remains true to its roots, while also embracing innovation and creativity to keep up with the evolving tastes and preferences of its patrons. With its inviting ambiance, mouthwatering menu, and commitment to providing an unforgettable dining experience, Kahwat Leila stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of Lebanese cuisine and the power of food to bring people together.


Concept of Fateh

Fateh, the signature dish of Kahwat Leila, is a true culinary masterpiece that embodies the essence of Lebanese cuisine. Derived from the Arabic word “fatah,” which means “breakfast” or “open up,” Fateh is a dish traditionally enjoyed during special occasions and celebrations.


The concept of Fateh revolves around layers of flavors and textures that come together to create a harmonious and satisfying eating experience. At its core, Fateh consists of a base layer of toasted bread or Arabic bread, topped with layers of protein, such as chicken, lamb, or beef, and a generous amount of broth or sauce. Tahini, a creamy sesame paste, is often drizzled over the dish to add a rich and nutty flavor.


What sets Fateh apart from other Lebanese dishes is the unique combination of ingredients and the artful arrangement of flavors. Each component contributes to the overall taste profile, creating a balance between savory, tangy, and creamy elements. The dish is typically garnished with a variety of toppings, including fried nuts, parsley, pomegranate seeds, and a sprinkle of aromatic spices like sumac or za’atar.


One of the distinguishing characteristics of Fateh is its versatility. While the original version features meat as the main protein, vegetarian and seafood variations are also popular. These variations often substitute the meat with ingredients like chickpeas, roasted vegetables, or seafood, catering to different dietary preferences and ensuring that everyone can enjoy the essence of Fateh.


The concept of Fateh goes beyond the mere satisfaction of taste buds. It represents the spirit of Lebanese hospitality and generosity, as the dish is often served in large communal bowls, encouraging sharing and camaraderie. It is a celebration of flavors, traditions, and togetherness, inviting diners to connect with their food and with each other.


At Kahwat Leila, the concept of Fateh is embraced and elevated to new heights. The expert chefs at the café have honed their skills in perfecting the dish, ensuring that every bite is an explosion of flavors and textures. Each element is carefully crafted and thoughtfully arranged to create a visually stunning presentation, adding an extra layer of delight to the dining experience.


Whether you are a seasoned food traveler or a first-time visitor to Kahwat Leila, the concept of Fateh will captivate your senses and leave you craving for more. It is a dish that embodies the heart and soul of Lebanese cuisine and serves as a true testament to the skill, creativity, and passion that goes into every culinary creation at Kahwat Leila.


Ingredients Used in Fateh

Fateh, a beloved dish at Kahwat Leila, is a culinary symphony of flavors that highlights the richness and diversity of Lebanese cuisine. This delectable dish is composed of a thoughtful selection of ingredients, each chosen to contribute to the complex layers of taste and texture.


Below are the key ingredients commonly found in a traditional Fateh recipe:

  • Arabic bread or toasted bread: The base of Fateh is often made with crispy toasted bread or torn pieces of fresh Arabic bread. It provides a sturdy foundation for the layers of ingredients and soaks up the flavorful broth or sauce.
  • Protein: Fateh can be prepared with various proteins, including tender chicken, succulent lamb, or flavorful beef. The protein is typically seasoned and cooked to perfection before being added to the dish, imparting its unique flavors.
  • Broth or sauce: A generous amount of broth or sauce is poured over the bread and protein layers, infusing them with moisture and enhancing the overall taste of the dish. The broth is often made with a combination of stock, spices, and aromatic herbs.
  • Tahini: This creamy sesame paste adds a distinct nutty flavor and luxurious texture to Fateh. It is commonly drizzled over the dish, adding richness and depth to every bite.
  • Fried nuts: To add a delightful crunch and a touch of decadence, Fateh is garnished with a variety of fried nuts. Common choices include pine nuts, almonds, or cashews, which bring a delightful contrast to the tender protein and bread.
  • Pomegranate seeds: These vibrant ruby red seeds not only add a pop of color to the dish but also provide a burst of sweet-tart juiciness. They contribute a refreshing element that complements the richness of the other ingredients.
  • Parsley: Fresh parsley is commonly used as a garnish in Fateh, adding a bright and herbaceous note to the dish. It provides a refreshing contrast to the savory flavors and adds visual appeal.
  • Spices and seasonings: A variety of aromatic spices and seasonings are used in Fateh to enhance the overall flavor profile. Common choices include sumac, cumin, garlic, and Lebanese seven-spice blend.

