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Feb 1, 2009 05:26 PM

Snaubar - Halifax, Nova Scotia

Upon arrival this large restaurant was empty but for two people. The waitress asked "Do you have a reservation?". We were tempted to ask if she could squeeze us in. The decor is rather glitzy, more reminiscent of a bar than a Lebanese Restaurant. It was only when the menu arrived that we realized we were in the right restaurant.

There were four of us and we decided on 2 kebob platters - one lamb and one chicken - and 2 squid dishes - one deep-fried, one temptingly noted as char-grilled. "Would this be enough for the four of us?" we asked. "Oh yes", the response.

The squid arrived first. The deep-fried, a large generous portion and enough to split between the four of us, a tad rubbery, taste slightly off but passable. The char-grilled was one squid tube - $11.95 - already partially cut into rings and a tiny plate - about 75 cents worth at the grocers. It was tough as a rubber boot. When the waitress made an appearance and asked "Is everything ok?" we mentioned the squid was very tough. The response was "Oh, it's an acquired taste", turned around and walked away! Unbelievable.

By the time we had started on the squid the 2 kebob platters arrived. Four pieces of meat per kebob and two kebobs per plate. We looked at one another - the pieces of meat were about an inch square. How is it possible to have them tender at that size when grilled? It isn't. The lamb was dry, pretty tasteless, the chicken barely passable. The platters included rice, less than half a cup.

Dessert was order by one in our group and another ordered a coffee refill. The baklava arrived. They were round pistacchio, not really baklava, but at least there were two sizeable ones - looked like they had been purchased at the local Mid Eastern Deli. With coats on the coffee refill arrived.

The bill - $88 included two beers and two coffee.

Compared to other Lebanese and Turkish keboberies in town this one doesn't measure up. If you insist on Lebanese try Kababji in Burnside for generous portions and a good variety of starters on the kebob platters (circa $12.95) , the kebobs are very big, juicy and tender as can be. As well it has atmosphere ands the staff knows how to treat customers. Alternates try these Turkish spots - Cafe Istanbul or Anatolia - both have similar food beautifully prepared and served. For a cheap spot try Turkish Delight featuring the same big portions as the others. Any of these beat Snaubar hands down.

Upon leaving the Snaubar we asked the waitress to kindly tell the cook that the grilled squid was over-cooked. She disappeared, returning only with the cheque and no feed-back despite an overly generous and ill-advised tip by one in the group. Will we go back or recommend to friends? You bet we won't there are too many other good restaurants in town.

Returned home and had a sandwich

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  1. I went to Snaubar a few months ago. I thought the food was good, but a little overpriced. We each had a platter, and it was more than enough food. The drinks are reasonably priced (a vodka martini was $6.50). There were only a few other customers there, but as we were leaving (around 7:30), a group of about 20 people came in (they had a long table reserved for them). And the service was fine. Mind you, we didn't ask the server to deliver messages to the kitchen.

    1. I am shocked to hear that about Snaubar Lebanese Restaurant.
      We were there that night and we had fabulous time.
      The Restaurant is very high class and we found it very affordable for such a great place and great food. We asked our server for the chef’s special, the manager recommended the Mezza followed by BBQ. They brought us Mezza for 2 $35.00 per person. There was no more room on our table to place the food. It was full: Humus, Baba ganouj, Labneh, Makanik, Kebbeh, cheese rolls and tabooleh and more then followed by BBQ of Chicken and Kafta. We had to take the rest home and had it for lunch the next day and still tasted delicious . True the restaurant wasn’t full earlier that night, but it got really full later that night and the whole place transformed to a more relaxed atmosphere. Everyone seemed to have good time and we felt the urge to start dancing and let loose. The belly dancer did an amazing second show. My boyfriend really loved the whole experience. There is no other place here in Nova Scotia that offers such a great atmosphere and great food at the same time. For $70 food and $21 on liquor it was great value for 2 people.
      You mentioned the bar, which we think it’s like Vegas style elegant. It’s so inviting to sit on the bar and just stair at the art work and the display. It’s amazing how much liquor selection they have at Snaubar. I love the name it’s genius. I talked to the owners Teddy Zaghloul and George and their idea is to bring a modern Lebanese Cuisine that reflects the current image of a modern Lebanese Cuisine with a twist. And they succeeded.
      As far as comparing Snaubar with kababji you are way way off. Kabaji has no class and is almost like a take out We tried the food there, it’s horrible and disgusting. The atmosphere was like being in a dungeon with smoke filling the air after 10.00 We were there twice and twice it was one bad experience after the other.
      I understand you must had a bad experience from the server, you should have talked to the manager on duty or the owner and they would have made it up for you right away. Sometimes a bad server can make the whole experience horrible.

