Real, raw, & relatable me. Enthusiastic food & lifestyle blogger living in Vancouver, BC!

Category: Lebanese

Nuba Yaletown, Dine Out Vancouver 2021

Local food blogger and cocktail enthusiast, @pickydiner and I found ourselves at the Davie location of Nuba. There, to try their $35 Dine Out Vancouver menu, available now until March 7th, 2021. Each course gives you a choice between a meat friendly or vegetarian option. Between us we were able to try both options, and the following are our picks.

Although before we start, I want to make note of how lovely their decor is. The smaller space with lush greenery and middle eastern nods pull you in to the experience of dining in. We were also seated at the nicest booth (in my opinion), a cozy nook by the door, with a mirrored mosaic to admire ourselves and our food, as we dined.

For appetizers I would recommend the Lahmajeen Manoushe over the mushroom, as it turned out to be the dish we both liked the most. In-house made flatbread topped with diced lamb confit, pomegranate molasses, tomato, green onion, and mint; like a pizza. Baked fresh to order, the dough was fluffy; a soft base for the tender lamb and flavourful toppings that gave it some freshness and tang. But what really sets this apart was the pomegranate molasses, it was a pleasant sweetness finished with cinnamon. I would go back just for another four slices of this. And if you do the same, just be sure to eat it quick, so it doesn’t get soggy.

The King Oyster mushroom mezze interestingly ate like smoked jerky, a little tough and a lot chewy. Pan seared king oyster mushrooms with a vegan truffle and harrisa compound butter, served with lemon and local micro greens. I would have liked this with more truffle and butter flavour, something rich to add moisture and a refined taste to an otherwise simple plate.

For entrees your choice is between bison or cauliflower. The Cauliflower Arnabiyeh is roasted cauliflower with ras el hanout, caramelized shallots, and a blood orange tahini sauce. Served over organic brown rice and salad. I wasn’t a fan of the texture of the grainy cauliflower paired with the drier barley rice. Both were soft and grainy. Along with the leafy greens, there wasn’t enough crunch, only a boring mouth-feel that I didn’t enjoy all that much. As for the taste, it had warming spices reminiscent of Indian cuisine. Therefore, I wanted more of the sauce to help balance that pungent heat out. Instead, the tahini was muted, I was left wanting something tangier like a sour cream. And the side salad here did nothing to add to the plate, it was better suited to the meat and potatoes below.

I much more preferred the Grilled Bison Flatiron. A Halal Canadian bison rubbed with baharat, fleur de sel and pomegranate molasses. And served with turmeric mashed potatoes and salad. The bison was a little tough, but the spice rub was nice, I just wanted more flavour in the sauce to make it pop. The meat did pair well with the garlicky potatoes, and the side salad for brightness and freshness.

For dessert your choices are between a cake and a cookie, and if possible, it is worth trying both. The Turkish Coffee cheesecake was more memorable. A baked mascarpone cheesecake spiked with Amaretto and Turkish coffee, on a crust of crushed almonds, topped with espresso whipped cream. I couldn’t make out the individual flavours, but as a whole it was a well conceived dessert. I did want more coffee notes, as a fan of their Turkish coffee. And maybe a more traditional crust to better accentuate the cheesecake flavour. I found the almond flavour distracting, but that is a more personal preference thing.

Chocolate ma’amoul are almond and coconut flour cookies stuffed with dates and Belgium chocolate. What doesn’t look like much is a tasty treat. Not too sweet, not dried out. These were baked fresh and would be great with tea or coffee.

In short, another Dine Out Vancouver menu that gives you a good look at the restaurant’s offerings across 3 courses. With vegan and vegetarian options, everyone has a choice.

Nuba Yaletown, Dine Out Vancouver 2021
508 Davie St, Vancouver, BC V6B 3N9
(604) 661-4129

Jam Jar, revisit

This is one that I said I would be back to and here I was today. Since my original visit they have opened up a new location on South Granville, that was actually our original destination, however given the traffic and the proximity of their original location to my home, I decide to save myself the road rage and pull up to the one on Commercial Drive instead.

