The Thirsty Camel Café

The Thirsty Camel CafeOne of the nicest sidewalk cafes in downtown Nanaimo is the Thirsty Camel Café next to the China Steps just down from the Queen's Hotel. It's a great place to read the paper or people watch in the late afternoon when the sun begins falling behind the buildings across Victoria Crescent. The public notice board at the top of the Steps adds to the Mediterranean air.

The menu inside the Thirsty Camel is Middle Eastern, Israeli to be specific. The selection of pitas is excellent, including falafel with tahini and Jerusalem mix with hummus. For lunch you can't beat the choice of plates and platters. Soups, salads, and labane (yogurt cheese) are also on the menu, and for desert the baklava can't be beat. The drinks range from homemade lemonade to lattes and mochachinnos.

The falafel at the Thirsty Camel is reputed to be the best this side of the Atlantic Ocean! The Persian and Jerusalem sauces are made on site from original ingredients, and the chicken is free range. All coffees are fair trade. Co-owner Ilan Goldenblatt is a colourful character who used to host a Nanaimo radio show called “Elephant Talk”. He and business partner Yadin Shaikovtiz call their expresso bar “an oasis of fresh food and thought.” The address is 14 Victoria Crescent and in summer they're open Monday to Saturday from 11 am to 7 pm (closed Sundays and holidays).

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