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Taboule on Yonge

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  1. I go pretty often.
    One of the few places I can get good (for this city) Levantine food, wish they'd expand their menu but I guess I shouldn't complain.

    My only gripe, and it is minor, is that their site says they have kunafa b'jibn but every single time I've been they only have kunafa ashta.

    3 Replies
    1. re: radiopolitic

      I googled " kunafa b'jibn" and the only hits were Toronto based. Is this name an invention by the restaurant? Nothing wrong with that, I was just trying to analyse the name.

      1. re: Paulustrious

        radiopolitic can probably explain this in more detail... but from what I know, 'kunafe' is used to refer to the dessert itself, and 'jibn' (cheese) or 'ishta' (cream) are appended to the name to designate which filling is being used.

        (You'll get more hits on google if you use the spelling 'kanafeh' btw...)

        1. re: Paulustrious

          dxs basically summed it up.

          The desert itself goes under a variety of names - Knafe, Knafeh, Knafa, Kunefe, Kanafe, Kunafa etc but they're all the same idea. In the Levantine area there are four basic ways of preparing it a 'crisp' and a 'soft' version which can have either cheese or cream in it. The jibn variety uses the cheese which authentically is supposed to be "Nablusi" style cheese for this region whereas the ashta (ishta, eshta) is done with a cream filling. The 'softness' or 'crispness' that I refer to is in regards to how well done it is.

          My personal favourite is jibn, crisp.

      2. I've been many times before the reno and was always a fan. I finally got around to trying them post-renovation - lunch last week and take-out a few weeks before that. Both were good experiences - same quality food and friendly service. I highly recommend the lentil soup, cauliflower with tahini, haloum salad, falafel salad (prefer the smaller falafels in the salad to the larger ones you get when you order the plate - better crispy outside to filling ratio), house rice and hummus (with or without pine nuts or meat). The tomatoes didn't wow quite as much as I remember. I also tried the little Lebanese sausages - spicy and pretty good but not as much of a highlight as the other dishes. PS - in case you're looking it up, the spelling is Tabule.

        2 Replies
        1. re: peppermint pate

          I'll throw in a hearty second for Tabule. Love, love, love the fried cauliflower and most of the appetizers and salads (many of which are listed by PP above). I'm sad to hear the tomatoes aren't as good, I loved eating those with the rice.

          1. re: TorontoJo

            It may have been an off day. And they were still good but just not as good as I had remembered them (though much of the menu and presumably recipes were transferred from Jerusalem on Eglinton, this was always the one dish I thought had been better at Jerusalem).

        2. I haven't been in a year or so, but I've had some really great meals there and I echo the positive statements from the other posters. The Falafel salad being one of my favorites as well.

          1. Was there a couple of weeks back and they were pretty good. Ordered the Kubbe (reminded me of somosas), kefta kabab and lamb kebab. Kefta was fine, the lamb was a touch overcooked to what I ordered and Ontario lamb is just too mild for me (but I was told before hand it was Ontario so no fault of theirs). The rice was delicious! Which is so uncommon, most restaurants are terrible at preparing rice. Their portions are quite large, both had leftovers from our main that we took home for lunch. I really enjoyed their baklava. I have only tried baklava a handful of times (because I thought I didn't like it), but this was the best I've tasted.

            Peppermint Pate...did they change ownership?

            2 Replies
            1. re: Apprentice

              I agree with all the previous posters. The rice is good, as are most of the other menu items I've had -- also love the fattoush (sp?) salad, the garlic shrimp, and many more.

              I note that we had to entertain recently on a Friday evening so I had no time to prepare food after work. Instead, we ordered in from Tabule and had a tonne of yummy food for a really reasonable price (I'm considering never cooking for company again!).

              1. re: Apprentice

                No ownership change. I assume you're refererring to my Jerusalem comment above - the owner of Tabule, Diana, used to work at Jerusalem on Eglinton. A number of the dishes were the same on both menus, including the fried garlic tomatoes - to my palate, all of the dishes were tastier at Tabule (and ambiance is better) except for the tomatoes, which I preferred at Jerusalem. Hummus was a tie.

              2. I do really enjoy Tabule! Great service and tasty grape vine leaves. Mmm.

                1. Just had dinner there again with a friend.

                  I struggle with reviewing a place like this because I know this food like the back of my hand and its good for Toronto but doesn't hold a stick against what I've had elsewhere in North America.

                  Split the babaganouj, fried eggplant, kibbeh, and warak einab.
                  The baba was good, smokey and had a nice texture - creamy, not too thick and not chunky. I love the fried eggplant here and get it pretty much every time. The kibbeh I thought were a bit small for the price and they were decent - lacking a bit in seasoning and something else that I couldn't quite put my finger on. The warak were good but I could tell they had been sitting around for a bit as the filling had started to become heavier than it normally is.

