One of the sad realities of choosing to become vegetarian is having to give up some of your favorite foods at your favorite restaurants. Although vegetarianism comes with plenty of perks, I have found this to be one of the hardest parts. However, vegetarianism has also taught me the beauty of trying new things, a necessary skill to keep yourself from going crazy from the boredom of a mundane tofu stir-fry every night. While embarking on my journey of food exploration, I was introduced to falafel, and sadly, had a horrible first experience. I swore off falafel from there on out until my aunt begged and pleaded with me to give it one more shot at her favorite falafel hot-spot, El Basha.
El Basha is located on 424 Belmont St in Worcester, Massachusetts and specializes in Mediterranean cuisine. The menu was huge and difficult to understand for a Mediterranean newbie like myself, but the waitress was more than happy to explain any of the funky language we weren’t familiar with. We began by ordering an appetizer platter with vegetarian stuffed grape leaves, hummus and pita, falafel, and spanokopita (spinach pie).
Our Mediterranean Platter!
It’s safe to say I’m officially a falafel convert! Everything was excellent and the falafel was moist without being mushy and presented an excellent flavor which paired very nicely with the fresh veggies it was bedded on. Every dish seemed to taste really authentic and we gobbled up every last grape leaf! I was unsure if I would even make it to the main course but decided to try the grilled shrimp kabobs with fresh vegetables and homemade rice pilaf. Once again, I was pleasantly surprised. The seasoning on the shrimp was to die for and everything was cooked just right. The rice pilaf was moist and flavorful but not overpowering, oh and did I mention the portions were huge!?
Overall I give El Basha four stars for changing my once negative views on the deep fried chickpea nuggets. I would probably go here again but not on a regular basis because it’s pretty inconvenient and I’m not huge on Mediterranean cuisine. I definitely recommend that first-time falafel tasters go here before they have an experience like mine!