Aladdin Express: Hookahs, graffiti, and grime, oh my!

It would be too obvious to reference genies and magic carpet rides for this one. So let’s keep it simple: Here’s a lady’s take on the facilities at one of Richmond’s favorite spots for Middle Eastern cuisine: Aladdin Express.

The skinny:

One individual bathroom, one chance to escape the hookah smoke.


The graffiti, the graffiti, a thousand times, the graffiti! This bathroom should be a must-see during your Richmond travels. Don’t miss the “Smoke Til Ya Eyes Bleed” tag above the sink, and for a special bonus, look closely at the wall opposite the toilet. You should be able to see the words “Albus + Aberforth 4 eva,” which someone tried to wash off the wall. If you have to deface some poor business owner’s bathroom, at least it was for hilarity’s sake. Another pro is that toilet paper and soap are almost always available here: two things that make most of the cons bearable as far as I’m concerned. I’ve also never had to wait in line for this bathroom.


There’s nowhere to hang your purse. The floor is usually filthy, which doesn’t help the purse situation, and don’t even think about setting that purse on the back of the toilet. It’s filthy there, too. Actually it’s filthy everywhere. This is one bathroom that is rarely cleaned, so if stench and visible bacteria colonies make you squeamish, try elsewhere.

Aladdin Express Restaurant
801 W Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23220
(804) 359-8500

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Tess Shebaylo

Tess Shebaylo is a freelance writer, crafter, history geek, and compulsive organizer. She works at Tumblr and lives in Church Hill with her daughter, Morella.

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