New restaurants sometimes feel like they were designed by an algorithm instead of a human. This algorithm is probably some complex equation where the opinions of 12 trend forecasters are combined to calculate the ideal shade of blue paint, the exact number of succulents, and which focus group-tested menu will make this restaurant most successful. So when a place comes along with great food and there’s no neon signs or fern-patterned wallpaper, we get excited. Hasiba, a hummusiya (yes, that’s a restaurant that specializes in hummus) in Pico-Robertson is that kind of spot.
If you’ve spent any time at Lodge Bread Co. in Culver City, you’ll already have a good idea of what this hummus-and-a-few-other-things place is like. It’s from the same people, and like Lodge, Hasiba is full of laid-back staff you wouldn’t mind being friends with. At some point, the owner will probably come over and say hi. It’s a casual place, where you order at the counter, find a seat on the big communal table inside or a place on the patio outside, and eat a bunch of hummus while Israeli music plays in the background. All of the food is kosher and vegetarian, and they close Friday nights and all day Saturday for Shabbat.
Eating here is kind of like hanging out at a friend’s house, but we doubt any of your friends make hummus or house-made pita as special as this. In addition to four types of hummus, the menu has a couple of shakshukas, some pita sandwiches, and sides - all of which change with the seasons. It’s snacky food you’re going to want to share, so plan to bring a pal or two. Concentrate on the hummus section in particular (it’s called a hummusiya for a reason) - the wild mushroom is especially fantastic. And take the staff’s suggestion of using the raw onion for dipping. Your breath might take a toll, but this combo goes together like Waze and impossible left turns.
Hasiba is a pretty simple place that makes pretty simple food. But this is food you’re going to want to eat over and over again. Instead of worrying about how their restaurant will look on social media, the people behind Hasiba are more concerned with making sure you have a great meal. Which is good, because you ate the hummus way too fast to take a photo of it anyway.
There are four different types of hummus here - classic, stewed chickpeas, wild mushrooms, and one with regularly-changing seasonal vegetables. They’re all great, and although there’s no need to try them all (trust us, we did that), you do need to get at least one. Ok fine, probably two.
Of the two shakshukas here, the potato is our favorite. That might be because it’s essentially an Israeli hash, with chili, garlic, jalapeño, and egg. Having said that, it’s not essential - we’d just order another type of hummus.
This is a monster of a sandwich, one that you will inevitably get on your shirt. But using up an entire Tide pen is a perfectly fine consequence of eating a pita stuffed with fried eggplant, a hard boiled egg, tahina, and what they call “crispy potato” which turns out to just be fries.