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Restaurants

Ali Baba's (Parkdale)

Posted by Staff / Listed on April 15, 2007 / review policy

Ali Babas ParkdaleYou're travelling home from work - a journey that reminds you that you're hungry but have no food in your house, and you don't feel like eating in a restaurant. You have just crossed over into... the take-out zone.

I'm a fan of take out because it's not uncommon that I find myself not wanting to cook, but wanting to eat dinner in my pj's. That's where places like Ali Baba's come in. The one I go to is on Parliament Street, at Gerard, although there are a few other locations around town.

Ali Baba's is a place to get pretty decent Middle Eastern food for pretty cheap. You can eat in the restaurant, but the selling point of this place is the food, not the atmosphere, so personally I prefer bringing it home.

I got the Chicken Shawarma plate ($6.79), which comes with; rice, pita bread (white or whole wheat), tabouleh, garlic sauce, hummos, and random house salads (including that pickled red cabbage and turnip that I adore). With the rice you get an option of lentil rice or plain rice, I highly recommend going for the lentil rice, not only are lentils really good for you, but, well, YUM!

My partner got the Falafel Platter ($5.49), but was starving, so he made it jumbo, which meant it came with 6 falafel balls, not sure how much extra it was, I would say probably around $1.50 or so. e also ordered 2 veggie Samposas. They're a little bit like Samosas, only not as spicy and they come in chicken, beef or veggie for a whopping 89 cents each.

The result was a huge mass of food...

Both of those are available as sandwiches if you're not quite so hungry, Chicken Shawarma for $3.99 and Falafel for $2.99. In fact, the most expensive regular sized sandwich is $4.50 for the Shish Tawook (Chicken breast cooked on the grill) and Sish Kabab (Beef cooked on the grill).

I have heard good things about their lentil soup ($2.50) but didn't try it myself. There's lots on the menu that I'm eager to try at some point, specifically the Kafta Kabab pita sandwich ($3.99), I'm a fan of Kafta, it's kind of like having a really flavourful hamburger.

The lamb shank for $6.99 (with all the salads and hummus etc) looked pretty appealing too.

If you don't eat meat but you don't like falafel (does this exist?!?) then there are grape leaves stuffed with rice (3 for 99 cents), or spinach or cheese pie for $2.49.

Be forewarned, there were a few things that disappointed. The first was that the rice was heated up in the microwave in the styrofoam containers, personally I'm not so sure about the safety of putting those things in the microwave. The other thing was that my shawarma was a on the dry side, but I have to say, that's not an uncommon complaint for me with take out shawarma, so maybe it's just that I find shawarma a dry dish.

That said, the other stuff was delicious and made up for it. Plus the people working were really nice. The bottom line is that there was a lot of reasonably tasty food, for a reasonable price. It covered 4 meals (left-overs) and was less than $20. Plus, if you don't feel like leaving your house, they deliver.

Discussion

15 Comments

Jerrold / April 15, 2007 at 02:20 pm
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I love Ali Baba's chicken shawarma. One of my favourite quick and cheap eats out there!
Jerrold / April 15, 2007 at 03:59 pm
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Oh, and great brew choice. Love the stuff.
Chris / April 15, 2007 at 04:00 pm
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By God, do they use egg in their falafel? I will not eat eggs
megan / April 15, 2007 at 05:36 pm
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Hmmm. No idea if they use eggs or not, John's not vegan, he just doesn't eat meat, still eats dairy and eggs. So they might use it as a binding agent? Not sure. Or, it might be egg free...

Jerrold, John said I should probably point out that the beer was just 'cause we were at home, and that Ali Baba's doesn't serve alcohol, I told him people would probably figure that out. But, just in case, now they know. *grin*
Chris / April 16, 2007 at 06:31 am
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Awwww maaaaan, nooooo... Ali Baba's is the McDonald's of middle eastern food. It's good under one condition: nothing else is available at the time/place.

