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Review of Zahli

Ranked #19 of 6,792 Restaurants in Sydney
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$ 9 - US$ 33
Cuisines: Lebanese
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Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Neighbourhood: Surry Hills
Reviewed 10 December 2017

My partner and I recently visited Zahli based entirely on TripAdvisor reviews. We can safely say that it is a dining experience worthy of its excellent ratings. Only downside, probably should have listened to the reliable advice of the friendly wait-staff, when it came to deciding how much to eat. The menu options were simply just too inviting to turn down. Best baba ghannouj EVER. In fact, all of the dishes we selected were faultless. We were in an adventurous mood, not keeping tabs on our spend and were pleasantly surprised with the exceptional value. The Manager, Muhammad gave us outstanding, personalised service. Even to point of insisting we took with us a slice of Baclava. It was amazing, we will definitely be back.

    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank TanandRich
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (537)
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101 - 105 of 537 reviews

Reviewed 3 December 2017

We visited Zahli as a couple. We thought is was bound to be a decent dining experience due to the overwhelmingly positive reviews on this website. Surprisingly, our experience was quite bad.
I asked our waiter whether a particular white wine was dry, he said it was, but when it came it was the sweetest white I have ever tried. If he didn't have a clue, he should have just said so.
We started with some ladies fingers, which were fine, then two mains: lamb shawarma and barramundi with tahini sauce. These were just the main protein with sauce, so are probably best shared. We would have liked the waiter to point this out when we ordered. Both dishes were smothered in sauce and over-spiced in a sharp, astringent way that tasted of raw garlic and acid, and burned our mouths, no exaggeration. We love spicy, strong flavours and adore middle eastern cuisine, but these dishes tasted like the chef never tasted their own food. It was really strange.
Half way through our meal we ordered the fattoush and, although it took a while to appear, seemed to have been made at least several hours earlier, as it was literally mushy and swimming in dressing. After eating some of it, we had to stop as we had both started developing mouth ulcers from the acidity. We were shocked that we couldn't even finish our dishes, since we are not that difficult to please. Normally, if a meal is just average, we would still eat it. Maybe it was what we ordered...
We would describe the service as perfunctory. Like another reviewer said, it seemed like the staff were quite stand-off-ish. We left having not enjoyed our meal at all, which is really something. We are bewildered at how different our experience was compared to most reviewers.
My advice is: the wait-staff should be given some guidance so they can engage better with guests. They should also ideally know a little about the wine list. And don't serve mushy salad.

    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
8  Thank slithytovesborogoves
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 November 2017

We were met at the door by a friendly young member of staff and shown to our table. The owner came to introduce himself and welcome us as he remembered my son and his fiance from a couple of weeks before. We had been told by our son that the food was wonderful. Understated, as it is by far the best authentic Lebanese food I have ever tasted and a banquet to enjoy like nothing else. The food was a continual feast of the best homos, tabbouleh, baba ganoush, salads and meat skewers with a banquet of the most beautifully spiced and aromatic food I have eaten in my life time. A beautiful belly dancer entertained us and interacted with the guests encouraging a delightful atmosphere of fun and laughter. Will visit again.

Thank Bev M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 November 2017

We went to Zahli for a birthday lunch and had a beautiful table at the front of the restaurant. You would think facing Elizabeth Street would be a bit of a trial but it was actually quite lovely. There is a lot of glass at the front of the restaurant, and at this time of year with star jasmine flowering on trellises, it was beautiful.
The food was great - we started with dips - the smoked eggplant was the standout, and possible, the "go to" dip. This was served with fried and fresh flat bread. Of the mains, the lamb skewers were perfect - succulent and tender. Less impressive was the squid and white bait. We had mastic ice cream to finish - yum.
The wait staff were great, just the right amount of attention and distance. They listened to what was being said, assisting with the order, but not pushing a suggested banquet.
Definitely a contender, but you have to know what to order.

Thank Emeraude8888
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 November 2017 via mobile

Dined here on Saturday night. Food was great but not huge difference with cheaper options down the road. The place/decor is nice and inviting. When I booked a table via phone I was asked how long we will dine (she explained the place gets really busy). When we left it was half empty lol. Not sure how this reached top 10 as dining place.

Thank Magicstorm99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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