To read about the decor and the restaurant’s setting visit the link below, for the post of my original visit.

Jam Jar


We began at the bar and moved to a table once one cleared, not that it was the best decision. We ordered enough food for four but only had a table for two. The result, dishes coming to us one after another, and no room for a plate to eat off of. I ended up balancing one on the ledge of the table, over my lap and spilling the contents over myself, all over the floor. I broke a plate in the process and interrupted everyone else dining around me in doing so. The lesson I learned: don’t be greedy, order less or eat faster. Better yet, ask for a table for four to be able to house it all comfortably.

We made it in just at 6pm, the cut off of happy hour, however our server was kind enough to extend the discounted prices if we ordered right away and we did. One of each of their discounted menu items and a couple of their cocktails on special. They were items we were planning on getting anyways, and this way we ended up saving ourselves at least $15. Including trying the “Lebanese tacos” that weren’t even on their menu.

The “Makali” is the one to get, one of their more popular plates. Deep fried cauliflower in a pomegranate molasses. You expect it to be crispy, but instead it’s more soggy with the syrup pooling at the bottom. You also don’t get any of the sweetness you’d expect from the fruit, but instead a strong lemon citrus tone. It wasn’t the greatest, but something about it kept you going back for more until the bowl was empty, then thinking when would you come back for some more next time. But texture-wise I wanted them crispy with the molasses as a dip instead of a dressing.

The one I will always get and recommend is their hummus trio. They make all their hummus in house and it is always served slightly below room temperature. They are also the creamiest that I have ever had. The flavours of two of two rotate seasonally, with their “original” always included as a good benchmark. Today the former was a very savoury “sun dried tomato and basil” and a sweet “”strawberry lemonade”. The former was very herbaceous, more basil that anything else. It started almost spicy and ends light, making it a good transition into the sweeter latter. The “”strawberry lemonade” was definitely a dessert hummus, accurate to its name. It was like the summer time beverage in tang with sour lemon to start and sugary candy crystals to finish. It also had the texture of a smoothie without ever melting. Nothing you’d expect, and one you need to try a lot of to decide wherever you like it or not. I just wished that you get more pita to enjoy with it, and that they stay fluffy and warm for longer. In hindsight, I guess I could have just ordered some more, as the order only comes with two and you get plenty of the three hummuses to accompany it.

The “Lebanese tacos” were three mini tortilla rounds stacked with pickled and shredded vegetable, a salsa or spread; and either lamb sausage, falafel, or cauliflower. Basically each bite gave you a taste of a few of their other appetizers. The cauliflower being prepared just like the “Makali” cauliflower above.

The one with “Makanik” gave us a taste of their lamb sausages prepared with red wine and seven spices. They were a little on the dry side and unsubstantial like this. It left me wanting a juicy sausage to bite into, one with a crispy coating from a good grill, with all the flavours it had now.

The one with a falafel gave you their take on this popular chickpea and lentil fritter. Crunchy on the outside and a tad dry and ashy at its centre. This wasn’t my favourite for its texture.

The “Marinated prawns” were not on the happy hour menu, but with all the vegetable product above, my guest and I wanted some meat. They were made with Moroccan chermula, parsley, cumin, and cayenne. They were juicy and zesty, and quite very refreshing. Whereas I was expecting more grill and char. I enjoyed it the most paired with the rice from the dish below.

The “Riyash” was two lamb popsicles rubbed with cinnamon, turmeric, seven spices and Greek yogurt. I found isn’t didn’t pair well with the rice it came with. I found both items were on the sweeter side, where as I wanted one to balance out the other with savoury salt. The cinnamon was strong on the lamb and with the raisins and nuts this reminded me a lot of oatmeal, especially given the starchy chew of the rice.

