Elegant, Yet Simple European Eats at Babas on Cannon

To continue with our ethnic food exploration in the new restaurants recently opened in downtown Charleston, we decided to go check out Babas on Cannon. Babas has labeled themselves as “an old world cafe serving classic espresso and a fine apero”. After our delicious Spanish meal at Malagon, we couldn’t wait to have the opportunity to be transported to Europe once again. We were pleased to find that Babas did a wonderful job of creating that experience for us.

Babas offers a daytime menu Tuesday-Saturday from 7am-3pm, which consists of a variety of reasonably priced breakfast items, pastries, baguette sandwiches, salads, and a “very tall quiche”. They also have an evening menu, which is offered on those same days from 5pm-10pm, and consists of a selection of small plates, as well as a brioche grilled cheese and fried chickpea panisse. Ashley and I opted to try out their lunch options, but definitely plan to come back for breakfast and dinner, as we were not disappointed.

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Last summer I took a two week trip though several European countries, and one of the highlights of all the things I ate were baguette sandwiches. They could be found on carts on the street and at almost every cafe I walked into. Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to try the baguette sandwiches at Babas. I opted for their creamy chevre, roasted carrot, and dill pesto baguette($8), which was served with a small herb salad. I loved the strong dill flavor of the pesto mixed with the creaminess of the chevre. The roasted carrots also had a slight citrus flavor. The bread was quite soft, which I liked, as it made it easy to bite into.

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Ashley opted for the “very tall quiche”, also served with a small herb salad ($7), which was filled with roasted tomato, gruyere, and carmelized onion. We loved how creamy this quiche was, as well as the tangy flavor that the cheese and roasted tomato mixed together provided. The crust was slightly sweet and perfectly soft to the bite. It definitely was a melt-in-your-mouth kind of dish.

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For drinks, I ordered a latte and Ashley ordered an iced coffee, both made with homemade peanut milk. Of all the nut milks on the market right now, I’m surprised peanut milk hasn’t made an outbreak yet, because let me tell you, this milk made my latte taste like dessert! I drink a lot of almond milk, but feel that I never get a strong almond taste in the milk. The peanut flavor in this milk was quite pungent however, making my drink taste essentially like a peanut butter latte. I wasn’t complaining.

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Babas is unique in that yes, it is a restaurant that serves classic European dishes, but it is strictly a counter service restaurant. We enjoyed this aspect of the restaurant, as it is nice to know that people can walk into the restaurant at any time and order something quick, on-the-go, or sit down for a bite to eat. The restaurant also has all their pastries and sandwiches on display, so you know exactly what you’re getting. Babas does a great job of emanating a classic European style restaurant, so much that you feel as though you are walking into a very elegant cafe.

As for pricing, we found this cafe to be pretty affordable for a fancy European cafe. Both our meals were less than $10 (minus the coffee), which is a pretty great deal considering they both came with side salads. Most of their pastries are priced at just $3, while salads being the more expensive option, cost $10 or a few dollars more. If you’re looking for a simple, yet classic (and delicious) European meal, Babas on Cannon is the place to go!

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