Leila's Authentic Lebanese Cuisine

Opened by a Lebanese-Estonian couple in 2018, Leila’s Authentic Lebanese Cuisine is located on a quiet backstreet in District 6, near downtown. With Lebanese and Syrian cooks in the kitchen, Leila’s is indeed an authentic restaurant, using traditional recipes and spices (most plates are abundantly dressed in parsley, sumac, thyme, and lemon juice). Unfortunately, the dishes are a bit overpriced and still a work-in-progress.

On the positive side, I enjoyed the hummus with spicy lamb mezze (hummus lahmeh; €7), and the labneh (€4), a creamy, strained yogurt. Also good is the kibbeh (€7), a deep-fried Levantine croquette of bulgur and minced meat, spruced up with herbs and studded with pine nuts (its Turkish version, içli köfte, might be more familiar to Hungarians).

The main letdown at Leila's is the dry and undersized Lebanese beef kebab (kafta; €11). You’re better off with the shish taouk, a juicier and nicely charred skewered chicken with fries and white sauce (€11). Of the salads, both the tabbouleh and the fattoush (€6), drenched in pomegranate molasses, were distractingly sour. The chef’s surprise dessert is the halawet el-jibn, a light treat of cheese dough stuffed with sweet cream—it's tasty, but I wish the portion was bigger. Note that Leila's does serve alcohol, including Hungarian wine and beer.