Nuba is located in the basement of the Dominion building on West Hastings and Cambie Street. This recently renovated space features authentic Lebanese cuisine.
Nuba is one of the stranger restaurants I've been to for sure. Let me start off saying, the food is good - very good. We ordered a couple of the vegetarian appetizers (over half the menu seems aimed at vegans and vegetarians) and each dish has a distinct taste and was well prepared. My problem with Nuba is the service. We went as a party of 4 at around 5 o'clock on a Thursday. The restaurant wasn't very busy at all, but still we waited for a long time for a table and it took even longer for a server to come to our table. The server was helpful enough, she seemed a little confused any time we asked her about a dish. Either she was new or didnt know the menu very well.
That was all excusable in my eyes, the real problem came when the food was being served. We only ordered 6 appetizers to share instead of everyone getting a seperate plate (as adviser by the waitress). Each dish was brought out at 15 minute intervals. Keep in mind the appetizers are fairly small and we had as table for 4. It felt a little awkward at diner since we spent more time with empty plates in front of us than plates with food. We even asked if it was possible to bring the rest of the dishes together after the first two, but we were told the kitchen was a little backed up. About half the tables were empty.
So overall I'm a little confused by this place. The food is good, but the serving size is small and the kitchen apparently can't handle many people (every review on Nuba seems to complain about this). I might go there again to try it out again, but it was such an uncomfortable experience I might have to go with only one very close friend.
Oh and final note, the restaurant itself is very trendy so be prepared to be surrounded by college students - I think "hipsters" would be the right way to describe them.
Went for a quick meal before the hockey game. Had the Lamp chops, Chicken skewers and Najib's. It all came out quickly and food was excellent. The restaurant was not too busy when we got there but just as we were leaving it was busy. Great find and good food. Lots of choices and if you don't want to eat a big meal then this is good place. I will be back
Food: everything we had was fantastic. The notables were the lamb chops, chicken tawook and the falafel. Lamp chops were tender but flavorful, chicken was juicy and spiced perfectly and the falafel were seasoned perfectly and not greasy at all. Other dishes such as hummus, taboulleh and najib's special were also very good but not as good as the notables. They also had the best sangria I've ever had. Yum!
Service: there was a mix-up with the reservations - we called in, asked for a time and day and they called back to confirm. They called back again to tell us that they had made reservations for us on the wrong day and were actually fully booked and the only way to get a table was to walk in. Although that was irritating, I walked in at about the time we were asking for and the immediate reaction of the hostess was to tell me the restaurant was fully booked and I explained what happened and a table suddenly opened. I was seated within several minutes and the service for the rest of the night was wonderful.
Value: My compadre and I were full with drinks for a grand total of $55 so it was a great value.
Ambiance: Minimalist but chic. Great place for drinks and food with friends or with a date.
Overall, I would return, especially since they have a very large vegan selection as well as meat options for the carnivores. Great food, service and ambiance - why wouldn't I come back? Bon appetite!
Went here on a weekday and surprised how busy it was. Nice place but a bit dark as it's in the basement. There are some windows on one side of the restaurant but all you see are mostly legs walking by. Very nicely decorated with a few tables quite close together along the walls. Went and tried the platter for 2 as you get a sample of many of their dishes. A platter of dips including hummus, an egg plant dip, and chopped parsley salad came with pita. Very nice dips and a good way to start, but can be quite filling. Then came the 3 meat platter which had chicken - not very flavourful, lamb - very good, and prawns - very good. A side dish of veggies came as well including fried cauliflower - excellent, roasted pototoes- OK, and a salad - OK. Overall the food was very good. Total price at $45 which is a pretty good value. Service was good but an explanation of dishes would of helped. Would return.
Started coming here for a month now. I can't believe that I haven't discover this place earlier. I always walk by here and never noticed this place b/c it's small and could easily be missed.
I've tried their soups and my most favorite one is veggie tomato soup w/ coconut. MmMMmm the best soup I've ever had! Their mushroom soup was not bad. Their eggplant soup was ok. I also tried their popular Najib's Special Pita and it was too vinegary for me.
I will be back to try other things.
Ordered the Lamb Kafta with brown rice & hot sauce, and the red lentil soup. The meal arrived with about 30 grams of cold rice, the absolute worst salad my taste buds have ever had the misfortune of tasting, a slab of meat roughly the size of my index finger, and a single drop (literally!) of hot sauce. The soup was only mildly different from a warm cup of water. The two olives in the salad were the highlight of the meal. Not quite worth the associated ~$20 price tag.
Been here twice. Prior to that, I always walked by the restaurant and thought it looked weird and sketchy. I was very very wrong.
