If you’ve passed through Beirut in the recent year,
then you might have come across Anthony Rahayel’s infamous food blog: No Garlic, No Onions. It highlights the many restaurants located
throughout Lebanon’s capital, as well as other international cities such as
Paris and Barcelona. The foodie critiques not only the actual meal, but the
service as well and offers professional photographs that allow you to fully
enjoy his culinary experiences.
So if you’re planning your next Beirut trip, or you’ve got
a hot date this weekend in K-town, it may be worth your while to check out
Rahayel’s blog for his latest updates. You never know, as he could be passing by your favorite joint this very
instant! Not only so, Anthony recently added a new section called Friends&Co,
where his friends can actually write their restaurant reviews, from wherever
they are, giving his readers a wider choice of food reviews from different
restaurants and countries.
Your blog has been blowing
up recently, with hundreds of people viewing it for advice on restaurants. Did
you know it was going to be such a hit when you started?
Honestly, no. I started the site to create a medium where I
could come, write and express myself and share my experiences.
Nogarlicnoonions.com became a gateway to say out loud what I think, how I feel
and what I taste every time I go out for a meal.
Who do you represent? Who
are your readers?
I think I represent an average person who likes to go out,
eat good food and get his money’s worth. I am no food critic per se, and I
don’t claim to be one, but I know what I like, I know what’s good and bad, and
what’s tasty and what’s not and so on… and people who agree with me share my
There’s so much I always want to say, sometimes good and
sometimes bad. This is my space to vent and express my thoughts as an average
man who enjoys going out, trying new places and expecting the minimum courtesy
of good food, good service and so on. I do know a thing or two about good food.
Do you feel the pressure to
say something positive if the owner of the restaurant is a friend?
No, not at all. But after my blog picked up, many have
asked me to be positive about what I have experienced at their eatery. The
minute I start writing, I say what I feel. I can’t say something is good when
it’s not and I have to say when a meal really delivers a true culinary
experience – from the food, setting, service, music, etc.
No one pays me to say anything. This is why I say what I
truly think and I have honestly been surprised with the outcome. Some
appreciate the openness and honestly while others don’t at all and send me hate
mail. But that’s ok. At least I know they are reading and hope that they
improve their food and service.
Are you happy with the
outcome so far?
Definitely, because now I feel I represent many and not
just myself. I never expected the blog to pick up so quickly. But it did and I am happy that I am
getting interesting feedback from esteemed hotel and restaurant owners who tell
me that my points have been taken into consideration and that they will work on
the things I have talked about.
The best part is when professionals in the game send me
thank you messages. The general manager of Rixos Hotel in Turkey emailed me and
thanked me for my review and apologized for the problems I encountered during
my stay. It meant a lot.
What impassions you so much
about eating out at a restaurant?
I love it. I go out at least five times a week with friends
and family. I often go back to my favorite places and try to express again and
again why I love that place. They deserve it. And when I try new places,
whether in Lebanon or abroad - the feeling that I am going to try a new place,
new service and new tastes, is really amazing.
What’s your biggest pet
peeve that happens often at restaurants?
When waiters stare at me when I take photos of the dishes
or take notes while I am eating. They make me feel like I am stealing
something. It’s not easy walking into a restaurant and trying to take images
and notes about everything I taste. I have to since I owe this to my readers,
but I have had a few bad experiences where the waiter rudely asked me to stop
Are you willing to try any
sort of restaurant or is there a specific type you’re only aiming at reviewing?
No, I am open. I always want to try new concept and see how
it works, if it’s good, if the service is good, etc. But of course, I won’t try
anything with garlic or onions.
Do you have a favorite
restaurant in the world and why?
I like a lot of places. Since I like various cuisines, I
have a favorite in each category and I have created a Top 10 list, which
changes often, depending on what’s new and what’s good. Categories include
Burgers, Sushi, Italian, French and more. But if you’re really interested,
you’ll have to visit the site to find out!
Will we be seeing you in
I hope so. I am planning a visit soon. I heard there are a
few places that I should try, and if your readers can recommend where I can
have the best burger in Kuwait, or try a good fine dining experience, please
let them share!