I’ve been to Al Shami several times, and have had a fun experience each time. I have gotten the buffet, ordered a la carte, and have gone just for shisha and Turkish coffee. Each experience was different, but all good.
The buffet has a decent selection. It is not as extensive as some of the similar restaurants I have been to, but the basics I need were all there: a selection of cold dips and spreads, warm, soft, bread, kibbeh, grape leaves, etc, as well as several mains and desserts. I have only done the buffet once, so I am not sure if they rotate dishes or serve the same things all the time, but the night we went I was pleased with what was on offer.
When I ordered a la carte, we got a mixed appetizer selection, which was a good sample of the usual suspects. For my main, I went for the shakshouka because it is one of my favorite dishes, at home or in a restaurant. It was exactly what I was looking for. In particular, the whites were set AND the yolks were runny, two key aspects for me. The tomato sauce was flavorful but not TOO spicy, which is a problem I sometimes run into.
My companions ordered the mixed grill, and it was tasty too. There was nothing particularly distinctive about the mixed grill, but it was what you’d expect to get, and a representative example of the experience.
Al Shami is one of my favorite places to get shisha and coffee with friends. Now that I think about it, I don’t know why I haven’t been there more often. The shisha is reasonably priced, the ambiance has the right “feel,” it is nice and cool inside, and in the evenings it gets very lively. The only problem I have with it is that it gets so smoky in there, haha. But I guess since I’m part of the problem I’m not in a position to complain.
Overall, I really like Al Shami. Writing this review put it back on my radar. I’m going back, and soon. It’s worth checking out.