ilili is one of those heavenly experiences that any New Yorker or city dweller should have. It takes Lebanense cuisine to an unbelievable level where the flavor profile in each dish is truly awe-inspiring.
I have known about ilili for quite a number of years as I’ve been a frequent visitor to their location inside popular food hall City Kitchen (which is situated right next to one of the best hotels in The Big Apple, Row NYC). Something that I was unaware of, however, was that they had a much bigger space not too far away in the Flatiron district.
So I was delighted to check out what ilili had to offer at their flagship location on the corner of 26th and 5th. Luckily it was a beautiful fall day outside with the weather being just warm enough for me and my friend to still enjoy an al fresco dining experience.
ilili prides itself on their Lebanese Mediterranean food, a cuisine that is not found too often in NYC. In my 30-plus years of existence I have never had it and am crying culinary tears of sadness for all of the missed time that could’ve been spent devouring all of its yumminess.
I can truthfully say that everything I had at ilili for lunch was close to if not perfect. They don’t hold back on key things like flavor and spice with every single item cooked to perfection.
They have cold and warm items to begin with that will whet your appetite for what’s to come. Keep it classic and try their mouthwatering Hummus with pine nuts or shrimp added in. Sop it up with their delicious bread and enjoy several bites of perfection with this incredibly made starter.
This is where I’m about to get emotional because the hot part of their beginning plates features one dish that might just be one of the best I’ve ever tried in New York City. Their Brussel Sprouts, which came with grapes, fig jam, walnuts and mint yogurt, were simply divine. What a combination of items! And yet they all work together in perfect harmony. Get this. Trust me.
Their sandwiches are also the bomb as well and perfect for your lunch on the go kind of mood. The Falafel Burger was truly scrumptious with one ingredient, the pickled turnips, only adding to how delicious this was. Order the side of Phoenician fries and enjoy what heaven in your mouth tastes like.
For more information on ilili and their fabulous menu please click here.