Ali Baba shares a parking lot with a gas station across the street from a Salt Lake County Parks and Rec golf course. If you didn’t know it was there, I wonder if you’d notice it. I know I wouldn’t have. I’ve driven by dozens of times, even fueled up at the gas station, and I’ve never noticed it.
“There used to be a 5 Buck Pizza here,” the woman behind the counter told us when I asked. “But we’ve been here for more than a year.”
To read the reviews on Urban Spoon, it has been a successful “more than year.” It has developed a following of devotees who love Ali Baba’s food:
“I’ve tried almost all of the Pakistani/Indian food in the valley and this is probably the BEST!”
“I have been visiting this place almost daily. The food is Delicious and filling.”
“Highly recommended!” and
“All in all, i can see myself coming back here repeatedly.”
Yeah. Lots of fans. So I decided to take a trip over to check it out. My conclusion? It’s not too bad.
To be sure, it is not the best Indian/Pakistani food in town; that award, in my book, still goes to the Bombay House or the Himalayan Kitchen (I have also heard that Royal India is fantastic, too, but I’ve not made it there, yet). But in it’s class–along with places like “Curry in a Hurry“–Ali Baba does rank well.
Unlike some of the more expensive Indian restaurants, Ali Baba has a spartan dining room, very utilitarian and simple. You wouldn’t know that the cuisine was Indian/Pakistani but for the menus. They could have served burgers or burritos for all the room indicated. However, it was clean and tidy, and so I have no complaints.
We arrived a little before the lunch crowd, and the smiling waitress/server took our order and brought it out after just a few minutes. Later, the cook, or owner? came out to ask us how we were enjoying the meal. It was a nice detail, and I appreciated the thought.
As for the meal itself, I was pleasantly impressed with both the quantity and the quality. While nothing to write home about, The naan was light and savory, as well as in a portion larger than we could finish. We both ordered a curry chicken combo which, while light on the amount of chicken, compensated with plenty of lentils and a side dish of some type of potatoes and cabbage.
I like a spicier curry, and this curry was not very spicy. However, I suspect it was because it was toned down for my western palate. Even so, it was a tasty combination with the garlic naan.
Will I go back? Probably not unless I am in the neighborhood or have been playing golf across the street. It was good, but just not quite good enough to go out of the way to have over lunch.