I love this place. Both my visits were very pleasant. Nuba was my first Lebanese food experience. When I came in, I was greeted right away with a smiling face. I was kind of shocked when I first saw the interior, I really love it. It looked so big, clean, modern, and welcoming- super charming. Love the dim lighting too. The servers were very friendly and helpful and explained some of the menu items to us before we ordered.
My first time I had the chicken tawook, which was a dish with salad, rice, hummus, pita, and a chicken leg. It was really delicious, the salad was not your generic salad. They had a slightly sour/tangy dressing, the hummus was just super yummy, and the chicken was well spiced and very juicy. My friend had the sirloin kebabs, which were not so great. They tasted and smelled a little burnt even though the meat wasn't burnt.. if you get what I'm saying. Oh, and they have cucumber water!
The second time, the server was even more helpful and very chatty. She told us the daily specials and we ordered both of them. We had scallops with the roasted vegetables. And the shared dish with prawns and pita. Everything was amazing, especially the scallops. It wasn't overcooked like a lot of places do, it did not smell fishy, it was slightly spiced and just delicious. The vegetables were blackened and a little salted, made the cauliflower really good (even for my vegetable hating friends). Shrimp were good too!
Everything was yummy, except for the sirloin kebabs. And everything was healthy too, there isn't a huge massive portion of grains or too much meat. Everything we ordered was reasonably priced too. They had a long list of wines (not a fan) and a few house special cocktails that I will be sure to try on my next visit.
Whats so great about this signture dish Najib's special -- deep fried cauliflower with some lemon and salt?
I was expecting a lot more, maybe a dip with cilantro smoked, lime, hummus !!
Some of their other dishes are pretty good though, just not this "Signature Dish"
Wraps are pretty plain, go for something else
The food here is good. We've only had lunch here twice and our favourites were Najib's Special, Lambe Kafta, Lamb Kibbeh and Chicken Tawook. The juices have interesting combinations, taste is fresh and really enjoyable.
If only the service could live up to the food. Basically, it feels like they are doing me a favour by allowing me to eat here. Super inconvenient if you are booking for a party of 8. Here are my reasons for never returning to Nuba:
First, no one answers the telephone when you call to make reservations. You are forced to leave a message. No one calls you back. I had to make 2 follow up calls to confirm my reservation.
Second, they want you to pre-order your meals. The reason, they said, is because your meals may not come out at the time and because lunch hour is busy. What kind of restaurant cannot handle serving a table of eight? It is a restaurant that is open for lunch and has operated for many years. One would think that they would already have worked out a system for handling customers during lunch or dinner!! We had done the pre-order last time we were here and it was super inconvenient trying to contact all my friends to select their menu items and the restaurant still managed to mess up our order. So, this time we decided against pre-ordering and asked if we could order when we arrive. The person taking the reservation was clearly annoyed with me and was rude on the phone.
Third, One of my friends called to cancel at the last minute after we were seated and so there were only 7 of us in total. We informed the server and she immediately asked us to move to another table because this table is intended for parties of 8 or more. We said "sure, no problem" but she then added a snarky comment, "of course, otherwise you would be obtuse". Hello? Not only was it totally unnecessary and rude but she clearly did not know what that word meant AND used a word completely out of context. We were polite and cooperative when asked to move. The server continued to act superior and was very rude by correcting our pronunciation when we proceeded to order from the menu!!!
Fourth, if you are paying by credit card, they insist that you settle the entire table with just one bill, i.e. pay entire bill with one credit card. Again, very inconvenient but it is obvious that customer service is low on their priority list AND they main reason is because they want to avoid paying the merchant fees for processing credit card transactions!
Fifth, they never did fill up the restaurant during the entire lunch hour so all that drama about moving tables and not pre-ordering was for nothing!
Sixth, on top of all that rudeness, bad attitude and mediocre service, they would've automatically charged us 18% gratuity if we had remained a party of 8. Thank goodness my friend cancelled and in this way we managed to scale back the tip. Honestly, she did not deserve a dime but we still left a small amount.
I had a very disappointing experience at Nuba on Cambie and Hastings and will not go back there or recommend it to anyone.
My partner called to book a place for three people and right away they told us we can only have the table for two hours and if we are not there within 15 minutes of our booking time they will give the table away. Talk about being so full of themselves. They rather kick people out in two hours considering how slow their service is to make more profit than letting people enjoy their time in a relaxed atmosphere.My partner had to negotiate with them to get the table for three hours. We had a friend visiting from Toronto and wished to take him to Nuba for a great experience.
