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Jun 1, 2007 09:02 AM

Best Middle Eastern Food in Toronto

Could someone tell me what is the best middle eastern food in Toronto?

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  1. I can speak only for the middle eastern joints in my end of town. There are number of them around Bathurst and Steeles, and, moving southward down Bathurst, even more on and off Bathurst St. till about Eglinton. They can be described as middle eastern, Israeli, Israeli/Russian or Arab/Israeli, and serve the local Israeli/Jewish/Russian community within the middle-echelon price category. And most are pretty much the same: the same menu choices, the same prices, the same acceptable service and bare-bones restaurant design, down to the same house wines and dreary beer choices. And all are, surprisingly, pretty good at the price (about $20 per person before tax and tip, with no alcohol). The most popular around Bathurst and Steeles is Me-Vah-Me, but I see little quality difference between it and the nearby Meron and, diagonally across the street, Anton. Farther south down Bathurst, Mr. Combo (at Sheppard) is pleasant and tasty, and on Eglinton, west of Bathurst, there's Halleluia, a somewhat bleak space but with good execution of the standard dishes. If I had to pick a favorite, it'd be Mashu Mashu, on Spadina Rd. in Forest Hill Village, which is smartly designed, with an accommodating young staff and a lively atmosphere. Its menu is a little more adventurous (particularly good salad variations), and though it may charge an extra dollar for many dishes, I think it's worth it.
    I'm sure there are good middle eastern joints along the Arabic stretch of Lawrence Ave. E., but I rarely venture that way. And some upper level quality joints like one I tried on Harbord St. west of Spadina a while back, but despite the tableclothes and more professional service there (the name escapes me), I noted precious little difference between it and the places I've just mentioned (except maybe for a better wine list). Well, perhaps there was a little more finesse in the chef's execution.
    But for value, almost any one of the spots on, around and down Bathurst St. will do for me. For that kind of cuisine, I'm not looking for a divine experience. All I want is a decent feed within driving distance. In my mind, middle eastern food isn't in the class of quality French, Chinese or Indian. But it's certainly tasty when you're in the mood for a spicy, garlicky kick at a modest price.

    5 Replies
    1. re: juno

      Frahat at 2020 Lawrence does great Shwarma...most people seem to go for Take-out but there is some seating available. Afterwards, I usually wander next door to Nasr Foods to pick up some great middle eastern ingredients.

        1. re: Finnegan

          The best Middle Eastern meals that I have eaten in Toronto were at Boujadi on Eglinton.
          I have not tried many M.E. restaurants, but of the ones I have, this restaurant stands out.
          Tablecloths, beautiful pottery, and a very good Tanjine.

          1. re: erly

            Sorry to be picky, but I wouldn't really consider Boujadi to be "Middle Eastern". It is quasi-kosher Moroccan and, therefore, Sephardic, but this isn't what most people would be looking for when craving Mid-Eastern food. It's a great place, though.

      1. re: juno

        Halleluia has another location on Steeles between Dufferin and Keele. I believe it is north of Steeles on Petrolia (sp?) Road. Essentially north of the IDF / Long McQuade plaza.

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        1. Don't forget Jerusalem, on Eglinton a few blocks east of Allen Rd. The food is wonderful and, best of all, consistently so.

          3 Replies
          1. re: FlavoursGal

            Thanks embee, and I have been to Morocco, so should know its' location.
            Similar, but not the same.
            Probably why I enjoyed the food, as Middle Eastern is not a favourite of mine.

            1. re: FlavoursGal

              Jerusalem used to be very good but I've had consistently bad experiences with it over the last two years so I don't even bother with it anymore. Halleluia which is a short walk from Jerusalem is better.

              1. re: iontrance

                I went to Jerusalem on Eglinton this evening for dinner and was disappointed. I have been there many times in the past, but it's been awhile. I tend to go more often to Sofra or Me-Va-Me, or Sababa, if just for the take-out falafel.
                I remember thoroughly enjoying the food at Jerusalem. In particular the fried eggplant and fried tomatoes were always heavenly, but tonight they were both missing something. Perhaps lemon and a bit more garlic. The falafel was dry and overly salty. The hummos was good, but not as good as Sofra. Pita was dry. Chicken was pretty good. Kofta was overly salty. Perhaps it was just an off day.

            2. Definitely try Mezzetta on St. Clair West of Bathurst. Really good Middle Eastern. The way to do it is to get 10 to 15 small dishes (I think 10 is $28 and 15 is $40 or something like that). An authentic experience.

              3 Replies
              1. re: acd123

                Mezzetta regularly has special on certain nights, second dish $1 or something like this. Find out which nights. Mezzetta is quite good on a special, but can be a little acidic depending on what you choose.

                1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                  Alladin's Palace: Victoria Park/Steeles. Not much to look at but the food is fantastic. great dips (hummus, babaganouche(?)), salads and grilled kebabs and Shwarma...a mixed plate goes for about $8 and you get a huge portion.

                  1. re: Finnegan

                    'Finally. Stick with "the "mixed plates' chicken or beef shawarma or veg ( labneh)combos.

              2. The original comment has been removed