ILILI Restaurant

★★★★★
Rated one of the 'Top 5 Best Mediterranean Restaurants in NYC'
  • 236 5th Ave

    New York, NY 10001

    Cross street: 27th Street and 28th Street

    Map & Directions
  • 212-683-2929

Food

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.

So amazing. It's so good their brussel sprouts are better than most desserts! And their drinks aren't shabby either...

3
★★★★★

So amazing. It's so good their brussel sprouts are better than most desserts! And their drinks aren't shabby either...

.

Diasppointed to see that many (all? - we had their chocolate and triple espresso) of their ice creams now use

- Guar Gum

- Locust Bean Gum

- Carrageenan

all at the same time. Yikes! We loved the ice cram they make, but now won't

3
★★★★★

Diasppointed to see that many (all? - we had their chocolate and triple espresso) of their ice creams now use

- Guar Gum

- Locust Bean Gum

- Carrageenan

all at the same time. Yikes! We loved the ice cram they make, but now won't

.

I love mediterranean food and this place is very good at this. thanks...

3
★★★★★

I love mediterranean food and this place is very good at this. thanks...

.

I love this restaurant! The food is contemporary Lebanese/Mediterranean and outstanding in every respect.

The Brussels Sprouts are highly recommended (Zagat) as well as the Duck Shawarma, Chewy Lebanese Ice Cream, and all the traditional

3
★★★★★

I love this restaurant! The food is contemporary Lebanese/Mediterranean and outstanding in every respect.

The Brussels Sprouts are highly recommended (Zagat) as well as the Duck Shawarma, Chewy Lebanese Ice Cream, and all the traditional

.

The food is delicious here! One of my favorite dishes was the eggplant and the blackened shrimp. What I loved about this restaurant was that it would replenish the bread throughout your time there and the bread would be warm everytime! I loved the way it was set up..a great place for a date or just with a night out with friends!! It's not super cheap but it's not super expensive either- it's moderate pricing but it's good!

5
★★★★★

The food is delicious here! One of my favorite dishes was the eggplant and the blackened shrimp. What I loved about this restaurant was that it would replenish the bread throughout your time there and the bread would be warm everytime! I loved the way it was set up..a great place for a date or just with a night out with friends!! It's not super cheap but it's not super expensive either- it's moderate pricing but it's good!

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.

This is a refreshingly original take on Lebanese and Mediterranean cuisine that doesn't compromise the authenticity of flavors and dishes. While all the mainstays and mezze like tabbouleh, falafel, shawarma etc. are available - they are at times deconstructed and at times transformed into supercharged little packets of amazing tastes.

The duck shawarma, Sidon black cod and black iron shrimp are all to die for. The desserts are heavenly and the original ice cream here is unique - reminiscent of Istanbul dondurma...

A must try!

2
★★★★★

This is a refreshingly original take on Lebanese and Mediterranean cuisine that doesn't compromise the authenticity of flavors and dishes. While all the mainstays and mezze like tabbouleh, falafel, shawarma etc. are available - they are at times deconstructed and at times transformed into supercharged little packets of amazing tastes.

The duck shawarma, Sidon black cod and black iron shrimp are all to die for. The desserts are heavenly and the original ice cream here is unique - reminiscent of Istanbul dondurma...

A must try!

Pros: Great starters, mains and desserts plus rockin' cocktails

Cons: Eat like this every day and chubbiness is assured

.

The food here is delicious and unique, and there is SO much to choose from! The prices have a great range, you can spend spend just a little or go all out. I am still dreaming of the food. The ambiance is hip, fresh, and it's well-decorated - it's a great spot for any type of group. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!! Also, thank the chef, Eric, very cool guy.

2
★★★★★

The food here is delicious and unique, and there is SO much to choose from! The prices have a great range, you can spend spend just a little or go all out. I am still dreaming of the food. The ambiance is hip, fresh, and it's well-decorated - it's a great spot for any type of group. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!! Also, thank the chef, Eric, very cool guy.

Pros: So damn good... in every way.

Cons: Can get busy, so make a reservation!!

.

The food here is delicious and unique, and there is SO much to choose from! The prices have a great range, you can spend spend just a little or go all out. I am still dreaming of the food. The ambiance is hip, fresh, and it's well-decorated - it's a great spot for any type of group. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!! Also, thank the chef, Eric, very cool guy.

