Balthus is one of Beirut’s best known French restaurants in Beirut. Its beige and brown décor, with simple wooden tables and chairs, plays host to a rather grand crowd. At lunchtime in particular, Balthus is the haunt of businessmen, politicians and bankers who descend from the Grand Serail – Beirut’s equivalent of Whitehall or Capitol Hill.
The menu is typical brasserie fare and limited as such, but what it lacks in choice it makes up for in quality. Particularly impressive are the foïe gras and the lamb gigot with gratin dauphinois. As with all high-end eateries in Beirut the wine list is extensive, with a comprehensive selection of French and local wines (which are more reasonable and often delicious).
Balthus is a good safe bet, but be aware that service can be a little terse and the atmosphere relatively staid.