Restaurant Sama (Paris)

© Louise Marinig

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Sama sure stands out from the crowd with its specific take on Lebanese food, made with love and meant to be shared with friends, reawakened by Loulouwa Al-Rachid (a researcher specializing in the Arab world), Marwan Rizk (the boss of the tiny Soma empire) and Karim Haïdar (the chef at Les Mots et le Ciel), who believe in both their bistro and their lucky stars – sama means “sky” in Arabic. Seated in the relaxing dining room (an orange tiled bar, blonde wooden furniture, dim lighting) the night we went, we dug in to all of the following: crispy khebz tannour (Lebanese flatbread) brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with za’atar; tender pan-fried halloumi topped with stewed quince and sesame seeds; plump shish barak, aka beef dumplings covered in yogurt, pine nuts and cilantro oil; and to finish, a bowl of awaymettes – those addictive sheep’s milk yogurt fritters, served with orange syrup and a scoop of orange blossom ice cream. Worth noting: the generous weekday lunch menu (chorba, scrambled eggs and potatoes with spinach and pomegranate, plus a scoop of ice cream) and the traditional Lebanese brunch on the weekends – labneh, man’ousheh, falafels, broad bean and chickpea mdammas… // Yanath Kandal 

FEELING THIRSTY? : Wines from both France and Lebanon: a syrah from the Beqaa Valley by the Domaine Wardy (€8 a glass), a viognier from Batroun produced by Sept Winery (€14), a red Sancerre from the Crochet family (€49 a bottle)… Along with some delicious homemade lemonade (€7). 
PRICE: : Set menus €20-27 (weekday lunch), shared plates €4-17, brunch €34 and €21 for kids under 10 (Saturday and Sunday). 

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