I can't come up with a single complaint about this Lincoln Park gem, which, with frightened visions of long lines, I hesitate to promote. A bottomless basket of warm, paper-thin pita served alongside marinated black olives keeps you company while you read through the menu of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes (all prepared from scratch on site). Most starters cost about $4 and are big enough to share: The lentil soup is vegetarian-friendly, the garlicky hummus and baba ghanouj are perfect precursors to any meal, and the veggie sampler, a value at $7.50, is a nice option for the indecisive.
Main dishes prove that healthy food doesn't have to taste, well, healthy. The chicken and beef shawarma plates are a house favorite, the Moroccan chicken tajine and couscous plates are ultra authentic and rumor has it falafel connoisseurs go gaga for Sinbad's version of the Syrian specialty. If you're new to Middle Eastern cuisine, ease into the experience with a pita sandwich, which, at $4.95-$6.50, comes with crinkle-cut French fries. The portions are huge, but try to save room for out-of-this-world baklava or a freshly squeezed juice or smoothie from the juice bar.
The interior is as warm as the wait staff and as subtle as the Mediterranean music that plays in the background. But if you're not up for dining out, you can carry in or have your meal delivered. In fact, you don't even have to pick up the phone since Sinbad's encourages online ordering. BYOB.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Natalie Goldstein