Restaurant of the Week: Ali Baba

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Ali Baba Mediterranean Cuisine, 956 W. Foothill Blvd. (at Regis), Claremont

Claremont is home to four Middle Eastern restaurants, with Casablanca, Saca’s, Darvish and its next-door neighbor, Ali Baba. Ali Baba took over the former KFC on Foothill near Towne about a year ago. A Korean place and I think another eatery were in the KFC in the interim, but Ali Baba looks to be making a go of it.

I’d meant to visit for a long time and finally did so on a recent staycation. Ali Baba’s dining room is small but well appointed with cherry-finished tables and chairs. They’ve done a nice job with the place. You order at your table.

I had the kafta sandwich ($7.25), which is a ground beef mixture with onions, parsley and spices on pita bread with hummus, tomatoes and romaine. A dish of pickled peppers was also brought to the table. (No, it wasn’t a peck, nor did I pick it.) It was a tasty sandwich.

If you’re pinching pennies, you could get basically the same sandwich at Aladdin Jr. for a couple of quarters less, but I was happy with the experience.

The broad windows offer an excellent view of the street, as well as an X-ray vision type of look into the restaurant as you drive by. From the street, nothing is left to the imagination. Ali Baba is all about transparency.

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