SABABA PITA BAR
8, Alley 54, Ln 118, Heping E Rd, Sec 2
hours: 11 AM to 9 PM
Kid friendliness: no high chairs and small seating area - so tough for strollers, though finger foods quite kid friendly. Recommend calling ahead and getting food-to-go if you have lots of kids or baby.
Visit reviewed: 6/6/2007
The hummus here will make you hum about Sababa to all your friends afterwards. And if you've never had hummus before, you should give it try and have one of their sandwiches as well. After having it a few weeks ago, I had been thinking about the food ever since. It's simple and light and easy on the wallet- yet there are complex and hearty flavors in the food. They have pita sandwiches (NT$98) and plates (NT$158) with combo option of adding fries and a drink (add NT$50).
So last night, I got some more Sababa food to go and I have to say it traveled better than I thought it would back to my dining table.
The first time, I made the mistake of just ordering a hummus combo plate, the plata sababa (NT$158), as my lunch. Hummus is a creamy blend of chickpeas and sesame tahini with lemon and garlicky flavors to keep everything interesting, and plated with the roasted eggplant gives it a slightly sweet partner to dip your pita bread in.
While it was sizeable- it was more like an appetizer with a plate full of hummus, roasted eggplant and sliced pita to dip it in. I had to ask my friends to try it out so that I didn't feel forced to finish it- all hummus and pita and no meat was starting to feel a bit heavy and I was eyeing my friend's combo pita sandwich.
This time, I was smart, I ordered a Chicken Soulvaki Pita (NT$98) as my protein and the plata sababa to share, as well as some Moroccan cigars (NT$88 for 2) on the side. Everything came in paper bag (smartly imprinted with Sababa's info and a map) so the cigars stayed crispy and didn't get soggy like some fried foods to-go do. My chicken pita was stuffed full of large diced chicken breast pieces with some tomato slices and filled with green homemade yogurt sauce which made the sandwich moist without being too greasy (like mayo). The pita was soft and fresh- and they even stuff the part they cut off into your sandwich- which I promptly used to dip into the hummus.
The Moroccan Cigars were like I remembered the first time- a bit spicy with ground beef and pine nuts, wrapped in long cigar-like egg roll skin, deep fried and crispy.
It's usually made with phyllo dough, but the egg roll skin gives it a unique fusion twist which is perfect to cater to the Taiwanese tastes without taking away from its original flavor. My vegetarian friend had the Egyptian Cigars (NT$88 for 2), which were made from spinach and herbed cheddar- but must warn you, it's quite spicy! Much spicier than the beef and without warning on the menu. I also didn't spot any spinach in my bite, but he liked it. I think I also like it because it reminds me of taquitos and while it's quite different, it's similar enough to make me happy.
It's not easy to find since it's located off in the alley off a lane off a street, but check out their map on the website and look for the red sign hanging outside their little shop. They also don't have any sweets/desserts, so if you are still hungry afterwards, you can get a smoothie or drink next door, especially on a hot day. (I got the guava/grapefruit juice and it was very refreshing and surprisingly good combo).
The English menu is written on the chalkboard behind the counter, as well as menus with both English and Chinese floating around the front. You order at the bar as well as pick up your own food when your number is called and I recommend getting there a little before noon to beat the lunch college crowd to get a seat.
We lucked out by doing just that and getting a table in the back before it quickly filled up. There's probably no more than 18 seats or so as well as seating at the pita bar, and it feels sort of like fast food joint with all the tiled tables, but a wee bit nicer. They also make everything to order, so if you get there before the rush, you don't have to wait extra long to eat! If you are getting food to go, I recommend calling ahead so you don't have to wait. Also, to-go orders are buy 5 get 1 free, so try something different next time for your office lunch or order food to go and let the kids try something different.
There's also quite a few options for vegetarians that are filling and satisfying for even non-vegetarians. Besides the plata sababa and Egyptian cigars, there's also an Eggplant or Falafel pita sandwiches as options, or the Labneh Eggplant Salat, which had a lot of homemade yogurt cheese - which is more an appetizer plate rather than a lunch or dinner plate as we discovered.
Opened by the same people who brought Citizen Cain to Taipei, Sababa has quickly gained many loyal customers. I heard a lot about it on the various Taiwan forums before getting a chance to visit and now they have opened another location, as well as offer franchising opportunities- so you might see more and more Sababa's around town.
Our dinner to go was NT$530 (US$16) for 2 sandwiches, 4 cigars and 1 plata sababa and very satisfying- can't beat that price at most of the western/foreign eateries in town! Even in LA, 2 pita sandwiches, hummus and sides would be about the same, maybe even more.
Gong Guan branch
17, Lane 283, LuoSiFu (Roosevelt) Rd, Sec 3, 1F
Hours: 11:30 am-9:30 pm
Yong Kang branch
No. 3, Lane 12, Yong Kang St
Phone: (02) 2327 9159
Fax: (02) 2327 9159
Breeze Center at
Taipei Main Station
(02)6632-8999 # 2557
Monday - Friday 11am ~ 9:30pm
Saturday - Sunday 11am ~ 10pm
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