Get Your Fill at Sahara’s – Sahara Restaurant

Sahara Restaurant – Downtown Charleston

Dan says….

I have to say that I love Middle Eastern Cuisine as much as Susan loves Asian Cuisine.  Humus and Pita bread are like crack to me.  I love the lemon and garlic.  The simple seasonings let the flavors of the meats and vegetables shine.  I can get my fix at Sahara, but it comes at a cost.

Sahara has two buffet tables, one hot and one cold.  The cold bar has a simple salad, humus, Baba ghanouj , and some sweets.   The hot bar has lemon chicken, chicken kabobs, gyro meats, two rice dishes and a few vegetarian dishes with eggplant and potato.  They also have Fuul (Vicia faba), which is a slow cooked stew of brown beans and red lentils dressed with lemon olive oil and cumin (from Wikipedia). I like all the hot offerings, but I feel that there could be more choices.  I hate emtpy wells on a steam table.  How about offering Siyyadiyeh, spiced fish over rice, or my favorite stuffed meat dish, Kibbeh.

If you are unfamiliar with Lebanese or Syrian food, a buffet is a good place to get to try several things.  You can figure out what you like and leave what you don’t care for on your plate without guilt.  Sahara’s uses quality ingredients and great recipes.  You will leave with a full tummy and an empty wallet. The buffet and drink will cost more than $10.  THREE Forks.

Susan says….

I have to get my financial nerve up to come to Sahara’s.  I think it is overpriced – I’ll just get that off my chest right now.

Today the buffet seemed a bit skimpier than usual, like there were some dishes missing from the spread.   I don’t remember seeing the pita triangles with the Mediterranean toppings on it, for instance.  Still, there were about a dozen things to choose from.

I sampled the roast chicken, the chicken gyro mix, a sort of curry dish, meatballs and salad.  Everything was good…but not great.  The roast chicken is usually tender but today was a tad dry.  (I’m surprised Misty didn’t ask for some mayo to help moisten it so she didn’t have to choke it down dry.)  The chicken gyro mix was tasty but lacked flavor compared to The Moroccan buffet.  I liked the curry dish but it seemed to be very light on the chicken, heavy on the carrots.  Meatballs were okay but nothing to write home about.  Salad was…well, regular salad.  Iceberg lettuce with some feta chunks in it.  The lettuce was very crisp and fresh – no brown spots.

Compared to the Moroccan buffet near the Capitol, the food isn’t any better and it costs way more.  In fact, the Moroccan place has a delicious spinach-feta pizza which alone is reason enough to dine there.

The atmosphere is plain and uninviting.  I can’t really speak about the service – since it’s a buffet, you do everything for yourself except get the drink.  Checkout was fast, but  <ouch> over $10.

Sahara just doesn’t do anything for me.  If a group wants to come here, I don’t object, but I wouldn’t choose it myself.  I would much rather go to Sitar, located diagonally across the intersection of Summers and Washington.

This is perhaps my shortest review ever. TWO FORKS

Sahara
189 Summers Street
Charleston, WV
304-346-9800
Sahara Restaurant on Urbanspoon
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8 responses to “Get Your Fill at Sahara’s – Sahara Restaurant

  1. Zach rotates the hot dishes to try and keep downtown folks coming back more regularly. They have tabbouleh on Tuesdays (and one other day I think).

    I’ve spoken with him several times, and used them for catering too. There are several styles of moussaka they rotate through. Some are just stewed eggplant, some are more involved with bechamel and layered eggplant.

    I think they put something addictive in the pita that’s baked with spinach and herbs on top. I CANNOT eat enough of it every time.

    And they’re Friday night menu (only time they’re open for dinner, 6-9pm) adds items like grape leaves and kibbeh on a regular basis.

  2. I did not know they were open for dinner on Fridays. The Veggie Wife and I will have to check it out.

  3. demosthenes.or.locke

    I love mediterranean food, but Saharas has always disappointed me. A lot of it is just bland.

    • You need to go to Sahara’s!!! They make fresh falafel every day and much more; you should go see them now. I think in 2007 things started changing for the better, the food is great.

  4. I ate here yesterday with my friend from Raleigh, NC and my 6 year old son. I work with Ziad (Zach) who used to own the restraunt before selling it to his brother. I am a veggie and I have to say I got my fill here. I had plenty of options (I love eggplant!) Ziad’s mother made us tubbleh (yummy, even my son liked it). I had never had musaka, and I have to say it was one of the best things I had ever eaten. We were given complimentary baklava when we left and it was rather delicious too. We went close to closing time and the privacy was nice, but the bar was suprisingly still well stocked. My friend (who is an ethnic food lover) very much enjoyed the food too. Unlike some other ethnic foods, this food stayed with me for most of the rest of the day. We all three enjoyed the restraunt. I recommend!

  5. The restaurant was much better back when Abe was there.

  6. Sahara Catering & Restaurant

    Come visit us at Sahara Catering & Restaurant [617 Lee Street, Charleston, WV]. Eyad is the new owner and operator of Sahara and has been improving the restaurant, the taste of the cuisine, offering more variety and doing renovations. Visit for a Lunch Buffet Monday to Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and Friday Lunch from 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and Dinner from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. *** 304.415.3644 *** Email: saharawv@live.com

  7. Love the Sahara. Good food. Plus Eyad and Loren are really good folks.

    I’ve been eating at this place since it was over in the other building and I think it’s the best it has been now.

    I like that in recent months that they have been adding more Middle Eastern Stuff to the menu.

    When it started out they had tabouli, and falafels all the time. Then as it changed locations and owners a lot of the middle eastern stuff I really loved seemed to only occasionally be on the menu. Now they are going back to having these things all the time and also the recipes they are using seem to give the food a more unique and home cooked flavor.

    Great folks and a great place to eat.

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