The “Cheese rolls” came highly recommended by our server, so we got some too. They were like a spanakopita with the cheese and spinach. I am normally not a fan of them given the wilted nature of spinach, but they weren’t noticeable here and the crumbly texture and salty flavour of the cheese mix was ideal. Delicious, surrounded by the crispy flaky pastry. You didn’t really need the sauce it sat in, as it was just the same sauce that what was already heavily present in the “roll”. Instead, I wished for some plain pita. The cucumber helped to add some freshness, but there was not enough pieces to have one to chase every bite of roll with.

During this meal, everything had so much flavour to it. Normally you follow strong bites with more refreshing ones. But here everything was combating everything else with punches of similarly fragrant, yet very different flavours. The hummus was the lightest, so I could have used a side salad for balance. Where we got some help was with our happy hour $7 cocktails. The “Hibiscus bloom” was a cooling drink with fresh cucumber (you got its seeds in the brew too), their homemade hibiscus syrup, lime juice, gin and tonic.

On a following return visit, they released two new seasonal hummuses, which sounded the most exciting to date, (in my opinion). The partnering of salty and sweet with a beer flavoured hummus featuring “33 acres brewery” and a decadent “butter tart”. The former wasn’t bitter like beer, but strong and full bodied like a pint would be. The latter creamy and sweet enough to smear on a baked crust and call it a butter tart.

During this visit, we were just looking to snack so followed the above up with a bowl of their “seasonal olives” seasoned in cumin, dill, and lemon.

Which paired well with the “Batata Harra” as a starchy base. Cubed potatoes tossed in garlic and cilantro.


Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
My favourite place for hummus in the city. Unique interpretations and fun flavours, just like the restaurant as a whole. And they have yet to disappoint. I come in knowing what flavours I am going to get, and they deliver. The food was great, but be warned, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. With all the plates enjoyed all together, I found myself overwhelmed with flavour. So I recommend them more as a snacking spot. Small plates paired best with their artisan cocktails. Don’t deny your cravings.


2280 Commercial Drive, Vancouver BC, V5N 4B5

Nuba, Mount Pleasant


Knowing how unhealthy I have been eating as of late, I agreed with my guest’s suggestion of “Nuba” for something a bit more clean. I guess my idea of a cleanse is Lebanese food?

I have been to their other two locations so knew what to expect, though each differed from the last in decor. Here the exterior was painted white, to best contrast its name in rounded letters. It only less eye catching on the side of the building, compared to the light up letters above the doorway. Pink, yellow, white, and blue.


Inside, the space was bright and happy with white walls separated by geometric prints. Simple yet engrossingly decorative. Yellow and black rectangles by the door and dark green and white triangles for the bar. They offered a bold contrast, like the speckles that dotted the tables.


It was lunch time and the restaurant was filled across its three rooms, each separated from the other by a cement wall. We were lucky to get our tiny two top by the entrance for two women and a baby.


Our meal started off with a complimentary plate of pita and dip to get our appetites going, and have us acquire a taste of their slightly stiff, served room temperature pitas.


We both aren’t fans of coffee, but the thought of trying some of their Turkish variety, made with cardamon, rose water, and sugar would be an interesting first. As I don’t have much experience with coffee, I won’t be able to distinguish regular from Turkish, and therefore can’t properly access this. What I can say is that it has a flavour that grows on you. Gentle rosewater for just a hint of floral, and some spice from the cardamon.


The “Najib’s Special” is one of their more popular dishes, it is crispy cauliflower tossed with lemon and sea salt; and served with tahini for dipping in to. It was nice, but the pieces could have been crispier and the sauce creamier. So I guess I prefer a different type of cauliflower all together? But I would absolutely revisit this one again, in fact, I think I do each time I visit.


“Lamb Kibbeh” is grilled grain-fed halal lamb patties, seasoned with vegetables, pine nuts, burghul, and aromatic spices. The lamb was juicy, despite not looking like it as this lumpy loaf with a darkened charred exterior. The patties made the perfect compliment to the homemade tzazki, as the lightest I have ever had.


