Unsigned and without an official address, this simple but much-loved seafood restaurant is located in an old fisherman’s shack behind a rock near the Phoenician sea wall and has an idyllic terrace overlooking the water. Finding it is no easy job. Hidden among old Batroun’s small winding alleys, it faces the sea humbly with its brightly painted beachfront shack.
As you follow the fresh salty sea air, you’ll be guided to chez Maguy. This small restaurant has been there for almost 30 years. Maguy al-Mouhawas the owner, a local Batrouni, was born with an immense love for the sea. A diver she used to sell her fish in the local market. Having lost her husband, she found solace among the murmurs of the waves. Maybe they both felt lonely and found pleasure in each other’s company as their relationship intensified and Mguy found herself spending more time in the sea then on shore.
Selling her fish from her parent’s home, she gained recognition and started making money gradually. Every bit of money earned, she would add a kitchen, a bedroom, a living room, turning this humble shack into a home/restaurant that would carry her name proudly.
One can’t help but fall in love with this colorful quirky décor with its blue painted windows overlooking the Mediterranean. The fish and seafood here is so fresh it’s almost writhing. Her menu is dictated by whatever comes in that day on the local fishing boats: crab, scallops, shrimp, snapper, smelts and tuna; sea urchins she dives for herself. All of it cooked on a charcoal grill, with just a touch of lemon, garlic and olive oil. During the winter, guests are served in her dining room, but the rest of the year they eat on her rock-perched terrace, looking out to the sea.
In the warm weather, we climb down the rocky shores that lie just below the shack and find ourselves in a world that is very much Lebanon, the sea, the sky and the open horizon.
Sitting on a rock staring at the sea, adoring the beauty of her waves as the crystals break of laughter and little bubbles form on the surface on the rocks, the sea rolls, crashes, breaking beautiful in it’s power white horses galloping through serenely. Then Amongst the chaos the calm resides. Ears take in the gentle sounds of the sea, the soft taste of salt touches your lips and you breathe deeply, letting the deep-sea air fill your lungs.
I don’t particularly go there for the food, I go there to feel alive and somehow reconnect with my sea.