Stories from the past

A penniless man was wandering in the streets of Baghdad, and happened to pass by a kebab vendor grilling meat. The aroma was so irresistible that he took bread out of his pocket and started eating it, followed by a sniff of the kebab aroma. The vendor decided to take advantage of the poor man by asking him to pay for the "kebab aroma". They quarreled and ended up in court. The judge was surprised at the greediness of the vendor and decided to teach him a lesson. He showed him two dirhams (metal coins), and struck one with the other, saying 'That ring you've just heard is the price of the aroma of your kebab. Go and get it.' 

Translated from Zalzala by

Nawal Nasrallah





Being born and raised in Baghdad on the banks of the Tigris River but spent most of his adult life in the US, Mr. Jamal Alwattar preserved the culture of Iraqi cuisine. Preparing authentic dishes for family and friends became a tradition of Alwattars' house. Over the years the idea of Café Habibi has been discussed and developed with numerous experts including master chefs and cookbook authors  (Delights from the Garden of Eden 

by Nawal Nasrallah).

The adopted home of Chicago and the great body of water of Lake Michigan was another inspiration to bring this unique Iraqi Cuisine to this Unique culturally diverse city. Mr. Alwattar has been sailing lake Michigan for the last 30 years and done over 20 Chicago-Mackinac Island races. Fellow sailing enthusiasts can find our location by the following coordinates:

N-41⁰   55.87

W-87⁰  45.79

We hope you will enjoy what Café Habibi has to offer in culinary experience.   

 Our Story

Welcome to Café Habibi website. We are planning to open on Tuesday February 27 2018.  Feel free to contact us with any questions or suggestions.

Café Habibi

 Iraqi Cuisine...

America is the modern world's melting pot while Iraq was an ancient world melting pot. The cuisine blended together the flavors of Sumerian, Babylonian, Assyrian, Persian, Arab and Jewish food.

The meals at Café Habibi are prepared based on the authentic recipes with slight modifications to employ modern cooking methods and tools.