The “Beef Flatiron Kebab” is a Heritage Angus flatiron beef skewer grilled and served with tahini sauce. Like the lamb, this too was some cooked tender and juicy meat. However my guest would beg to differ. It was tasty, but I wanted more of the meat considering it was the main. Though the creamy hummus did well to keep me full. It came with more pita to scoop it up with. I am certain that we ended up having more bread then meat or veggie throughout this lunch.

Overall, it felt like we needed a pita to complete everything. It made the perfect base for all the sauces and dips, so much so that you wished they invested in a better pita, seeing as you were eating so much of it.


Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
As the only Lebanese restaurant I know of in the city, it makes them the one to go to for a great like meal. And with three location, this is easier to do. Don’t deny your cravings.


146 East 3rd Avenue, Vancouver BC, V5T 1C8
Nuba Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Jam Jar


A recommended destination when those who don’t eat meat dine with those that do, with enough gluten free and vegan friendly options to satisfy all preferences. This restaurant is definitely one I would suggest if trying to accommodate the vegetarian of the group, giving them more than just the option of salad or soup. With plenty of meat dishes to keep omnivores happy as well. There aren’t many vegetarian heavy restaurants I would venture to if given the choice, so this one is definitely worth writing about.


The exterior looked chic with its wood framed glass with polished windows. Although not very telling of what they offered and what they specialized in. The menu taped to the glass helped in this: folk Lebanese cuisine.

You walk in through a narrow corridor, up a ramp with rail, framed by wood panelled walls. You take a pause at their hostess booth, which is a repurposed bar cart with wheels. There was plenty of seating, but in order to plan and accommodate their guests to come, we were asked to wait for a table of two to be cleared and bussed for our group of three. As we waited I helped myself to one of their complimentary chalky lollipops as I took in the theme of the room.


The “folk” extended in style and substance. From the twang of the music genre, to the functional but worn furniture, and the overall simplicity of the homespun food. The rusted folding chairs that we sat on as we waited, built on to this. And the scuffed wood floors, the scratched up decorative mirror, and the stained booth cushions all added to this immersive theme.


I liked the rustic bar the most, even despite the tiled pillar separating the station in two halves, blocked my full view of it. The tiling on this pillar was isolated here and on the base of the bar. It had a very European subway look and feel to it. White tile with dark grout under a brushed metal counter top. Though it was the gathering of wooden crates on the wall above that drew the eye. Various sizes and dimensions of crates attached by it bottom to wall. A clustered set of these supported spirit bottles and their jiggers; the other adjacent, housed glasses for use. It included the very folky mason jar, used to take home their homemade hummus. The line of bulbs above the bar highlighted it perfectly, with small bulbs close to the ceiling and larger ones suspended from cables.


As I mentioned earlier, we were seated at a two top that easily converted into one for three. It was by a lengthy section of couch with two rusted fold out chairs, all framing a wooden round of a small side table. Just as well, the whole premise of the place is to share your plate and your food. So we really didn’t need any additional space.

It is worth noting that their speciality group table is located in the corner by the front windows. It’s seats were attached to the actual table and easily extended out for use, then swung back in to conserve space when not in use. I also imagined it fairly easy to sweep under with this set up.

The menu delivered on their promise of “… East Mediterranean flavours that utilize fresh vegetables, olive oil, & lemon juice as a base for dishes that are crafted with aromatic spices”. Their intention is to bring you meals you normally would only find in Lebanese homes, paired with freshly baked flat bread. And from what I can tell they do it fairly well. The menu was a long list to read through. Ingredients I was familiar with, but most I have never had together. Chickpeas were plentiful, and I saw a lot of eggplant and yogurt. Cumin, red pepper, and five spice were common seasonings. It was a warming array even with the divide between hot and cold appetizers.


