Potatoes, Pita, Baba Ghanooj, Najib's Special

On Saturday before going to see Ponyo at Tinseltown Theatre in Chinatown, we had lunch at Nuba. They have two locations, a sit down eatery on West Hastings and Cambie, and more take-out orientated place on Seymour and Davie. This restaurant was a new discovery for me—I went there with a bunch of co-workers in the middle of the week for lunch and it was packed. In contrast, the crowd on Saturday was quite sparse for lunch. The last time both of us were in that space was when it was the Mouse and the Bean—the restaurant looked beautifully transformed, with mosaic-like mirror walls, white lanterns, and simple and elegant tables and chairs. The floors and the bathrooms needed work though.

We ordered 4 mezze plates, which ranged from $3.40 to $6.25 in price, and came with bracingly sour Lebanese cabbage pickles and thin pitas. The falafel was a wondrous creation: little pucks of deep-fried chick pea cakes that were really well seasoned (I’m not a fan of falafels in general, but these turned me—they are so yummy!). The Najib Special, cauliflower fried and seasoned with sea salt and lemon and tahini was good, though it wasn’t as good as earlier in the week (the cauliflower was a bit overdone, and there wasn’t enough tahini this time round). Still, it is an outstanding dish. We also ordered the Baba Ghanooj, a roasted eggplant puree, which was lemony, creamy, and with a hint of smokiness. The roasted potatoes with olive oil, herbs and seas salt was standard, but still good. For dessert we shared the baklava (no picture on this one), which was good, though not outstanding. I like that it wasn’t cloyingly sweet like others I’ve had.


I love this restaurant—the flavors of the food are clear, bright and zingy—lots of lemon, spices—and your mouth becomes alert. And falafels you dream about.

UPDATE: We returned to Nuba on Saturday, August 29, with a couple of people who had never been, and it was a great experience. They're converted.

Shane ordered the Najib Special Plate (above), while I got the Falafel Plate (below). The pita came in a separate bowl. Yum! The weekend is the best time to go, most definitely. I hear from co-workers that it gets really hectic and you're likely to get ignored during the mid-week lunch (in this case, make sure to arrive at 11:30, when they open).

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