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Home > Restaurants > Kabab Café

Kabab Café

Critic's Pick Critics' Pick

25-12 Steinway St., Queens, NY 11103 40.76766 -73.911971
nr. 25th Ave.  See Map | Subway Directions Hopstop Popup
718-728-9858 Send to Phone

  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern
  • Price Range: $$

    Key to Prices and ratings

    Upscale
    • Almost Perfect
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    • Generally Excellent
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    • Good
    Cheap Eats
    • Best in Category
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  • Reader Rating:

    7 out of 10

      |  

    15 Reviews | Write a Review

Photo by John Saponara

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Hours

Tue-Sun, 1pm-5pm and 6pm-10pm; Mon, closed

Nearby Subway Stops

N, Q at Astoria-Ditmars Blvd.

Prices

$15-$24

Payment Methods

Cash Only

Special Features

  • BYOB
  • Kid-Friendly
  • Lunch
  • Notable Wine List
  • Open Kitchens / Watch the Chef
  • Private Dining/Party Space
  • Take-Out

Alcohol

  • BYOB
  • Beer and Wine Only

Reservations

Not Accepted

Profile

Much acclaimed by the media and New York foodies, Kabab Cafe, a tiny Egyptian restaurant in Astoria, lives up to its billing. It is the life’s work of the unassuming chef/owner/philosopher Ali El Sayed, who opened it in 1989 and who continues to garner a loyal following of locals, artsy types, and culinary explorers. Chef Ali’s workstation dominates the dining room, as he chops, dices, slices, and kibitzes with abandon. A half-dozen mismatched tables and varied chairs sit near banquettes covered in woolen blankets; a hodgepodge of pharaonic statuettes, mosaics, mirrors, and paintings line the mixed-colored walls. The Alexandria-born chef specializes in the soulful “mama’s food” of his cosmopolitan hometown, with slow-cooked stews and baked dishes that bring together a panoply of subtle spices. His divine mixed meze platter unites tangy and ethereal hummus, smoky baba ganouj, and foul medamas, a mash of fava beans enlivened with garlic and lemon juice. Greaseless falafel balls dot the plate, as do deep-fried chicory leaves. For entrées, an oven-baked whole striped bass is sublimely moist and fragrant with basil, dill, garlic, and cumin. Kabab Cafe is a singular experience well worth the pilgrimage; come hungry and ready for edible adventures.

Recommended Dishes

Mixed meze platter, $10; roasted striped bass, $25

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