Monday, 18 November 2013


1441 Upper James Street, Hamilton
visited Saturday November 16, 2013

The former Licks building has been turned into this middle eastern chain restaurant.  We decided to check it out for lunch.  The reno's on the inside and outside of the building were very nice.  Detail and professional design went into all of it, minus the kids play place tucked into the corner of the restaurant.  That was an odd choice I must say but I guess they are encouraging it as a family restaurant.  The style of dining is a little confusing too.  We walked in and weren't sure whether to seat ourselves or walk up to the chalk board menu and order cafeteria style.  There were no signs directing us and we had to wait till a server walked by to ask.  So the answer is both.  You pick a table that has a number on it and then you can proceed up to the register to place your order and pay.  But then a server comes to serve you your meal at your table once its ready.  Very confusing in my opinion.  Why not just have people seated and order from a menu like a regular restaurant? (We were given the brochure menus at our table to read, but there's also the chalk board to look at the order from).  Nevertheless we figured it out.

The menu is typical Lebanese cuisine with falafels, chicken shawarma, tabbouleh and kafta.  They do have something unique called Manakeesh, which is Arabic style pizza made to order in a wood burning oven.  They have 24 different varieties ranging from $2.49-$6.99 for a personal size pizza.  So I went for one of these since I've never eaten one and they looked pretty appetizing. 

Butter Chicken Shawarma $6.99

I chose the Butter Chicken Pizza $6.99.  It was made on a fresh pita with a butter chicken sauce as the base and then topped with chicken shawarma and melted mozzarella cheese.  All the ingredients were fresh and the flavours tasted really good together, but it was missing dipping sauce or something bright to liven it up.  I dug into my husbands garlic sauce that was served with his meal and that seemed to help.  And the pizza was huge and could've fed two people so it was good value for the money.

Chicken Shawarma Plate $11.99

James had his favourite Lebanese meal the Chicken Shawarma plate $11.99.   It was served with white rice or fries, tomatoes, lettuce, mixed pickles, half a pita and garlic dipping sauce.  He enjoyed it but commented that he preferred the chicken shawarma at Montforts instead.

Complimentary Pita
All guests are served very large, very warm pitas to start that come out all puffed up with heat inside.  They were actually very good, but again no dip or side accompaniments to go along which made them kinda dry and boring. 

Baklava .78cents & Complimentary Turkish Coffee
Paramount has one of the best selection of Lebanese sweets and desserts all laid out in a lovely window near the register to tempt your sweet tooth.  I happen to love baklava so had to indulge.  I had one pistachio filled, one cashew filled and one that was mixed with both nuts.  The baklava is weighed for the price and my three pieces worked out to a whopping .78 cents.  They were the perfect after meal sweet, drenched in honey, crispy and flaky phyllo dough and fresh nuts.  The complimentary self serve Turkish coffee was deep and rich in flavor and went perfectly with the baklava. 
Rating: Food 3.0*, Value 4.5*, Service 3.5*, D├ęcor/Ambiance 4.0*  Overall: 3.75  This restaurant has many pros and a few cons.  The food is good but we've had better Lebanese elsewhere.  The Arabic pizza is a unique twist but it could be elevated just that touch more to be spectacular.  The dessert selection is great and the first I've seen of its kind in a middle eastern restaurant.  I wish they would just make this a full out restaurant with regular service instead of the in between cafeteria service and the kids playground in the corner.  And please serve some dips or toppings for the pitas please!  For $25 we had a good and filling lunch with leftovers. I might give it one more go to try a few things on the menu I was eyeing.

Paramount Fine Foods on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. I felt the same about this place. The method of ordering is terrible. I got to the counter and said my table number and somebody ahead of me took it already so I had to look around and grab another. service was sub par but the food was delicious. I've been to the one in Mississauga and you order the same way but they seem to be more organized at it? More like an organized chaos. The fresh pita will always bring me back.