Given their focus and the popularity of their hummus, we figured the “Hummus trio with seasonal flavours” was worth giving a try to. This month’s rotating flavours were thyme and sage, butternut squash and honey, and their original. I can never commit to finishing a whole tub of hummus from the grocery store, so it is nice to have the option of sampling serving sized portions here, as you liked it. “Amazing” was the word my guest used to describe this platter. Each dip was served cold for dipping, drizzled over with a healthy coating of olive, oil and served with a side of room temperature pita. Though it would have been nicer to have the pita folds baked warm, to give it a nice and steamy contrast to the chilled spreads. We ended with more dip then bread so were forced to order a section batch to finish the hummus with. They were rolled up and placed in a tin bucket,like a vase of flowers.


The thyme was distinctive, with plenty of flavour. The exact tone you would imagine when thinking of Lebanese food, but it had a freshness of spices to it. This gave it a balanced mix of sweet and spicy.


The one with squash had the heaviest and creamiest texture. With it also being sweet and nutty, it bordered on dessert with its caramelized finish.


The original was most familiar. Earthy and creamy with the most pronounced chickpea essence and grainy texture of the three.


For an entree we choose the “Falafel”, it is a deep-fried ball or patty made from ground chickpeas. This was their rendition of the popular vegetarian alternative. We made this hot mezze (appetizer) a full plate for only dollars more. The $3 additional gave us batata harra, brown rice or both; and our choice of salad and cold mezze. Each lunch time main such as this, is available as a mezze, wrap, or platter; depending on your hunger needs.


In the platter it was either the “falafel” or the cauliflower. We exercised the third option and had a bit of both, with no regrets. The cauliflower was amazing, the best cauliflower I have ever had and know I would want more of. It was salty and zesty with a crisp coating and a tender, slightly soggy centre. Similarly the falafel had a hardened crispy shell with a moist whipped centre.


We also got the both the cubed potatoes and brown rice when given the chance. Well roasted, the potatoes were a nice base, starchy, much like the rice.


For our salad we had the “chickpea lentil salad” with green lentils, cilantro, cumin, and tomatoes. Everything glistened with a thorough coating of olive oil. It gave the lot a nice flavour peaked by the spices used. The salad was the refreshing element on the platter, a quick and easy break in all the fragrant and rich sides.


For our cold mezze choice there was some confusion. We had the “Muttabel”, a roasted eggplant dip, but could have sworn we ordered their “spinach dip” with tahini, lemon juice, and garlic. The eggplant dip had a similar look to the hummus above, but was completed with a much chunkier texture. It also had the gummy property of eggplant embedded. Easy to scoop up with the whole round of pita included with it. The pita also went well with the dish of dip centring all the elements. Which in turn complimented everything else. Using it was an easy way to rejuvenate the plate.


Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
As a whole, I really liked the place: It’s a good one to start a conversation within, a great one to bring a date to, one to take a pause for a snack at; and best of all, a restaurant to enjoy good food for an even better deal. I only regretting not taking some hummus back home with me. Don’t deny your cravings.


2280 Commercial Drive, Vancouver BC, V5N 4B5
Jamjar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tibisti Grill aka Lebanese Cuisine


I admittedly am ignorant when it comes to geography, a fact that was pointed out by my partner, and one that I am trying to improve on though travel and trying new things. Which brings me to “Lebanese Cuisine” the Lebanese restaurant serving Lebanese cuisine, in case you have missed that. The name on the awning is “Lebanese Cuisine”, but online they are referred to as “Tibisti Grill”. I have limited experience in this cuisine type. This would be only my third time trying Lebanese food, and only the second Lebanese specialty restaurant I have visited.

According to Wikipedia, “Lebanese cuisine includes an abundance of starches, whole grain, fruits, vegetables, fresh fish and seafood… Fats are consumed sparingly and poultry is eaten more often than red meat. When red meat is eaten it is usually as lamb or goat’s meat. Cooking is done with copious amounts of garlic and olive oil, with lemon juice as a popular seasoning. Olive oil, herbs, garlic and lemon are typical flavours found in the Lebanese diet. It is similar to the diets of most Mediterranean countries”. It sounded delicious and I figured a buffet would be the best way to dabble in all of the above. Though they also offer an a la carte menu as well.

