Having lived in Damascus for a year now, my husband and I have acquired quite a few “favorites” around the city (and country). There are certain restaurants, patisseries, and shops in Damascus and elsewhere that have endeared themselves to us with their friendly workers, pleasant atmosphere, and top-notch products. Here are a few. Our Favorite Restaurant The non-restaurant part of Beit Wakil's courtyard Unfortunately, our favorite restaurant is not located in Damascus. It’s in Aleppo, in the northern part of Syria. As I mentioned before, it’s just around the corner from our favorite hotel in Syria, Dar Zamaria Martini, down a quiet lane in the Al-Jdeide quarter of Aleppo. The dining atmosphere is very authentic, and like every other hotel and restaurant in the area, it’s located in a beautifully restored 18th-century courtyard home. There’s a fountain in the center of the courtyard, draped with some kind of fragrant trees (lemon, maybe?). The food is the best Syria has to offer, with a few Aleppan specialties thrown in. Our favorites are the appetizers, of course, like hummus and muttable. They also have delicious roasted vegetables, like eggplant and zucchini. For a main dish, I love their shish tawouk. It’s highly seasoned and just burned enough for my taste. If it’s available, we order one of their specialties, eggplant kebab. There are so many flavors, colors, and textures in this dish that I can hardly begin to describe them. I’m not even a big fan of kebab, and I still love this dish. If that’s not available, Jeremy goes for their other specialty, cherry kebab. This is an Aleppan dish – kebab meat cooked in a deep red cherry sauce. Otherwise, you can always try their stuffed fried casings, which is basically a fancy way of saying seasoned lamb sausage. I’ve never had it, but Jeremy says it’s pretty good. At the end of all this, you’ll find yourself paying just a few dollars (probably around 5) per person. What more could you ask for? Beit Wakil is also a boutique hotel similar to Dar Zamaria Martini, though we’ve never stayed there. They have a similarly gorgeous courtyard setting, but they’re not as willing to give discounts on the rooms.