Byblos raised the standards for Lebanese restaurant cooking and ingredients when it opened its first restaurant sixteen years ago. It encouraged the opening of many more of its kind, most of them far better than the few we had before. The Byblos delis--more spartan than their two main restaurants--are also excellent.
Gabriel Saliba, Tarek Tay, and Hicham Khodr--all natived of Beirut--opened Byblos on Metairie Road in 1994. It did so well there that the restaurant was renovated twice, and a second location opened in 2000. Byblos is the name of an ancient city in Lebanon. It was so famous for its library that its name gave the Greeks their word for "book" and, in turn, to the Bible.
The original Metairie restaurant took over a former fast-food place, although you'd never know that now. Tall ceilings and large windows make it a very pleasant place to dine. The newer Magazine Street location is inside an 1800s Greek revival structure, but with a cool, modern interior. The Uptown Byblos has belly dancing one or two nights a week.
Assemble a party of six to eight, and order all the appetizers, plus a few entrees. The location on Magazine Street is a more interesting environment and has a slightly more varied menu.