I found the name of the restaurant direct and to the point, much like the exterior and interior of the building. On the outside coloured posters depicted dishes served and listed their names in red. Maui ribs and roast lamb meals, souvlaki in beef or chicken, NY steak; wraps in chicken, beef, or lamb; and sides like baba ganoush, garlic sauce, hummus, tabbouleh, and baked potatoes.
“Baba ghanoush” is a dish of cooked eggplant mixed with onions, tomatoes, olive oil and various seasonings. “Tabbouleh” is a Arabian vegetarian dish traditionally made of tomatoes, finely chopped parsley, mint, bulgur and onion. It is seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt.


Inside the restaurant it was just a seating area and a buffet line. There were no decorations, no need for art or for objects to fill up the space. They gave you only what you needed to enjoy a quick meal with. A clean restaurant, with sturdy furniture, and an assortment of pre-made dishes to help yourself to. The only thing I can say, is that with so much of its space left empty and un-used, it seems like the restaurant was designed and chosen with the possibility of expansion in mind. The back of the restaurant was cleverly hidden behind cubicle-like barriers; a freestanding wall separating seat from sight. They hid the unused space. Empty refrigeration units, empty racks, and permits to operate in sheet protectors. It wasn’t the most appealing view, but we only had to see it when we paid, and by that time it was too late to change our mind about staying for dinner.

Smaller buffets get a bad rep. The thinking is that less business means more food left over and more food going to waste. So to cut costs and to reduce waste they may either reuse leftovers or prepare smaller portions, meaning you are skeptical of how fresh things actually are. And then there is the understanding that buffet food will always be a little over cooked, as it is steeping in the heated dish. Though not every one is so particular about eating over cooked food. You really have to consider, what you are getting for the price you are paying. We were here for their lunch buffet, which gave less variety at $3 less per person, when compared to the dinner buffet. $11.95 for lunch, $14.99 per person for dinner.

All that some need is a cheap and easy lunch or dinner. Food available right away, a hassle free system; and good selection of meat, veggies, and carbs. So the question is do you tip? And how much do you tip for a buffet where you are literally doing some of the service leg work for yourself. I will let you all simmer on that one.

We went in with open minds, and the reassurance that if we didn’t like what we saw, we could easily walk out. Though once we were through the door, we were immediately greeted by the owner. He was most helpful and most convincing in why we should stay for lunch. We ended up taking a seat upon his suggestion. After hearing our want to check things out before committing, he took the time to give us a walking tour of the buffet. The owner was very friendly, and to him everything was “amazing”. There were no names to any of the trays, no list of ingredients under each tub, no way to ensure dietary restrictions would be met. But he did point to each one and list their main ingredients for us verbally. Luckily neither of us had any dietary restrictions to consider and can actually enjoy the assembly a buffet provides.


The buffet line was divided between cold and hot foods, appetizers and entrees. The former includes salads and spreads to start. A green salad, a Greek salad, dolmades, hummus, tzatziki, and a garlic butter to go with room temperature pitas.


The latter buffet trays were all yellow, orange, or brown. Roasted potatoes stewing in butter and herbs, yellow rice seasoned heavily in spices, meatballs in a tomato paste, sausages in a tomato sauce, chicken legs done two ways, and roasted lamb.


On their secondary line was a serving of fried chicken wings and mixed stewed vegetables. The rest of the trays were empty in anticipation of the larger dinner service line up. The vegetables were actually brought out after our first go at the line. I appreciated that despite it being late lunch, early afternoon, nothing looked too sold down. I mean they even put in the effort into preparing and offering up a new dish. And that it wasn’t just a top up.


As our plates were varied and was composed of a little of everything, I will be simply listing notes of the dishes tried.

