Connect with Isthmus:         Newsletters 
Saturday, December 27, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 27.0° F  Mostly Cloudy
Collapse Photo Bar

Lamb Shawarma

Grocery stores, recipes, cook books, CSAs, farmers' markets, organic, local, processed, corporate. It's a smorgabord!

Lamb Shawarma

Postby Veeder » Tue Apr 03, 2007 3:13 pm

Most large cities have cheap, incredible Mediterranean restaurants within its borders. I'm new to Madison and here's what I've tried so far:

Mediterranean Cafe - Decent, cheap - could use a few more like it.

Lulu's - Are you kidding me? I would MAYBE like it at half the price. They don't even serve lamb shawarma and their hummus was barely ok. Falafal was poor.

Kabuls - Good but not exactly a hole-in-the-wall.

Husnus - See Kabuls

Falafal King - Haven't tried it yet.

Anyway, can anyone recommend a decent, cheap hole-in-the-wall that serves good lamb shawarma and hummus?

Also - and please don't berate me for not searching the Forum well enough - is there a decent authentic Vietnamese place in town? Seems like most get average to poor reviews.
Forum God/Goddess
Posts: 541
Joined: Wed Jan 17, 2007 12:34 pm

Postby Henry Vilas » Tue Apr 03, 2007 3:36 pm

"Please Lisa, don't eat me."

Kidding. I'm an omnivore, just don't like lamb.

As far as Vietnamese food, the only place still going in Madison that I've been to is T & M's on Grand Canyon Drive. Don't know what the reviews said, but I thought it was at least OK.
Henry Vilas
Forum God/Goddess
Posts: 20286
Joined: Wed Sep 04, 2002 8:57 pm
Location: Name sez it all

Postby TAsunder » Tue Apr 03, 2007 3:41 pm

Don't know if they have the dish you seek but have you checked the casbah and caspian cafe to see if they are adeuqately dingy and inexpensive for you?
Forum God/Goddess
Posts: 4783
Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2001 1:21 pm
Location: Near East Side, Madison

Postby eriedasch » Tue Apr 03, 2007 5:06 pm

TAsunder wrote:Don't know if they have the dish you seek but have you checked the casbah and caspian cafe to see if they are adeuqately dingy and inexpensive for you?

Casbah is about the same price range as LuLu's and probably not quite as good IMO. LuLu's for lunch may be a better deal. Don't bother with their hummus, get the baba ginush (sp?) or stuffed grape leaves.

Try Falafal King. I've only gone there once but thought it was pretty good and prices are slightly higher than Med Cafe. And report back.

There is another place on University Av. but name escapes me. It's on the right side heading from downtown towards Middleton. At one end of a strip mall. Pretty good, but again prices only slightly lower than LuLu's.

Bunky's on Atwood? Have not been there in ages, but used to love it. Slightly cheaper than LuLu's.

Dardinelles on Monroe? Never been there but menu looks interesting.
Forum God/Goddess
Posts: 2925
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2001 4:05 pm
Location: east side of Madison

Postby Rosemary » Tue Apr 03, 2007 5:25 pm

People's Bakery on E. Wash has both, I think. Maybe.
I had falafel there last week. Wasn't impressive, but it scratched the itch. Kinda.

EXCELLENT buttermilk doughnuts, though.
Forum Addict
Posts: 222
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2006 1:46 pm
Location: St. Louis (formerly 53703)

Postby TAsunder » Tue Apr 03, 2007 11:33 pm

Lulu's was a lot more expensive than caspian cafe when I went. Maybe their lunch is cheap, I have never had lunch there. But dinner seemed really overpriced to me. Though I did enjoy the food.
Forum God/Goddess
Posts: 4783
Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2001 1:21 pm
Location: Near East Side, Madison

Postby zelda » Wed Apr 04, 2007 9:53 am

I've always enjoyed my meals at the Shish Cafe on University Avenue toward Middleton - the sides are very good - the hummus and their version of tabooleh. I haven't had the lamb, however.
Forum Addict
Posts: 230
Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2004 5:44 pm

Postby NullDevice » Wed Apr 04, 2007 2:42 pm

The Shish keeps getting decent reviews, but every time I go there I end up with something cold, undercooked, burnt, or in one baffling case, all of the above.

