A charming authentic restaurant I love in the heart of Beirut, Lebanon.
I cannot recall how I initially came across this beautiful little restaurant but every time I visit Lebanon I make sure I go there.
There is something so magical about the atmosphere of this place, everything is done so meaningfully and mindfully, from the little cute tags in each plant pots, to the little ‘adopt me’ table place cards of rescued dogs and cats from different shelters, and on each card, their individual stories and pictures photographed by Mirna, one of the owners.
As you walk towards the restaurant in the tiny alley in Mar Mikhael, in the heart of Beirut, you can already feel a certain charm as you approach the entrance door that opens straight on its little garden. In the garden, a nice set up of tables and chairs on white pebbles blend in with the trees like in a garden of fairies. As you enter, you can’t help but notice a little cute built basin with a vintage faucet on the ground and above it, a sign that says ‘dog bar’. Yes, it is also a pet friendly restaurant! As you walk past the garden, you enter this homy indoor space with an old Lebanese architecture and towards the end, a long bar with a welcoming rustic swing hanging from the tall ceiling facing it, which makes you feel you are still in the warm green garden even in winter!
In the heart of such a busy city, you can find such peace in this place with friendly staffs. So friendly, that my young daughter rated it as her most favorite restaurant, and is welcomed to make her own pink mocktail with the bartender or Mirna at the bar.
As a plus, one of the rooms of the restaurant is a little concept store created to support local brands that are in line with the owners' ethics.
The restaurant is surely reflective of its name. Orenda is the extraordinary invisible power believed by the Iroquois Indians to spread in all living and non living natural objects as a transmissible spiritual energy capable of being exerted according to the will of its possessor.
Founded by two loving ladies, Huaida and Mirna, every inch of the space holds the DNA of their moral values, passion and contribution into doing good deeds for the environment, the voiceless animals and for the Lebanese society.
Even though there are many vegan options in the Lebanese or so called Mediterranean diet, at the time the restaurant was launched, a hundred percent vegan restaurant was non existent in the country.
Both, Mirna and Huaida were inspired to offer more than just good vegan international cuisine on a menu, they wanted to build a pleasant experience while promoting environment preservation and cruelty free principles.Along those key ethics, the two floor small heritage building that hosts the restaurant on its ground floor, was previously a residential house. All the key elements of the house are kept intact, while the decoration was developped around the original architectural colors of the whole building with the incorporation of modern elements.
Mirna and Huaida worked a full time job, when they launched Orenda on May, 22nd, 2019. It took them around 6 months to fix the space and work a delicious creative vegan menu with chef Had Hazim, who was able to incorporate exactly what they wanted and translate their vision into the food they serve, to encourage morally correct yet healthy and fun food, to what they describe as ’the future of food’.
Orenda's menu is international, you can find cuisines inspired from India, Japan, Mexico, Italian and Lebanon of course. My daughter and I love their vegetable rolls, the curry and lentil dal, and everything else on the menu.
If you happen to be in Lebanon or reside in Lebanon, I totally recommend you to check it out. They receive customers from 11:00 am till 10:30pm, while their kitchen and bar remains open till midnight.
Check out this yummy tumeric cocktail recipe from Orenda as my first recipe on the launch of my recipe page!