2
★★★★★

The food here is delicious and unique, and there is SO much to choose from! The prices have a great range, you can spend spend just a little or go all out. I am still dreaming of the food. The ambiance is hip, fresh, and it's well-decorated - it's a great spot for any type of group. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!! Also, thank the chef, Eric, very cool guy.

Pros: best Lebanese/Middle Easter food EVER!!!

Cons: can get busy, so make a reservation!!

.

An old friend from culinary school just took me here last week and it was an amazing experience
if you're craving creamy hummus, herb filled falafel, and delicious cocktails you must come here, its simple delicious mediteranian food in a chic New York atmosphere
the cocktails are delightful and large, i had the sangria and it was a perfect balance of tanin filled red-wine and sweet citrus
and you can't leave without having dessert
i recommend the lemom verbena benquets which are crisp, light, and wonderfuly soothing after a long meal

2
★★★★★

An old friend from culinary school just took me here last week and it was an amazing experience
if you're craving creamy hummus, herb filled falafel, and delicious cocktails you must come here, its simple delicious mediteranian food in a chic New York atmosphere
the cocktails are delightful and large, i had the sangria and it was a perfect balance of tanin filled red-wine and sweet citrus
and you can't leave without having dessert
i recommend the lemom verbena benquets which are crisp, light, and wonderfuly soothing after a long meal

Pros: Amazing Hummus, Falafel, and Drinks

.

Walked into this place with two friends last week out of the blue, we were seated right away and proceeded to have a wonderful experience with a fantastic waitress who knew her stuff! She made fantastic suggestions and the food was just amazing. I cannot wait to go back and eat here.

2
★★★★★

Walked into this place with two friends last week out of the blue, we were seated right away and proceeded to have a wonderful experience with a fantastic waitress who knew her stuff! She made fantastic suggestions and the food was just amazing. I cannot wait to go back and eat here.

Pros: Great service, great appetizers, really good sangria

.

My husband and I have been to ilili many times, and we think every time we go there it is getting better, and better. Most recently we were there this past weekend for Valentine's Day. The Price Fixe menu was a very reasonable $45 per person, but the menu was by no means skimpy. We each ordered 2 appetizers, a main course, and a dessert inclusive. Forget the price, most importantly the food was great. We loved the Crab Meat Falafel, the lamb sausage, the veal sweetbreads, and the beef kebab was so perfectly flavored. They serve all this accompanied by warm pita straight from the oven. There tahina dipping sauces are fantastic as well. We enjoyed the Valentine's dinner so much that we decided to bring our families for restaurant week, and what a deal that was. You basically get the same selection for $35 per person. We have went to 4 restaurants for restaurant week (or month in 2009), and no restaurant provides the quality, and selection that ilili does. If you are looking to explore your taste buds in ways that they have never been explored go to ilili, and order something that sounds weird (you will be pleasantly surprised, and feel like you have traveled abroad). In addition their drinks are excellent, my favorite since I am pregnant is some kind of cucumber, mint infused drink (non-alcoholic), my husband loves the passion infused vodka. I almost forgot to mention dessert, their homemade ice-cream is great, and their chocolate candy bar is so decadent.

Can't help to mention the wonderful management (Eva & Michael), that really make sure that their customers are well taken care of. If their is one thing to pick on, and they have really improved in this area, it is the service. You might have to ask for them to refill your water glass a couple of times.

2
★★★★★

My husband and I have been to ilili many times, and we think every time we go there it is getting better, and better. Most recently we were there this past weekend for Valentine's Day. The Price Fixe menu was a very reasonable $45 per person, but the menu was by no means skimpy. We each ordered 2 appetizers, a main course, and a dessert inclusive. Forget the price, most importantly the food was great. We loved the Crab Meat Falafel, the lamb sausage, the veal sweetbreads, and the beef kebab was so perfectly flavored. They serve all this accompanied by warm pita straight from the oven. There tahina dipping sauces are fantastic as well. We enjoyed the Valentine's dinner so much that we decided to bring our families for restaurant week, and what a deal that was. You basically get the same selection for $35 per person. We have went to 4 restaurants for restaurant week (or month in 2009), and no restaurant provides the quality, and selection that ilili does. If you are looking to explore your taste buds in ways that they have never been explored go to ilili, and order something that sounds weird (you will be pleasantly surprised, and feel like you have traveled abroad). In addition their drinks are excellent, my favorite since I am pregnant is some kind of cucumber, mint infused drink (non-alcoholic), my husband loves the passion infused vodka. I almost forgot to mention dessert, their homemade ice-cream is great, and their chocolate candy bar is so decadent.

