Dining Out Magazine

Café De Flore: A Place Hidden Behind Its Name

By Nogarlicnoonions @nogarlicnoonion
Anthony's Restaurant Rating: 59/100 X

Welcoming:7/10 Menu Choices: 5/10 Food Presentation: 5/10

Food Temperature: 6/10 Food Taste: 8/20 Service: 5/10

Ambiance/Music: 7/10 Architecture/Interior: 8/10 Air Quality: 8/10

Total: 59/100

More about: Cafe De Flore, Lebanon

After trying all the restaurants on the terrace floor of ABC Dbayeh, including Duo, Napoletana, Roadster Diner and Obi, I was hoping to enjoy a decent French experience on a sunny Sunday at Cafe De Flore.

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The famous Cafe de Flore is one of the main touristic destinations many search for while visiting the French capital. Located on the corner of Boulevard Saint-Germain and Rue St. Benoit, on the 6th arrondissement, it is one of the oldest and most prestigious coffee houses in Paris, celebrated for its famous clientele. Like its main rival, Les Deux Magots, it has hosted most of the French intellectuals during the post-war years. The classic Art Deco interior of all red seating, mahogany wood and mirrors has changed a little since World War II.

With such an intense history, I was excited to finally try the one in Lebanon. Although I have not heard a single positive thing about it, I convinced my family to pass by it for a try.

Cafe de Flore’s Lebanon’s counterpart is a copy-paste of the French brasserie. It’s catchy and beautifully decorated set up, calls you to drop by. Whether you want coffee, tea, alcoholic beverages, lunch or dinner, Cafe de Flore seems to be a interesting location to stop by until today!

Cafe De Flore needs an immediate transformation and complete upside down restructuring.

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The menu sections and choices:

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What caught my attention:

  • Caviar de France d’Aquitaine (50g) for 810,000L.L : This plate doesn’t fit in this restaurant at all.
  • Le Club Rykiel (club sandwich tout nu) sans pain ni mayonnaise avec ketchup et moutarde is for 22,500L.L : No bread? And for the same price as the normal club? Funny.
  • A section dedicated for eggs. Special indeed.
  • The prices are too expensive: a Croque Monsieur (a simple piece of square bread with cheese and ham) for 18,000L.L. Does this make sense? A simple triangle of quiche for 23,500 L.L ? “Steak” for 36,000? Come on! Are people happy to pay such amounts in a brasserie, especially when the quality is below average?

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We ordered:

  • Salade Colette (Salade Sucrine, Crevettes, Pamplemousse)
  • Salade Flore (Salade, Tomate, Emmental, Jambon, Œuf Dur)
  • Mesclun De Salades
  • Steak Frites
  • Quiche Fromage De Chèvre
  • Croque Monsieur
  • Club Sandwich (Pain De Mie Toast, Poulet, Tomate, Salade, Mayonnaise, Œuf Dur, Bacon)
  • Crabe Royal
  • Gourmet Burger, Frittes Allumettes

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I liked the little details:

  • The famous Peugeot, salt and pepper mills
  • Branded plates
  • Clean Paper place mats
  • Nice personalized tables the French way
  • Green and red chairs
  • They offer French bread to start with a French taste and feel

Today’s lunch experience was disastrous accompanied with an alarm sound playing in the background. The alarm of a broken checkpoint at the entrance of the elevators. I heard from the employees this is something happening very frequently. The least I would have expected at Cafe De Flore, with such high prices, is an apology or a comfort from the manager saying that they called the ABC management and the issue will be resolved soon. We spent two hours at lunch and the alarm was still whining.

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The food and without going into many details, wasn’t impressive; the only thing I truly enjoyed today are the French fries. Yes the French fries. The meat is bubblegum chewy, the club sandwich is not generous and the bread feel is too imposing, the smell of the salads is bizarre, the crab plate is not worth $30 and the quiche, although it tastes good, is way too heavy. As for the burger, I mean the lettuce burger, the person who ordered it didn’t give me any positive feedback about this unappetising plate.

Desserts: Forêt Noir, Choux à la Crème, Tarte aux Pommes, Cake. With no prevention, Pain D’Or has better pastry pieces.

I won’t dwell more on the taste of food – just to give you a little hope to try it.

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The minuses:

  • Plates were served without the cutlery until we asked for it
  • Please get some meat knives. The ones you have don’t even come close to cutting. Even the quiche was hard to handle. The best you can do is remove meat from the menu
  • The service is very slow, maybe they should be more prepared to handle busy Sundays
  • Espresso cups came dirty from the kitchen and lukewarm (check the pictures to see the unprofessional service)
  • A table of eight, with an average age of 55 years of age, were all disappointed. None will come back
  • It’s way too expensive for a French Brasserie

Where is the French professionalism, where is the minimum standard? The staff were lost and not synchronized at all, the food was not tasty, no cutting knives, only Pepsi is served, dirty tables, desserts that taste nothing like French pastry… are but a few of the shocking things Cafe de Flore has to offer.

It’s bizarre to see a food empire like the Boubess Group, owners of many reputable restaurants in Lebanon, with  drastic – quality and taste – variations between one name and the other. Some of their restaurants are part of my top 10 list and others are seriously disastrous. Shouldn’t you fine tune and regularize the tastes and quality in all your places?

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