Just a stone’s through away from Concordia’s downtown campus is Al-Taib, a Lebanese bakery and delicatessen.
Located at 2125 Guy street, this restaurant is an old favorite of Concordians. It does not matter what time of day it is, it’s always a full house at Al-Taib. ‘Rush hour’ can extend from anywhere from three in the afternoon till past midnight.
Open till the wee hours of the morn’, Al-Taib is especially popular with the late night crowds that head there for a slice of pizza or warm thyme bread once the bars and clubs have closed.
The food is always fresh and reasonably priced. Two can easily dine for under ten dollars.
Al-Taib also specialize’s in salads. There is a self-serve bar with a dozen or so different choices; taboule, cole-slaw, mixed bean salad, fresh tomato, cucumber and artichoke heart salad and many more varieties to tempt your taste buds. Their taboule is the best I’ve ever had with the perfect blend of parsley, couscous and tomato. Their salads are never soggy, nor are they too heavy on the mayonnaise.
Many places seem to believe that salads need to be loaded up on mayo to have any flavor. At Al-Taib they flavor their dishes with lemon juice, fresh herbs, garlic and oil and vinegar.
There is also a hot buffet, which features traditional Lebanese dishes such as a vegetarian tomato based stew, fried chicken, shish taouk, fried zucchini and cauliflower and garlic potatoes, which they are famous for.
In the baked section there are various kinds of flatbreads, pizzas, spinach and cheese baked inside a sesame dough, baklavas and pistachio cookies. Their thyme breads are one of the main attractions. They are baked fresh throughout the day and are always soft and chewy. They come with your choice of toppings such as fresh sprigs of mint, chopped onion and tomato as well as pickled turnips.
The service is fast paced. If you don’t know what you want, don’t get in the ordering line, for dawdling is not looked upon kindly.
Girls beware, you will be hit on by the all male staff behind the ordering counter. Theirs is mostly friendly banter, but it can get tiresome just the same.
The seating area upstairs is fairly large, but ventilation is poor. So if you’re a non-smoker, you’d better sit downstairs. The TV is always on, usually tuned into some sports game and during major sports events the upstairs gets taken over by rowdy crowd.
So if you’re looking for a quick, cheap place to grab a bite, head on over to Al’s, as it is affectionately called by its regulars.