Can't help to mention the wonderful management (Eva & Michael), that really make sure that their customers are well taken care of. If their is one thing to pick on, and they have really improved in this area, it is the service. You might have to ask for them to refill your water glass a couple of times.

Pros: Kebabs, Hot Pita, Ambience, Schwarma, Falafel

Cons: NONE

.

Recently had dinner here during restaurant week...don't let the decor or attitude of the hostess fool you. The drinks are delicious (and much less expensive during happy hour) and the wait staff is extremely friendly and helpful; providing suggestions and explaining the dishes. We ordered off of the restaurant week menu and shared all of the plates. We were so full and hadn't even had dessert yet. The lamb is delicious (try the burger) as were the sausages, the fries, fish and other dishes. We will definitely be returning.

2
★★★★★

Recently had dinner here during restaurant week...don't let the decor or attitude of the hostess fool you. The drinks are delicious (and much less expensive during happy hour) and the wait staff is extremely friendly and helpful; providing suggestions and explaining the dishes. We ordered off of the restaurant week menu and shared all of the plates. We were so full and hadn't even had dessert yet. The lamb is delicious (try the burger) as were the sausages, the fries, fish and other dishes. We will definitely be returning.

Pros: Food, Wait Staff, Coctails

Cons: Host/Hostess

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Not your usual Mediterranean cuisine, the food here is as good if not better than the best neighborhood Lebanese restaurants, but far more adventurous. And unlike the usually eclectic decor of the latter, the elegance and spaciousness of ilili evidences a cohesive and very cool interior design. If you're in the mood for some turbo-supercharged Mediterranean cuisine in a classy setting, this is the place for you (and don't forget to try the distinctive "chewy" ice cream).

2
★★★★★

Not your usual Mediterranean cuisine, the food here is as good if not better than the best neighborhood Lebanese restaurants, but far more adventurous. And unlike the usually eclectic decor of the latter, the elegance and spaciousness of ilili evidences a cohesive and very cool interior design. If you're in the mood for some turbo-supercharged Mediterranean cuisine in a classy setting, this is the place for you (and don't forget to try the distinctive "chewy" ice cream).

Pros: Cuisine, ambiance

.

Our first course was amazing! As we are waiting for the second course out came the dessert menus. We never received the second course we ordered. The manager and waitstaff were quite gracious and apologetic for the error. It worked out as we were SO full we wouoldn't have been able to eat the second round. Great Sangria!!

2
★★★★☆

Our first course was amazing! As we are waiting for the second course out came the dessert menus. We never received the second course we ordered. The manager and waitstaff were quite gracious and apologetic for the error. It worked out as we were SO full we wouoldn't have been able to eat the second round. Great Sangria!!

Pros: Good Service

Cons: Waitstaff seemed a little "weeded."

.

I've been at least half a dozen times. The Kibbeh Naya is outstanding ( steak tartar), lamb sausages as good as in Damascus or Allepo..the classics are perfectly prepared and always fresh in a city with lots of Middle eastern food done wrong..

2
★★★★☆

I've been at least half a dozen times. The Kibbeh Naya is outstanding ( steak tartar), lamb sausages as good as in Damascus or Allepo..the classics are perfectly prepared and always fresh in a city with lots of Middle eastern food done wrong..

.

Since we went to ilili 2 times, and we enjoyed it, we decided to celebrate my birthday with our families there last Friday. The service wasn't spectacular, and so I decided to write a review explaining my experience. The next day I received a phone call from the GM apologizing for the poor service that I received. Her name was Eva, she was very nice, and assured me that service would be much improved on my next visit to ilili. She also made a drastic effort to make sure I return to the restaurant. She delivered a gift card to my home. It is very rare that an establishment values its customers as much as I felt valued by ilili. The feeling that I got was that they were apologetic, and wanted me to return for another try. I will definitely do this. Keep in mind my only complaint was about poor service, and this was the first time it had happened after going to the restaurant 2 previous times. Anyways the food is phenomenal, and look forward to going again in the near future.

They have some amazing dishes such as the brussel sprouts (yes, brussel sprouts) which are unlike any other brussel sprouts I have ever tried anywhere (I mean this in a good way). In addition, the lamb kebab is phenomenal, I grew up in a Russian household where kebabs are like macaroni & cheese in American households. In addition the steak tartar is amazing, the duck shawarma is a must try, and also the cheese with the egg is pretty good. Stay away from the fried fish, it has alot of bones, and isn't really anything special. My recommendation is to try food that are unique, and different to this establishment. The rest of the food that I have tried included the peppers in yogurt, the eggplant appetizer is just ok. Also the passion infused vodka is very good. They have a really solid drink menu.