      We will continue to go back to Snauabar Lebanese Restaurant and Cuisine for a great food, atmosphere and great time that is unparallel. Our second favorite Lebanese Restaurant is Mezza on quinpool, but we find the atmosphere a bit stale and no one dare to let loose, but the food, bit pricey but not that bad. Again the service make a huge difference. If I am u I will contact the owners and make them aware, unless someone else complained which I am sure they dealt with it immediately.

      We truly think that as soon as others discover this hidden wonderful place it will be hard to get in without prior reservations daily.

      p.s check the web site

      5 Replies
      1. re: kaybear

        I have the distinct impression you have a connection with the Snaubar or don't know middle eastern food. As far as your comments on Kababji goes I advise patrons to simply walk in, observe what's on the grill and compare with the Snaubar - no need to sit down and order. The same may be said of The Turkish Delight, Cafe Istanbul and Anatolia. All are great and most importantly the portions are generous. How can you successfully grill the tiny portion of meat at the Snaubar? They can't.

        1. re: chilibeanpaste

          Its sad, but I think you are correct, cbpaste...kaybear has no other posings or profile, and that often indicates a biased connection.

          It is a great shame that this Board that get used so little despite all the great food and restaurants on the East Coast has now been hijacked. I don't live in Halifax yet but hope to move to Lunenburg full-time soon so please keep an eye out for other restaurants you can talk about in this great little city.

          1. re: LJS

            LSJ - As you probably know there are some great little restaurants in Lunenburg including Fleur de Sel which has a superb reputation for fine seafood. I'm always at a loss to recommend a restaurant in Halifax for seafood believe it or not given the access here to some of the freshest and best seafood in the world. Most in Halifax are tourist traps but Fleur de Sel is tops.

            By the way, Fid in Halifax has re-invented itself and initial reviews are as glowing as before.


            1. re: chilibeanpaste

              Fleur de Sel is one of the best restaurants husband and I have ever eaten in, and modestly we have had the opportunity to live in Italy and dine out in London, NYC, Paris, Lisbon and TO in the days when expense accounts still permitted that sort of extravagance! We have had some great feasts...

              FDS does very interesting things with local fish and seafood, they are sensitive with portions, and that is a great wine list...they are really an amazing find in a relatively small town.

              But then there is Trattoria della Nonna and (in Mahone Bay) the Biscuit Eater with their innovative approach to supporting the locavore and Slow Food Movement. They both use Indian Point Mussels and Terra Beatta Cranberries and that amazing cheese from over toward the Annapolis (West Hill?).

              And we haven't had a chance to try Magnolia's yet, which I have heard is good.

              We aren't moving to Lunenburg just because of the food (though it sort of sounds that way!) but we could!

              1. re: LJS

                Trattoria della Nonna is in Lunenburg, not Mahone Bay. Yes, Magnolia's is great, a seasonal place. take it from a Lunenburger, born in Lunenburg and not somebody who lives here two weeks out of the year and try to say they are a Lunenburger!!!.

      2. Squid is most generally tough. Calamari is the first thing I think of, which is squid.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Turner20

          Turner20 - Yes squid is generally tough but it doesn't have to be. A Thai cook told me when making Thai Squid Salad to boil the water with a squirt of lime juice, add only a handful of squid (rings) at a time to prevent losing the boil and remove in 45 seconds. Plunge them into ice water and move on to the next batch. he said the lime juice helps to prevent toughness and warned about over-cooking,

          Deep frying always confounded me,. By the time the batter was brown the squid was tough. The solution seems to be to use sweet potato flour which browns very rapidly.

          The TV cooks say to cook for a very short time or a very long time. I've never tried the latter for fear of ruining the squid.

          There is nothing worse than tough squid. Hope this helps.