The food here is super delicious and clean!! The price is a bit expensive about $15-20 a person, but if you have a date or want to impress i would suggest going here. Really nice atmosphere and pretty murals on the wall! Must try the lamb shank or the djaj *sp? and rice! super delicious. This place is a must! The staff is very consistent w/checking your status-whether it be drinks, desserts, ect....
I would reccomend this Lebanese Cuisine!!
Great menu and the food is consistently cooked well (it's a plus the chef owner is there all the time to ensure quality) Have to be careful to choose menu items you like.... I recommend the mezza feat (for 3 or more people) you'll get many delicious items that are not part of the standard mezza. service can be spotty, especially when they get busy, but, generally, everyone is eager and they try their best
Yahala seems to be in a bit of an "oasis" of niceness in a questionable part of town - the atmosphere around the restaurant is pretty good.
The restaurant itself has nice ambiance and decor, a good place for a casual meal as well as something more formal.
The food is great! They serve omnivores and herbivores alike, and are very specific on their menu as to what is vegetarian or vegan. They have a large vegetarian and vegan selection.
We ended up ordering a bunch of "mezza" or appetizers. I'd highly recommend the vegetarian kibbeh, and the falafels are quite good. Their bread is very tasty, too. I'd avoid the fatayer, though - it was a bit sour for my tastes.
PROS: Great food, atmosphere, service
CONS: Sour fatayer
used to love thish place but since the man that owned moved to the beaverton store we've noticed a decline in food. spent 31.00 for lunch and we ordered a rosewater and cherry drink. we wanted a refill and the waitress said no she would have to charge us. after spending 31.00 for lunch you would think she would have been happy to give us a free refill; drink was $3.00 and it only cost the restaurant around $.50 if that. the waitress talked herself out of a large tip. husband is a chef and he always tips nice when we get good service. the lamb was old and dry. am really sad at how much this restaurant has declined.
Cons: old lamb, bad pita bread; too small and hard
Heard good things. Tried it. Service was beyond slow. Perhaps the slowest I've experienced in PDX. Food was ok. Had a friend who wanted to go, tried it again. I cant stress how poor the service was ie got only water for 25mins (we were caught up in conversation before we realized this) tried to wave over a waiter- no luck. walked out. I wont go back nor recommend it ever.
A dinner tonight at Country Cat (excellent) brought up Ya Hala conversation since it is next door. The entire table has had poor service to the point of never returning.
Pros: Im sorry I couldnt give this a minus star rating
Cons: indifferent service, dirty!
Just went in there & wow was it gross. Atleast 8 tables not bussed & food all over the floor. That might be understandable, but there was only 3 tables occupied. After the rude waitress did her best to ignore us, she told us to sit wherever (yeah right, where?). We decided to brave it anyway & bus out own table & piled all the leftover food onto another table full of leftover food. All the while watching employees walk around the back just talking to each other. When the waitress finally got to our table, I asked her what was going on with the place & she made a snide comment, making it aware to my girlfriend & I stayed or left. We left & will never be back.
I have been here twice for 2 occasions with a group... some of the items that I consider as safe choices (kabob, chicken shawarma) did not turn out to be that way.
Chicken shawarma was not so good on one visit and was good on the other. Kabob was okay.
Veggie choices were good like their falafel was very good and Bamyae (okra dish) was surprisingly nice.
Their Makloube (with lamb) wasn't appeling enough for me (probably a little undercooked for my taste).
Considering that Portland has a lot of other good middle eastern place (like Nicholas, Hoda, Karams, etc), I give it 3-stars, but definitely not a bad place to go.
Pros: Nice interiors and good service
Cons: Not so great food
I grew up with a large arab population and love the food. But this joint is only ok. The meat is good. The hummus is surprisingly not very good. Very bland. They give you fresh baked bread but not on sandwiches.
The veggie mezza is so so. Mainly because the hummus. The only plus there is the Baba. The veggie Mezza is far better at Nicholas well as is everything.