2
★★★★☆

Since we went to ilili 2 times, and we enjoyed it, we decided to celebrate my birthday with our families there last Friday. The service wasn't spectacular, and so I decided to write a review explaining my experience. The next day I received a phone call from the GM apologizing for the poor service that I received. Her name was Eva, she was very nice, and assured me that service would be much improved on my next visit to ilili. She also made a drastic effort to make sure I return to the restaurant. She delivered a gift card to my home. It is very rare that an establishment values its customers as much as I felt valued by ilili. The feeling that I got was that they were apologetic, and wanted me to return for another try. I will definitely do this. Keep in mind my only complaint was about poor service, and this was the first time it had happened after going to the restaurant 2 previous times. Anyways the food is phenomenal, and look forward to going again in the near future.

They have some amazing dishes such as the brussel sprouts (yes, brussel sprouts) which are unlike any other brussel sprouts I have ever tried anywhere (I mean this in a good way). In addition, the lamb kebab is phenomenal, I grew up in a Russian household where kebabs are like macaroni & cheese in American households. In addition the steak tartar is amazing, the duck shawarma is a must try, and also the cheese with the egg is pretty good. Stay away from the fried fish, it has alot of bones, and isn't really anything special. My recommendation is to try food that are unique, and different to this establishment. The rest of the food that I have tried included the peppers in yogurt, the eggplant appetizer is just ok. Also the passion infused vodka is very good. They have a really solid drink menu.

Pros: Food, Drinks, Ambience

Cons: Service

.

The flavors could be a little more authentic as it focuses too much on food presentation and the beautiful decor. I went there with a bunch of fellow Lebanese to try it out. Our reaction to the dishes was mixed. Raw kibbeh, mixed grills, baba ghanouj, grape leaves were excellent, the Achta dessert gets 10/10, while the mujaddarah was a travesty, the tabbouleh mediocre, and the Turkish coffee was served unacceptably lukewarm and not freshly prepared. Clearly they are not catering to a clientele that knows that cuisine well. The service was slow, not too organized, and not at all knowledgeable about Lebanese food! Finally the portions were smallish, and the prices highly inflated.

1
★★★☆☆

The flavors could be a little more authentic as it focuses too much on food presentation and the beautiful decor. I went there with a bunch of fellow Lebanese to try it out. Our reaction to the dishes was mixed. Raw kibbeh, mixed grills, baba ghanouj, grape leaves were excellent, the Achta dessert gets 10/10, while the mujaddarah was a travesty, the tabbouleh mediocre, and the Turkish coffee was served unacceptably lukewarm and not freshly prepared. Clearly they are not catering to a clientele that knows that cuisine well. The service was slow, not too organized, and not at all knowledgeable about Lebanese food! Finally the portions were smallish, and the prices highly inflated.

Pros: food, decor

Cons: service, price

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Our favorite new restaurant in Flatiron....amazing food and good vibe - go with a date or with a group of friends. You will not be disappointed!!!!!

2
★★★★★

Our favorite new restaurant in Flatiron....amazing food and good vibe - go with a date or with a group of friends. You will not be disappointed!!!!!

Pros: Location, Food, Ambience

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Really, really. . .seriously good Lebanese food. 6 of us went for dinner and ordered all kinds of plates from the Baba Ghannouj to the Beef Kabob & Red Mullet yet nothing had a shortcoming of any sort. I wouldn't call this fusion at all, straight up Lebanese, possibly better than mama's (shhhh.....). The downstrairs was a bit of a yuppie "scene" not usually my style but would go back again simply for the delicious food. Yes it is new a joint but hopefully the chef doesn't lose steam, I know he had me going! The restaurant was busy but held true to the reservation and the service was still attentive although the 3 hosts (females) didn't seem to know what they were doing, egh. . .we got sat! OHHH! Did I mention the drinks, HELLO! I had the "From Beirut with Love" or maybe it was "From Tripoli with Love" nonetheless it was the truest love I have had thus far.

Forget the stars.....rated...4 hard nipples (my partners' included) comparable to a soft breath on the neck. It doesn't get better.

