869 Victoria Street North
In her opinion:
Let me start by saying "what a great place for Lebanese cuisine"! I enjoy a good shawarma and we have even had a "shawarma-off" to determine which was the best in our region - see results here. So when my better half suggested going to Arabesque Cafe...I said why not.
Arabesque Cafe is housed in a building that is not very Arab-like...it actually looks like an old fast-food restaurant. On the inside they have added a few Lebanese touches to try and disguise the old fast-food feel. But the star of Arabesque Cafe is not the structure in which is it housed but rather its food.
Oh the food! Our first waitress came over and took our drink orders. Thank goodness they had Coke products...that scored a point with me. So after ordering my favourite Diet Coke. We went about studying the menu in order to determine what to have. We settled on ordering an appetizer to share and a main each.
For our appetizer we ordered "Borak with meat". It is described on the menu as "Fresh dough stuffed with your choice of meat or cheese and deep fried."
This was a spring roll like morsel. Stuffed with a tasty meat mixture. I was not sure which type of meat it was to be certain...it could have a been a combo of beef and lamb. Regardless...it was very delicious.
For my main, I ordered the "Mixed Shawarma Plate". It's described as "thin layers of chicken or beef marinated in our specialty spices". It was served with a choice of rice or French fries, hummus, fresh pita and your choice of salad. I opted for the rice and tabouli (parsley, tomato, onion and crushed wheat mixed with lemon juice and olive oil).
This was a large platter of food. The shawarmas were delicious. I preferred the chicken over the beef. The rice was flavourful and absolutely delectable. The tabouli was a huge portion and very refreshing. I enjoyed the hummus and fresh baked pita...incredibly good. Once you've had pitas like this...you can't go back to the usual grocery store stuff!
Overall, the meal was excellent. I enjoyed it very much. As I went up to pay, I noticed a sweet little container of baklava calling my name.
I, of course answered its call and brought it home. They were so delicious. Glad I decided to get them. I recommend anyone who loves Lebanese food...it's a nice addition to Waterloo Region's dining scene.
In his opinion:
Nothing says traditional Lebanese like Coca-Cola products and an old drive-thru style setting. Even though you can't get away from those Western products and settings; we came here for the food and that's what I will try to focus on.
Arabesque has been around for a bit and even though I had heard good things about it, I had never tried it before. I do appreciate Lebanese cuisine so this day was to be the one I would actually try it.
Friendly staff welcomes you, seats you and takes your orders promptly while taking their time to explain the menu and any other questions you may have. After browsing the menu, I had my sights on a certain dish and it was re-enforced by our waitress as a great choice.
We started with "Borak with meat". This is like a crispy deep fried roll, stuffed with meat. It was good, not great but good enough as I did find the meat inside a bit bland and the roll shell too crispy for my liking.
For my entree, I decided on the Chicken Mousahab. Grilled boneless chicken dipped in garlic, lemon and oil, served with fries and a Salad. The chicken was delicious with a good portion and the salad was also very good, sort of a mini Fatoush salad of sorts. I took full advantage of it. Worth bringing up are the big portion on the plate, enough to fill you and maybe even some to take home.
The fresh baked pita that came with the meal was also delectable. Straight out of the oven, moist and plentiful in its size. It went very well with the hummus and I even dared to make a mini Schwarma with it, using some of the items from my plate.
The Good: Great friendly service to match the great food served, prices are great for the type, quality and amount of food served.
The Bad: Wasn't a big fan of the Borak rolls...
The Verdict: Great value for your money and a wonderful place to have good Lebanese food. Extensive menu will allow you to return often to try everything. Great staff also.
I give it 3 1/2 out of 5 Olives as rating