St. Paul >Food & Dining > Babani's Kurdish Restaurant
544 St Peter St, St Paul, MN | Directions 5510244.949811 -93.100077
Neighborhoods: Northwestern Precinct, Downtown
Best Authentic Restaurant in St. Paul – I absolutely adore Babani's. The dishes are authentic and taste amazing. I love to start with the Naska Nan Wan Paneer bread it comes to your table warm and fresh, served with a heaping spoonful of Feta, olives, tomatoes and cucumbers. I also get a bowl of the Dowjic soup. A tangy chicken and lemon yogurt soup. I have tried all the dishes and have not found one I do not like. They serve you very hearty portions, (I always have left-overs) and the price is pretty good. There is nothing fancy about this place, just a quaint-hole-in-the-wall restaurant. The decor is great to browse when waiting for your food. Seating is fast and service is friendly. There is nothing presumptious about Babani's. I have also brought friends and dates here that are picky eaters and they have always found something they liked. I love this place!
A favorite in the cities – Babani's is the favorite place in the cities for my boyfriend and I and my family. It's where we take out of town guests to show off what humdrum little minnesota can offer. It's also where we go for date nights to have a great meal that doesn't break the bank. Not every dish on the menu is to my liking, but the Chicken Tawa (chicken cooked so slow it falls off the bones with potatoes and lemon) the Dowjic soup (a tangy, spicey chicken soup, again made with the ubiquitous lemon) are our favorites. We order the soup for friends and sit there with wide eyes, rubbing our hands, waiting to see their expresssion when they take a sip of the best food I have ever had in my life. I also recconmend the kurdish lemonade, they use dried omani lemons that creates a dark brown drink somewhat resembling iced tea, with a flavor that is totally unique and utterly addictive. The other items on the menu, in my experience, are not universally enjoyed, and change a bit depending on the cook, the moon, who knows. But this is definatly a gem in the twincities culinary crown. It requires a bit of bravery, and some hits and misses to find the best items, but it should not be over looked.
You'll want to come back, and not just because it's unique. Somebody in the kitchen really understands food. – In Short
Babani's seats about 40 in cheery brick and peach-colored surroundings. The traditional Kurdish entrees include kubay sawar (ground beef stuffed in fried wheat dumplings), Sheik Babani (eggplant filled with spicy meat and served with tomato sauce) and chicken tawa (chicken layered with potato, green pepper, onion and dried lemon). There's also red lentil soup and tabbouleh. Kurdish flat bread comes plain with dinner and as an appetizer with feta and good, meaty olives.
Downtown's most unique restaurant – I work in downtown St Paul and was looking for a new place to eat lunch when I discovered Babani's. The atmosphere is very comfortable, the service is courteous and exceptionally prompt, and the portions are generous. It's hard to pick a bad lunch combination because the appetizers go well with all the salads, which go well with all the entrees. Perhaps the only menu items to be wary of are the Kurdish beverages. All in all, I feel like I'm in on some exclusive secret--what a dining treasure!
unusual – Kurdish is a heavy variety of Middle Eastern. All our dishes seemed well prepared (though lacking a basis for comparison limits the utility of my taste). Our service was good. The building the restaurant is in is a charming apartment building, a relic of old Saint Paul. Against my returning are the food's being rather heavy, the room's being cold, and the poor selection of beer. Our meal without desert but with alcohol, came to 24 dollars/person including tax and tip. The best compliment I can pay is that the restaurant adds to Saint Paul's distinguished culinary scene, in which many unheard-of cuisines are represented (eg Hmong, Nepalese, Kurdish, Northern Chinese, Somali)
Good For At Least One Visit – It's great to say that in my life, I have tried Kurdish food. That said, I'm not exactly eager to head back for second helpings. This restaurant is fine for a one-time novelty experience, but I hope your visit won't be as slowed down as ours was by an extremely forgetful, inattentive waiter. The food was tasty enough though for any person to try Babani's at least once.
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