Asheville resident Reza Setayash knows a thing or two about quality cuisine, as you’ll discover when you visit Baba Nahm. His Grove Arcade gem of a restaurant offers fast and fresh Middle Eastern dishes. His goal: to bring something decidedly different to the Downtown Asheville culinary scene. The moment you enter his colorful restaurant, you’ll agree — he’s succeeded in the best way possible.
Fresh and wholesome foods dominate Baba Nahm’s menu. Although some visitors refer to the menu as pared down, it’s extensive enough to give you options, but streamlined enough to make ordering easy.
If you’re a vegetarian, you’ll be pleased by the variety of meat-free options offered at Baba Nahm. It’s easy to find a satisfying meal that doesn’t include chicken or lamb. If you’re determined to avoid gluten, you’re in luck: Baba Nahm offers gluten-free pitas for a small additional charge.
A variety of beverages are available, although you are welcome to drink lemon water, free of charge. A cold case comes stocked with several satisfying bottled drinks, including a few you’ll struggle to find anywhere else in Asheville. Choose from tea, hard cider, beer, or soft drinks. You’re also welcome to order wine by the glass; the selection of the day is posted on the restaurant’s specials chalkboard.
The restaurant prioritizes convenience. It’s tough to get healthy foods on the go, but Baba Nahm makes it easy with online or over-the-phone ordering. The online ordering system includes not only standard menu items, but also Grab & Go dishes designed for extra convenience. These include hummus, pickled vegetables, salads, pita packs, and more.
Although many people order prior to their arrival, it’s easy to order for dine-in. Check out the menu posted in plain sight. Once you’ve made your decision, venture over to the counter. The open kitchen concept allows you to watch as your food is prepared. The staff will call your name once your order is ready.
If you’re looking for a relaxed, leisurely experience, you might want to venture towards one of Grove Arcade’s other restaurants. While the staff at Baba Nahm won’t exactly rush you out, the Grab & Go theme is instantly evident when you arrive. Most visitors abide by this concept, receiving their food promptly and then proceeding to down it just as quickly. Many venture elsewhere to eat, although there is typically sufficient seating both inside and out.
A few of our favorite menu items include:
Chicken Shawarma Pita
A Middle Eastern specialty, shawarma consists of satisfyingly garlicy meat. Baba Nahm’s version is served with hummus, pickled vegetables, parsley salad, lettuce, tahini, and Israeli salad. Prepare for an explosion of flavors within your pita.
Featuring lentils, chickpeas, harissa, vegetable broth, and tomato, Baba Nahm’s harira soup is the perfect mix of tasty and healthy.
Israeli Potato Fries
Your pita, soup, or hummus bowl will be plenty filling, but you should still make room for an order of Israeli potato fries. At Baba Nahm, they’re served hot and tossed with lemon tahini, harissa sauce, and zatar.
Chickpeas and fudge might not sound like a match made in heaven, but you’ll change your mind when you sample this offering from Baba Nahm’s small dessert menu.
Whatever you order, you’ll be pleased by the generous portions and fresh ingredients.
- If you intend to visit on multiple occasions, keep the experience fresh by trying the daily special. While the regular menu is somewhat limited, specials such as mujadara (a satisfying hot rice bowl) and merguez (a tasty pita with spiced lamb sausage) keep it interesting for regulars.
- Ordering over the phone? Either ask the staff for the special, or check out the restaurant’s Instagram page for more information.