El Karim Restaurant in Sydney serves delicious Lebanese food

The first thing you’ll notice about El Karim restaurant in Roseville, Sydney, Australia, is the tantalizing scents. Lebanese aromas of hommos, falafel and grilled eggplant waft through the air, beckoning visitors in to the restaurant that is wall-to-wall packed with people on weekend nights. The cozy eatery has a convivial vibe, with lots of happy chatter amid the delicious smells.

El Karim Restaurant Sydney

There’s also some sparse patio seating, as well as a little bar area near the entrance. Make a reservation on weekend nights to get a seat right away. When I went there a couple weeks ago, it was only about a 10-minute wait, but I watched as parties continuously walked in all night to get their fix of the tasty offerings this restaurant features.

It was easy to see why this restaurant, which underwent renovations this year, has been going strong since 1976. I was greeted immediately by owner/chef Fadi Constantine, from Beirut, who had a giant smile and mingled with tables throughout the space. The BYO menu (you can bring wine only) is full of dozens of shared plate entrées and larger mains, and I’d recommend ordering a bunch of smaller plates to try for the whole table. I could get a whole new order next time I go — everything I had was delicious, and there were so many more mouthwatering dishes I can’t wait to try next time.

I started with the hommos ($7 AUD), which came with a thick stack of pita bread and was the perfect thick and creamy consistency. The bread was soft, not soggy, and the starter was really filling.

El Karim Restaurant Sydney Hommos

The falafel ($12) was another classic and stellar choice, drizzled with tahini and served with pickles. The patties were thick and moist. I loved the generous topping, and everything went well together.

El Karim Restaurant Sydney falafel

Haloumi is always a must-have in Australia, so I was delighted there was a haloumi dish that came with another one of my faves, kalamata olives ($14). Wrap the haloumi in pita, and it’s heavenly, or eat it on your own, which I loved.

El Karim Restaurant Sydney Haloumi

An order of batata kezbarah ($12), diced potatoes with spices, lemon and garlic, perfectly rounded out the meal. The dish was filling, and I loved the Lebanese spices that covered the potatoes.

Batata Kezbarah El Karim Restaurant Sydney

Pair your meal with a speciality cocktail, beer, cider or glass of wine — again, there are dozens to choose from. Besides the menu that was a knockout with everything that was ordered, the service was swift, attentive and friendly. You really feel valued and at home in the restaurant, which made for such a fantastic experience.

Learn more about El Karim in Roseville, Sydney, Australia here.

Hannibal Lebanese Restaurant in Surry Hills, Sydney, gives amazing Middle Eastern dining experience

I love restaurants that really transport you to another place with their style and décor, which is why I was thrilled to have a Lebanese feast recently at Hannibal Lebanese Restaurant in Surry Hills, Sydney, Australia.

Hannibal Lebanese Restaurant Surry Hills Sydney

The Middle Eastern spot has two pillow-filled party rooms perfect for large gatherings, while the main dining room offers a cozy dining experience decorated with rugs from the area, pillows and comfy cushioned seating, artwork, decorated plates and hanging adornments.

Hannibal Lebanese Restaurant Surry Hills Sydney

The spot is BYO, a feature I’m always excited about in Australia because it helps you save money and sip on exactly what you want.

The vegetarian meal consisting of nearly a dozen tapas courses kicked off with hoummos ($9 AUD) and baba ganouj ($11) and a massive mound of khobz, or Lebanese bread, whose pockets allowed you to create sandwiches to your heart’s content.

Hannibal Lebanese Restaurant Surry Hills Sydney khobz

I’ve never been a huge fan of baba ganouj because of the runny versions I’ve encountered, but this one was thick, creamy, garlic-packed and delicious.

Hannibal Lebanese Restaurant Surry Hills Sydney Baba Ganouj

The hoummos was top-notch, too, with a great thick consistency. Next up was tabouli ($13), in a heaping bowl, again, not overly-watery and chopped so that it was easy to scoop up and combine with the other elements. It was vibrantly green and a great khobz addition.

Hannibal Lebanese Restaurant Surry Hills Sydney hoummos and tabouli

Falafel ($7) came next, generous donut-shaped bites of the fried chickpeas. They were fried well, not overly hard or soft, and I enjoyed the sauce drizzled over the falafel.

Hannibal Lebanese Restaurant Surry Hills Sydney Falafel

Sliced eggplant ($12) came out next. Again, I’m not the biggest eggplant fan, but these were heaven. Their charred skins gave off a crunchy texture and welcome smoky flavor, while the eggplant was covered in an ideal amount of oil that enhanced their taste without making them soggy.

Hannibal Lebanese Restaurant Surry Hills Sydney Fried Eggplant

One of the best parts of the spread, all which came out in about 15 minutes total for a massive meal that lent itself to mixing flavors, was the spinach pie ($12). The fried feta cheese- and spinach-filled slice was pure bliss in every bite. It was a decadent vegetarian course that added new flavors to the meal.

Hannibal Lebanese Restaurant Surry Hills Sydney Spinach Pie

The fried cauliflower ($12) was another filling portion, topped with tahini dressing. The meaty cruciferous vegetable quickly makes bellies full.

Hannibal Lebanese Restaurant Surry Hills Sydney Fried Cauliflower

Vine leaves are one of my favorite Mediterranean dishes, and Hannibal’s ($13) didn’t disappoint. The large leaves stuffed with rice, tomato and parsley were again meaty and filling and packed a ton of flavors.

Hannibal Lebanese Restaurant Surry Hills Sydney Vine Leaves

For dessert, there was baklava ($2.50), probably the best I’ve ever had. The portion offered a few bites and had the perfect ratio of dough-to-pistachio filling, baked in Middle Eastern honey syrup so that it melted in your mouth.

Hannibal Lebanese Restaurant Surry Hills Sydney Baklava

As a fan of tapas-style serving where you can try lots of small plates in one sitting, Hannibal Lebanese Restaurant is one I’d return to over and over. The spot features belly dancing for parties and on Saturday’s (call ahead to confirm times), and the beautiful atmosphere enhances the elegance of every plate.

Find more information on Hannibal Lebanese Restaurant in Surry Hills, which has another location in Glebe, here.