Lulu's has been servicable but always too expensive. King of Falafel is I think one of the more overlooked palces in town. They have great m'hamra.

I can't bring myself to lump Dardanelles in with the city's middle eastern restaurants. They're more "mediterranean fusion" than anything else. I give them points for playing Tarkan albums on their soundsystem, but I've generally found their "authentic" turkish fare kind of underwhelming. Their fusion stuff is alright, though.

I love Caspian Cafe, but they're persian. Great yogurt and the kuku ye sabzi is stellar. But not middle eastern in the falafel and hummus sense.

Sadly, the best hole-in-the-wall middle-eastern place in the state is still Abu's on Farwell in Milwaukee. Not the best middle-eastern on earth, but a respectable falafel sandwich for under $3 is a miracle to behold.
Forum God/Goddess
Posts: 739
Joined: Fri May 02, 2003 2:53 pm
Location: Madison, WI

Postby TheBookPolice » Wed Apr 04, 2007 3:08 pm

The Dardanelles got a big fat "meh" from me.
Forum God/Goddess
Posts: 8413
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 1:09 pm
Location: The mystical Far East

Postby Veeder » Wed Apr 04, 2007 3:54 pm

Thank you all for the info. Looks like King of Falafel and Caspian Cafe are the next stops on my 'Madison Dining Tour'.

BTW, if you ever find yourself in NYC or New Haven, CT you must try the incredible experience(s) that spawned this particular craving and thread:

Bring your appetite, a $10 bill and watch out (no, seriously) for the hot sauce...
Forum God/Goddess
Posts: 541
Joined: Wed Jan 17, 2007 12:34 pm

Postby small cheese » Wed Apr 04, 2007 11:27 pm

Veeder, did you live in Point in the early 90s? It's an uncommon name, so I'm curious.

Guess not - I knew it was a long-shot, but I had to ask.
Last edited by small cheese on Mon Apr 09, 2007 9:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
small cheese
Forum God/Goddess
Posts: 563
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2006 6:07 pm

Postby cubanat » Wed Apr 04, 2007 11:46 pm

For Vietnamese try Nams Noodles on Regent, Saigon Noodles near WestTown Mall, and the "I'm Here" cart that used to have a resto on Park St.
Forum Addict
Posts: 404
Joined: Sat Jul 15, 2006 11:54 pm

Postby GenieU » Tue Apr 10, 2007 7:54 am

The Shish Cafe serves an awsome dish that while not exactly "Lamb Shawarma" is still great. Its little chunks of grilled lamb meat and toasted almond slivers on a thick bed of Hummos-the pita bread is baked on premises-simply the best!
Forum God/Goddess
Posts: 1586
Joined: Fri May 14, 2004 9:10 am

Postby Rachelz » Wed Apr 11, 2007 8:55 am

I haven't been here yet - - but I am holding out hope that it is good. It is next on my pho adventure list.

I was introducted to Vietnamese food in St. Paul and unfortunately I haven't found any place in Madison that is nearly as good.
Forum Addict
Posts: 124
Joined: Fri Sep 19, 2003 10:09 am
Location: Madison, WI

Postby msnflyer » Wed Apr 11, 2007 9:16 am

My friend brought makings for beef schwarma on Monday. On Tuesday I sliced some leftover roast lamb, layered a warm pita with homemade hummus, lamb, tabouli, and topped it with homemade yougurt that was seasoned with sumac. Mmmmm, yummy.

Best bet, make it yourself or find a friend that knows how it's done.
Forum Addict
Posts: 392
Joined: Thu Jan 30, 2003 9:22 am

Return to Cooking & Food issues

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

Select a Movie
Select a Theater

Created with flickr badge.

Promotions Contact us Privacy Policy Jobs Newsletters RSS
Collapse Photo Bar