The Italian Project
May 11, 2018
You can almost hear the opening strains of Dean Martin’s ‘Amore’ as you step into the Italian Project in the Mar Mikhael area of Beirut. But there’s no red-check tablecloths or bendy breadsticks in sight at this resto-bar, entranced via a dramatic stone archway. The interior is chic and distinctly Mediterranean, dotted with shiny trumpet-like light fixtures which contrast wonderfully with the rough stone walls around its edge. And The Italian Project’s waistcoated bar staff are a friendly lot, making you feel welcome at your place at the long shiny bar illuminated with hanging pendant lights (even though you’d feel equally-as-relaxed on the covered patio that’s dotted with hanging palms).
But it’s the distinctly Italian vibe, and the short-but-sweet menu that gives The Italian Project the feel of a much smaller, family-run Italian joint. They stick to the classics here: a selection of wood-fired pizzas, four meat and fish dishes, a handful of pastas and risottos. Food is executed with style, and they certainly don’t skimp on the portions. Cocktails are mostly Italian in style and recipe, and the prosecco flows freely, particularly during the bar’s aperitivo time from 5pm onwards. The Italian Project also makes their own vermouth, and no trip here would be complete without a sampling.
Photo credit: The Italian Project