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Nubia Cafe is Orange County at its finest, located in a strip mall next to a pupusería, a place that rocks just like Rick’s in Casablanca. There’s a palpable excitement upon entering this place, from the bold, Toulouse-Lautrec-meets-Cairo murals on the wall to the smell and haze of the hookahs fired up at every table. And unlike most of the hookah lounges in Orange County, Nubia doesn’t dismiss the food options as throwaways; here’s an ambitious menu equally split between Lebanese and Jordanian rarities, with a couple of Egyptian favorites thrown in. They sell a slew of manakeesh (the flatbreads sometimes called sphihas and universally translated in English as Middle Eastern pizzas) topped with zaatar, kufta, and other preferred Levantine ingredients. Also available are Lebanese subs, sandwiches served on a pressed, crackly baguette, steaming and reeking of garlic sauce worthy of a mojo de ajo.
Anaheim's Little Arabia neighborhood has a slew of hookah lounges, each favored by a certain segment of the county's vast Middle Eastern/Muslim community. But it's only at Nubia Cafe that the communities merge, where young men curse the Lakers'... More »
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