These are the foundational ingredients used in Fateh, but it is worth mentioning that the dish is highly customizable. Chefs at Kahwat Leila may add their own creative twists and variations, incorporating ingredients like roasted vegetables, chickpeas, or seafood to cater to different preferences and dietary restrictions. The beauty of Fateh lies in its versatility and the ability to adapt and experiment with flavors while staying true to its Lebanese roots.


At Kahwat Leila, the culinary team takes great pride in sourcing the freshest and highest quality ingredients to ensure an unforgettable Fateh experience. Each component is carefully selected to create a symphony of flavors that will transport your taste buds to the vibrant streets of Lebanon.


Preparation of Fateh

The preparation of Fateh at Kahwat Leila is a labor of love, where each step is executed with precision and care to create a dish that is both visually stunning and bursting with flavors. The process involves several essential stages that contribute to the complexity and taste of this beloved Lebanese dish.


Here is an overview of the typical preparation process for Fateh:

  1. Preparing the protein: The first step in preparing Fateh is to cook the protein of choice, such as chicken, lamb, or beef. The protein is seasoned with a blend of spices and herbs, then cooked until tender and flavorful. The cooking method may vary, but typically involves roasting, grilling, or stewing. Once cooked, the protein is set aside to cool slightly before being added to the dish.
  2. Preparation of the broth or sauce: While the protein is being cooked, a flavorful broth or sauce is prepared to infuse the dish with moisture and depth of flavor. The broth is typically made by simmering a combination of stock, aromatic herbs, and spices together. This allows the flavors to meld and create a rich and aromatic base for the Fateh.
  3. Assembling the layers: Once the protein and broth are ready, the assembly of the Fateh begins. A layer of toasted or torn Arabic bread is placed at the bottom of a serving dish, forming the foundation of the dish. The bread is then generously soaked with the flavorful broth, allowing it to absorb the savory flavors.
  4. Adding the protein: The cooked and seasoned protein is then arranged on top of the bread layer. The protein may be shredded or cut into bite-sized pieces, ensuring that every bite is infused with its delicious flavors. This layer adds substance and heartiness to the dish.
  5. Drizzling with tahini: A crucial element of Fateh is the rich and creamy tahini sauce. Before serving, a generous drizzle of tahini is added over the protein layer, providing a luscious and nutty flavor that enhances the overall taste profile of the dish.
  6. Garnishing and serving: To add the final touches, Fateh is garnished with a variety of toppings. Fried nuts, such as pine nuts or almonds, are sprinkled on top, adding a delightful crunch. Fresh parsley leaves, pomegranate seeds, and a sprinkle of aromatic spices like sumac are added for visual appeal and an extra burst of flavor. The finished dish is then served immediately, ensuring each component remains fresh and vibrant.

The preparation of Fateh requires the skillful combination of various elements and careful attention to detail. The chefs at Kahwat Leila have honed their craft to create a dish that is not only visually appealing but also showcases the perfect balance of flavors and textures. From the tender protein to the flavorful broth and creamy tahini, each component plays a vital role in creating the extraordinary dining experience that is Fateh.


When dining at Kahwat Leila, be prepared to be amazed by the meticulous preparation that goes into each plate of Fateh. The result is a culinary masterpiece that will transport your taste buds to the vibrant streets of Lebanon and leave you craving for more.


Serving and Presentation of Fateh

The serving and presentation of Fateh at Kahwat Leila is an art form in itself. The dish is not only meant to satisfy the taste buds but also to captivate the eyes and create an unforgettable dining experience. From the choice of serving vessels to the arrangement of garnishes, every detail is carefully considered to elevate the presentation of Fateh.