Just go to Nicholas
Pros: Actual Middle Eastern Food
Cons: Not the best
Service takes forever, and is only so-so. But the food is excellent, except the artichoke, with the humus being the best I have had in the city. Know that you will have to wait a while, especially on a Friday or Saturday night.
Pros: Humos, Food
Cons: Wait, Service
All i can say, is that this restaurant is the best restaurant i have ever eaten at!!!
Pros: Best Everything!
My falafel was soft and mushy. My grilled tuna was overcooked. The service was unbearably slow. I can see why the prices are so cheap. The chef wore a frown the entire time and seemed to hate being there. Too bad because I do enjoy middle eastern cuisine, when it's good. I'll be getting my falafel from the guy on 22nd and Division from now on.
Pros: cheap in price, but also production unfortunately
Cons: Bad service, Bad food. The chef has an attitude problem.
The falafel was terrible! It was not fresh, and infact was microwaved and mushy! Very disapointing since cripsy falafel is a favorite of mine. The Foul Mudamas is definately from a can, and the wait for food is so long, I felt like they were holding me hostage! With a microwave and canned food, why should it take 45 minutes for appetizers? I am surprised they are so busy, it must be because it is cheap. I will never eat here again.
Pros: Next to another place to eat
Cons: Food does not taste fresh, slow service
OMG you have got to try the moughrabieh! It is like what would happen if I had a sweet old Lebanese grandmother who just happened to be the best home cook in the world and she was making me an extra special dish for my birthday. Two separate bowls, one with braised beef shank in a rich brothy sauce, one of braised chicken, perfectly seasoned, served with a dish of flavorful Israeli type (large grain) couscous and a big spoonful of thick whole milk yogurt. This is REAL, REAL food, not some sort of contrived restaurant dish that is trying to be as good as homemade. My boyfriend was totally jealous when I ordered this and he ordered something else (we don't even remember it compared to the delights of the moughrabieh). Get a couple of light mezza to start and then share this and you will be so satisfied. We have also tried several of the various mezza and they are all great. I don't usually order kebab because I don't think they're very good most places, but here they are indeed tender and well-seasoned. The Veggie Mezza sampler is a great deal, as it is a surprisingly large amount of food, sometimes we are so full after just sharing it that we can't believe we still have an entree to eat and end up taking a lot of food home. So yes, I think this restaurant is a great value, by the way. And finally, the service is pleasant and friendly. One time we had a problem where two sisters who work there each thought the other one was taking care of our table and so we didn't get any service for quite a while but I think that was an isolated incident and actually it was kind of funny.
Pros: Delicious food, try the moughrabieh!
Cons: Service is occasionally slow, not always though
True that sometimes the food can take a while (up to thirty five minutes), but every dish is cooked to order and well worth the wait. There is an extensive appetizer menu to help pass the time while you wait for your main entree. It is a little weird how the food trickles out one plate at a time, but it appears to be a vey small kitchen with not a lot of staff. Highly recommend the stuffed artichoke heart platter. This place is very friendly to omnivores and herbivores alike.
The best time to go is off peak hours, the service, timing, and noise level are all improved at these times.
Pros: Great selection for meat eaters, vegetarians, and vegans.
Cons: Sometimes there is a little wait for a table.
I found Ya Hala in the AAA travel guide while trying to find a hotel in Portland. It was a little hard to find, but WOW! This is the best restaurant I have eaten at in a long time. The food was excellent and a great price. I found my new favorite dish-the vegetarian kibbeh. Everything we had was very tasty, and I enjoyed the smallish portions so we could try a variety of different dishes (they were still bigger than we imagined and we had plenty of leftovers). I would definitely give Ya Hala a try if you haven't been there before. I will be back again and again!
Pros: Great food, good price
The food is wonderful but on a Friday be prepared to wait for a table and your meal. The service was good, however I decided to pay close attention to the kitchen to see how it works and was appauled to see who I think was the owner bully her employess when she thought no one was watching. This left me with a bad taste in my mouth.
