In the multicultural city of Sydney, people from all different cultures and walks of life unite in keeping their traditions close and proudly sharing the best of their cultural heritage with others. But even for many of the city’s residents and visitors spoiled for choice, Zahli Modern Middle Eastern restaurant is a breath of fresh air. This year’s winner of Luxury Lifestyle Awards in the category The Best Luxury Restaurant in Sydney, Australia, provides the perfect setting to experience exquisite Lebanese cuisine the way it was meant to be.
The restaurant’s founder, Mohammad Issmail, was exposed to the richness of Lebanese cuisine and culture from an early age. Vivid memories from his childhood of his mother’s cooking were one of the main sources of inspiration in developing Zahli’s concept. Years later, Mohammad’s desire to create a business that reflects the essence of authentic Lebanese cuisine led him to open a restaurant in Australia. Zahli has embodied the best qualities of not only the cuisine but the entire Lebanese culture with its inherent vitality, generosity, and hospitality. Mohammad’s extensive experience in dining at various world-class restaurants has also played a major role in shaping the unique atmosphere that has become the restaurant’s hallmark.
Mohammad Issmail opened the restaurant in 2014 in the heart of Surry Hills, a bustling suburb of Sydney known for its diversity in dining experiences. In this mix of world cuisines, Lebanese cuisine is particularly rich and varied, and for Zahli visitors, it goes along with the cultural and social experiences.
The name Zahli is inspired by the gem of Lebanon, the region of Zahlé, a picturesque area that has become famous for its outstanding cuisine, wines, and poetry. And even if you have never been there, on the banks of the mountain river Bardouni, you can experience the charm of warm evenings in Zahlé, thousands of kilometers away from this region. Local studio Quattro Interiors has designed a cozy and comfortable environment with an emphasis on an abundance of details, traditional furniture, a muted color palette, stylish Encaustic tiles, a marble bar, and a grand entrance. Exquisite interior design, impeccable service, excellent cuisine, which combines tradition with a modern approach, are the components of the unique formula of the Zahli charm.
The impressive fine dining experience is largely the brainchild of Zahli’s executive chef, Elie Abi Rached, who carefully curated the menu to incorporate a diverse mix of the finest in traditional Lebanese dishes. Born in Lebanon, Elie was intimately acquainted from an early age with the great local staples prepared in traditional ways with the freshest produce. Educated in Lebanon and having spent several years honing his creativity and passion for cooking exquisite dishes, Elie came to Australia to bring his expertise to the local Sydney community. At Zahli, he delivers a personalized and memorable dining experience inspired by his love for his heritage.
Whether you are vegan, vegetarian, or on a gluten-free diet, you are sure to find a dish that meets your boldest culinary expectations. True gourmets will appreciate the extensive selection of a la carte dishes, seafood, and dessert menu with Middle Eastern sweets. However, the main attraction of Zahli is traditional Lebanese cuisine, which attracts more and more new visitors and makes them return here again and again.