The garlic butter was good, but would have been better on something crispy, instead of the available room temperature pita bread. I wish there was a way to warm the pitas up, they were hard and chewy, almost stale. Actually I wish they made the pitas from scratch, you could tell this was store bought. Although I still found them one of the better items when paired with tzatziki and hummus. Though the hummus was a little on the bland side. It was easily perked up by stirring in a scoop of the garlic butter adjacent.

I am not a big fans of Dolmades, the peppery leaves are not to my liking. And even if I unwrap them from the little bundles, the soggy paste-like filling isn’t any better. It was too tart and too acidic for me. “Dolmades” are delicate parcels made from grape leaves stuffed with long-grain rice, toasted pine nuts, fresh herbs and seasonings.


There were two different types of chicken, both dark meat and both only leg pieces. One was a spicy chilli, the other more like a mild bbq. You could tell them apart by the colour of the sauce and the presence of red flakes. I liked both for their juicy meat, that soaked up all the flavouring of the broth they sat in.


The lamb was hit or miss. A few pieces were fall off the bone tender like the owner promised. Others got too much heat, and as a result dried out. Luckily with a buffet, you don’t have to finish what you don’t like and get to go back for what you do. I passed on the dry pieces and fished around for the ones that were more tender.


The meat balls were actually more flattened meat patties. And like the sausage they were both just meat in tomato stew. They tasted as you expected them to: ground beef and spicy pork sausage.

Similarly, the Greek and garden vegetable salad was nothing special. Greek salad seasoned in olive oil and feta and garden salad dressed in a salty tangy vinaigrette


Would I come back? – No.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Overall the food was nothing unique, it tasted good, but nothing very memorable. The flavours were similar to Greek cuisine. We tried a little of everything and went back for seconds, so I will deem the price for the food worth what we paid. However I am not a fan of most buffets in general. I don’t like the presentation or the selection. I don’t like the service model and miss the excitement of seeing a dish set before me. Though here, at $14.99 for the the price of one entree, you are better off paying that price for the buffet, and to be able to try more for less. Also this buffet was missing a dessert component, where most do consider something sweet to end the meal on. Don’t deny your cravings.


Tibisti Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Nuba, Lebanese cuisine

A Little Jiggle in Lebanon ~

Arrived early at the “Nuba” located in Kitsalano. Took the opportunity to order a drink and jot down my first blush impressions as I waited for my guests to arrive. I walked in solo and didn’t have to wait for the hostess, as the bartender came out from behind his counter to greet me. He allowed me to take a reserved seat at the bar. I took his recommendation of trying the drink special of the day: “rosemary grapefruit gimlet”. He created light conversation and even took the time to explain what a “gimlet” was, truly great customer service from this young man. The gimlet was delightful with the light taste of gin, it cooled with the grapefruit and simultaneously heated the back of your throat with the ginger. I could have had many and would like more on their patio in summer. Eventually the group came to claim their reserved bar seats and I was ushered to my reserved table.

I didn’t mind the wait as the decor of this location was the nicest of the three I have been to. This use to be an old Greek restaurant. Towards the back of the building they kept the upstairs balcony and the indoor windows adorned with planters. Where we were seated it reminded me of an open court yard, especially with the vaulted glass ceiling. It is a shame they covered it up with a tarp. Hopefully when the weather is a lot nicer they will remove it and allow the sun to beam in, what a great dining experience that would make.

Nuba” is the only Lebanon restaurant that I know of, so there isn’t really anything I could use to compare its quality and authenticity too. But based on its now four locations I would say they are doing well. The tiki themed one on Hastings at the Waldorf has closed down, but they still have their other locations at Yaletown, Gastown, and Main St. Lebanese food is known for being very healthy and there were very many vegetarian and vegan options available on their menu; perfect for many stereotypical Vancouverites. Or as in my case a good restaurant option if you have vegetarian friends in your party; and want a place that has meat dishes for you and more then just salad for them. 