Here’s an insight into the serving and presentation of Fateh:

  • Serving vessels: Fateh is traditionally served in large communal bowls or platters, creating a sense of togetherness and encouraging sharing among diners. The use of communal serving vessels reflects the Lebanese hospitality and the culture of coming together to enjoy a meal as a community.
  • Layered presentation: The layers of Fateh are showcased in a visually appealing manner. The bottom layer of toasted or torn bread forms the base, followed by the protein layer and generous amounts of broth or sauce. This layering technique allows diners to see the varied textures and flavors that make up this iconic dish.
  • Tahini drizzle: A signature component of Fateh is the drizzle of tahini sauce. This creamy and nutty sauce is expertly poured over the dish, creating beautiful patterns and adding a touch of elegance. The tahini not only enhances the flavor but also adds a pleasing contrast to the other ingredients.
  • Garnishes: The garnishes are carefully arranged to create a visually striking presentation. Fried nuts, such as pine nuts or almonds, are sprinkled on top to add a pop of crunch and color. Fresh parsley leaves are scattered over the dish, providing a vibrant green hue. Pomegranate seeds are meticulously placed, adding bursts of bright red. A sprinkle of aromatic spices, such as sumac or za’atar, completes the visual appeal.

The presentation of Fateh at Kahwat Leila is a testament to the skilled craftsmanship and attention to detail of the culinary team. The dish is not only a feast for the taste buds but also a feast for the eyes, inviting diners to indulge in its visual splendor before diving into the irresistible flavors.


As you savor each bite of Fateh at Kahwat Leila, take a moment to appreciate the artistry behind its presentation. The communal serving vessels, the carefully layered ingredients, and the expertly arranged garnishes all contribute to the captivating dining experience that awaits you at this esteemed café.


Popular Variations of Fateh

While the traditional Fateh recipe is a culinary masterpiece in itself, there are also various popular variations that cater to different taste preferences and dietary restrictions. At Kahwat Leila, the chefs have put their own creative twists on the classic dish, offering a range of innovative and delicious options to tantalize your taste buds.


Here are a few popular variations of Fateh:

  1. Vegetarian Fateh: For those who prefer a meatless option, vegetarian Fateh is a delightful choice. Instead of the traditional protein, this variation features roasted vegetables, such as eggplant, zucchini, and bell peppers, as the centerpiece. The vegetables are cooked to tender perfection and layered with the bread and tahini sauce, creating a flavorful and satisfying dish.
  2. Seafood Fateh: Seafood lovers will relish the seafood variation of Fateh. This version incorporates ingredients like perfectly seared shrimp, fish, or mussels, adding a delicate and briny element to the dish. The seafood is carefully arranged over the bread and drenched in the luscious broth or sauce, creating a tantalizing fusion of flavors.
  3. Mushroom Fateh: For those who crave earthy and savory flavors, the mushroom Fateh offers a unique twist. Sautéed mushrooms, such as button mushrooms or wild mushrooms, are used to replace the traditional protein. The mushrooms bring a rich umami taste to the dish, complemented by the other layers of bread, broth, tahini, and garnishes.
  4. Spicy Fateh: If you enjoy a kick of heat in your dishes, the spicy Fateh is worth a try. This variation incorporates spicy elements, such as chili flakes or harissa paste, to elevate the flavor profile. The spicy notes blend harmoniously with the other ingredients, adding an extra layer of complexity and a fiery kick to each bite.

These are just a few examples of the popular variations of Fateh that can be found at Kahwat Leila. The creative and innovative approach of the culinary team allows for endless possibilities, ensuring that there is something to please every palate.


Whether you opt for the traditional recipe or choose to explore one of the tempting variations, each bite of Fateh at Kahwat Leila is a unique and flavorful experience that showcases the expertise and creativity of the talented chefs.


So, go ahead and embark on a culinary adventure as you explore the diverse and exciting array of Fateh options available at Kahwat Leila. You are sure to discover a new and delightful flavor combination that will leave you wanting more.


Experience at Kahwat Leila

Dining at Kahwat Leila is not just a meal; it is an unforgettable experience that engages all the senses. From the moment you step through the doors of this charming café in Gemmayze, Beirut, you are enveloped in a warm and inviting atmosphere that sets the stage for an extraordinary culinary journey.


