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“Not ultra fancy - -but ULTRA WONDERFUL!”

Carnival Restaurant
Ranked #692 of 12,065 Restaurants in Los Angeles
Price range: US$10 - US$15
Cuisines: Middle Eastern
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Restaurant details
Good for: Child-friendly, Local cuisine
Dining options: Reservations, Takeout
Neighbourhood: South San Fernando Valley
Reviewed July 20, 2017

My L.A. resident brother introduced me to the Carnival some years ago on one of my trips from the "Frozen Tundra" of Wisconsin to the warm breezes of Southern California. I've eaten Mediterranean/Middle Eastern food all over the globe, and on balance, the Carnival sits atop the list -- Like the classic NY Yankees, Boston Celtics, and yes- - Green Bay Packers. The food is simple, flavorful, authentic. The owners are in a class of one - -suddenly appearing with a free bowl of this or that, and then sitting down for a chat. I note that the Carnival welcomes many varied ethnic Middle Eastern types, and they all load up with the classics, ranging from hummus to chicken shawarma- - and everything in between. The serving are uniformly mammoth- - and the "value" for your dollar is obvious. I can eat like a T-Rex, but I'm always asking for a carry-out box. Don't miss this place. It's big. It's ambiance is not posh, but who cares - - it's clean! It can be "happily noisy." And if you have to wait a bit for table, well worth it. The service from the long-time staff is flawless. It's unique in the truest sense of the word, and you WILL go back again and again and again.

Date of visit: July 2017
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Thank Ray S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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9 - 13 of 79 reviews

Reviewed July 4, 2017

The best Middle Eastern restaurant in the LA area. I have known Afif and the crew for more than 35 years. The quality and consistency of the food is amazing, not to mention the quantity. The place is supper clean; the food is fresh and made daily on the premises. Whenever I'm in LA there is only one place for me to eat (outside my daughter's) CARNIVAL.

Date of visit: June 2017
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Thank amnons961
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed June 20, 2017

Yes. The parking is NOT ideal, and YES, you have to wait during most meal times. Having said that, let me say that this restaurant serves some pretty tasty dishes. For starters, my wife and I share a LARGE appetizer mix of falafel, tabboule, hummus and baba ghannoush (eggplant / sesame dip), YES, we eat a LOT of each of the items with plenty to take home (a must). The falafel is warm and crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside with a LOT of flavor. Better yet, break off a piece and dip it in the hummus, add some turnip pickle into the warm soft pita bite and shove away. HUNGRY yet? You should be. The tabboule is JUST as tasty, and you can taste the roasted eggplant in just enough sesame sauce and a healthy drizzle of olive oil. Yo, vegetarians............... Go wild. This stuff is fantastic.

NOT being vegetarians, we either have the daily special meal OR the lamb chops with fries. OOOPS. Did I just say "fries", I meant to say, HOME-MADE, THICK CUT potatoes, grilled to perfection and complementing the meat on your plate.

Those who are adventurous and PURISTS for the Lebanese raw meat pate and cracked wheat dish, KIBBE NIYYE, Carnival serves this meal to perfection on Sundays. So, on Sundays, FORGET the la dee da brunch, go to Carnival, have the LARGE appetizer dish, the Kibbe Niyye, and a side of fries, then secretly thank me for sending you there.... BTW. Don't forget the Arak (the Lebanese version of Ouzo). A couple of shots will take care of any fears you may have about eating a raw meat dish.

ENJOY.

Date of visit: June 2017
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Thank H T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed April 14, 2017

A beautiful day in Southern California and we had just seen The Getty Center in all its glory. How could it get any better? A stop at Carnival! We shared the incredible hummus which had a substance to it I'd never experienced before. We also shared the lentil soup which elevated lentils to a new level. The chicken shawarma and kafta were extraordinary. And my favorite? The tabooli salad. The service was friendly, the table large enough to comfortably accommodate a large group, and I'm sad to say I can't get there quite often enough....

Date of visit: April 2017
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Thank Jack F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed April 7, 2017 via mobile

We've been coming here for years and it is always delicious. I went with the lamb kabob and it was cooked to perfection. The salad is great with their lemon flavor. This place also has the best french fries you will ever try. Yummm!

Date of visit: April 2017
Thank Stu G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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