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Pia Mileaf-Patel

The other night, I was at a movie with a friend and said, hey we should go somewhere really fabulous and sit at the bar and have salads with our twenty dollars. Of course it was like -200 degrees outside, so we ended up around the corner at Noodle Bar, a favorite. One of the fabulous places that crossed my mind was Ilili, a beautiful Lebanese restaurant in the Flatiron District (or NoMad, as the committee of cringe-worthy fake neighborhood names is trying to call it. It’s almost as bad as Dowisetrepla from How I Met Your Mother).

            The last time I went to Ilili was with my family and our family friends for our annual holiday brunch. We had a spectacular meal and ate as much as nine people could, including at least four orders of makanek, these little sausages, and two different types of fries, both remarkable. The adults reported that the cocktails were amazing. They looked cool, so I’ll take their word for it.

            Ilili is in this beautiful, high ceilinged, sophisticated room. There is a long bar at the end of the hallway when you walk in and the seating portion of the restaurant is through some open doors in the wall. There are huge windows that let the light stream through.

            Although Ilili’s fancy, it would be an exciting place to teen-ify for lunch in the summer by going and splitting the most craveable seasoned fries on the planet and having green lemonades. I notice that I usually suggest the same five “teen approved” restaurants with my friends, but we live in New York! It’s silly not to go out and push the limits of what teenagers are allowed to do in one of the world’s cultural capitals (that is, when we aren’t being stereotypical hooligans).

            But, just in case you’re craving Ilili’s addictive food but don’t feel like pulling yourself together enough to brush your hair (a feeling I know all to well—*she wrote as she looked around herself at the pile of undone homework and laundry*) it’s right next to Madison Square Park, and has opened up a restaurant stand called Ilili Box, which has the green lemonade (and that’s all I really care about).

            So this amazing green lemonade, which I’ve worked into every sentence, is truly remarkable. I’ve tried to replicate it and it’s pretty good, but can’t match up to Ilili’s magic recipe. It is so delicious and refreshing and probably goes with everything. It’s cucumber mint lemonade that’s this gorgeous lime color.

            The other thing about Ilili (which I guess I should expect) is their perfect hummus. It shocks me every time how delicious it is. I like hummus, but I’m also not one of those “I live off of hummus, I want to bathe in it” Adam Sandler in that movie where he uses hummus to put out a fire types. But if all hummus were as creamy and balanced as Ilili’s, I would, without a doubt, eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

            In any case, Ilili’s one of my favorite restaurants and a great place to prod your family to bring you, or try out my plan and split whatever looks the best on the menu with friends.