“Just ask for Maguy” was all I had to go by on my quest for the quaint shack rumored to serve the best seafood in Batroun. I was intrigued, and surely enough, that was all I needed to find it. Everyone in the coastal village knows Chez Maguy’s and some of the friendly locals will even accompany you there if you’re not from town.
Follow the winding roads within Batroun’s old port town and you’ll find a brightly-colored wooden shack nestled above a relaxing public beach. That’s the place. Rather than going to your typical Lebanese seafood restaurant with flaring Arabic music, crowded tables and an impatient staff, try something different next time.
Besides being right on the coast where you can enjoy a flavorful dish of the day’s catch, a visit to Chez Maguy’s is a unique experience in and of itself. Chez Maguy’s doesn’t promise to offer you any more than exactly what it is: a small home-turned-restaurant that serves seafood by the coast with no frills or fuss, but a whole lot of personality accentuated by the creative use of recycled furniture. Rarely will two chairs actually match and you’ll find quirky decor items (like plastic flowers or souvenir shot glasses) scattered throughout, but somehow it suits the place.
Maguy herself is also quite a character – and a boisterous, chatty one at that. That deep-hearted laugh you’re hearing in the background? That’s probably her joking around with her staff as she jumps between the kitchen and the grill to serve guests. You’ll often also find her in a swimsuit ready for a quick dive when the weather gets too hot so don’t be shy to bring yours as well. For an inside story, ask her about the turtle.
The restaurant is very personal in all these little ways, and for guests, it almost feels as if someone has invited you over to have a bite to eat in their home. Well, that is if their home served freshly-grilled fish, assorted seafood platters and Lebanese mezza daily. Top that off with an afternoon dip or sipping some tea as the sun sets in the horizon and you’ll understand what makes Chez Maguy’s so appealing to both the locals and tourists alike.
Needless to say, the rumors were completely true and Chez Maguy’s has become one of my favorite spots to visit when I need an escape from the city or have some friends visiting from abroad.
For reservations, call Maguy on 03-439147. Book early in July or August as it gets pretty packed.