Alice Eats: Ahli Baba's Kabob Shop | Bite Club

Seven Days needs your financial support!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Alice Eats: Ahli Baba's Kabob Shop

Posted By on Tue, Mar 8, 2011 at 12:39 PM

163 Main Street, Burlington, 862-5752

If you're a poor student or just pretending to be one, there's no place quite like Ahli Baba's Kabob Shop. The place started as a food truck outside the University of Vermont — how much more "college" can your food get? And clearly, the folks at Ahli Baba's are hardy souls: The tiny eatery was one of the only places open downtown in last night's snow deluge.

I hadn't eaten at Ahli Baba's for almost a decade — when I was college-student age. Though the interior was unchanged, there were a few new pitas available. I ordered a pair of them, the chicken curry and souvlaki ones, to be exact, and my old standard falafel salad (right).

Ah, Ahli Baba's falafel. How I missed your crunchy whole chickpeas, your earthy cumin and hint of lemon. Last night, the taste was there, but the balls were slightly undercooked. The middle was close to the texture of peanut butter.

A welcome change was the addition of homemade, herbaceous hummus. Its ample tang made up for the brightness that the mild tzatziki lacked. The thick spread made a surprisingly enjoyable dressing for the fresh lettuce, tomato and onion.

I had heard good things about the souvlaki pita (right). The thin slices of lemon-and-garlic-marinated pork were pleasantly juicy and slightly pink. The veggies were crisp and the pita suitably chewy. However, something about the pork tasted bitter, maybe even a little bit burnt. I so wanted to love that sandwich, but that one unpleasant note left me instead at "like."

The chicken-curry pita was a unique creation. Whereas most of the dishes on the menu strive for Mediterranean flavors, this one borrows from Jamaica. That's right, Jamaica. I was expecting a taste of the Indian subcontinent, but the curry's  flavors were much closer to those from the Caribbean.

The mildly sweet curry left a welcome hint of heat at the back of my throat. Peppers and carrots were a nice addition to the flavor. Tzatziki, or, in that case, raita, had a cooling effect, but with the saucier chicken and veggies, it also contributed to a classic Ahli Baba's mess. 

It's all part of a Burlington culinary touchstone. If you live in the Queen City and you've never had tzatziki sauce running down your sleeve, you're doing something wrong. While I'm probably not going to hurry back for another taste immediately, I'm glad to know that Ahli Baba's is there, through rain or snow or dark of night.

Alice Eats is a weekly blog feature devoted to reviewing restaurants where diners can get a meal for two for less than $35. Got a restaurant you'd love to see featured? Send it to



Tags: ,

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

One or more images has been removed from this article. For further information, contact

About The Author

Alice Levitt

Alice Levitt

AAN award-winning food writer Alice Levitt is a fan of the exotic, the excellent and automats. She wrote for Seven Days 2007-2015.

More By This Author

Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3


Comments are closed.

Since 2014, Seven Days has allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we’ve appreciated the suggestions and insights, the time has come to shut them down — at least temporarily.

While we champion free speech, facts are a matter of life and death during the coronavirus pandemic, and right now Seven Days is prioritizing the production of responsible journalism over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor. Or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

Latest in Bite Club

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2022 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401

Advertising Policy  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us  |  About Us  |  Help
Website powered by Foundation