Al-Hana Restaurant at Baiz Market: Lunch $10 and Under

For lunch we decide to try Al-Hana Restaurant at Baiz Market. Ok, so maybe the word 'restaurant' is a stretch, more like hole-in-the-wall, but we mean that in the best way possible. 

Al-Hana consists of a walk-up counter with a half dozen tables and chairs for eating in. It is tucked into the northwest corner of the Middle Eastern Baiz Market. 

Like a lot of places that do something really well, the menu is quite simple. For $3.99 we had delicious chicken shawarma sandwiches on fresh pita bread with a delicious creamy garlic sauce, tomato, pickles, and onion.

For equally inexpensive prices we could have ordered falafel, hummus, shish taook, babaganoush, or meat and spinach pies.

But filling our stomachs was only half the fun. We were pleased that lunch was so stress free because it left us plenty of time to explore the rest of the market. With everything from an impressive selection of olives to spices to coffee, tea and fresh baked flatbreads. And the pastry counter is not to be skipped. We picked up Turkish delight and maamoul cookies filled with date.

The café and market give you an authentic taste of the Middle East. This place is a cultural mash-up, a mélange, with products from across the Middle East, India -- even Eastern Europe.

The hardest part is finding the place, easily overlooked on 20th Street between Van Buren and Roosevelt (near the interchange of the 51 and the 10).

We thought Al-Hana was tasty, fresh, inexpensive and quick. Why would you not want to eat this instead of a fast-food chain? If you're near downtown Phoenix it's worth the detour.

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