Walking into ilili on 5th Avenue feels like you walked into the right place, at the right time. No matter the time. ilili breaks the mold when it comes to Lebanese (Middle Eastern) restaurants in New York. The entrance takes you to the bar and lounge area. The hosts are beautiful and polite, not an easily found combination in New York. ilili is a glowing ember of atmosphere. It is a large space with high ceilings. Although dramatic and grand, ilili restaurant delivers a sense of comfort with warm wood and amber lighting throughout. Red leather seats create pops of color across the elongated main dining room.
The service staff is enthusiastic about the menu and responsive to needs. The menu has a variety of cocktails with a wide array of spirits, both local and Lebanese. We recommend trying a Lebanese wine to go with your meal. It’s only right to keep in line with the experience. The menu is a perfect balance between traditional Middle Eastern cuisine and contemporary creations. From small plates for sharing to the main dishes ilili does its job and does it well.
Start off with the “Atayef and Veal Bacon”, the flavors of the veal in a delicate pancake like bun blend perfectly with the hot peppers and fig jam. A little sweet, a little spicy, a lot of goodness. The “Hommus” is top notch, some of the best you’ll taste in New York. An insider tip; order the garlic whip dip as an appetizer, this creamy garlicy rich dip is served as an accompaniment to entrees, but if you ask, you will receive. For the main course you must get your hands (and forks and knives) onto the “Mixed grill”. The chicken, beef, and lamb are as authentic and delicious as they come. You and your date will interact not just through conversation, but also through the dining experience. Enjoy your date. You’re welcome.
236 5th Ave.
Manhattan, NY 10001
Hours: Daily 12pm – 10:30pm
Food $45-$55 (without drinks)
Food and Drinks $80-$90 (food and drink averages 2-3 drinks pp)