In 1940, Dalia, along with her husband, opened a small unassuming restaurant in an old Lebanese house on the outskirts of the capital. It was called Villa Beirut. It was a family-run business with only 4 staff (Dalia, her husband, and her two daughters). The initial year was very tough but Dalia persevered and Villa Beirut soon became frequented by numerous high-profile customers. By the second year of operation, Villa Beirut was a resounding success with patrons willing to wait in huge queues just to sample Dalia’s delicious cooking.
It all started in the early 1900’s when a little girl named Dalia grew up watching her mother prepare traditional Lebanese delicacies in the suburbs of Beirut. Even at such a young age, she was fascinated by her mother’s cooking and simply adored authentic Lebanese cuisine.
Dalia’s own passion for preparing fresh food bloomed when she got a job at a local restaurant. Fuelled by a desire to produce only the best product, she worked relentlessly to learn every aspect of the business. She spent a great deal of time in the kitchen and thrived on creating her own dishes. Having mastered the skills of preparing authentic Lebanese food, Dalia knew that having her own restaurant was the only way she could fulfill her dream of creating a truly memorable dining experience. She envisioned a vibrant and happy place where families gathered to enjoy good food and traditional music. She wanted people to enjoy the whole experience-not just the food.
As business was booming, the ambitious Dalia seized an opportunity to expand even further. Villa Beirut moved to a much bigger and better location that would become the permanent home to loyal patrons. It was a charming house with bold blue windows surrounded by a beautiful garden- just the way Dalia had envisioned it. Unfortunately just before the grand opening in 1942, for unknown reasons, Villa Beirut never opened.
However, Dalia’s legacy has lived on in her grandchildren who have handed down her secret recipes. They have kept her dream alive with the re-opening of Villa Beirut. Her recipes are still being used and the design of the restaurant has been inspired by Dalia.