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This restaurant is permanently closed.
3
  • Food3.5
  • Service2.5
  • Value3
  • Ambiance1.5
  • Reviews28

Babylon Cafe

716 Robson Street
Vancouver, BC V6Z1A1
Tel: (604) 677-3522
Neighbourhood: Downtown

Reviews

Displaying 1 - 20 of 28 Reviews FoundSort: Useful | Helpful | Reviews | Date
Yummy falafel
By epicurious of Burnaby, BC (507 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, January 28, 2008 - 1:44pm [Dine in]

Everytime I walk by this place, there is always a line-up.
I was finally able to try it last week, and bonus for me - no lineup! I originally wanted to try their chicken schwarma wrap, but at the last minute, changed my order to falafel wrap. The owner said it was a wise choice, mentioning, "You can eat falafel every day, but not chicken. Chicken is too much sometimes."
He proceeded to grab a few balls and stuck them in the micro. He then loaded up my pita with homous, veggies and sauce and squished the falafel balls in.
I was on my way. At first, I expected the falafel to be dry from the microwaving, but my wrap couldn't be more delicious! I'm craving it as I write this review.
It's a great meal and pick-me-up before a day of downtown, not to mention how cheap it is. My falafel wrap was under $5.

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Not the ambiance but oh mon the food!
By sgtoca of Kitsilano, Vancouver (103 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, July 27, 2007 - 1:37pm [Dine in]

I have eaten here three time in the last 2 weeks. The chicken schwarma (sp?) is amazing, huge portions with all that salad, rice and potatoes and abundant chicken with tzaziki and hot sauce, it is the best,I love this stuff and wondered why I've never ventured in before until recently. Don't be daunted by the line up, it is SO worth it!

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In love with their falafel wraps.
By teddyandturtle of Vancouver - Kingsway (84 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, January 3, 2010 - 4:37am [Dine in]

I remember eating here for the first time maybe about 2 years back. Started having the veggie wrap, then to the falafel wrap. Incredibly yummy but without all the pickles. It really takes away the taste of the entire wrap.

Unfortunately, they always have these lineups it seems and at this location they don't have any seating. The service is a little slow sometimes but understandable. It's tiny and the menu is definitely limited.

Super filling. Super yummy.

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What happened to the veggies?
By Balmy of Burnaby (52 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, May 2, 2009 - 5:23pm [Dine in]

I go to this location quite often for the chicken shawarma. It is by far one of the best. Really juicy chicken with the sauces and veggies taste amazing. Haven't tried the lamb as chicken seems to be the most popular. They don't carry beef though, which is too bad. It's crossed off on their sign with one long piece of tape.

There is always a line up and there's not space for dine in. You order, pay, get food and leave. Very crowded. They take a number of orders and it becomes an assembly line. I noticed that they aren't consistent with the veggies. I ordered a chicken shawarma with grilled veggies, but there was barely any of the veggies for the extra money I paid. However, they are really good the chicken portion. On other occassions, they weren't putting much lettuce or tomatoes. But for those willing to ask for more, they are willing to add the extra requested veggies (e.g. more lettuce plz).

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Excellent quick bite
By kwailan of Coquitlam (75 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, August 26, 2006 - 6:40pm [Dine in]

I was reluctant to share this restaurant here as there is always a queue for food. However, I learned today that they have opened another outlet 2 doors away. Now, I have no qualms about reviewing this place here.

On certain days, you can smell the grilling chicken as far away as Seymour, almost 2 blocks away. This is a no-nonsense place. You order your food, pay, and walk out to eat. The place is so small that there is no room to stand and eat inside.

Frankly, the chicken shawarma (???) is the only thing I have tried here, and it is excellent. Most places will cut the meat and put them in a food warmer (where the meat starts to dry up) waiting for customers, but not this place. Even if there is a queue, they will not cut the meat off the grill until the meat is perfectly cooked (read: slightly burnt). The meat is always juicy and crunchy (the burnt part), the way I like it.

Service: Always friendly and efficient.

Ambiance: When the food is this good, who cares about the ambiance?

Return? Most definitely.

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Come for the Food, not the Decor...
By sinner of North Vancouver (71 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, March 27, 2008 - 10:29pm [Dine in]

The long line ups are usually a good sign... Good food at good prices mean people are willing to waste their time in a lineup... These guys are masters at Shawarmas. As other have mentioned, come here for a takeout since the place is usually too small to accomodate sit-down diners... it's really crowded... The chicken and lamb shawarmas are a thing of beauty. The owner even puts an aluminum foil on the chicken/lamb to keep the heat concentrated on the surface of the shawarma... that's a man on a mission... Spices are amazing... Every time I come back I become more addicted to their cuisine.