2
★★★★★

Really, really. . .seriously good Lebanese food. 6 of us went for dinner and ordered all kinds of plates from the Baba Ghannouj to the Beef Kabob & Red Mullet yet nothing had a shortcoming of any sort. I wouldn't call this fusion at all, straight up Lebanese, possibly better than mama's (shhhh.....). The downstrairs was a bit of a yuppie "scene" not usually my style but would go back again simply for the delicious food. Yes it is new a joint but hopefully the chef doesn't lose steam, I know he had me going! The restaurant was busy but held true to the reservation and the service was still attentive although the 3 hosts (females) didn't seem to know what they were doing, egh. . .we got sat! OHHH! Did I mention the drinks, HELLO! I had the "From Beirut with Love" or maybe it was "From Tripoli with Love" nonetheless it was the truest love I have had thus far.

Forget the stars.....rated...4 hard nipples (my partners' included) comparable to a soft breath on the neck. It doesn't get better.

Pros: THE FOOD

Cons: i guess if you don't like sharing. . .the small plates

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New York City has finally been blessed with a superb Lebanese Mediterranean Restaurant. Master chef and restauranteur, Philippe Massoud, has managed to raise the bar on all aspects of Lebanese Mediterranean cuisine. Ilili's menu, portion size, and atmosphere have been crafted to perfection. I do not leave without ordering the Kibbeh Nayeh as an appetizer. The portion sizes allow for sharing, so we usually order many appetizers and entrees to share amongst our party. The specialty drinks are not be missed either - the Beruit Lemonade is my favorite. I spend my time between New York and the Middle East, and can honestly say that Ilili's cuisine is by far the best I have come across. I hope Mr. Massoud will open more locations in the near future- the Lebanese Mediterranean category will flourish with his years of expertise. Ilili is an experience not to be missed.

2
★★★★★

New York City has finally been blessed with a superb Lebanese Mediterranean Restaurant. Master chef and restauranteur, Philippe Massoud, has managed to raise the bar on all aspects of Lebanese Mediterranean cuisine. Ilili's menu, portion size, and atmosphere have been crafted to perfection. I do not leave without ordering the Kibbeh Nayeh as an appetizer. The portion sizes allow for sharing, so we usually order many appetizers and entrees to share amongst our party. The specialty drinks are not be missed either - the Beruit Lemonade is my favorite. I spend my time between New York and the Middle East, and can honestly say that Ilili's cuisine is by far the best I have come across. I hope Mr. Massoud will open more locations in the near future- the Lebanese Mediterranean category will flourish with his years of expertise. Ilili is an experience not to be missed.

.

Went to ilili with a small group and it was EXCELLENT! ordered 11 dishes for 5 people and it was just enough. Every single thing brought to our table that night was absolutely delicious. I have yet to eat a better medditeranean fusion meal. Worth mentioning: the Chankleech, warm eggplant, the black cod was to die for. Meat dishes were perfectly cooked and juicy. Cocktails were interesting, service was impeccable(our waitress was super helpful and very nice) and the decor is great. I would definately recommend this place to anyone and revisit many many times!

2
★★★★★

Went to ilili with a small group and it was EXCELLENT! ordered 11 dishes for 5 people and it was just enough. Every single thing brought to our table that night was absolutely delicious. I have yet to eat a better medditeranean fusion meal. Worth mentioning: the Chankleech, warm eggplant, the black cod was to die for. Meat dishes were perfectly cooked and juicy. Cocktails were interesting, service was impeccable(our waitress was super helpful and very nice) and the decor is great. I would definately recommend this place to anyone and revisit many many times!

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For the pricetag I expected better sized portions. The food was ok, but I kinda felt uncomfortable at this restaurant. It has a snobbish like feeling to it. At the end of the day, we are talking about kabobs and falafel.

1
★★☆☆☆

For the pricetag I expected better sized portions. The food was ok, but I kinda felt uncomfortable at this restaurant. It has a snobbish like feeling to it. At the end of the day, we are talking about kabobs and falafel.

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My wife and I dined at Ilili on Valentine's day and were blown away by the entire experience. We didn't order the pre-fixe, opting to order a-la-carte instead. All the food is served mezzo-tapas style, which I guess means portions sized somewhere between traditional tapas and that of a standard main course. The service was extremely knowledgeable - my wife asked which of two dishes the waitress would recommend, and got a remarkably thorough description right down to the subtle flavors each had. The food was full of a wide variety of rich flavors: the brussels sprouts were grilled to perfection, complemented by jammy apricots; the duck shwarma wraps were juicy, topped with sweet pomegranate seeds; even the baba ganouj seemed to be in another league.