I patronize the one three blocks away on a fairly frequent basis, and their 2-for-1 falafel tuesdays helps that, but it still sucks and unless I know it's too late in the day, I'll pretty much always mission the hour+ to get to Bathurst & Bloor or Bathurst in North York.
Chris / April 16, 2007 at 06:35 am
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(I recently was tipped off as to the location of what I've determined to be the actual best-falafel-south-of-north-york, but I'm thinking I'll save it and write it up as a whole review... it's taken me years to find a falafel place downtown that I really consider worthwhile, the whole thing is a ridiculous obsession for me, so I ought to make something of value come out of it all.)
megan / April 16, 2007 at 03:15 pm
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Chris - Yeah, but that's what I said, it was pretty good, cheap and plentiful... It'll fill you up when that's what you're looking for.
Chris / April 16, 2007 at 05:32 pm
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Definitely healthier than McD's... and you know what, just to prove me wrong there's either new management or new employees who are doing a much better job...
The rotating meat was topped with onions and tomatoes that had been cut into flower shapes, both types of rice had extra veggies for both flavour and garnish, the chickpea salad and all the toppings were looking much better and the guy offered me more of the toppings than usual in my falafels.

This is the Weston location... and I might add that they're sometimes open past midnight, as is the Queen W one. Not sure abt the others... it seems to just happen whenever they feel like it.
Randy / May 26, 2007 at 03:00 pm
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EGGS OH MY GOD....

LOL
Sarah / December 31, 2008 at 11:59 am
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the drunken destination on queen street!! the shawarma dish with the brown rice and lentils is soooooo good..I've gone a million times.
SARAH / April 19, 2009 at 05:18 pm
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The one on Dundas West is REALLY good. Great service and everything is so fresh. I've gone back 3 times in the past month!
ramanan / June 1, 2009 at 11:57 am
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The one at Bloor and Lansdowne is great. Everything is wicked-fresh. And it's open fairly late to boot. And it's cheap. My wife works near the one at at Queen and Bathurst, and she thinks it is very so-so in comparison.
David Ing / June 17, 2009 at 06:06 pm
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This April 2007 review linked from the June 2009 <a href="http://www.blogto.com/toronto/the_best_shawarma_in_toronto/";>The Best Shawarma in Toronto</a> article needs to be updated.

The link to http://www.alibabaz.com/ should be updated to the correct address at http://alibabas.ca.

I agree with the review of the Parliament Street location ... except if you check the <a href="http://alibabas.ca/locations.htm";>Ali Baba's location list</a>, you'll see that the Parliament Street location isn't there anymore. The Church Street location is the new addition.
David Ing / June 17, 2009 at 06:06 pm
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This April 2007 review linked from the June 2009 <a href="http://www.blogto.com/toronto/the_best_shawarma_in_toronto/";>The Best Shawarma in Toronto</a> article needs to be updated.

The link to http://www.alibabaz.com/ should be updated to the correct address at http://alibabas.ca.

I agree with the review of the Parliament Street location ... except if you check the <a href="http://alibabas.ca/locations.htm";>Ali Baba's location list</a>, you'll see that the Parliament Street location isn't there anymore. The Church Street location is the new addition.
steve / August 19, 2010 at 05:14 am
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I visited the 229 Church Street location lrecently and ordered the half chicken dinner fully expecting a half chicken. Basic.

I was handed two legs.

I politely mentioned to the server that, as the photo indicates, a half chicken is just that...consisting of a leg, breast, thigh and wing. He rudely disagreed and said "no..that's what you get!" Shocking.

This poor experience does not look good on the new neighbourhood business!

A) Two legs is not a true half chicken...(it's a low cost way of being skimpy and insulting the customer!

B) Rudeness is unacceptable....esecially when I have a choice of about 3 dozen food joints within a short walking distance!

The owner has failed to respond to my valuable feedback...arrogant!

Avoid this joint!! There's no shortage of Middle Eastern places nearby!!

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