We started off with veggie friendly appies. They are known for their “Najib’s Special”, which was on Vancouver magazine’s 101 things to try 2009 and the reason I tried “Nuba” for the first time 4 years ago. The crispy cauliflower is tossed with lemon and sea salt and served with a side of tahini. This was as good as I remembered. Crispy and well seasoned. If all children were given a plate of this there will never be parents complaining that they can’t get their kids to eat vegetables. Delicious, a must order option whenever you come. 

The “Garden Falafel” was nothing special. To me falafel is falafel. One way to make it and only one outcome. Chewy in the centre and crispy around the edges. The menu describes it as, “Victor’s secret recipe of organic chickpeas, fava beans, veggies and spices with hummus and avacado.” Though if you layer on all the sauces, the side of pickled beets and avacado with the falafel it did become an exciting bite. 
The “Le Petit Feast” is a plate of hummus, taboulleh, baba ghanooj, and homemade pickles with a side of bottomless pita bread slices to share. The spreads were nothing you couldn’t get a pail of at “No Frills” grocery store for $6. And the pitas were probably bought in bulk and warmed in the microwave. Nothing really worth paying for that you couldn’t assemble yourself. The same house made pickles that were also on our other sides were what really saved this dish. Even though the pitas were bottomless it would have been nicer to get more than what you needed instead of having to rely on your server to come by your table with a refill. 

For our entrees a server brought out our plates, but had to ask other tables before ours if they ordered “these”. Unprofessional of a server to not know what table they are heading to, what each dish was, and who ordered what. Even if they were helping at another section, she should at least read the table number and dishes from the order. If I was a bigger germ-a-phobe: can you imagine the contamination of her speaking over your dish, then bringing it close to the faces of other customers to see if its what they had ordered; all the spit and skin cells falling onto your plate. At least she volunteered to bring us more pita when we were wondering if we should ask for more and if we would be charged for it.

I had the “Lamb Belly”. When in doubt always get the lamb; it is delicious because it is one of the fattier cuts of meat, and it is something you will not ordinarily make for yourself at home. This was slow cooked lamb belly in sumac, parsley and garlic with a side of arugula salad coated in shallot dressing. The menu also mentioned that cherry tomatoes would be part of this plate, but alas I was disappointed to have none. The lamb belly was thick and layered like a cake made with fat, meat, and seasonings. Cutting into it was a challenge as the fate was so thick and rubbery that it jiggled. The taste was so rich that I couldn’t eat bite after bite. I needed the arugula salad to take away from the rich fatty taste and add a crispier texture to each of my bites. And when that stopped working I had to cleanse my pallet with hummus and pita after every bite of lamb. Eventually I had to cut away the fat and didn’t have much more to eat. Luckily I was already full from the lentils in our appies. I would not order this again and did not feel it was worth the $12 I paid for it. At least presentation was top notch.
“Vegan stew”. Stewed seasonal vegetables with tomatoes, onions, and chick peas served over brown rice for my veggie loving guest. Pretty standard.

“Lamb Yakhne“; braised pulled lamb, hazelnut, toum sauce, pastry, watercress, and pickled mustard seed. My guest claimed this dish was too fancy for him. Despite him saying the taste was more complex then he is use to, he ate his plate clean along with the watercress he didn’t originally know what to do with. Like my lamb belly, you really needed the side veggies to help break up the heavy taste of the lamb meat. The pastry also helped to neutralize the salt from the lamb. 

Would I go back? Yes. It is so hard to find good places to eat that offers meat dishes and enough vegetarian ones to keep your veggie friends happy. “
Nuba” does a good job. I just wouldn’t order the lamb again. I feel “Nuba” specializes in vegetarian dishes and meat is an afterthought for them.
Would I recommend it? – Yes, especially this location. Good unique flavours, vegan friendly dining experience, a beautiful restaurant in an equally beautiful neighborhood, and live entertainment on selected day. Tonight was belly dancing. I got a sneak peak of the ladies in the washroom before they jiggled and shook on the floor. First the juniors and the seniors, literally. I just wished they travelled around the restaurant floor instead of just blocking up the entrance way.

3116 West Broadway, Vancouver BC

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