SHWEET!: Queen Baklava at Haji Baba

By Steve Jansen

Haji Baba remains, in my humble opinion, one of the best restaurants in the Phoenix area for several reasons.

For one, it's so freaking unassuming from the outside and even more so inside.

Also, when you step inside, you feel like you're hanging out abroad in an authentic Middle Eastern bazaar. English is indeed spoken here, but you'll likely to hear other dialects -- such as Turkish -- more often.

Then, of course, there's the cuisine. I make it a point to drive through the Tempe congestion and over to the Apache Boulevard-located spot for their super cheap tabouli, falafel, and the to-die-for chicken shawarma plate.

And, when you're somebody like me, dessert is also on the brain. Haji Baba's sweet treats can be found up front at the counter, where a display case of about half a dozen types of baklava are presented to you for the choosing. The last time I was there, I picked up the queen baklava oozing with honey and topped with pistachios. It had just the right amount of sweetness and a little bit of a peppery kick.

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