Longwood >Ali Baba House of Kabob
Avoid At All Costs!.
Due to CitySearch's character limit, I will just be listing the main bullet points of why one should stay away from this restaurant/ den of thieves:
*Dishonesty/ Shadiness- my group and i were flat out lied to several times between 2 phone calls and over the course of an hour in the restaurant. Over the phone, the price per person was verified at $14/person before 8pm, $16 before 9pm and $26/ person after 9pm. When we got to Ali Baba they decided to let us in on the secret that you actually have to LEAVE by 9pm or you are charged the $26 price. If you've never haggled over the price of your dinner, you're in for a real treat. And they tried to "accidentally" charge me an extra $55 for the tip for the server that didnt deserve 55?.
*Mediocre Food and Horrible Entertainment- i guess if you happen to be a fan of country music and want to watch a girl dressed in a cowgirl outfit and boots line dance while you eat your middle eastern food, this place would be perfect.
*Stress/ Ruined evening with friends- Instead of being able to relax and enjoy our dinner we instead spent an excruciating hour haggling with the manager, arguing with the server (and she argued back!!) and scarfing down our food and drinks in ten minutes because of the ever fluctuating price per meal.
Thats a summary. If you are interested in seeing my full review of this "restaurant", with all the gory details of my harrowing dining experience, go on urbanspoon.
Okay food, but awkward entertainment and poor business practices.. We saw a coupon in the paper for $19.95 instead of $26.95 for the dinner buffet on Friday and Saturday nights. The coupon encouraged us to try Ali Baba for the first time, so we made reservations for Valentine's Day on Saturday night. When we got there, we were told we might have to sit at a table with another couple because they were so busy. Fortunately, we avoided that scenario and got our own table. It was nice to experience new foods, however, we didn't get to enjoy the food much when the entertainment began. The 1st show was good - a traditional looking belly dancer. But we felt a little awkward when she kept asking us to clap to her dancing while we were eating. The 2nd show was a white lady who was wearing a short denim skirt, sparkly bra, cowboy hat, and cowboy boots. She was dancing to Shania Twain and then got off the stage and started giving private dances to the dinner tables to the song "Cotton Eyed Joe." It was awkward because we felt like we were at a toned-down strip club with all this provocative dancing. After the 2nd show, the DJ began demanding audience interaction. He wanted us to come up on stage and dance. Then he demanded everyone at the restaurant get in the "train" line and dance around the tables. I'm not saying this is bad, it's just far from what we expected. We were hoping for a romantic Valentine's dinner with authentic belly dancing entertainment - not a toned-down strip show with a bar mitzvah DJ trying to get us to put down our forks and join the dancers on stage. The last straw was when the manager did not want to honor our coupons, which was what actually brought us into this restaurant! He said Valentine's Day is a special night so the coupons don't apply. But how were we supposed to know that? The coupon said "Friday and Saturday Nights" with no exclusions. And yes, they charge a 18% fee for "service," which didn't make sense because we served ourselves at the buffet. We will never go back.
Great Food, Great place overall!. I took my family with 3 kids under age of 10 for lunch this weekend and we all loved it.. Authentic food much like my mother in law made, she is Persian. All dishes I tried were terrific. No problem anywhere, we enjoyed everything we ate and the service was friendly and told us of the belly dancers on the weekends nights but sort of loud for kids, they warned us. Can not go wrong at Ali Baba, ...the food is so good I actually crave it! I did buy a cookbook and ingredients at the grocery section and am going to try to make SHIRIN Polo as that rice dish is to die for! My kids love it too. They eat a variety off the buffet with no fussing. My 7 yr old swears by the Koubideh Kabob, may have to try to make that one also. We had not been to Ali Baba in a while and find it to be just as good as ever, it is our favorite for Persian and Middle Eastern Foods. We are from Los Angeles area and miss the Persian places but Ali Baba has filled that void!
Show and Food Great; Business Antics Stink. I took my girlfriend there for a Friday night dinner. Had seen that prices change when the show starts; so we got there early. While the food was good, and show was terrific, the bill left me livid. They had charged me the post-show rate, even though we were done eating before the show ever started. But, more importantly, was the $20 tip that was AUTOMATICALLY assessed FOR A BUFFET! The waiter came over three times in total; once to bring the wine, once to fill water, and once with tea. 25% of the bill for that. I must be in the wrong business!
