Ali Baba (not to be confused with the ex-pat bar on Tong An Dao, Heping district) is located on the second floor of the Olympic Stadium complex at Weijin Nan Lu. The interior feels like a traditional Indian restaurant, with soft drapes and the familiar rectangular tables of the West. The atmosphere is plush, warm and welcoming: Indian music plays on the TV and a pleasant aroma greets you as you enter. The menu is bilingual, though of course the English words refer to the Indian dishes. If you are not familiar with chats, daals and bhunas, you might be at a disadvantage. However, the Indian staff is very helpful and will explain the dishes to you, and can also make them more or less spicy to suit your preferences. When I dined there once in a group of ten, the waiter let us club together for the meal but order our drinks separately. Most Chinese restaurants would find an insurmountable complication.
The food is very good, coming out rapidly and in a logical order. The range of drinks was not substantial however, with a limited selection of beers and Chinese wines only. That said, there were nice fruit juices on offer for those avoiding alcohol.
Ali Baba also has hookahs, which for a non-smoker like myself are rather fun to try. Apple and strawberry tobaccos are on sale, both of which are very mild and quite tasty. Prices are reasonable for the quality on offer – expect to pay about 100-150 RMB per person. It isn’t generally too busy, so getting a table is unlikely to be a problem.
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