On my 31st birthday, we had dinner at Al Liwan Buffet (Lebanese) Restaurant at Sharq Village and Spa. Our first choice was Intercontinental's Fish Market Restaurant but we'd like to try a new place and my husband have been wishing to go to Sharq Village. When I inquired at Al Liwan, I was assured that they have an international menu for the buffet and on-the-spot barbeque and seafood grillling during weekend dinners so we decided to give it a try.
FOOD - The on-the-spot seafood griiling (though limited) is enough for us to be satisfied. The appetizers, main entree, dessert including the barbeque are lebanese (perhaps? I'm guessing since it's a Lebanese Restaurant). Honestly, I have no idea what is the difference between arabic, turkish, syrian or lebanese dish!. I was a bit upset because I was expecting international cuisine. Minus the grilled seafood - it's really a waste of money (my personal opinion) unless you are dining to experience a cozy ambience. You can always dine at a good arabic, lebanese or turkish resto for the same type of food (even better - more tasty) at a much cheaper cost. But as I've said, the on-the-spot seafood grill already made our night.
SERVICE - Service is good but it's a bit annoying to be asked every three minutes if we're done with our plates especially when there's little food left in the plate. I know it's their job - part of their SOP to ask the question but every three minutes is too much. The waiters also fold the napkins (I don't understand why?)everytime we stand-up to get more food, which made us very uncomfortable.
The PLACE - The ambience is cozy and the place would have been a nice photography subject. Unfortunately, it's not allowed to take photos especially if DSLR camera is used. The reason - Because it might be PUBLISHED! Duh? Not wanting to get into trouble, we stopped taking photos but asked permission to photograph the beach area. They allowed us to take photos of the beach but not cabanas and chairs because those are hotel properties. The security watched us as we take photos of the beach. It was awful. I felt like we're criminals who need to be escorted and watched. We left very upset. The place is nice but the architecture is not unique so what's the fuss? I mean, it was designed as an old arabic village that is made to look cozy. Arabic village inspired buildings/ hotels can also be found in UAE, Oman and photography are allowed in those places. The beach is not even a nice one.
The VERDICT - I don't think I'll come back unless somebody or my company (which is unlikely) is footing the bill. For me, Intercon is still the best!