For the most part, I really enjoy this spot. The veggie mezza is great, and foul was excellent. When you get a good server, the experience becomes that much better. Top 2 for lebonese in pdx -
The food here is amazing and it is very inexpensive for how much you get. The wait can be really really long on the weekends but they are very good about putting you on the wait list as soon as you get there and giving you updates on how long it will be. I definitely think this is the best Lebanese restaurant in Portland.
Pros: Delicious food
Cons: Long waits on weekends
I love the chocolate cake at Ya Hala, the kabobs are fantastic, especially on the fragrant bed of rice. This is one of my favorite places in SE. Always good, and very affordable.
Cons: sometimes theres a wait, not open very late
I have been a regular at Ya Hala since moving to Portland 9 years ago. Agree with all the comments about the service ...its pretty dire at the best of times. I've noticed also that in the last six months the food quality has really slipped. A couple of times recently I've noticed that the Babaganoush tastes processed, exactly like the tinned stuff in the store which is attached to the restaurant. And the Fatoush is not consistent....the last time we were there it had no fresh mint, over ripe tasteless toms and what tasted like low quality olive oil. And way too much crispy pita in there......like they had run out of other ingredients maybe?
The bad service I could live with. But not the bad food. So I won't be returning anytime soon.
Pros: Reasonable prices
Cons: Terrible service and inconsistent food quality
I've been going to Ya Hala for 4 years. For the first 2, service was average to above average, but the last 2 years it has gone horribly down hill. On several occasions, I've had to walk to the kitchen, and ask where my entree was, because the waitress never brought it and didn't come over when I flagged her. They rarely bring your bill out, and you're forced to track down a waitress and get it, or just leave the money. Tables are often uncleaned.
On the other hand, the veggie mezza plate is a great value, and the entrees tend to be well priced. the baklava and other desserts here are always delicious, although the baklava is over priced. The attached store has a lot of good values as well.
Pros: The cost, and taste
Cons: Limited parking, horrible service, not terribly clean
We used to go here alot and loved it. We tried it again recently for takeout and were very disappointed to find how bad the food has gotten.
We got veggie mezza, everything tasted the same. Too much lemon and oil.
The fried cauliflower was oily and tasteless.
The falafel is no longer made from scratch but dry prepackaged "hockey pucks".
They also forgot our hummus which might have been the saving grace, instead they barely get 1 star.
Too bad-another restaurant we won't go back to.
Pros: outdoor seating
Cons: food, noisy,
I tried out Ya Hala on Saturday night. Although the restaurant was consistently full while I was there, there was never a long wait for a table. The service was slow, which is to be expected during peak mealtimes, but I was still a little disappointed. My food was served warm, not hot, so I knew it had been sitting around for a while.
That said, you can get a filling, flavorful dinner (fresh pita bread, salad, and entree) for $10-15. I enjoyed my chicken kabob and hummus; my friend said her lamb was a bit dry but had great taste. This is a safe bet for good Middle Eastern food, but I would definitely recommend going during the off hours when it's less busy-- you'll get better service. If you want to try Middle Eastern cuisine, I would also recommend Arabian Breeze on Broadway and Hoda's on Belmont.
Pros: predictably good food, decent prices
Cons: slow service
I am a huge fan of Mediterranean food and Ya Hala is hands-down my favorite place in the area to get it. The menu includes explanations of the dishes for those who are unfamiliar and the prices are reasonable. Newcomers should try the appetizer platter, which is a great introduction to the fantastic flavors.
Don't miss the international grocery store they have next door! It is also a winner.
My only issue is that seating can take a while (20 minutes) if there is a crowd. However, the family who owns the store is colorful and authentic.
Pros: to-die-for food
Cons: slow service
I love the food here. I grew up eating lebanese food and this is obviously the real thing. I have not had better since my childhood. Not to mention that there is much for vegetarians and vegans to choose from. The portions are generous and the prices are extremely reasonable. This is a great place to go if you want to feel like you are spending more than you actually can afford.