My partner and I arrived right on the dot and our friend arrived a few minutes later. Our experience with the waiter was terrible. He was extremely unfriendly and seemed like he was really annoyed by our presence, we weren't sure it was because all three of us had a darker skin and didn't look like we were going to give a generous tip or this guy was generally a miserable person. We had to ask him twice to lower the AC. To our surprise he was very friendly and attentive to other tables, so his misery was directed toward us only.
He clearly wanted to get rid of us as soon as possible. When I asked for dessert Menu he brought it to the table just so he get it over and done with. We decided to order dessert. When I asked him if the two Lebanese teas on the menu were the same, he answered no as if he is talking to an idiot. This guy didn't even know who we were and what we do for living, he just assumed the skin tone means not worth spending time with. After he brought us the bill, he made sure by staring at the table he will make us so uncomfortable so that we would leave.
Regretfully we left him a generous tip not including the $120 we spend on dinner, drinks and dessert and walked out. But I must say I had never felt so unwelcome in a restaurant like this and I dine out quite a bit...So Nuba will not even be the last place I would consider going back to...
I like this place - I've tried their chicken dish (I don't know what they call it, its a marinated grilled thigh if I remember correctly) and lamb kofta, as well as their vegetarian lentil dish
The food is nice
You may have guessed that its not "authentic" but its a nice healthier twist on that kind of food
You will enjoy everything on your plate and you will almost definitely clean it - servings are well balanced but don't expect a doggy bag. You will be pleasantly full though.
My 3 star all around rating is mostly due to the fact that theres nothing OUTSTANDING about this place- its just very good. I recommend it.
This is a middle eastern place with lots of vegetarian options, probably the best low-cost lunch place downtown. I have ordered almost everything on the menu and I haven't had a bad meal there. I especially love the lamb wrap and the green lentil wrap. My only issue is the place is small so seating can be limited, plus when they get busy the line can be quite long and they can get slow with delivering the food, even for take-out.
I recently increased my party of 7 up to 8 at which point I discovered that I had hit a threshold at which 2 things occur: 1) There is an imposed 18% gratuity. OK fine. and 2) If we want to pay with any type of CARD then only ONE card can be used for the entire table. This is pretzel logic, the basis for which is that it will take the server too long to use the card terminal with 8 individual guests, but guess what? How often will 8 singles be at table? If there is only ONE couple then the number of transactions is still 7, a number at which you do not impose this rule. I have lunch at a restaurant every Friday and guess what? The owner has 3 debit/credit machines going full out on a high speed line (if you are on dial up Nuba then get with the 21st century technology). We are strongly advised to choose the set menu as it will "be easier for the kitchen" otherwise all of our meals may not arrive at the same time. WHAT kind of kitchen cannot put out 8 dishes simultaneously? Ok so we actually LIKE the set menu idea (most of us had been before and wanted to try something different). When our "Protein" arrives we are all treated like 9 year olds and asked if we remembered what protein we had ordered. WHAT? Trying to get a drink at Nuba is harder than trying to do so in Dubai during Ramadan. If our waitress is busy (forgot one order) and I go to the Bartender and ask for some drinks then all she has to do is make them and send them over, but instead she says she'll send over our waitress who is clearly too busy to take an order, or in one case, remember it. And finally, when we order desert we are told that we are expected to be gone in 15 minutes because they need the table. WHAT? Nobody mentioned this when I booked. I like to languish over Baclava (miniscule) and Port (only one kind) - so we all took our time and when finally out of there half an hour later, there was nobody waiting for our tables. Take aways from this experience Nuba? Don't impose rules that make no sense, upgrade your technology if you are using a dial up service for your card machines, don't treat your guests like children, improve the service, get the Bartender to be attentive to drink requests - that is her job.
There was not one clunker of all the food our party of four ordered, though the pita bread that came with it could have been fresher. The babaganoush was pleasantly smoky, the cheese dish quite good, the fish perfectly cooked, and my friends were happy with their meat and potatoes and veggie kebabs. My only complaint is that the acoustics and the table arrangement aren't great for a relaxing evening. It's a loud place, and we were pretty crowded together. It's a good atmosphere if you're in a festive mood, and I think very good if you're young, which I'm not. I think you'll like it here.
