I would have to say Lebanese and Middle Eastern cuisine are some of my weekly cravings when it comes to food. There’s nothing better than filling up when you’re starving with a chicken shawarma plate or wrap. When it comes to eating Middle Eastern food in Vancouver, there are a select few that I love.
You can’t go wrong with Babylon on Robson Street and the Donair Spot in South Marpole on Granville (reviews to come!). Anyways, the other day I read the review of Al Basha on Sherman’s Food Adventures and I suddenly had the urge to visit immediately. Since Al Basha was nearby, my wife and I were able to walk there on a rare sunny Monday in Vancouver!
The menu at Al Basha is pretty standard when it comes to Lebanese cuisine. You have your chicken shawarma plates/wraps, donairs, falafels, hummus and pita, and some others. For dessert, you can’t go wrong with baklava, although on this trip I didn’t have the extra room for dessert (next time I’m getting some).
I ordered a chicken shawarma plate and my wife ordered hummus and pita. Since it was late afternoon, we didn’t want to go overboard as dinner would be coming later on! The owner is extremely friendly and made our order quickly and with care. My wife recognized him from somewhere, possibly from another location in Kerrisdale (that formerly closed down)?
I asked him if he used to have a restaurant in Kerrisdale and he said he did! So it was the same owner! As we sat down and ate our meal, he came over and asked if I wanted to hear about why he moved. The story is as follows: the Kerrisdale location was doing great, but one day someone came and offered to buy his restaurant. Who was this mysterious buyer? None other than a rep from Dairy Queen/Orange Julius! He said he got a great price and sold the store, and later re-opened in Kitsilano (next to Copper Tank), which is a way better location in his opinion.
Okay, let’s get back to the chicken shawarma plate. The chicken was tender, flavourful, and a generous portion given. It was served on rice and covered in yogurt and hot sauce–very tastey. I did find the rice to be a bit oily though for my liking. There was a small salad covered in italian dressing too.
My wife’s hummus came with THREE olives (w00t!) and was drizzled with a touch of olive oil. Came with a basket of pita bread. The hummus was very creamy and garlicky, and not overpowered with too much tahini (sesame) like some other places.
With Al Basha being so darn close to me, I am definitely going back for my shawarma fix when it comes (which is pretty much all the time). The prices are reasonable, food’s good, but you will have to pay for parking on the street if you can find a spot.