Eat Nabati is Kensington Market’s newest eatery, opening on Baldwin Street, smack dab in the middle of this whole pandemic thing. Joining their sister restaurant just west in Oakville, Dar Nabati, Eat Nabati offers vegan takes on owner Israa Ali’s own experience. The menu is inspired by recipes hailing from the coastal city of Alexandria, on the Mediterranean, in northern Egypt.

Egyptian Eggplant makes for a feast worthy of your 5-10

Eat Nabati- Egyptian Eggplant

The tidy space features a few tables, including a wrap-around ledge for views of the busy market. Grab-and-go is popular here, but it’s nice to know you can perch inside safely. A colourful mural by Rowell Soller makes for a visual pop and a matchy tie-in for the painted streets just outside. The space, as my teen would qualify, vibes.

eat nabati- Baba Shawarma

A popular lunchtime pick- Baba Shawarma

Israa Ali (lead photo) is running the show with partners Tamer El Shazli and Josh Dias. Rooted in the food memories of their youth, they tapped into the shawarma scene with a spin, instead of relying on greasy meats for the middle, Israa adapted these recipes to a plant-based product.

The recipes are all inspired by food I grew up eating. It’s mostly Egyptian food, but more specifically from the city of Alexandria, on the Mediterranean coast of northern Egypt. When going through the process of creating the dishes, I discovered that if you’re getting the right texture and flavour, then it doesn’t matter if it has meat or not. I knew that I had things done right when even my mom couldn’t tell the difference! Our food is neither completely raw vegan, nor ‘junk food’ vegan. It’s tailored to what you need. Whether you want fries in your falafel pita, or baked cauliflower and beet tahini on mujaddara (spiced rice and lentils with fried onions).

Israa Ali, Eat Nabati

Israa, who’s also a nutritionist, sought to create a place that’s inclusive of all diets and incorporates her culture. The result is sublime. As you would maybe presume with plant-based, it’s filling without giving you the shawarma sweats– the meaty proteins that are the usual stars of this popular meal have a reputation for leaving you with regrets. Here, the experience is refined, delicious and nutritious.

eat nabati, vegan, plant based

Sweet Treats are also on offer from the dessert fridge at Eat Nabati

While Shawarmas are the main attraction there’s more to love with falafels, halloumi style-tofu, salads and fries to make it a proper picnic. Desserts are also in demand, with a grab-and-go fridge to tempt you while you wait for your order.

Eat Nabati’s open Monday-Sunday, check out their site for their up-to-date offerings and hours, or order up through Ritual, Uber Eats or Skip the Dishes.

Thanks to Eat Nabati for having Auburn Lane in!

All photos by Libby Roach.