The dining room was visually stunning; the service was quick, knowledgeable, and attentive.

2
★★★★★

My wife and I dined at Ilili on Valentine's day and were blown away by the entire experience. We didn't order the pre-fixe, opting to order a-la-carte instead. All the food is served mezzo-tapas style, which I guess means portions sized somewhere between traditional tapas and that of a standard main course. The service was extremely knowledgeable - my wife asked which of two dishes the waitress would recommend, and got a remarkably thorough description right down to the subtle flavors each had. The food was full of a wide variety of rich flavors: the brussels sprouts were grilled to perfection, complemented by jammy apricots; the duck shwarma wraps were juicy, topped with sweet pomegranate seeds; even the baba ganouj seemed to be in another league.

The dining room was visually stunning; the service was quick, knowledgeable, and attentive.

Pros: Service, food, ambience

Cons: Parking (always a problem in Manhattan)

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We celebrated Valentine's Day at IIiIi and were so impressed. I'm Lebanese so naturally I knew the food and how it should taste - kudos to the owner and chef. Each plate was filled with flavor and the presentation was outstanding. The vibe is hip and fun and because it's tapas, you can sample so many different items. I suggest the Kibbeh (tastes just like my mom's home cooking) - the chicken shish taouk was fantastic.

The cocktails were also amazing. Our waiter, Tony, was one of the best servers we've ever had in NYC; knowledgeable and attentive to our every need - he was awesome.

In NY, we have every food option but have lacked a fine dining Lebanese experience - it's finally here and we will continue to go back to IIilI many times over. A must try!

2
★★★★★

We celebrated Valentine's Day at IIiIi and were so impressed. I'm Lebanese so naturally I knew the food and how it should taste - kudos to the owner and chef. Each plate was filled with flavor and the presentation was outstanding. The vibe is hip and fun and because it's tapas, you can sample so many different items. I suggest the Kibbeh (tastes just like my mom's home cooking) - the chicken shish taouk was fantastic.

The cocktails were also amazing. Our waiter, Tony, was one of the best servers we've ever had in NYC; knowledgeable and attentive to our every need - he was awesome.

In NY, we have every food option but have lacked a fine dining Lebanese experience - it's finally here and we will continue to go back to IIilI many times over. A must try!

Pros: Amazing food, tapas to sample many different things and fantastic service

.

A Lebanese friend of mine suggested this spot out and I must say, I was pleasantly surprised. We walked in on a Saturday evening with no reservation; the hostess was very pleasant (even though it was pretty crowded around her) and seated us withing 15-20 minutes (we enjoyed our pricy martinis at the bar-bartenders were very nice). The service and the atmosphere were on point. Our server let us know immediately that this restaurant served tapas style. A bit pricy for tapas, but nevertheless, we enjoyed our meal. We ordered the Beef Shawerma(perfectly spiced with sumac), cheese rolls(delicious), grape leaves(I'm very particular about grapeleaves-these leaves were fresh and the lemon/salt balance was wonderful), hommus and fattoush (needed more lemon zest and salt but decent) and of course fresh hot pita. It sounds like alot but somehow we managed room for desert without needed to be rolled out the place. I ordered the turkish coffee and my friend ordered the white tea (water and rosewater extract) with the Essmalieh desert(crunchy thin noodles served with achta cream filling and covered with sugary syrup. Overall we ended up paying about 60 each incl tip. That's not terribly bad, but it is on the high side, considering it was one martini each and just two of us.
Overall it was a great experience and I'm definitely coming back again. The shawerma sealed the deal. Cheers.

2
★★★★★

A Lebanese friend of mine suggested this spot out and I must say, I was pleasantly surprised. We walked in on a Saturday evening with no reservation; the hostess was very pleasant (even though it was pretty crowded around her) and seated us withing 15-20 minutes (we enjoyed our pricy martinis at the bar-bartenders were very nice). The service and the atmosphere were on point. Our server let us know immediately that this restaurant served tapas style. A bit pricy for tapas, but nevertheless, we enjoyed our meal. We ordered the Beef Shawerma(perfectly spiced with sumac), cheese rolls(delicious), grape leaves(I'm very particular about grapeleaves-these leaves were fresh and the lemon/salt balance was wonderful), hommus and fattoush (needed more lemon zest and salt but decent) and of course fresh hot pita. It sounds like alot but somehow we managed room for desert without needed to be rolled out the place. I ordered the turkish coffee and my friend ordered the white tea (water and rosewater extract) with the Essmalieh desert(crunchy thin noodles served with achta cream filling and covered with sugary syrup. Overall we ended up paying about 60 each incl tip. That's not terribly bad, but it is on the high side, considering it was one martini each and just two of us.
Overall it was a great experience and I'm definitely coming back again. The shawerma sealed the deal. Cheers.

