Dining Out Magazine

Magnolia Bakery: Much More Than Meets the Eye

By Nogarlicnoonions @nogarlicnoonion
Rating: 88/100

Welcoming:8/10

Menu Choices: 9/10

Food Presentation: 8/10

Food Temperature: 8/10

Food Taste: 18/20

Service: 9/10

Ambiance/Music: 9/10

Architecture/Interior: 10/10

Air Quality: 9/10

Total: 88/100

Magnolia Bakery: Much More Than Meets the Eye
More about: Magnolia Bakery, Achrafieh

I was happy and intrigued at the same time when I discovered that Magnolia Bakery Lebanon was proposing a savory menu in addition to their famous cupcakes and other baked goods. So I headed down to ABC Achrafieh, Magnolia’s latest branch to check it all out.

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Famous for its freshly baked, favorite American desserts and decor, Magnolia Bakery offers guests over 150 varieties of handmade desserts, including cupcakes, cakes, pies, cheesecakes, icebox desserts, muffins, cookies, and its world famous banana pudding. In addition to its extensive dessert menu, Magnolia Bakery Lebanon also offers a variety of savory menu items, including sandwiches and salads.

Magnolia Bakery is a classic American bakery, cherished for its selection of old fashioned, freshly baked desserts and vintage décor. For over 15 years, Magnolia has provided patrons with a range of handmade baked goods, including pies, cakes, cheesecakes, and the famous banana pudding. Over 100 different products are available daily, ranging from breakfast items to a full array of cupcakes, cakes, brownies, cookies, pies and puddings. At Magnolia Bakery everything is prepared fresh from scratch on premises, all day, every day, using only the finest ingredients.

Magnolia, located next to the street entrance of ABC, facing Noura and on the same floor as many of the other restaurants, has a perfect location occupying the corner of the street with a terrace offering a view of Beirut’s hustle and bustle. I loved the place so much that I took the time to write about it while waiting for my friends to arrive.

As you walk in, you are welcomed by a display of cakes and cookies that will make your mouth water. Colors and beautiful pieces covered with cream, chocolate chips, cookies or simply left as is. Stunning frosting that will make you want to skip lunch and plunge straight into dessert.

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Features and décor

  • The floor is covered with stripes of wood parquet coupled with white and black marble dots
  • Facing the entrance is an open kitchen, where cakes are prepared on an hourly basis
  • Cakes, bites, muffins and other sweet things are displayed and your eyes will soon be watering from excitement
  • Beige wood stripes separate the front of house from the kitchen
  • All the walls are decorated with American-themed utensils and designs
  • Filling the space are rectangular white marble tables surrounded by gray metallic chairs
  • All tables are decorated with vases of flowers, napkins in metallic containers and artfully presented sugar
  • The ceiling above the kitchen has a reflective, metallic design and 19 chandeliers hang above to provide light
  • One table, bigger then the others, can host up to eight guests facing the mirror-decorated wall

Just remember, Magnolia “Bakery” is not a bread provider. In the States a bakery is a shop that bakes cakes, a dessert shop, as well as a bread parlor. So, hop-on and let’s discover Magnolia’s sandwiches and salads together.

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The savory menu:

  • Quiche
  • Salads
  • Soup
  • Sandwiches
  • Warm sandwiches
  • All day breakfast
  • Pastas
  • Beverages
I’ve tried today:
  • Pecan Goat Cheese Salad 15,500L.L: Warm goat cheese on a bed of mixed greens, baby spinach, dried apricots, dried tomatoes with honey vinegar dressing.I can safely say that this salad is one Magnolia’s finest offerings. In a generously filled bowl of salad are goat cheese chunks covered with caramelized pecan nuts that explode into flavor. Served warm, the pecans add a certain touch of finesse that adds a dash of style to the salad. The nice honey flavor is like a cherry on top, putting a smile on your face.

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  • Chopped Cobb 17,000L.L: Grilled chicken, blue cheese, crispy bacon, avocado and endives with mustard vinaigrette dressing.When you say “chicken salad”, the first thing that comes to mind is, “I hope the chicken isn’t dry”. Not only juicy and tasty, the chicken was perfectly marinated and mixed with lovely crispy bacon cut in small cubes, fresh endives, blue cheese and fresh greens. Lovely!

