Situated between Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, Ali Baba draws the campus crowd thanks to reasonable prices and well-prepared, vegetarian-friendly Middle Eastern food that's a long way from your typical fast food. Founded by Syrian immigrants in 1972, Ali Baba specializes in dishes that are just as good to grab and go (shish kabobs, hummus, falafel, tabouli salad) as they are to consume in the small but exotic dining room. Lunch specialties include the student special, with rice and pine nuts, a tossed salad, and choice of green beans or green peas with lamb meat and tomato sauce. Artichoke salad, stuffed grape leaves, lamb burgers, feta omelets and Syrian pizza are also popular choices. Try the baklava for dessert.
"Ali Baba, the Middle Eastern restaurant at South Craig Street in Oakland, buzzes with activity during the lunch hour. Faculty and staff from Pitt and CMU flock there in droves."
- Rege Behe, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review