Pros: Food, atmosphere

Cons: Nothing else around

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The staff is extremely nice, very pleasant and attentive --almost unusually so. I came there for drinks only, so I missed out on the food unfortunately. They mixed up a few drink orders, but who doesn't really? Even though I didn?t try the food, I will say that Lebanese food probably often gets a little overlooked, so it's nice to see a place of this scale and caliber entirely & solely devoted to it. Since I didn?t experience the food, my use of the word caliber refers to the design of the interior space ?which is almost wondrous to look at. Possibly a bit borderline gimmicky, but fascinating nontheless. On the flip side, however, the volume of the music during the after hours scene was unbelievably OBSCENE. Way beyond the heart-attack variety and into the permanent loss of hearing zone. It was fit for a dance party in a place 10 times the size of this one and you STILL probably wouldn't have been able to hear the person next to you yelling full-throttle. I actually thought I was on candid camera. Maybe one can't lay blame on the establishment, because it was the DJ's doing --but on the other hand they didn't intervene and ask them to tone it down 8 notches.

1
★★★☆☆

The staff is extremely nice, very pleasant and attentive --almost unusually so. I came there for drinks only, so I missed out on the food unfortunately. They mixed up a few drink orders, but who doesn't really? Even though I didn?t try the food, I will say that Lebanese food probably often gets a little overlooked, so it's nice to see a place of this scale and caliber entirely & solely devoted to it. Since I didn?t experience the food, my use of the word caliber refers to the design of the interior space ?which is almost wondrous to look at. Possibly a bit borderline gimmicky, but fascinating nontheless. On the flip side, however, the volume of the music during the after hours scene was unbelievably OBSCENE. Way beyond the heart-attack variety and into the permanent loss of hearing zone. It was fit for a dance party in a place 10 times the size of this one and you STILL probably wouldn't have been able to hear the person next to you yelling full-throttle. I actually thought I was on candid camera. Maybe one can't lay blame on the establishment, because it was the DJ's doing --but on the other hand they didn't intervene and ask them to tone it down 8 notches.

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I was a little surprised to read the previous review. I have been at this restaurant three times since it has opened and never left feeling hungry. In fact, I felt like I should be carted out of there after the abundance of good food. Everything is handmade and nicely arranged: from the tiny, transparent manti to the fun duck shawarma, nothing disappointed me. Get the grill items - cannot go wrong with those, and each comes with a pita bread with a different set of spices. It's true that their service is still a bit shaky--it is a new place, after all--but they are diligent and eager to help. The wine list keeps growing with each visit. In short, I strongly recommend this place.

2
★★★★★

I was a little surprised to read the previous review. I have been at this restaurant three times since it has opened and never left feeling hungry. In fact, I felt like I should be carted out of there after the abundance of good food. Everything is handmade and nicely arranged: from the tiny, transparent manti to the fun duck shawarma, nothing disappointed me. Get the grill items - cannot go wrong with those, and each comes with a pita bread with a different set of spices. It's true that their service is still a bit shaky--it is a new place, after all--but they are diligent and eager to help. The wine list keeps growing with each visit. In short, I strongly recommend this place.

Pros: Great food, not loud

Cons: small desert menu

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I had dinner with friends at Ilili the other nite and I was really looking forward to it based on the previous review. But I have to disagree with most of what the reviewer said about this place. True, the atmosphere is very inviting with the high ceilings and candle-light. It was perfect for meeting friends or a casual date. A funny thing about the restrooms..there are instructions on how to lock and unlock the doors! One of my friends got locked in and had to call us to get him out! One of the other restroom doors had broken glass that was all taped up and according to the waiter a guy had gotten stuck inside, didn't have his phone and had to kick his way out! A word to the wise..if you go to this place bring your phone to the restroom or just hold it! The service was fine, though the waiter did bring the wrong beer both times my friend ordered it! We had the hummus, babaghanoush and brussels sprouts as appetizers. The brussels sprouts were wonderful, roasted with grapes. The hummus and baba were bland and nothing special. I ordered the lamb chops and while the flavor was delicious, there were only about 4 bites of meat and nothing was served along with them. My companions had the shawarma which apparently tasted fine but was also tiny, and the lamb kebob which was completely over-salted. We shared the chocolate cake for dessert which was very good and the coffee and espresso were both excellent. However, after we paid our bill of nearly $200 (including drinks) we were all still hungry! I would not mind paying that much for dinner if I had come out at least satisfied. Unfortunately Ilili was a let-down and I would not go back unless they included side dishes or salads with their entrees. Not worth your time or money..there are hundreds of restaurants in NY that are much better!