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  • Nicoise Salad 17,00L.L: Tuna, green beans, cherry tomatoes, black olives, potatoes, and a hard boiled quail egg with vinaigrette dressing.If you’re a fan of Niçoise salads, this is a must have. Choose to have fresh or canned tuna, I prefer the canned, and enjoy the little details that make up this dish, like the sesame seeds and the many textures that make of this salad a different and unique one. I loved the vinaigrette and mustard, which leaves a pleasant aftertaste in your mouth. The taste of the black olives is something I remember until now.

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  • Tuna Club Sandwich 14,000L.L: Marinated tuna, tomatoes, lettuce, pickles with a special sauce on whole wheat brown toast. A generous portion, tasty ingredients, two slices of slightly crunchy fresh brown bread filled with a tuna mix, but the overall flavor was a little too salty for my taste. Good, but needs some fine-tuning.

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  • Smoked Salmon Bagel 17,000L.L: Smoked salmon on your choice of bagel or whole wheat brown toast with cream cheese, fresh dill, capers, onions and tomatoes.A bagel, cut in half, filled with salmon and served on a bed of celery. To start with, I found the bagel too chewy for a salmon sandwich and the way it is presented on a vegetable bed obliges you to eat it as quickly as you can so it doesn’t become soggy. I’d personally reconsider the presentation, toast the bun a bit more and you can serve a perfect sandwich.

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  • Magnolia Chicken 15,500L.L: Basil marinates chicken breast with lettuce, pickles, tomatoes and mayo-mustard on a choice of baguette. Excellent! The basil aromas, sweet aftertaste of the sun-dried tomatoes in this juicy sandwich are really addictive.

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The things I loved and enjoyed:
  • The decorative plates and their colored lines
  • The small porcelain bowls of green olives and cherry tomatoes
  • The generous portions
  • The fresh feel and great taste of the food

Now for the best part – Magnolia’s cakes

  • Snickers: The trip simply starts with a crunch that forces you to lick your lips, and it’s turns out to be heavenly when the Snickers flavor erupts. A dark chocolate pie crust covered with white cream and slices of Snickers chocolate on top. This cake’s textures are exquisite.

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  • Banana Cream Pie: Uffffff… Wowww… Extraordinary, fantastic. A slight crunch, an enjoyable yellow light pastry cream and whipped cream on top. I cannot tell you how overwhelmed I was while eating it. It’s so awesome! So excellent! So exquisite!

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  • Carrot cake: An orange cake covered with a white sugar frosting mixed with nuts. Inside are tiny spots of orange and dry raisins. As good as it should be, the American way.
  • Chocolate with Vanilla Buttercream: A thick and substantial chocolate cream, spongy and juicy covered with a fine sweet white frosting. Simple and tasty.
  • Marble Cream Cheese Brownie: Could be better.
  • Cheesecakes: Key lime, blueberry, chocolate.
  • Apple Cranberry Walnut Muffin: Crunchy bottom, cream filling.
  • Flourless Chocolate Cake: The only gluten free item, valhrona chocolate.

A few weeks ago, I went to Ginette where I discovered a dessert that could be the best in Lebanon – Banana Cream Pie. I came here to the source to taste this famous pudding and believe me, it’s one of those things that will make you close your eyes without even feeling it. So good and so tasty, this cake is out of this world. On the other hand, I didn’t like the cheesecakes and here again, at the source, they were not the best desserts that Magnolia has on the menu.

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For the desserts, to be honest, since I first tasted Magnolia bakery’s offerings last year, I thought that their creations were too sweet for our country. We Lebanese prefer our desserts with less sugar and more flavor, this is why I was not a fan of their cupcakes. As for the cakes, they are very tasty but I would personally make the portions smaller, automatically making the price lower and giving the customers a chance to taste more than one dessert.

As a conclusion, I think that Magnolia’s savory menu is worth trying, followed by a selection of some of their finest cakes, which are sure to put a smile on your face. I’ve been there and left happy, I’ll be coming back soon in the near future. Give it a try… You’ll enjoy it.

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