If you come from Halifax or Ottawa, you'll appreciate Babylon cafe... It's hard to explain, but for those of you from those cities will understand what a good shawarma represents for the true fast food foodie...

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Decent Fast Food
By DawnTart of Burnaby (46 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, January 31, 2008 - 11:20pm [Dine in]

Have seen the very long line ups for quite some time now.

Went finally a few months ago and had the Chicken Schwarma with the grilled veges.

Went back again last Saturday with fiance and again had the same thing. Still very tasty. Enough filling and seasoning. Only complaint was that the amount of chicken is not always evenly distributed between orders. Chicken was a little bit dry at the ends but it tasted really good. Definitely satisfying and the price is right. Will go again but next time will have to try the lamb.

There are actually two Babylon Cafes and they are almost side by side. One offers beef and chicken schwarmas and the other offers the same items but as platters. You get value for your dollars and it tastes good.

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Gone Baby-lon
By diningdandy of downtown vancouver (56 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, December 20, 2007 - 1:11am [Dine in]

This place has the best chicken as far as lebanese meat on a rotating stick goes. The sides are great and you get large portions for about 6 something a plate. They have alot of vegetarian options as well. The place is tiny and not pretty to look at but there is always a constant stream of people which is a good sign because it means the rotating meat doesnt stick around long enough to get old. I would suggest getting your food to go since the seating isn't comfy at all. The service doesnt come with a smile but they get the job done. The one thing that blew my mind is they didnt have any shwarmas just plates of food hence the name gone baby-lon (gone baby gone) Because the whole time i was wondering where are the shwarmas? Overall a must try if your in the area.

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Lowering the standards
By cariba of Vancouver+ (23 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, April 5, 2009 - 4:11pm [Dine in]

This place is good and I come here often. The line ups are usually long too so that tells you something. Nonetheless they have clearly skimmed their veggies though and the wrap seems to be getting smaller and smaller with time. I guess with that many customers it doesn't really matter to them. I found 2 other spots that serves a bigger portion and much more sauce on Granville. I will still frequent babylon but if they skim any more or burn anymore of that chicken i might have to permanently switch places. .

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Best shawarma outside of Eastern Canada!
By bobofrodo of Downtown, Vancouver (18 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, February 16, 2008 - 11:21am [Dine in]

Being new to the area, I have had a hard time trying to find shawarma that comes close to what I am used to in Ontario. Babylon is THE closest to the real thing.

The serving sizes are good, and the chicken is damn tasty.

Though a couple of things to watch out for:

-the folks putting your order together seem to get things wrong fairly often...there doesn't seem to be an organized ordering method other than word of mouth, so if the person at the cash doesn't make your food, watch closely as they tend to mess it up

-only go at peak times. If you go during lunch time on a weekday, you will get far better quality, freshness and portion sizes than off peak times...I have experienced this firsthand on several occasions

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Great Wraps
By The_Mad_Catter of Vancouver (7 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, February 27, 2011 - 6:49pm [Take-out]

This place is pretty much a staple on the Robson & Granville corner. The chicken shawarma is great and they are fairly generous with the meat portions. They have a nice selection of different veggies and pickles and nice flavourful sauces to finish it off. The wraps are a little under $7 and are pretty worth it considering it's the same price as a McDonalds combo, but more wholesome and "real" tasting. The line-ups can be long. If there are 5 people ahead of you, you can expect to wait 10 to 15 minutes. And the place is very small. Just enough space for a single file line to the register, so when you get your wrap and pay, it can get awkward shuffling your way out of the store. The wait is probably the biggest downside, but there are times when no one is in line. The workers are generally friendly enough to you. I don't expect much from a take out stand, and they haven't really been that rude to me. I just take it that they're busy and that it's nothing personal.

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No Flavour
By Trynity of Vancouver (3 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, August 20, 2009 - 8:18pm [Dine in]

I love Chicken Shawarmas and when I saw the lineup in front of this place, I thought I'd give it a try. It was not very good, no flavour and dry chicken. I should have gone back to my favourite place and not tried anywhere new. The other thing I noticed was that the people making the sandwiches were a bit rude and disrespectful to the customers. The value is decent but I will not be back.

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Best shawarma in town!
By LuvSuga of Commercial, Vancouver (5 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, December 4, 2008 - 10:21pm [Dine in]

I love this place! As far as I have tried, these guys have the best shawarma in town! The price is good, preparation is quick, they use fresh ingredients and don't water down their sauces. The people that work there are also great.

