One of the places I often go for takeout in the Yaletown area is Nuba Cafe. While there is another Nuba Restaurant in the downtown area on West Hastings, I have never been to the original larger location.
Last night, I decided to go back there again because while I had originally intended to cook dinner last night (yes, it does happen on occasion), I locked myself out of my place and had to wait until I could get let back in again, which was a couple of hours later. As a result, I didn’t have any time left to do any actual cooking.
Nuba has some great Lebanese food, and they opened the smaller cafe on Seymour Street in Yaletown in 2007, which is also open for both lunch and dinner. It’s only got seating for about 16 people inside, so I generally just grab some takeout at lunch (usually the Najib’s Special pita – it’s vegan and delicious!), or some sort of plate option for dinner. They use recyclable containers for all of their takeout food and have quite a few vegan options, with the menu noting specifically those dishes that contain meat.
For dinner this time, I chose the Lamb Kafta plate – it’s essentially a grilled patty of lamb, with onions, parsley, and other spices seasoning it. The plate also comes with some taboulleh, pita bread and hummous, a mixed salad, and organic brown rice (or you can choose grilled potatoes instead). Hot sauce is also an option.
The other dish we had was the Chicken Tawook plate – this comes with all of the same, except there is chicken on skewers with paprika, lemon, thyme, and garlic confit.
I find the Mahmoul that they have for dessert quite addicting. It’s ironic, since the first time that I tried it, it was only because they were out of Baklava. Now, I tend to to get the mahmoul every time instead. It’s basically a pastry covered in a light film of baker’s sugar, filled with a mixture of crushed pistachios (apparently there are three types of fillings for traditional Lebanese mahmoul, and you can tell the type based on the mold in which it is shaped). It’s great because it’s not very sweet, so you could potentially eat a lot of them in one sitting. 😉
Note that the portions here are not oversized, so if you’re a big eater, make sure to also get some dessert (mmm, mahmoul), or order some additional sides or options to go with your main meal. Also, this location is extremely small, so it’s definitely a better takeout option – it’s best to call ahead and just pick up.