I have been exposed to Middle Eastern food the last few years so was excited about going to Nuba. We were told the owner is Lebanese and when asked about the chef, the waitress only said he had cooked in a something star (can’t remember if 4 or 5) restaurant in Mexico….. She didn’t elaborate to say his specialty was Middle Eastern or Lebanese….OhhhhKaay… Let the food speak for itself. We ordered lamb kibbeh, beef tenderloin, catch of the day, with sides of roasted potatoes and taboulleh. It was hit and mostly a miss for me. The lamb kibbeh had good flavour. Nothing special about the catch of the day though, which was more reminiscent of a fish prepared as west coast cuisine. The tenderloin was done to my liking (med-rare), had a nice slightly sweet glaze to it and the caramelized onions were tasty. But is this Lebanese ‘cause it sure tasted like a regular steak. The tahini rice was not fully cooked through and was very thick and dense. I think I was expecting more of a pilaf not a failed risotto. The potatoes seasoned with thyme were too dry and boring. I know cinnamon is a widely used spice in the cuisine but neither of us appreciated it in the taboulleh. I didn’t mind the ambiance. I know it’s a popular place to hang out with it’s warm dim lighting but there was something about the layout that felt cold.
I had heard mixed reviews about Nuba, but was looking forward to trying it out. I went with a group of 4 other people and we decided to start out by getting a few appies (mezze) to share. We chose a few cold plates - the baba ghanooj, hummus, labneh (fresh-pressed yogurt with spices & olive oil) as well as a hot mezze - sautéed eggplant with Lebanese ratatouille (my favourite!). Unfortunately one dish was forgotten by our server so we did not have a chance to try the mjadra (green lentils & rice with onions & jalepenos). We also started with organic apple sangria - I think everyone really enjoyed it. The apple flavour was spiced and very intense - almost like fresh pressed apples. Wonderful!
For the entrée, I chose the lamb chops with taboulleh & hummus and for my side, I chose the roasted potatoes. I thought everything was quite delicious and very well-seasoned. The lamb was cooked exactly as ordered (med rare) and was exceptionally tender. Other entrées at the table were the rainbow trout (last-minute substitution was perch) served with salad and sides of taboulleh and creamy tahini rice (not my favourite). Others in our group shared a few more appies in lieu of an entrée and said that the falafel and the chicken tawook were not only quite filling, but very good.
Even though we were all quite full, we thought the experience would not be complete without at least tasting a few Lebanese desserts. Between us, we tried the baklava, the pistachio cookies (yummy!), the tiramisu and a cardamom custard served brulée style. I don't think anyone liked the custard, as the execution in the brulée caused the custard to become somewhat runny and warmed up the spices in the custard - I found the flavour quite overpowering for a dessert. The star of the evening was the tiramisu made with Turkish coffee. The flavour was incredible. I would go back for this alone, but I thought the entire meal was very good and I would love to back and try a few more dishes.
There are quite a few vegan/vegetarian dishes available and everything is very fresh and well prepared. The ambiance is really nice and we all enjoyed our evening at Nuba.
Nuba is literally a hole in the wall, and if you're not looking for it it's easy to miss. Which would be a shame, because the food is excellent. The garden falafel is one of the best (if not the best) falafel in town, and the low price ($5) makes it taste even better!
Nuba is small, with seating for only a dozen or so people. It can get busy at lunch time with a long wait for food as there are only two guys running the place. We have found that it is much quieter around 1:30. And the good news is that Nuba is now open on Saturdays.
Went into Nuba's new location at Hastings and Cambie last night and it was FANSTASTIC.
Rather than having entrees we sampled what I think was every appetizer on the menu. All tasted fresh and delicious. All choices were light and seasoned very nicely. It's nice to feel full but not feel bloated, or loaded down with grease. One positive for many is that several of the dishes were Veggie/Vegan. I would not hestitate to order anything again.
Looking at the entrees I think things would be great and are a very good value (beef tenderloin under $20 etc.)
Innovative drinks that were very good. Could maybe have a couple more choices.
Service was good.
Having been to the mouse and the bean (old restaurant at this location) previously the difference in the room is remarkable. It is very nicely put together, clean functional and well lit. It will be a fantastic nightspot once it get to be a little more known as such.
Will go back soon!
I used to go to Nuba quite frequently for lunch when I attended a school nearby. Everytime I go there, I would order their falafel plates, it's awesome, fresh and full of flavor. I'm not sure if most of you guys know, but most of the ingredients they use are organic. Make sure you don't go there during lunch cause it can be quite packed, as the place isn't really that big.
Give it a try. You will like it.
Was curious to see what had been done with the place, it's a difficult location but has promise.
Taking part of the wall on the stairway out and replacing it with glass floods the room with light it was a brilliant move and the other decorations add even more all they need to do now is tile the floor.($$$$$)
Anyway the service was fine and the food better I had a quick bowl of Soup that had some spice I'd never tasted before-quite intriguing, and the Tabbouleh Salad was outstanding.
If you're wondering what this place is like rest assured that the quality that was a hallmark of the old shoebox is still paramount and as mentioned the new space a winner!