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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Portland
Food
Feel
Price
8.2
6.5
$5
Middle Eastern
Food cart

Hours
Mon–Fri 11:30am–4:00pm

Features Veg-friendly
Bar None
Credit cards None

Downtown
600 SW Pine St.
Portland, OR
No phone
Basha’s Mediterranean
Good gyros, shawarma, and baba ghanoush—with the falafel to end all falafel

By “Mediterranean” they mean “Middle Eastern”—and many people similarly misuse the terms, despite the fact that the Mediterranean culinary swatch cuts across Morocco and Marseilles to Sicily to Greece and on to Turkey and Lebanon. Basha’s menu focuses on the foods of the latter regions, namely the universal dishes shared between them: hummus, kofta, baba ghanoush, and everything else that has three or four different sanctioned spellings.

And—perhaps unsurprising given that this is a food cart that only accepts cash—we’ve had at Basha’s some of the best falafel we’ve found in Portland. Seriously. Each is made to order with incredible complexity, depth, seasoning, and ideally fried texture. The tangy tzatziki is lovely and hummus is creamy, dense, and flavorful. Even the pita delivers. It’s just outstanding; the iconic Mamoun’s in New York City could learn a thing or two from this falafel.

Gyros and lamb shawarma can be good or oily, soggy messes, depending on the day. Most things, it seems, are inconsistent, but the falafel is routinely exemplary. A vegan lentil soup is hearty and cheap, served with that good pita bread. Baba ghanoush could be smokier, but it’s still satisfying.

Warning: the hours aren’t posted. The cart seems to appear and disappear at different hours throughout the week, but as far as we can tell, it’s a lunchtime-through-the-afternoon operation. PSU students, consider yourselves lucky.

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