Best Middle Eastern Food EVER!. Terrific atmosphere, very festive on a Friday Night., LOVED the Belly Dancers, Great Food so fresh, tasty and such a VARIETY that everyone in my group was very happy! Just had a wonderful time. Sure beats any other Middle Eastern Restaurant I have ever been to...5***** All the way!
Avoid being mugged. Charged 26.95 (which we were not informed of an entertainment fee $15 and 12.95 buffet) just for walking through door, they charge for buffet on assumption alone, did not eat anything and was charged for buffet even though waitress knew I did not eat the buffet and put in on the bill anyway and did not correct this until questioned about why the charge appeared. I find them very deceptive in there billing methods and believe a bill should reflect what was actually eaten! The $15 charge for entertainment is excessive by my standards as the dancing was extremely scripted and uninspiring, not to mention well below average. I saw 5 dancers total the first was "overly" rehearsed and the second and third did no belly dancing and most of the dance was spinning and little else. I find being charged $35 for bread and water extremely excessive and think our prison system would have fed me better than what I paid for here. The fourth and fifth dancers did a salsa type routine which was both not befitting of this atmosphere but also boring and showed they show up for the performance and little else. I can find no reason to return to this establishment and be taken in by "ali baba and his forty thieves" which is the only summation of the visit that a person could conclude. You get little value in entertainment and the food was good (as reported by my company)although not great but outweighed by the overall experience and being overcharged for all but the drinks, which was very reasonable even though I did not drink as the designated driver of the evening. I think that for the nearly $100 bill a couple of two was handed for this was outrageous (which again one of which did not eat or drink), as a better atmosphere could be had at nearly any place on I drive for the same money or less. I would never return here and would discourage others as well, the cons surely outweigh the pros here. I would suggest watching your wallet here should you choose to go.
The only buffet in Orlando worth eating at. It's a buffet...and yet the food is really good. Mostly Persian, with some Lebanese dishes. Big, often crowded, especially when they're having a show. Quite a drive if you're not in Longwood, but well worth it. So tasty you'll stuff yourself; be warned.
Mouth watering Middle Eastern food!. I was told to go to Ali Baba to check out the great food and Mosaic artwork. This food will make you crave it until your next visit as it is that good! I had them cater a party. People were amazed at the quality and variety of the foods. Bring out of town guests. They will always remember their trip to Ali Baba. The waiters and dancers are attentive and have been there for years. The buffet is large with lots of different foods. Great Kabobs! Great place for a quick but delicious business lunch too. I recommend it to everyone I know. Many of my friends are now regulars for dinner. Give it a try you will not be disappointed! Ali Baba is 5**** all the way! May need reservations on weekends as it is crowded!
Quiet by day, this Middle Eastern restaurant shimmies on weekend nights, when belly dancers raise the pulse of everyone in the room..
A mosaic of mosaics, tropical fish tanks, big-screen TV, and Eastern paraphernalia. The long buffet line dominates one side of the room, across from the dancers' altar. Homemade tiles on many of the tables bestow motherly advice. Laid-back service may require you to wait for your check if the waitress is eating her lunch.
The buffet selection is vast, and placards list the names and ingredients of each dish. Start with hummus, red bean dip, and baba ghanoush, which you scoop up with pita bread. Add hunks of feta cheese and whole black olives to the salad. Don't miss the falafel, along with the beef and chicken kabobs. If you'd like to have something to doggie-bag, order an entree such as the braised lamb shank, swimming in a flavorful broth and served with your choice of rice. The fessanjan (chicken in a pomegranate-walnut sauce) come on strong. Skip dessert in the buffet--the baklava was as soggy as an old bandage.
You'll love this place.
An excellent choice of foods, all of which are good. This is by far the best buffet experience available in Florida.
The staff are curtious and friendly, the food is the best and always fresh, and the entertainment is first class too.
My favourite lunchtime meeting place, everyone I take there becomes a regular.
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