Tavolina: A taste of Italian delight in Lebanon

by Maria Matar

6 July 2018 | 14:14

Source: by Annahar

  • by Maria Matar
  • Source: Annahar
  • Last update: 6 July 2018 | 14:14

This photo shows Italian gnochi at Tavolina. (Photo Courtesy of Tavolina)

BEIRUT: Apart from its beautiful landscapes, fashion sense, and culture, Italy is the home for famous delicacies like pasta, pizza, and pannacotta.

Passionate about Italian cuisine, the two friends Dany Khairallah and Dany Aprat created Tavolina, an Italian restaurant, to deliver this culinary experience to the Lebanese people.

Combining their skills and experience, they opened the first branch in Mar Mikhael in 2012.

Aprat, who had owned many restaurants before, relies on a certain formula when opening one.

“The winning formula consists of 4 P’s: product, price, place, and personnel. We made sure that in Tavolina, people are satisfied when comparing what they eat versus what they pay. Additionally, we chose locations that add a certain twist to the restaurant’s ambiance. Apart from that, at Tavolina, you are always welcomed with a smile,” he said.

The word “Tavolina” is an Italian word that means small table. The two friends chose this name since the place resembles a larger scale of a Tavolina on which people are served food.

Khairallah, who has worked as an executive chef in several restaurants before, noted for Annahar the reason behind opening an Italian restaurant in particular.

“Italian food offers a lot of choices and pleases all tastes; few are those who don’t enjoy a pizza. However, every region in Italy offers a unique cuisine and uses different kinds of pasta. At Tavolina, you can virtually visit many cities in Italy by trying our different dishes,” he said.

Tavolina offers many kinds of dishes such as the Pizza Parma, which consists of provolone cheese on dough covered with Parma ham; the pizza Verdure, which is a pizza garnished with grilled eggplant and zucchini; and the Risotto ai Funghi Porcini, which is made up of risotto drenched in mushrooms.

In addition to that, more than five types of pasta are served with multiple sauces and toppings. Apart from the Italian cuisine, one of the most ordered dishes at Tavolina is a Japanese fusion called the Shiitake ai Ricci de Mare.

The various pasta dishes include: Spaghetti alla Norma, Spaghettini ai Frutti di Mare, and Penne all’Arrabbiata.

Due to word of mouth, the place gained popularity and the owners gained friends who supported their ambitions and encouraged them to open another branch.

In 2018, the two owners opened a larger branch in Naccache, which attracted the Italian food fans in that area.

“We have gained the trust of our customers due to our constant effort. When they tell their friends about the place, they come to discover with high expectations,” Aprat said.

When one enters the branch in Naccache, they feel as if they are walking in nature with a cool breeze caressing their face with trees surrounding them. Next to the trees, flower pots dangle from above sprinkling a sweet fragrance all around.

“At Tavolina, inside, it’s cozy and peaceful, and outside, it’s lively and refreshing. Both create the perfect mood for the delicious food served. Their pizza crust is mouthwatering and the pasta is appetizing. I feel as if I’m in Italy.” said Lara Agopian, a loyal customer.

The two friends and partners plan to open another branch in another Arab country in 2019.

Aprat explained to Annahar Tavolina’s key to success.

“It’s the people who made Tavolina special by the way they talk about it. Our goal is to return the favor and make them feel special every time they come in,” Aprat said.


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