Al Safir is my go-to place for middle eastern food – good value for good food. The restaurant is not big; there are 6 tables inside. When the weather is warmer, there will be tables outside to accommodate more customers. Al Safir is not as fancy as the other middle eastern restaurants in Beijing, but the food is one of the best. The menu has a good selection along with pictures which are very helpful when ordering especially for those who are not familiar with the dishes.
I always order the lentil soup when I’m here. It’s hearty and savory. The lemon juice adds a zing to the flavor. The vegetable soup was not too bad, nothing exceptional.
The fattoush is a great tangy palate-cleansing salad. It is a toasted pita bread salad with mixed greens, tomatoes, and cucumber. I love the crunchiness and juiciness of the salad. The Moutabal (eggplant and tahini dip) on the other hand was too sour for me. So I did not have too much of it.
The Bamya bel lahmeh is popular Arabic okra with lamb stew. It is a strong tomato-based stew but not offsetting. You can have it with rice or on its own as soup. The kebab platter consists of beef, lamb, and chicken. The meat was tasty and succulent. There are two dips for the meat, one is a tomato and onion dip, and the other is some kind of mayo dip which is absolutely delicious, it gives the meat an extra boost in flavor.
One of my favorite rice dishes is the Kabsa chicken. The chicken is tender and comes right off the bone. It is lightly seasoned, so it still retains its natural chicken flavor. There are yogurt and a special sauce that you can add to the rice for more flavor. The saffron rice is just plain saffron rice ..haha.
I highly recommend this place!