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Great Middle Eastern Food in Toronto

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garycooper Dec 5, 2007 08:24 AM

Would like to try something Lebanese or Egyptian. Thoughts?

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  1. pescatarian RE: garycooper Dec 5, 2007 08:32 AM

    I don't know about Egyptian and I think most of the non-Israeli mideast food in TO is Palestinian, not Lebanese, however, the following are your options for mideast:

    Tov Li: very casual, but tasty - 2 locations, one at Bathurst, south of Wilson, one on Bathurst south of Steeles
    Me Va Me: very casual and busy and tasty - Bathurst and Steeles
    Sababa: best cheap takeaway falafel - Steeles near Yonge
    Sofra: Dufferin north of Langstaff
    Jerusalem: Eglinton and Bathurst - stay away from the one near Leslie IMO, different owners, different quality

    Tabule: more upscale, good reviews on the board, haven't been
    93 Harbord: more upscale, good reviews on the board, haven't been

    4 Replies
    1. re: pescatarian
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      LemonLauren RE: pescatarian Dec 5, 2007 05:23 PM

      tabule is more casual than 93 harbord, and has a little more mainstream nature to the food selection, but is still excellent for a nice date. place has a buzz. 93 harbord is a stunning food experience, careful preparations with middle eastern hints and the best appetizer platter in the city, and a lovely wine list. a quiet, romantic room.

      although i've never been, I've heard good things about Pomegranite on College

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      Tabule
      2009 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M4S 1Z8, CA

      93 Harbord
      93 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S1G4, CA

      1. re: LemonLauren
        Rabbit RE: LemonLauren Dec 6, 2007 06:31 AM

        Another vote for 93 Harbord... this place is quite special.
        (gotta get back there soon!)

        And Pomegranate was quite good (only been once), although not memorable enough that I recall what we ate. I do remember it being good comfort food on a cold weekend.

        1. re: Rabbit
          pescatarian RE: Rabbit Dec 6, 2007 06:58 AM

          I believe Pomegranate on College's full name is Pomegranate Chai House: http://www.dine.to/pomegranate.
          There is a Pomegranate on Queen East at Beech in the Beach(es) which is very good, but not middle eastern.

          1. re: pescatarian
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            Nyleve RE: pescatarian Dec 7, 2007 09:37 AM

            Pomegranate on College is a Persian restaurant. Went there a few weeks ago for the first time and it was charming and pleasant but, to be honest, I can't actually remember what I ate. That's not a great sign. Had a nice dinner but could have been company and ambiance as much as the food.

    2. y
      Yum2MyTum RE: garycooper Dec 5, 2007 11:46 AM

      I believe that Ghazale in the Annex is Lebanese owned and operated. It's popular, cheap and the smells coming from it make me drool each time I pass by...

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      Ghazale
      504 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S1Y3, CA

      9 Replies
      1. re: Yum2MyTum
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        Yongeman RE: Yum2MyTum Dec 6, 2007 03:17 AM

        True, but it looks and smells much better than it tastes, I think. Only tried it once--falafel and shawarma not up to the standard of many other places.

        1. re: Yongeman
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          hungry_pangolin RE: Yongeman Dec 7, 2007 09:55 AM

          Ghazale was my fave place at one time, but the last few times were disappointing. The chicken liver pita was very dry, both the livers, and not enough sauce. Ditto my shawarma.

          1. re: hungry_pangolin
            xtal RE: hungry_pangolin Dec 7, 2007 10:18 AM

            I agree with hungry_pangolin. Ghazale was a favourite of mine for some years, but that hasn't been the case recently. If you're looking for a falafel/shawarma takeout place, several have opened up on Yonge Street, between Bloor to the north and College to the south. At last count, I think there were roughly 8 of them within a ten-minute walking stretch. Red & White is excellent for falafels, while Jasmine does a great beef shawarma.

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            Red & White
            519 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4Y1Y3, CA

            Jasmine
            506 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4Y, CA

            1. re: xtal
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              camp1980 RE: xtal Dec 11, 2007 08:36 AM

              I believe it was last week that the guys at Red & White said that Jasmine closed. I had only been there once (the line up at Red & White was too long to wait). It was fine, but I didn't find it nearly as flavourful as Red & White.

              Also tried a new place that is one block north of Wellsley on Yonge on the west side. Don't know the name of it but it was very tasty.

