Restaurants & Bars 12

Sahara Restaurant, Worcester

hiddenboston | Jan 27, 200806:19 PM

We tried what turned out to be a fabulous Lebanese/Middle Eastern restaurant in Worcester today. It is called the Sahara, and it's on Highland Avenue (Route 9) a bit north of downtown in a rather funky part of the city.

We ordered several items, starting with an outstanding spinach and lentil bean soup (a calming, warm taste to it, probably from the spices added to it) as well as a couple of decent salads. For the main entrees, we tried the chicken shawarma, falafel, hummus, baba ganouj, and stuffed grape leaves. The chicken shawarma was, well, "wow" is the only word that comes to mind. The nutmeg-based sauce that was spread over the chicken was like nothing I've had, and the chicken itself was all meat and no gristle. The grape leaves and baba ganouj were very good, though they didn't stand out from what I've had at other places. But the hummus was smooth and richly flavored, while the falafel was even better. This was not the "green" falafel that I tend to prefer (I think the green color comes from parsley and mint, among other herbs and spices mixed in), but they were outstanding--crisp, no grease at all, and pretty filling, though no overly so.

I've been to some decent Middle Eastern restaurants in Boston, but Sahara might top them all except for perhaps Sultan's Kitchen in the Financial District of the city. The food reminded me of what I used to get at Bishop's in Lawrence years ago before they closed down.

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