817 SE 34th Ave
Open 11 am – 8 pm
Tucked away off Belmont St. and SE 34th St., Nour Hamieh opened her dream restaurant Rendez Vous – an agreed upon place to meet. This type of restaurant/cafe/bar was very popular in her hometown of Beirut while she was growing up and she wanted to bring her version of this style of gathering place to Portland.
Hamieh’s family has several establishments serving authentic Middle Eastern food in SE Portland. Her Uncle John and his wife Mirna Attar own YaHala Lebanese Cuisine in Montavilla and her Aunt Lamia has La Bouffe, the international grocery store next door.
After graduating from PSU in 2009, Hamieh took a job doing management for her uncle. She learned about the restaurant industry and began to feel it was an occupation she would like.
Hamieh decided to do something different and offer another side of Lebanese culture the more European/Mediterranean aspect. “We have been strongly influenced by the French since they were the colonial power here,” she said. The French have helped to rebuild Lebanon after the war with Israel.
The atmosphere at Rendez Vous is comfortable and could be the backdrop for an impressionist painting. The large screen offers old time movies that don’t need vocals to understand with the action. In the not too distant future, Hamieh wants to have some kind of regular movie night and is open to community input as to the content.
For the time being she wears all the different hats at Rendez Vous and fortunately for her customers, these hats sit upon an amiable, able and attractive head.
The sandwiches feature international as well as local cuisine and are all served with her homemade harissa potato salad. Harissa is a type of Moroccan chutney. “This is a meal that I make regularly for myself and really enjoy so I thought my customers would too,” she said.
Salads are one of the favored meals in Lebanese sandwich shops so Hamieh decided to serve her favorites. Her special choice is the Poké, a combination of raw tuna loin, sesame seeds tossed in sesame and chili oil over rice topped with green onion.
The dessert menu changes but today there is an Orange Blossom Cake, Cream Pudding or Crème Caramel, all looking very tasty. Beginning in April, Hamieh plans to offer breakfast choices: croissants, bagels, toast and jam, boiled eggs, and the basic cosmopolitan breakfast.
There is always fresh coffee and tea available as well as other beverages. Recently Rendez Vous was permitted to serve alcohol so there is a full service bar now too with local beer on tap, canned beer from everywhere and wine. Happy hour is from 5 – 9 pm with rotating specials. Right now the $5 rum, lemon, soda and mulberry syrup cocktail sounds intriguing.
This is a sweet place for the community to come to and the proprietress welcomes you and will make sure you are comfortable. After all she has learned hospitality from the best.