Austin >Food & Dining > Ararat Middle East Restaurant
111 E Northloop Blvd, Austin, TX | Directions 7875130.317517 -97.721999
Kitchen closes at 10pm
Neighborhoods: North Loop
Reviews work... Out of business. – Was looking for a Middle Eastern Restaurant. Glad I read the reviews...
btw.. They're out of business.
OUTSTANDING EXPERIENCE – AFTER LEARNING THAT ONE OF MY FAVORITE RESTARAUNTS WAS CLOSING,I HAD TO GO AND HAVE THE LAMB ONE MORE TIME. THE DINNER ITSELF WAS A LITTLE CHAOTIC AT FIRST (OF COURSE ITS UNDERSTANDABLE THAT CLOSING NIGHT MUST HAVE BEEN STRESSFUL) BUT EVENED OUT TO WHAT WAS A GREAT AND FESTIVE DINING EXPERIENCE. THE SAD IRONY IS THAT THE PARTY WAS SO FANTASTIC, EVEN MAGICAL AND WE WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO DINE THERE AGAIN. I PRAY FOR THE STAFF TO BE ABLE TO RECOVER FROM LOSSING THEIR JOBS, BECAUSE OBVIOUSLY THEY WERE CLOSE AS A FAMILY AND TRULY THE LABOR OF LOVE WAS EVIDENT. THE SHOW ITSELF UNDER THE STARS WAS A ONCE IN A LIFETIME EXPERIENCE.........AND WHO WAS THAT MALE BELLYDANCE/FIRE THROWER?????? WHAT AWESOME SYNCOPATION IN HIS PREFORMANCE AND THE NAUGHTY GIRL SHOWS WERE SIMPLY DELIGHTFUL!!!!! THANK YOU FOR A WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE. GOOD LUCK TO YOU IN THE FUTURE AND I WILL EAGERLY ANTICIPATE YOUR NEW HOME THIS WOULD BE WRONG TO CEASE TO EXIST AS THE ONLY PLACE WITH THE BEST LAMB.
This restaurant is closing on March 24, 2007. – According to the austinist website, Ararat is closing its doors with a farewell party on Saturday, 3/24/07. After reading the more recent reviews here, it seems like a place that doesn't deserve to survive, so...farewell.
ARARAT – A group of four celebrating a birthday, quickly learned that good customer service is not to be expected at Arafat. Each time we interacted with the waiter, we were received with indifference to one degree or another. Unbeknownst to us word got back to the manager that we had some concerns. Soon after we settled the bill and were ready to leave, we found ourselves surrunded by a couple of employees, and a woman we did not know to be the manager, who had been listening in on our private conversation. She confronted us about our dissatisfaction, but actually she was not inclined to hear us out, but rather to throw accusations and insults at us. She was intent on further demeaning us by "throwing us out of there!" Clearly she took advantage of the the fact that we were the only customers seated in back makeshift area to unload herself; she regained her composure as we passed thru the main dining room to exit, all the while quickly shoving us along, lest the customer take notice of what was going on. There was no question that she was deteremined to insult us in any form and fashion she could muster. This is the worst experience I have ever had at any dining experience. It left me reeling from the suddenness and extremeness of it all. I attempted to appeal to her sympathetic nature by informing her that this was a birthday celebration, but by then she was so far gone, as to be unreachable! Needless to say, rather than celebrating a birthday, we ended up tending our wounds. The experience was so bad as to be unbelievable; one that needs no embellishment! Good customer service is clearly not something Arafat espouses, so unless you cannot live without the food (which, at best, is mediocre) , then keeping a distance is advised! All this mayhem, a mere result of our voicing our concerns amongst our own party...unbelievable!!
Mediocre food, bad service, scary manager – A good friend asked to take me to dinner for my birthday last night and I unwittingly picked Ararat. I remembered that you could bring a bottle of wine then and checked the restaurant website to make sure alcohol was not sold now. Reservations were made rather late and we arrived to be seated on a patio with a patio heater in what looked like a storage room adored with a shawl tacked on the wall. We ordered and the waiter noticed the bottle of wine we had. He brought three tumblers for those who wanted wine and left the corkscrew on the table. He did not mention the $3 per person corking fee. I thought food and portions were okay but not exceptional and the food came quickly enough. The piped music for the for the University of Texas type dancer would rise to a point you could not talk over when she started. The first low point came when a member of our party asked for bread. It did not come and when she saw the waiter again, she said she no longer needed it as she had finished her meal. He told her "no problem" and she laughed and said "no problem for you" and he peeked around the corner to let her know he heard. When the bill was brought, I asked this waiter how we were supposed to know about the $9 corking charge. He said it was on the menu and most restaurants charged more. So I retorted, "so we did not read the menu well enough." We also asked for a go box and were waiting some time for it discussing our displeasure with service, etc. and a woman shows up and asks if I need the go box. She gets it and I tell her the service has not been very good and she tells me that maybe it is the customers who are not good. We are all taken aback and then she stays to argue and finally I ask her just to leave us alone. She announces she is the owner and she will do what she likes. So as she closely follows us out for the crime of mentioning bad service we are also told not to talk and cause any scene in front of the other diners. It was truly a memorable dining experience.