              1. re: camp1980
                xtal RE: camp1980 Dec 11, 2007 09:32 AM

                I think the place you're talking about is where the Timothy's Coffee Shop used to be. The name escapes me, but I recall that they're almost always busy, and do brisk business in sandwiches as well as smoothies.

                1. re: xtal
                  c
                  camp1980 RE: xtal Dec 11, 2007 11:59 AM

                  Yup I think that is the place. I have only been once and had the shawarma salad plate. It was good, lots of flavour and the chicken was nice and moist. Plus I love that they give you a piece of pita bread with your meal. Red & White doesn't do this (although I guess I could always order it)

                2. re: camp1980
                  orangewasabi RE: camp1980 Dec 11, 2007 09:35 AM

                  what do you guys think of the schwarma place on the west side of Church just north of Wellesley? relatively speaking?

                  I quite like their sides -- the zuchini in 'yogurt' sauce is so rich!

                  1. re: orangewasabi
                    h
                    hungry_pangolin RE: orangewasabi Dec 11, 2007 07:26 PM

                    La Turque, is, I think the name of the place on Church. I've been there only once, had the beef shawarma, and was well pleased with the spicings, and it's a pretty generous size.

                    I've also had the beef shawarma at that place that was a Timothy's, at Yonge and St Joseph. Very good, as well. The sauce is a bit sweet for my taste, but I think that that might be that mysterious flavour that the Maritimers are craving in their post-last call shawarma.

                  2. re: camp1980
                    Googs RE: camp1980 Jan 21, 2008 08:16 AM

                    If you happen to notice whether or not Jasmine has closed, please let me know. That's where I go when I'm downtown and have a hankering for shawarma. Thanks.

          2. dinin and dishin RE: garycooper Dec 5, 2007 11:50 AM

            Tabule has very good Lebanese. Very relaxed, lots of fun. Yonge south of Eglington.

            -----
            Tabule
            2009 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M4S 1Z8, CA

            1. Kagemusha RE: garycooper Dec 5, 2007 11:53 AM

              In Mississauga, try Paramount Foods on Crestlawn near the monstrous Gateway postal facility at Dixie+Eglinton. Great Lebanese bakery+resto. Killer baklava and sweets, breads and assorted savory dishes.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Kagemusha
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                ekammin RE: Kagemusha Dec 5, 2007 07:05 PM

                In my opinion, the Eglinton Avenue Jerusalem. Not Egyptian or Lebanese, but Palestinian - run, as I understand it, by Christian Arabs in a Jewish neighbourhood. More standard dishes, such as shish kebab and kofta kebab are excellent, along with more unusual items like beef siniyah and spicy liver cubes - the latter can make even a liver hater think twice.

              2. m
                mzmonks RE: garycooper Dec 5, 2007 09:07 PM

                Anyone know any places in East York? Preferably near Danforth as I don't drive, but doesn't have to be, I am more than willing to walk and bus it for some good middle eastern food!

                7 Replies
                1. re: mzmonks
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                  cream RE: mzmonks Dec 6, 2007 05:45 PM

                  Go to the Armenian Kitchen. They may even deliver to your address. They are located at Victoria Park and Eglinton. They make some of the best and most authenthic middle eastern food in the city. When I don't want to make it, I go there. Try the hummos, tabule, fatosh and definitely the shwarma. They have really good kibbe and eggplant too.

                  1. re: cream
                    m
                    mzmonks RE: cream Dec 8, 2007 12:19 PM

                    Cool, I work in that area...I don't recall seeing them but will definitely be looking them up now, thanks!

                    1. re: cream
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                      neighborguy RE: cream Dec 15, 2007 10:03 AM

                      My order of chicken schwarma came with a condiment I'd never had before. It was a mash of potato and garlic. Not sure what it is called but I could have ordered a side of it on it's own.

                      1. re: cream
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                        torontofoodiegirl RE: cream Jan 20, 2008 07:45 PM

                        I concur; Armenian Kitchen is great. It's extremely unpretentious, and extremely delicious.

                        1. re: cream
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                          singe RE: cream Jan 25, 2008 12:18 PM

                          Yup, another vote for Armenian Kitchen. Best babaganouj (spelling?) ever!!!

                          1. re: singe
                            JamieK RE: singe Jan 25, 2008 02:03 PM

                            ++

                            -----
                            Armenian Kitchen
                            1646 Victoria Park Ave, Toronto, ON M4A, CA

                          2. re: cream
                            scarberian RE: cream Jan 27, 2008 01:51 AM

                            I agree totally. Armenian Kitchen all the way. One of the best Middle Eastern restaurants in T.O. However, many places east of Victoria Park on Lawrence Ave. E. would do just as well. Try the Lebanese Bakery on Lawrence Ave. E. and Warden or Arz Bakery, or the many mom and pop Shwarma shops along that Lawrence Ave. E. strip.