However, the service may remind you that you are getting a delicious meal for just a few dollars...it has been pretty awful everytime I have been there. I have had to wait up to 20 minutes before being greeted at the door and then another 15 at my table and then I had to ask for water which took another 5 minutes. Ugh! I have found the pattern here to be that they really warm up after you are done with your meal and are about to pay (tip). So, at least there is an attempt to end on a good note (get their tip). But again, the food is wonderful even if the service is not. And I have to say it's worth putting up with negligent, flippant, and obviously irritated by your needs wait staff. At least you can know what to expect and roll with the punches. Get the stew, your mouth will thank you (this i think has the most extraordinary layers of flavor). The mezza platter is plenty for 2 people and it is only $8.95, split that, and it is one cheap, delicious meal!! Get a kabob with rice if you are really hungry. The rice is the best I have ever had.
Pros: amazing, authentic food.
The service and food are good and overall nice dining experience - avoid the grocery store next door for browsing while waiting or upon leaving. Mom behind the counter sports a very LARGE CROSS and the street door entrance/exit bears a beautiful picture of Christ symbolic of the family's Christian values OR
perhaps an attempt to separate themselves from being perceived as non-Christian. Ironically, looking around the restaurant over several dining visits, it is apparent that their business is mostly frequented by Athiest, Muslims, Jewish, Budhist and CHRISTIANS. I believe a restaurant is a place to dine and enjoy a meal - not a place where one is subjected to proprieter's personal beliefs although the symbols adorned the wall and the body may be a non-verbal response to social and political issues at hand .
Cons: display of Personal on-verbal messages - grocery section
I've been going to this restaurant since the nineties, and the only time I was disappointed was when it was too crowded to get a table. The food is all fantastic, from appetizers to desserts (on the rare occasions I've been able to save room for dessert!). Order with confidence--it's all great.
Pros: Great food, affordable
Cons: gets crowded -- go early!
I love going to this restaurant. I cannot believe how much food you get for such reasonable prices. The last time we were there it was incredibly busy (on a Tuesday night)!. If you are prone to blood-sugar attacks when hungry, there's a grocery store next door where you can buy a small snack to tide you over. We finally got our table, and proceeded to be astounded by the platters of food served to us. It was amazing and delicious. Our server was very friendly, but was busier than 10 people. I noted some of the previous reviews criticized the service. I think the place gets busier than it can handle. Our server was also bussing, hostessing, answering the phone and helping with takeout orders all with a full section of tables. They could stand to hire more help. But the food is what we go there for and it is wonderful. If you haven't been there before the vegetarian mezza is a great way to try many different things. But the specialty entrees are the true gems, although they take a long time. I recommend the eggplants stuffed with beef or the lamb shank dinner. If you are there for lunch, try a calzone (not on the dinner menu, bummer). In all, the food is stupendous, service friendly but overworked, atmosphere authentic, I will continue to be a regular customer. Don't go if you are the impatient type.
Pros: friendly atmosphere, delicious food
Cons: always busy
Wow! In a city with so many Lebanese restaurants, it is hard to find one that stands out. Ya Hala is one of those standouts.
We went on a Saturday night during prime time and had a quite a wait, but the adjacent grocery kept us busy. By the time we were called, we were very hungry and ready to order everything on the menu, and nearly did.
We started with humus, babaganush and stuffed grape leaves. They were all amazing. I was almost sorry i hadn't ordered the grape leaves for my main course, they were that good.
I ordered the ahi for my main course, while the others ordered a meat platter of lamb, beef and chicken, stuffed artichoke hearts, and the beef swarma.
The ahi was unbelievable. The helping was huge, and it was cooked to perfection. There was enough for another meal the next day when I was done.
The meat platter was three very large kabobs all cooked perfectly. Again, there was enough left over for another meal.
The stuffed artichoke hearts were a bit bland, but came to life once tahini was added. Did I mention that the tahini was by far the best tahini any of us had ever tasted!
The beef swarma was also a bit bland, and again tahini was added and it perked right up.
None of us left in the least bit hungry, in fact we all passed on dessert. We all agreed that we would be going back again very soon, as Ya Hala is a standout.
