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“A Culinary Oasis in David”
Review of El Rincon del Shawarma - CLOSED

El Rincon del Shawarma
Price range: $0 - $10
Cuisines: Lebanese
Dining options: Late Night
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night
Volcan
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“A Culinary Oasis in David”
Reviewed May 4, 2012

Absolutely delicious cuisine. Bassam the owner is friendly and genuinely dedicated that you enjoy the food he serves you, If you are weary of bland Panamanian food this is the place to come. Garlic, lemon and middle eastern spices are a welcome change. Everything from appetizers to the main course to the beverage and dessert were fresh and outstanding. This is the place we will return to when in David. We are very discriminating when it comes to eating out and we have only praise for Alibaba.

  • Visited May 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Jeffrey D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

16 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    10
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
531 reviews
313 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 698 helpful votes
“You can eat the best Lebanese food...and it's in David, Panama!”
Reviewed April 24, 2012

Ali Baba is a delightful place in every way. Bassam, the owner, has a huge heart and simply can’t say no. His family is beautiful and friendly. His food is magic on your palate. Although he doesn’t have a liquor license, you don’t miss it. Coffee, tea, homemade lemonade…there is plenty to quench your thirst while you dive in to all the flavors of Lebanon.

We arrived at his restaurant at 5:00pm on a Friday night. We completely forgot that it was Good Friday, and when we tried the door, it was locked. Sadly, we thought we’d have to go to a hotel in order to find dinner options. But, Bassam came to the door and when he heard we were there to eat, he opened his ‘house’ and invited us in. He and his family were eating their dinner meal and he told us he’d be honored to fix dinner for us. We are forever in his debt, because we not only had a beautiful, multi-course dinner, but it was made with love and turned me into a falafel lover. Prior experiences had turned me off this traditional dish as it was always too large, overcooked, and dry in the middle.

We asked him to simply make us a selection of things that would be easy and quick to pull together. Almost two hours later, we finished our last bite and realized that we had one of the best meals on our trip to Panama!

Our appetizers included hummus, baba ghanoush, taboule, fried kibbe, falafel and eggplant in olive oil … all served with lovely, fresh pita bread. That in itself would have made a nice dinner. And, as I said earlier, the falafel was out-of-this-world. Smaller than what we are served in the states, fried perfectly with a crunchy exterior and moist, flavorful interior. I can’t say enough about this dish. My other favorite is baba ghanoush and it didn’t disappoint! Fried kibbe is a dish of minced meat (usually lamb) with bulgur and spices and is regarded as the national dish of Lebanon. Ours was three-inch long torpedo-shaped bulgur shell stuffed with spiced, minced lamb and fried till brown and wasn’t top on my list…still very good with Arabic spices and flavors.

Main courses included a beef tenderloin shish kebab, prepared Lebanese style. A wood grilled chicken with garlic sauce was moist and tasty. Finally, a Mediterranean fish fillet (Mero/Grouper), cooked perfectly and covered in a garlic sauce. The best way to bring it all together was to select a protein, put it in the pita bread, with some roasted tomato and extra garlic sauce. It was a burst of flavor…a party in your mouth. YUM.

Bassam then served us three traditional desserts. Baklava, an almond cake, and one dish I didn’t catch the name, but the date center was incredible!

All of this for less than $50 for three people. An amazing feast and an adorable chef; both of them providing a fantastic experience and memory of our time in Panama.

Side Note: They have Hookahs (for smoking non-tobacco snuff) if you want to partake. The large dining room would be loud with a full house and the sparse environment with bright lights might remind you of a Chinese restaurant, but the music/video added some traditional background sounds. The food makes you forget about everything but eating and interacting with Bassam.

  • Visited April 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
5 Thank PALTravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
David, Panama
1 review
“Finally, A Good Falafel in David”
Reviewed February 20, 2012

Anyone who lives in David knows that there is a scarcity of good places to eat. Mosto Bistro is good, as are Quarto and Casa De Churasco. Now we finally have a good Lebanese restaurant, Ali Baba, run by a very pleasant, friendly man named Basaam.

I recommend the falafel sandwichs and felafel plates. The Zata is also excellent, as is the special lemonade Basaam makes.

I enjoy cooking myself and make hummus regularly. Basaam's hummus is better than mine, which is why I go there. He also makes outstanding tahini, which I have never mastered.

There is another Lebanese restaurant in David -- Rincon Lebanese. The decor there is better than Ali Baba's, but the food is worse. Ignore the decor at Ali Baba and enjoy the food.

Prices are reasonable -- I would say average.

If you like Lebanese food and find yourself in David, go and see Basaam at Ali Baba!

Location: avenida SEGUNDA ESTE ESTE NEAR THE NATIONAL LOTTERY OFFICES AND NEXT TO PIPOS SPORT BAR.

If you are new to David and don't know how to find Ali Baba, just give a cab the address and tell him to take you there.

Allen Rosen
David, Panama

  • Visited February 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank PanamaAllen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
David, Panama
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“ALI BABA! NEW, CLEAN AND DELICIOUS!”
Reviewed January 8, 2012

Ali Baba is a new Lebanese Cuisine restaurant that I chose to have a New Years Eve dinner party for 6. The table was impecabbly set up by the waitresses who meticulously attended to us the entire 3 hours we were there. The atmosphere is clean and spartan with a wall TV playing Arabic music videos and decorative tiled tables and hookahs all about in the Arabic style. At this time, Ali Baba has no liquor but we were invited to buy wine next door at Pipos Sport Bar and have drinks on the terrace which is adjacent to Pipos.

We decided to have cocktails there and our appetizers (Entrada mixto $10) which were a fresh, hot and scrumptious mixture of fried kibbe, holiday special falafel with Arabic garlic sauce, fresh made salads fatouch, tabouli, hummus, babaganoush, labne and pita bread. We especially liked the salads because they were fresh made and not thinned out like another Arabic place in David I ate at recently.

To accomodate the group with a sampling of Ali Baba Lebnese food we ordered the house combination shish kebab platter for four called Bandeja de Shish Mixto ($39), an order of Lebanese style Langostinos ($12) and my favorite, the beef tenderloin kebab called Shish Kabab ($10). The prawns and the portions were ample, hot off the large outside smoker grill and more salad favorites accompanied the dishes with rice, choice of potatoes and pita bread. The natural juices served were homemade and rich in flavor especially the Lebanese lemonade which was quite refreshing. Ice was provided tableside and pitchers of water were continually poured. Truly, our cup runneth over! After dinner we were treated with mixed Arabic pastries like Baklava, a complementary mint hookah and dark roast, rich Arabic style coffee.

The big surprise was the cost! At $80 dollars (cash or credit cards, no debit) we stuffed ourselves, laughed and danced Arabic to the music! We were very pleased for a little over $10 dollars a piece including the soft drinks. That sum included all taxes and we didnt even ask for the hubilado discount! Two doggy bags also went home with us! Basam, the manager spoke some English and was congenial and attentive as was the waitress Ana. We were pleased to leave a nice gratuity. In conclusion, give this new Lebanese place a try and I, for one, believe you will find it bright, clean and satisfying and at a cost that is a real bargain compared to other local Lebanese places. I can be reached for further comment here or at [--]. Asalaam Alaikum! Peace be unto you!

  • Visited December 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank james z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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