Monday, March 24, 2014

Al Salam Bakery & Restaurant


Al Salam Pita is a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern restaurant recommended to me by a coworker. It looks like a family-owned business with a casual atmosphere. Customers can sit where they like in the spacious dining area, and while there is table service, the bill is settled at the counter near the entrance. On my first visit, I opted for a chicken shawarma platter ($12.99). The portions were huge! A large pile of meat lay atop a bed of moist rice pilaf, complemented by a refreshing salad and generous globs of hummus and garlic dip. The meat reminded me of Chinese roast pork belly, except this was cut into thin marbled slices and the texture was not nearly as moist.


Also included with the platter was a giant puffy piece of pita bread, probably one of the best I've had. Freshly baked and served steaming hot, this pita went well with the meat, hummus, and tart garlic dip.


On my second visit, my coworkers ordered hummus and pita as a starter ($6.25). This was a bit redundant, considering hummus and pita are already included with all platter orders.


A Syrian among us introduced us to kibby ($8), a beef meatball made with bulgar (a grain) and spices. The texture was very interesting with a rigid shell and loose bits of savoury minced meat inside. I think the dish is worth trying as a cultural experience, but I probably wouldn't order these meatballs again at almost $3 apiece.


For those who are not interested in shawarma, there are also chicken or beef kabob platters ($14.99). I have tried both, and found the beef to be much more tender and juicy. All of these meat options are available as pita wraps ranging in cost from $6.99 to $8.25. Not bad for a quick and cheap meal.


Adjacent to the restaurant is a small grocery section that sells Middle Eastern products. I once picked up some baklava for dessert, but I think the baklava from Byblos Bakery in Calgary (available in Safeway) is much better.


I am most impressed with the value of the platters and wraps. The portions are very generous, and I have never managed to finish one of these platters by myself. And let's not forget the delicious giant pita. Definitely a place that's worth checking out.

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