There are many very good restaurants in Portland, and this one, though not on the beaten track, is one of them. But, if you are going on weekend, be prepared for a long wait. This is no hidden treasure. It has been discovered by many and from all parts of the greater Portland Area we discovered that night.
Pros: excellent babaganush, stuffed grape leaves, ahi, lamb, and friendly service
Cons: long waits on the weekends, sometimes the kitchen is slow
We love this place. The food is excellent and very reasonably priced. The first time i went i couldnt believe how amzing the resturant was. I try to go once a week. i have gone to other labanese resturants but nothing compares to this one the humus, baba, chicken, lamb, tabuli, and vegi. kibbeh are my favorite! Everyone should try some of amazing dishes they have at ya hala! :)
Pros: GREAT FOOD
Yes, the food is good. Are there similar or better in Portland, probably. I've been to many. What I can't get over is the long long waits. An hour and a half for a party of 6 after seeing many many tables of the same number who came in after us seated before us. The hostess continued to lie about the wait and which tables were opening. She even went as far to "take our order" while we were waiting so the food would be ready when we sat down. Nice right? Wrong. The order wasn't put in until we actually sat down. I have no idea why she continued to lie to us as the night went on. When we asked to speak to the manager one of the teenagers who works there came to speak with us. We asked for a manager, not her daughter.
The service was so horrible I will never go back and will be sure to tell all my friend, family and co-workers the same. There's no food that could make up for the lack of customer service at this restaurant. Portland is too big of a food town to put up with incompetence.
Pros: decent food
Cons: long lines, lousy service
Our family comes to town on average once a month. They are particular with their food preferences and we usually settle on lebanese food or something vegetarian. The food here is amazing. It is very reasonably priced and the portions are very generous. There is a plethora of options to choose from and the deserts they have is the perfect topper for a delicious meal. Great place for family or as a date night for you and someone special. Check it out - you won't regret it!
Pros: Good variety and great value for the money
Cons: Not in the greatest part of town
I haven't been here in a while, but when I go, I am always blown away. Fast all day so I can gorge here. Go on off-peak times otherwise you'll have a wait. But if you wait, it's totally worth it!!
Pros: Amazing food, very friendly service
Cons: parking, no reservations accepted, no waiting room
Ya Hala is a step up in atmosphere for a Portland middle east restaurant. The food is rich, with full and strong flavors. The price is $10 per person with enough to take home for a sack lunch tomorrow. The one setback was that the service was friendly, but inattentive, resulting in not getting some extras like condiments, or not getting the check without going up to the server and asking for it. Regardless of the service flaw, minor, but annoying, Ya Hala will return to the top of my list of favorite neighborhood restaurants.
Pros: Excellent feasting for a great price
Cons: annoying service from friendly, but overworked staff
Best baba in Portland and the veggie kibbeh is TDF. Did I mention that they catered our wedding reception last December? Top notch. Everyone is super friendly. Don't forget the attached store where you can buy all the ajvar you can stuff into your pantry.
I love this resturant! Best food in portland! I had great service. I fell in love with all the food. I would recommend the lamb shawarma!
Pros: food and service
Ya Hala has a great array of appetizers, entrees, desserts and wines. Their Dajaj over Rice (marinated chicken on top of finel ground, spiced beef, over a bed of Basmati rice) is amazing and I find it hard not to order it even though the rest of the menu is excellent. The restaurant gets very crowded in the evening and does not take reservations but once you put your name on the list there is a Lebanese grocery store attached to mull around in until you table is ready. If you don't get there by 7pm expect to wait upto an hour.
Pros: Excellent food
Cons: Long wait, seating is very tight when restaurant is full
I absolutely love this restaurant. Awesome food at awesome prices. The veggie mezza platter can feed 2-3 people and only costs $8.95. The Lentil Soup is divine as well as the eggplant stew. Awesome food and prices, you can't go wrong here. Just be sure to come early as you can find yourself waiting 30 minutes or more for a table during their peak times. Even so, it's worth the wait!