1
★★★☆☆

I had dinner with friends at Ilili the other nite and I was really looking forward to it based on the previous review. But I have to disagree with most of what the reviewer said about this place. True, the atmosphere is very inviting with the high ceilings and candle-light. It was perfect for meeting friends or a casual date. A funny thing about the restrooms..there are instructions on how to lock and unlock the doors! One of my friends got locked in and had to call us to get him out! One of the other restroom doors had broken glass that was all taped up and according to the waiter a guy had gotten stuck inside, didn't have his phone and had to kick his way out! A word to the wise..if you go to this place bring your phone to the restroom or just hold it! The service was fine, though the waiter did bring the wrong beer both times my friend ordered it! We had the hummus, babaghanoush and brussels sprouts as appetizers. The brussels sprouts were wonderful, roasted with grapes. The hummus and baba were bland and nothing special. I ordered the lamb chops and while the flavor was delicious, there were only about 4 bites of meat and nothing was served along with them. My companions had the shawarma which apparently tasted fine but was also tiny, and the lamb kebob which was completely over-salted. We shared the chocolate cake for dessert which was very good and the coffee and espresso were both excellent. However, after we paid our bill of nearly $200 (including drinks) we were all still hungry! I would not mind paying that much for dinner if I had come out at least satisfied. Unfortunately Ilili was a let-down and I would not go back unless they included side dishes or salads with their entrees. Not worth your time or money..there are hundreds of restaurants in NY that are much better!

Pros: Inviting atmosphere, close to subway, nice wine list

Cons: Tiny portions, inconsistent service, not worth the prices

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This brand new addition to New York City's dining scene is absolutely wonderful. Middle-Eastern food with a twist, it offers an exciting and yummy variety of dishes from heavenly jumbo prawns in olive oil to beef kefta mixed with foie gras and everything in between. My favorites were the tuna kabobs and the beef kafta. Whether you have an experimental palate or like solid and high quality middle-easters food, you will find something to your liking here. My husband and I went there last night and I cannot wait to go back and try everything else. No spice, no detail, no nuance is missed! The dining room is quiet, with soft music in the background and high ceilings to absorb the noise. The service, while new and perhaps still gaining experience, is attentive and diligent. It's not a super-romantic place, but would be perfect for groups or for quiet dinner-time talk.

2
★★★★★

This brand new addition to New York City's dining scene is absolutely wonderful. Middle-Eastern food with a twist, it offers an exciting and yummy variety of dishes from heavenly jumbo prawns in olive oil to beef kefta mixed with foie gras and everything in between. My favorites were the tuna kabobs and the beef kafta. Whether you have an experimental palate or like solid and high quality middle-easters food, you will find something to your liking here. My husband and I went there last night and I cannot wait to go back and try everything else. No spice, no detail, no nuance is missed! The dining room is quiet, with soft music in the background and high ceilings to absorb the noise. The service, while new and perhaps still gaining experience, is attentive and diligent. It's not a super-romantic place, but would be perfect for groups or for quiet dinner-time talk.

Pros: everything, pretty much

Message from ILILI Restaurant

ilili is New York??s premier contemporary Lebanese restaurant offering inspired Mediterranean cuisine. The menu mixes authentic Lebanese dishes with modern Mediterranean influences to create a culinary journey for the palate and senses. Complementing the international cuisine, ilili offers an impressive wine list that includes wines from all over the world and features favorites from Lebanon and the Mediterranean. The restaurant??s decor echoes the diverse menu, combining the architectural richness of Old Lebanon with an attitude and style that is unmistakably New York. A DJ sets the mood with music from around the globe and soft, amber lighting punctuated by candles create a sexy, sophisticated atmosphere in which to enjoy a relaxed meal. The cuisine, décor and ambience come together to create a new world for your senses to explore, whispering gently in your ear, ilili.

Editorial from

Set in the Flatiron District in a chic high-ceilinged room bedecked with wood, ilili is a near anomaly. Until it swung open its doors in late 2007, Lebanese food was mostly available via take-out counters and vending carts sprinkled…

 

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