Owner: Victor Bouzide
Website: Nuba: Authentic Lebanese Cuisine
When I started working on the edge of Gastown in the early spring, I had noticed Nuba across the street--kinda hard to tell what was going on there from the outside, but my workmates insisted it was a good place. But you see, I can hardly eat ANYWHERE. I've got a shwack (yes, a schwack) of food allergies, and it is incredibly difficult for me to find any restaurants where I can eat more than just salad.
So I saw it there across the street on a daily basis, but thought surely it can't be any more accomodating than the usual places. In May, Beyond Robson featured an article on Nuba, and a great article at that, full of praise. And still, I thought, surely I will just be disappointed if I go in...
This week, after six months of packing my own lunch every evening before bed, finally on Sunday night, I snapped and said to myself, "That's it, I want someone else to make my lunch tomorrow!" It was then and there that I decided I would try out this mysterious Nuba and see whether they could truly accomodate someone who not only has high standards for food, but also crazy food restrictions.
The verdict? All I can do is wonder how I let the last six months go by without a meal from this place! Not only is the food amazing, but it is very much my kind of food. No pre-prepared processed crap, nothing smuthered in butter--they go out of their way not to use dairy (or any non-vegan food) in any recipes that don't need it. And they understand the concept of allergies--no gluten, no dairy, no problem! That was the attitude that I got!
I ordered the Chicken Shish Tawook plate, sans anything my allergies would disallow, and got an amazing dish that fed me for lunch and dinner. Tasty seasoned chicken, roasted potatoes, hummus, tahini sauce, and salad with chickpeas and some kind of lemony dressing. It was all fabulous. You can check out the menus on their site, to my amazement, there are actually several other things I could have ordered.
I went back on Wednesday for another order of roasted potatoes with hummus and tahini sauce to go with my lunch. So tasty! Apparently Victor makes his grandma's recipes, and he has secret tactics for making the food super tasty (you can learn about some of them reading through the reviews on their website).
They just opened a second location on Seymour, so you have no excuse not to go and savour the deliciousness. Vegans, Veggies, Meat-atarians, allergies, they've got you covered.
UPDATE - The Hastings location has now moved across the street into the Dominion Building. They've done an amazing job renovating the space, which is now a lot larger, so be sure to check it out!