Pros: cheap, great food, good ambience
Cons: be prepared to wait if you don't get there early
take it from someone who know Lebanese food, the food here is excellent. With many items on the menu that are hard to find elsewhere. Mezza for 4 or more is by far the best bet - What a feast! Other menu items could be good/bad depending on your taste and preference. Skip the desert, however. OH, you'll want to get there early (before 6:45pm) unless you like to wait and/or shop at the great Lebanese grocery store next door (they have some fantasitc cheese)
Pros: Can't go wrong with the food
Cons: Long wait/ lack of appropriate waiting area/somewhat dark
You know when you have horrible service when you can't remember what your waitress looked like. Took us 20 minutes to get her to look at our table of 3 and get refills on drinks and more bread. I think we drank more water and soda than ate. The food is WONDERFUL, but the service was REALLY bad! If you want GREAT service.......... go to Hodas on Belmont you will NOT be dissappointed. and the bread is fresh there too...... in fact before you can even ask for more they already have it at your table. I'm 95% sure that I will not return to this resturant. I will say that if you want good food it's a good choice...... but don't look for the service. I'm sure they they are glad I'm not a secret diner anymore too! I felt we were in HELLS KITCHEN it took almost 1 hour to get our entree.
Pros: GREAT food....... good quanity
Cons: HORRIBLE service.................... lol bring you own drinks maybe!
so true, the service leaves a lot to be desired - but the food more than makes up for it. The babaganoush is the bomb.
can get super crowded - so best to go during off peak hours.
I went to Ya Hala for an experience and a new style of food. I am glad to say(as I pat my full and satisfied belly) I got both. The service was great and the Lamb Shank that I ordered was even better. If you are in the mood for a not so ordinary american meal, come to Ya Hala. This was my first time there but it seems like other people in the city know about this place. It was packed!
Pros: Good food, good service
Cons: If really busy, parking could be a problem
Ya Hala is by far the best Lebanese restaurant in town! We across town (from NW PDX) all the time to enjoy the great food and wonderful service. Did I mention what a great value it is too! I would drive across the city daily if I had the time and could afford the gas! I am lucky, however, because John (the owner of Ya Hala) and his family now own Barbur World Foods (on Barbur & Capitol Highway). When I need a quick fix of Ya Hala or wonderful groceries I can now drive just a few minutes to get it! Try Ya Hala...and Barbur Foods too...you will not be dissapointed!
All that talk made me hungry...I think I might go to Ya Hala tonight...
i can't comment on the food, because i never got to eat it. a group of 9 of us went here for a friend's birthday, i had to leave because of a previous engagement BUT they waited 2 hours to be seated!
Cons: long wait for groups, no reservations
This is a restaurant where you are frequently and cheerfully served by the owner and his wife. In addition to the great service, this place has some of the best food I've ever eaten... for a great price. The hummus is the smoothest I've ever had, and the pitas are fresh and hot out of the clay oven.
A delicious lamb shawarma sandwich for lunch runs for under five dollars, making this a very affordable lunch option. The dinner entrees are unique and well presented. If you like wine, there are some international varieties that go well with dinner, and that you may never have tasted before.
Sometimes the place gets crowded in the evenings, but there is a cute and interesting mediterranean grocery attached for you to peruse while you wait.
Pros: inexpensive, delicious food, great service
Cons: sometimes crowded
food was mediocre, the baba ganouj was terrible. tasteless, overpowerd by lemon. The hummus was too smooth and lacking an appreciable flavor. Rice was excellent but unfortunetly accompanied by an overcooked kefta kaboob. Service was horribly slow and unattentive with snobby, sassy young girls, while the manager smooked her hooka looking on from the patio oblivious to the poor customer service.
Pros: cheap, nice outside patio
Cons: bad service, tasteless meza, bad view
I have been to Ya Hala for 5 times in last 3 months and I don't get bored at all! The flat bread is always hot and soft. Lamb shank is very tender, Tabouli, Baklava... I can go on and on. Everything is so good and very cheap. Don't forget to drink a cup of Turkish coffee!
Pros: Kids friendly, Easy access, Price