Any recommendations for cheap authentic Persian food?
I'm no authority on Persian (Iranian) food, but in the Yonge/Steeles area are plenty of places, including several take-out buffets on Yonge just south of Steeles.
Actually, Ben and I just went to North this weekend (at Yonge and Steeles, across from CenterPoint, in a little square called Yorkville North). The food was really tasty and quite reasonably priced. The decor is really nice as well - you feel as though you are in a stage performance with all the decor up.
We started with three apps - two dips (one was like a tzatziki, and the other had some eggplant puree and yoghurt). We then had some beef stew with lentils which was amazing!! And the bread there is so so good - perfect for the dips!!!
For our mains, I had a BBQ piece of white fish (choice of BBQ or pan fried) served with basmati rice. And Ben had the chicken fesenjan - yum yum yum! Pomegranates and walnuts make the sauce so delicious!
We were so stuffed and had enough for left overs the next day.
The service was pretty good too.
re: Mandy Lin
I enjoyed North too... both days :) Another option is Hafez - very cheap, small menu, but very tasty. More downscale than North, but very clean. It's quite new, close to Empress Walk, on the East side of Sheppard. Mandy and I ate a full meal for something like 18 bucks for the two of us, including tip.
re: Ben Reiner
No offense, but their food is not up to good Persian standards.
The first time I went it was pretty good. The chicken kabob wrap was very good, the salad was ok, soup was yucky & the Gorme Shabzi was so so, but the 2nd time it was sub par on even the items I did like.
While the food is cheap, a lot of cheap Persian restaurants are opening up w/ very low quality food.
I went to another one that has more of a take-out with only one table & I wasted my money in the end & the food was luke-warm which means it's going bad as it sits on the counter for hours being at a tempature where bacteria starts to form.
Darvish on Yonge just south of Steeles was one of the best, but they closed down a few years ago & I have yet to find a comparible replacement.
Downtown, there are a number of Persian places that are pretty good for a cheap meal:
KABAB HOUSE (east side of Yonge, north of Wellesley)
Decent koobideh that is served with basmati and roasted tomatoes ($6.99), and they also have fesenjoon but I've not tried it so I can't vouch for it. Lots of Persian families eat here. The place used to be a tikki lounge or something... they haven't done any sort of redecorating so it's a bit trippy to walk in there and expect Persian food.
DARVISH (west side of Yonge, just north of College)
Classier bistro setting and a bit more expensive ($12.99 for koobideh dinner, for example). Decent koobideh, good pilaf, nice eggplant dip, decent baghali polo. They also have fesenjoon and gormeh sebzi.
PARSI RESTAURANT (east side of Spadina, at Richmond)
Counter service at lunch and sit-down service at dinner. Decent koobideh and gormeh sebzi. Subpar rice (too salty for my tastes) and odd tasting/coloured sumac. Various daily specials, including vegetarian kebabs and stewed lamb shank. Prices are reasonable - $7.99 for koobideh plate.
You're right - I agree the rice was subpar at PARSI RESTAURANT - it was oily and hard, not fluffy and light, with no saffron flavouring. Unfortunately, we didn't order one of the cheaper vegetarian specials - that would have made the lacklustre food go down better - instead, we went for a combo dinner that was $14.99, which was supposed to come with two kinds of beef, one of them a kabob, but they ran out of the kabob, and we got grilled chicken. The person cooking our meal was a Chinese man, so any notions this food was authentic went down the drain. The service was friendly, but the food was overpriced and crap. Flavourless, the salad was overdressed with an oily dressing, the tomato was sour even - just very dry beef and plainly grilled chicken for $17 with tax! Any swharma platter or souvlaki pita at any joint could have beat this dinner and cost a fraction of this regrettable Parsi meal. If you are in the area of Spadina & Richmond, do yourself a favour and don't go there. We should have recognized from the univiting and shabby exterior that this was a 'restaurant' to avoid, but we were enticed with the vegetarian specials, takeout counter - just didn't order any and never will.
Yeah...1001 Nights. It's on the NW corner of Yonge and Steeles, tucked away behind the Nino D'Aversa bakery. It's more of a banquet hall, and they do buffet styles. It's all right.
You guys should really try the koobideh at Kish. It's at 8136 Yonge in Thornhill, right across from Lick's.