🍃 Vibes and Ambiance
Another restaurant located in Flatiron, Ilili is definitely a more refined Mediterranean dining experience for lunch meetings, or just a place to hangout with friends after a long work day. I was recommended this place by some of my friends before creating my Restaurant Week list so I really wanted to try. The restaurant has two main rooms: you have the lounge/bar area for more of a casual hangout. Then you have the main dining room with a very high ceiling. The wooden decor here is just very unique. On the menu, you can find a variety of traditional Lebanese dishes, with rich flavor profiles informed by both new approaches and historical recipes.
For starter: Falafel
I went here for a lighter lunch prix-fixe experience. For starter, we have falafel - a Middle Eastern deep-fried ball dish. The falafel I had was fried chickpea and fava bean croquettes. They have a very rich and grainy taste with hints of cumin and parsley, which was perfectly paired with the creamy sour cream.
I really wanted to try out something vegetarian so for my second starter, I had the Fattoush. This is a Lebanese Garden Salad with light sumac lemon vinaigrette dressing served with toasted pita. The fattoush was very refreshing and bright which was definitely a great choice.
Main dish: Salmon
For my main course, I had the Salmon a la Plancha, served with butternut squash puree with hazelnut and pomegranate brown butter. I know, that was a lot for a description, and the dish definitely marries the flavors very well. “A la Plancha” essentially means the Salmon was grilled on a metal plate, resulting in a very rich and crispy skin atop the salmon. It’s golden on the outside, yet tender on the inside. The slight tartness of the pomegranate was layered with the milder and sweeter butternut squash puree, resulting in a just-right combination to accompany the salmon.
For tea: Dammann Freres
And yes, they have Dammann Freres tea so I must of course order a pot to enjoy. I always like meself some classic English Breakfast with milk and brown sugar and so the super aromatic yet light tea was perfect to close out my lunch outing.
For a complete list of ranking, please feel free to check out my YouTube video: