Dining options in the South Waterfront neighborhood, which have stuck mostly to the fast-casual pizza and burger model, are getting more diverse: The Al-Hawr Lebanese restaurant quietly opened its doors on June 22, replacing The Groaning Board at 3500 SW River Pkwy. It’s owned by Chadi and Zeina Hassan and Ranadi Rafeh, and the Hassans hail from Beirut, where they’ve operated a restaurant also called Al-Hawr for the past five years.
“When Chadi moved to Portland, he wanted to offer an authentic, real taste of Lebanese food,” Rafeh tells Eater. Zeina Hassan heads the kitchen, and she prepares appetizers like hummus (or “hommos”), tabbouli salad, and labneh mtawami, a garlicky yogurt dip. Entrees include grilled lamb ribs with saffron rice and spiced beef kafta with pita bread. Rafeh says Al-Hawr’s specialty is its use of a Lebanese-style clay pot to cook many of its dishes.
The restaurant is now open for dinner Monday through Saturday, starting at 4 p.m., and it has plans to add lunch down the road. Al-Hawr is sizable, with seating for 90, and expect to settle in to a full-service meal. Until the restaurant gets its website up and running, you can reach it by phone at 971.254.9785.