The ambiance at Kahwat Leila is a harmonious blend of traditional and contemporary elements. The cozy seating, rustic décor, and soft lighting create a relaxed and intimate setting, perfect for enjoying a meal with friends or loved ones. The staff greets you with genuine hospitality, eager to guide you through the diverse menu and cater to your every need.


As you take your seat and peruse the menu, the tantalizing aromas wafting from the open kitchen begin to whet your appetite. The menu at Kahwat Leila showcases the depth and diversity of Lebanese cuisine, offering a wide range of traditional dishes infused with a touch of innovation.


Of course, the highlight of the dining experience at Kahwat Leila is Fateh, the signature dish that draws patrons from far and wide. From the first bite, you are transported to a realm of flavors and textures that simply mesmerize the taste buds. The layers of bread, protein, broth, and tahini come together in perfect harmony, creating a symphony that leaves you craving for more.


The presentation of Fateh at Kahwat Leila is a sight to behold. The communal bowls or platters arrive at your table, brimming with vibrant colors and artfully arranged garnishes. The moment the dish is placed before you, you can’t help but appreciate the visual delight that awaits. It’s an Instagram-worthy masterpiece that deserves a moment of admiration before you dig in.


As you savor each bite of Fateh, you can’t help but appreciate the attention to detail and the care that goes into every aspect of the dish. The tender protein, the flavorful broth, the creamy tahini, and the harmonious blend of spices – all masterfully orchestrated to create a truly remarkable culinary experience.


Beyond Fateh, the menu at Kahwat Leila offers an array of other tantalizing dishes that showcase the best of Lebanese cuisine. From mezze platters filled with hummus, tabbouleh, and falafel to mouthwatering grills and aromatic stews, each dish is a testament to the culinary expertise of the chefs.


As you indulge in the delectable fare at Kahwat Leila, the friendly and attentive staff ensures that your dining experience is nothing short of exceptional. Their knowledge of the menu, warm hospitality, and willingness to accommodate any dietary preferences or restrictions make you feel welcomed and cared for.


At the end of your meal, as you sip on a cup of perfectly brewed Lebanese coffee and reflect on your dining experience at Kahwat Leila, you realize that you have not just enjoyed a delicious meal but have also become a part of the rich tapestry of Lebanese culture and hospitality.


So, whether you’re a local looking for an incredible dining experience or a food traveler seeking to explore the culinary treasures of Lebanon, a visit to Kahwat Leila promises an experience that will leave an indelible mark on your taste buds and your heart.



The journey through the world of Fateh at Kahwat Leila has been a delightful exploration of flavors, traditions, and the art of food travel. Fateh, with its layers of bread, protein, broth, and tahini, epitomizes the essence of Lebanese cuisine and the dedication of the culinary team at Kahwat Leila.


At Kahwat Leila, the commitment to preserving Lebanese culinary heritage shines through in every dish. The use of local, fresh ingredients, the meticulous preparation process, and the artful presentation are all testaments to the passion and skill of the chefs.


But the experience at Kahwat Leila goes beyond the food itself. It is a feast for the senses, from the warm and inviting ambiance to the attentive and friendly service. As you enjoy the delightful flavors of Fateh and other Lebanese specialties, you become a part of the vibrant tapestry of Lebanese culture and hospitality.


The popularity of Fateh and the diverse variations it offers are a testament to both its timeless appeal and the innovative spirit of the culinary team. Whether you prefer the traditional recipe or desire a vegetarian, seafood, or spicy twist, Kahwat Leila caters to every palate, adding excitement and versatility to the dining experience.


In the end, a visit to Kahwat Leila is not just about enjoying a meal, but about embarking on a culinary and cultural journey. It is an opportunity to explore the rich flavors, traditions, and stories that make Lebanese cuisine so remarkable.


So, if you find yourself in Gemmayze, Beirut, make sure to step into the welcoming embrace of Kahwat Leila. Indulge in the extraordinary Fateh and allow your taste buds to be transported to the enchanting world of Lebanese cuisine. Experience the passion, warmth, and hospitality that have made Kahwat Leila a beloved destination for food travelers and locals alike.


With every bite, you will discover the magic of Fateh and the captivating power of food travel. It is a journey that will leave you with cherished memories and a deep appreciation for the artistry and cultural significance of the culinary world. Bon appétit!