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                          piccola RE: garycooper Dec 6, 2007 03:32 AM

                          For takeout, I like Laila (Bloor and Bathurst). I always get the falafel, but the eggplant/cauliflower combo's pretty darn good, too.

                          Not sure where they're from, though.

                          1. Delish RE: garycooper Dec 6, 2007 04:56 AM

                            Beirut Restaurant at 1006 Bloor St. W.serves very tasty Lebanese food. It used to be called Beirut Palace/House of Wraps, but we noticed they took down their colourful old signage and replaced it with something a little more sophisticated. We had ordered delivery in the past, and decided it was time to visit their new incarnation restaurant. A whole wall of floor to ceiling windows makes for a pretty pleasant atmosphere, somewhat kitchy, but comfortable. And the food was delicious.

                            It all started off with a complimentary freshly baked za'atar pita. It doesn't come with deliveries and it was amazing. We ordered the Beirut Platter which features a tasty assortment of grilled meats and kebabs served with two sauces. The garlic sauce is the best I've had. Prices are very reasonable, and leftovers were plentiful. We will go back.

                            I did ask for a new take-out/delivery menu and it appears to be unchanged.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Delish
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                              bluesbreaker1969 RE: Delish Dec 6, 2007 05:25 AM

                              if you're ever up at Albion and Islington, on Albion Road just east of Islington on the south side of Albion, there's a place called Semiramis Bakery. They make killer gus (chicken and beef) aka shawarma. They make their bread fresh in the tanoor there and believe me, it is both filling and delicious. The bread is awesome as well.

                              1. re: bluesbreaker1969
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                                Jar RE: bluesbreaker1969 Dec 11, 2007 06:14 AM

                                Will check it out as this north west corner of the city can be a wasteland in finding cuisines. I can't believe that I haven't seen it, but those plazas on the south side of Albion often bear no parking spots.

                            2. c
                              cocolou RE: garycooper Dec 6, 2007 10:44 AM

                              Millie's, 1980 Avenue Rd. offers Spain, southern France, Italy, Turkey, and Morocco staples. White linens, fast and friendly service. Nice decor.
                              Main $10 to $27. http://www.dine.to/millies does not show a menu, unfortunately.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: cocolou
                                pescatarian RE: cocolou Dec 6, 2007 11:38 AM

                                I've been to Millie's also and it enjoyed the food. There is a menu in the link that you provided - the top left corner.

                              2. Davwud RE: garycooper Dec 6, 2007 12:11 PM

                                It's not in TO but since I don't know your parameters for this, Cedar Grill at Yonge and Mulock in Newmarket is very good. We have a Lebanese neighbour who said agree with our assessment.

                                DT

                                1. Mr.D RE: garycooper Dec 10, 2007 05:41 PM

                                  One of the best middle east restaurants that I have experienced lately is Hannas Shawarma in Richmond Hill on Bathrst and 16th. a realy nice classy place done up in a nice European style, white table cloths, fabulous service and oh what great food.It's a small place maybe has about 10 tables and the ambience is realy nice. Definitely try the garlic roasted potatos they are to die for and the food is consistently great. Little far out but for me its worth the drive.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: Mr.D
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                                    EB_TO RE: Mr.D Dec 12, 2007 08:32 AM

                                    Hanna's Shawarma is definitely a place that is worth going to. Very nice atmosphere and great food. I second the home made potatoes and also recommend the onion rings as a side dish if you won't potatoes. They have very good shawarma and I'd also recommend the chicken schnitzel - always huge and covers almost the entire plate!

                                    Another very nice place that just opened very close to where I live is Yummy Grill at the corner of Bathurst and Atkinson in Thornhill. If you've ever been to Halleluiah on Eglinton and Bathurst or Steeles and Keele, Yummy Grill is the same owner and actually replaced the Steeles location.

                                    1. re: EB_TO
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                                      jeff75 RE: EB_TO Dec 12, 2007 08:37 AM

                                      Hi EB TO

                                      I live right across the street from Yummi Grill but have not been in there yet. What have you had there?

                                      Thanks

                                      1. re: jeff75
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                                        EB_TO RE: jeff75 Dec 14, 2007 07:55 PM

                                        I was there tonight for the second time this week. Tonight I had the chicken schnitzel which is a nice portion though I prefer the schnitzel at Hanna's Shawarma. But this one wasn't bad.