I just wish they had a bigger spot, lineups cross into the sidewalk and getting in and around the display to choose topping and pay can be a bit of a challenge. But grab a wrap and head to the VAG steps to eat and it's totally worth it!

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Rudeness and disrespect leads to loss of regular customer
By NazK of Vancouver (1 Review)
Submitted Friday, August 29, 2008 - 4:21am [Dine in]

I liked the other cafe that was opened a few doors from the Babylon Cafe, I believe it was operated by another family member. In any case, the last time I went to Babylon Cafe I was turned off by the staff member's reaction to my inquiry if the meat was halal. They were rude, defensive and disrespectful. They said right off the back that if I wasn't comfortable eating there that I shouldn't. I stated to the staff members that I meant no disrespect and I just wanted clarification if the meat was halal. They also accused me of asking this question before (an accusation that I think it silly). The reason I had asked this time was because I was accompanied by a person that eats strictly halal meat and she did not see any certificate or verification of halal meat being provided by the cafe. If they had such a notice up, no one would need to ask the question to verify. When I brought that idea to their attention they became very defensive and said that they were not Muslim (although many non-muslims restaurants/diners etc. that carry halal meat put up the certification out of respect and consideration to the patrons).

I was just really surprised by the way they handled my query. I always enjoyed talking to the other owner of the other store that was a few doors down. I never thought that Babylon Cafe's owners would be so rude over such a simple matter. I was disappointed overall.

To think, they could have simply avoided the loss of a customer by just stating "yes, it is halal, we are provided our meat from "x" place"

Silly really.

P.S. The chicken shwarma was unfortunately not as good as the other location's shwarma's wrap, the meat was stale and the veggies were tasteless.

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What more could you ask for?
By missmim of victoria (5 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, April 28, 2007 - 11:22am [Dine in]

I have lots of shawarma experience, having lived in Ottawa, the shawarma capital of Canada, and this place offers the best chicken shawarma I have ever tried. The chicken is cooked to perfection, the outside is crunchy and spicy and the inside is juicy and succulent. I never liked beets before but they really enhance the shawarma, and the garlic sauce is amazing. The price is great and the food is unbeatable which is why there if often a huuuge line out the door. The place is tiny so you can't eat in there. Perfect for a nice meal on the go or sitting outside somewhere. Now I live in Victoria where there is not one shawarma spot. When I go to Vancouver, this is the first place I visit! My mouth is watering...

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Excellent Price, Awesome Food
By richrock of Richmond (8 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, October 8, 2006 - 8:11pm [Dine in]

This is the place to stop when in the Robson area for a quick bite. They have awesome kebabs (lamb, chicken, beef) and make it the way you want, asking you what veggies you want to add. Excellent place, highly recommended!

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good chicken shawarma
By gap87 of Vancouver (14 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, June 29, 2009 - 1:44am [Dine in]

Everytime i've pass by this little store on robson street, i always love the smell the roasting meat slowing roasting. Therefore, i finally decided to give it a try. I ordered the chicken shawarma and it was very tasty. At first i thought the chicken would be super dry, because of the slow roasting but it turned out very juicy and moist. Infact i liked it so much that i went back two weeks later for anothe chicken shawarma. Next time, i would like to try the falafel wrap!

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Love the Shawarma
By discerning_palate of vancouver (36 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, January 29, 2008 - 10:27am [Dine in]

OK, I guess it’s not fair to penalize a place for being too good. I resisted putting on a review in for quite some time but this place really satisfies. I don’t get there as often as I would like but I love the chicken shawarma. The combination of taste and texture just keeps you eating and eating and eating....Yes it's busy but the taste and value are outstanding.

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Now Closed
By DineOre of South Granville, Vancouver (2 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, September 7, 2011 - 12:16pm [Dine in]

Babylon Cafe has terrific food. But this one is closed due to the demolition of the building.

Try one of their other 2 locations in the West End when you're hankering for a falafel or a shwarma (or do as I do, and get the shwarma with falafel). You won't regret it.

Happy dining.

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HOLE IN THE WALL.. but fast, quick and tasty!
By purpleshiraz of Vancouver (9 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, April 8, 2010 - 12:11pm [Dine in]

Always a favorite of mine when I need a quick fix. Always tasty and always cheap. Saves me time from having to sit down and order lunch. Never had a bad wrap here and it's pretty filling for 6$

Usually have the Chicken Shawarma and always lined up. IF you need a quick wrap style lunch this is the place.

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