What happened to Ararat? – I first went to Ararat last year- the food was incredible, portions were huge, and we had no problem with the service. In addition, we brought our own wine (not realizing that wine wasn't served) and weren't charged a corking fee. I just went with a few friends to introduce them to what I had thought was the best middle-eastern restaurant in town, and experienced a complete 180 from my last experience. The servers were nonexistant- most of them couldn't be bothered to speak with us for more than a moment (although one lady who took over our table from some random guy was nice). We waited over an hour for our food- the spicy dishes weren't, the portions were tiny, and although I read about a $1.00 corking fee on the menu (in very small print), they charged us $3.00 per person for bringing a bottle of wine, even though one of didn't drink. I ordered baklava for desert- last time I had it, it was a huge piece- this time, it was about the size of a quarter, for $3.00. I will never return to Ararat again, and I highly encourage others to avoid it as well. I will find a better middle eastern restaurant.
Please Ararat, Get Back To Basics Again – Love your restaurant so much, started going after it was first opened years ago, when the A/C didnt work so well..... I had just gotten back from a trip to Greece/Turkey, Arrarat's is the only place in town that even comes close to that region's food. So good. However, my last visit there was just sad.
I've notice the portions shrink down to practially nothing and what I finally received, after waiting an hour and a half was unedible. I got the chicken shishkabob, which was completely chared so badly it resembled a charchol brikette.
The waiter came by and asked if everything was ok, I pointed to my plate and asked his opinon...he gasped and took the plate away. My date had gotten fish or something, it was to include shrimp...that was missing, we got that about 30 min later.
RE: the shishkabob, they used to be cooked like a real shishkabob, on a skewer, with veggies placed in between the meat...now, they just grill it and cut it up and skewer it, so sad it's changed.
You will lose clients when word starts to get out, and it will, but there's hope, here's what you can do to fix.
1. Faster cooking times, 1.5 hrs is just too long, hire a good cook.
2. Larger portions, like the way it used to be. If you've got to charge more, do so, I will pay.
3. Music needs to be lower, i have to yell accross the table to my date to be heard over the EuroTechno music.
4. Dancers? We all loved the traditional dancer best, the ones you've got now look like they came from suicidegirls*com or Eores Bday. What happened to the one you used to have back in the day, she seemed like the real deal not a coed from UT.
Thanks for many years of great and intersting dining, it takes me back to Greece/Turkey every time I eat there. Here's hoping for many more years in Austin. No need to reinvent the wheel here, just get back to basics.
Someone, anyone, please save Ararat!!!! – Wow, what a disappointment! We've been huge fans of Ararat for years, always one of our favorite haunts for a cozy, romantic evening and fantastic food. Having visited this past week after a few months' hiatus, we were sorely disappointed, and had hoped it was a one-time deal. However, now that I've read all the reviews that seem to reinforce our experience, I'm sad to say we may not ever return. It's rare that we find an establishment that fails on all three critical elements of the dining experience: food, atmosphere, service. Our greeter and server were completely unaffected by our presence, and paid us little attention during our entire stay. What used to be a cozy atmosphere was washed out in the bright lighting that now permeates the room. We had to ask if the lights could be dimmed, but were told that too many people had complained about it being too dark (isn't that part of the allure at Ararat? that womb-ish, den-like feeling? Could they have added candles, perhaps, instead of 100 watt bulbs?). Our server forgot our appetizer, and instead of apologizing, claims he just "didn't hear us" order it (never once apologized, and I had watched him write everything down!). Our entrees (Sizzling Lamb & Sizzling Salmon) were far from "sizzling"--both in terms of temperature and spice. We go to Ararat specifically for these dishes. We have worked in the service industry for years, and have never had enough reason to complain (understanding that there may be numerous factors contributing to a mediocre experience), but this was just plain BAD. When we offered our concerns to the other server (or manager?), she offered us dessert on the house, or to remake our meals (which were 2/3 finished), which we declined, but though she made the offer, there was no genuine sentiment of concern or apology in her demeanor. What has happened to Ararat? Can someone please save this former Austin favorite?
Awesome Baba Ganuj! So-so Service. – I've been dining at Ararat pretty consistenly for the past 2 1/2 years. I was there last about 5 months ago. I have to agree that the servers are somewhat unfriendly.
The food has always been amazing, and this coming from someone who worked at an amazing MiddleEastern restaurant for 3 years.
After reading all these recent, terrible reviews, I am nervous about going back.
I will however give them another try....will post again...
Worst dining experience in Austin – This is by far my worst dining experience in Austin. Ararat offers a strange combination of Iranian, Lebanese, Armenian and Indian food. The food itself is very straighforward if not a bit bland. Any attempt to add a bit of taste, like chilli, you will be charged 1$ more per meal. The portions were too tiny too.
Worse than the food is the service. I have never been treated this way in a restaurant. The staff are extremely rude and are always pushing customers around. They do not have a clue about the food they serve or how they should do it. The setting is terrible: wanting to play on the "exoticism" of the "orient" the restaurant ends up seating customers on rocky unstable chairs and benches. Some chairs even had nails sticking out !
We were a party of 11 and we chose the group/family meal which amounts to 25$/person. The waiter said that this included tip and gratutities to the bellydancer. But at the end of our meal we were cornered into paying the bellydancer for the lousy job she did. Dancing to techno music with unshaven armpits, she was a dancing disaster.
When it was time to pay, we were charged for 12 people instead, the owners/waiters thought about cashing 25$ extra. And then the desert came. It was really rediculous with tiny tiny portions or what is supposed to be Halva and other unidentifiable sweets. I really couldn't wait to be out of this place.
Avoid Ararat by all means. The rude service and the bad quality of food is really not worth any cent you pay at this place.
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