                                        Last time I had the hummus and tahini which I enjoyed very much, and a shawarma which was quite good. Both times had the home made potatoes as a side dish and loved them. Each entree also comes with a salad.

                                        You can see the menu on the website:
                                        http://www.yummygrill.com

                                        1. re: EB_TO
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                                          csmk RE: EB_TO Jan 20, 2008 07:42 PM

                                          Checked out Yummy Grill this weekend for dinner, very casual place. Service wasn`t great (they were pretty busy) but the food is worth checking out. I would recommend the salad combo. I tried it with babaganoush, beets, fried eggplant and matbucha. I also tried Jerusalem Mix and enjoyed that as well.

                                  2. JamieK RE: garycooper Dec 12, 2007 08:47 AM

                                    +

                                    -----
                                    Hanna's Shawarma
                                    9301 Bathurst St, Richmond Hill, ON L4C, CA

                                    1. r
                                      redcoconut RE: garycooper Dec 15, 2007 01:27 AM

                                      Is the small Beirut Bakery still on Wilson just west of Bathurst on the south side? They made some great takeout and also carried great items for cooking at home. They're really nice people too.

                                      Downtown my favourite place has always been Sarah's @ Bloor and Brunswick beside the Futures Bakery.

                                      Still no good places in Leslieville / Riverdale though.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: redcoconut
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                                        Yongeman RE: redcoconut Dec 15, 2007 05:16 AM

                                        No, too bad about Beirut. I like the place and the people, but it's no longer there. There is another place in the strip mall, but I haven't tried it and I forget the name (Yamoz? or something like that). It looks very interesting, though.

                                        1. re: Yongeman
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                                          phoenikia RE: Yongeman Dec 15, 2007 03:28 PM

                                          Maybe you're thinking of Yakamoz?
                                          The shawarma at Yakamoz is delicious. I relatively new to shawarma, but I like the seasoning here the best out of the 6 places I've tried over the last few months. Generous portions, too.

                                          1. re: phoenikia
                                            y
                                            Yongeman RE: phoenikia Dec 16, 2007 04:26 AM

                                            Right, that's it, phoenikia. Thanks. I'm aiming to try it soon.

                                      2. foodyDudey RE: garycooper Dec 15, 2007 06:48 AM

                                        "Prince of Egypt" at 135 Danforth Ave has had favourable reviews by NOW.

                                        Here is a link to a website for them: http://www.yellow-net.com/prince-of-e...

                                        Short NOW review and map: http://www.nowtoronto.com/restaurant/...

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: foodyDudey
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                                          phoenikia RE: foodyDudey Dec 15, 2007 03:26 PM

                                          Prince of Egypt has closed. It's papered up.

                                        2. t
                                          TheWheel RE: garycooper Jan 22, 2008 12:31 PM

                                          I can't believe no one has mentioned Shawarma Empire on Lawrence E of Vic Park Soth side. I have tried most of the above plus countless other Shawarmas and none come close. Plus 2 sandwiches for $5.99 means the price is right. Their Homemade hot sauce is the key

                                          1. l
                                            lamaranthe RE: garycooper Jan 22, 2008 06:51 PM

                                            Millie's Bistro & Gourmet Market -- 1980 Avenue Road (South of Wilson) --
                                            (416) 481-1247 -- Turkey, Morocco and Tunisia. Seven-vegetable tagine, Moroccan white bean soup, tuna steak, paella, shrimp... and their Lentil soup is to die for. Tablecloth, linen napkins, excellent service. Not as casual as 'bistro' might suggest.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: lamaranthe
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                                              czthemmnt RE: lamaranthe Jan 24, 2008 05:25 AM

                                              I decided to drop by A La Turque after work yesterday (Church & Wellesley)since it was recommended on the board and I must say I had a really delightful experience. Not only were the ingredients fresh, the place was very clean, the service welcoming, and it was the largest shawarma I've had. Just delicious. No skimping to be found here. I also thought the owner was really kind- I didn't have $4.75 (what a deal!) so I went to use the ATM machine in the place, and when he saw me doing so he said, "Don't use it, they will charge you $1.50, don't worry if you don't have the money, you can pay me back next time." This man didn't know me, didn't know if I'd ever be back, and I just thought it was a really thoughtful gesture (I did use the ATM machine anyway because I realized I needed cash for other things that evening).

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