A Magic Carpet Ride at Aladdin’s Cafe

Aladdin’s Cafe

It was Friday night.

Amy was hungry and this often leads to a less than appealing personality.

Cakes always has a solution: dinner out! But where? Just try to eat out in Nanaimo at 8pm on a Friday night.

We ended up on Victoria Crescent where the culture is rich but manageable.

Aladdin’s Cafe has the feel of an East Van Hipster Joint; it seems grungy, but it’s not. And it’s packed.

The tables are close and the conversations, closer: public in fact!

“I read this book…” says he.

Lesbian porn (of course!) featuring the ultimate dilemma: which gender reigns? According to the literature and it’s conclusion, “…she decided that she liked her husband best…as if that would happen!” He was disappointed.

Why did my ears have to hear that? And why did he have to publicly devour his date? Thankfully, the darkness and the voices of the room absorbed this book club conversation and display.

The service is quick and cheerful, the sound of the waitress bustling through the restaurant is heard even above the letch in the corner.

Food arrives: warm pita bread and The Three Sopranos – Sundried Tomato Pesto, hummus and tzatsiki. All unctuously dressed with olive oil. We dig in (Amy’s hungry, remember?!) Home made and delicious, each with distinct textures and bold flavours.

After some wine drinking, the main courses arrive! Two huge platters of food come heaving to the table. A little bit of everything. I haven’t seen portions at these prices since Pagliacci days in 1987.

The Vegetarian Platter has falafel, which were crispy and very nutty, fresh tabouleh, garlicky babbagannouj, hummus, stuffed grape leaves, spicy carrots and pita bread to mop it all up.

For the Mixed Grill we chose Kafta Kebeb, a heading mix of beef, pine nuts and spices, and Lamb Kebab. Amy immediately dove into the lamb, flinging a piece ungraciously off the skewer and onto the floor. She could only watch as it skidded under the porn talking couples table–Yikes!

The waitress approached the couple, and apologized for the dirty floor. His response, “I’m going to throw her down there any moment, so the dirtier the better!” As the waitress backed away slowly, the couple intertwined arms to sip their first drinks. (Really…?!)

And, yet, somehow we still managed to eat! The Mixed Grill was loaded up with a lemony delicious rice pilaf, perfect with the famous spicy carrots, some Greek salad, tzatziki and pita to round things off and well, as you can imagine. There were leftovers heading home with us.

The large group next to us had grown quiet as their food arrived, they were all excitedly sharing and offering tastes to one another.


As the wall says, “Everything we make is made with love.”



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