                  My friend had the lamb and was pleased, I had the kefta kabab which was alright but the meat didn't have the tenderness I'm used to. I prefer the lamb at the end of the day.

                  I finished with the knafeh which was good though I prefer the crisper variety vs the soft variety that they serve. Also they seem to be going back and forth between the ashta and b'jibn varieties. The website says b'jibn but their in store menu says ashta and I got served the b'jibn version today. My friend had the muhalabiya which I tried. It was pretty delicious though I was surprised by the hint of mastic. I've never had a Levantine muhalabiya with mastic before, although it is used quite extensively in the Turkish variety.

                  They were packed solid for a Tuesday. It's good to see and while I do have some issues here and there with the food, I always return because it's about as close as I'm getting without toiling at home. That and I always feel rather satisfied and full, especially considering the amount I paid. I still wish they'd expand their menu though.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: radiopolitic

                    I should add that they could do much better with the pita they're serving. There's much better available in Middle Eastern stores.

                  2. I love it. I've been going there for about 3 years now. It's one of the only places in the city that I would take my Middle Eastern father to.

                    Go, you'll like it!!

                    1. My sister celebrated her birthday there 2 weeks ago, it was the 1st time dining experience for the entire party of 10 and cartainly won't be the last. The service was friendly and welcoming, very attentive towards our large group. We had communal amounts of pickled veggies, humus, tabule, labni, fattush salad, hallum salad, fried eggplant, kubbe, falafel, garlic shrimp, tawuk and beef kebabs. The stand outs were the falafel and these small cinnamon spiced sausages (not sure of the name). Everyone left stuffed, happy and contented with the food, service and very reasonable prices.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: psyrel

                        can you give me more details on how the birthday event went? I'm considering have mine there...was it a set price per person?

                        1. re: apple_pie

                          I'd highly recommend it.

                          We didn't book it as a birthday event, just a reservation for 10. Everyone agreed that we wanted to share dishes so 1 friend (who's Lebanese) had the dubious honour of ordering for us all. He ordered 2-3 of each dish, except the kebabs which was 1 of chicken and 1 of beef. The waiter commented that it'd be a lot of food and it was... but we starving and managed to finish everything (and were happily stuffed by the end). It worked out to $50/person (the birthday girl didn't pay of course) and that included 3 pots of mint tea plus 1-2 alcoholic drinks each.

                          The service was great, the place was very busy and we stayed just over 2 hours but weren't neglected or rushed in any way. I took our own dessert (calling first to ask if this would be ok) and they kept it in the kitchen and presented it with the mint tea at the end.

                          1. re: psyrel

                            Just an update on how my birthday event went!

                            We did a set price dinner for about 16 people with communal dishes of hummus, baba ganoush, tabouli, falafel, fried eggplant, kefte, shish tawouk, rice, salad and fries. The food was wonderful and the servings were extremely generous and everyone left stuffed. Everything tasted great as usual, and the service was excellent. Another nice touch that impressed me was while their beef and lamb are always halal, given the size of the group I was coming in with and the fact that most of us are muslim, the owner offered to order halal chicken for us as well given enough advance notice. I really felt she went out of her way to accomodate us and it was the kind of gesture that goes a long way, because I'll definitely be telling my friends and colleagues good things about the restaurant.

                            We weren't rushed at all and since we finished our meal about 15 min before the bellydancer came out, they told us we were welcome to stick around - unfortunately we had other plans after dinner so we couldn't but it was definitely nice not to be rushed out the door.

                            They also brought out a plate of baklava with a candle at the end of our meal which I thought was a nice touch as I wasn't expecting anything.

                            I've grown up in the Middle East, as did a lot of my guests, and after dinner, a lot of my friends commented that it was the best Middle Eastern food they'd had since coming to Canada. Combined with the warm service, I don't think the event could have gone any better and I know a lot of my friends are going to go back as the restaurant choice was a hit! One of my friends also commented on the quality of the martinis and felt they were among the best he's ever had - our waiter told us that they use freshly squeezed juices and apparently you can taste the difference!

                            I definitely encourage everyone to consider Tabule if you haven't been, I really can't think of any complaints about the event, and think its great to support restaurants such as this one where they really do work hard at what they do.

                      2. I enjoyed my meal the couple of times I have been there. My one complaint was that I found the Kabobs over-salted for my tastes. I could (read: likely) be a weirdo though.

                        1. Hey Tabule lovers out there, I'm going on Sunday for dinner. There's been some mentions about the portions being large so how many would you recommend ordering for my evening meal? Would the lentil soup, falafel salad, fried eggplant and cauliflower be too much? Would I still have room for dessert or will I need a wheelbarrow to carry me out?!

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: fickle

                            for one person?
                            depends how hungry you are, but when we went we ordered a humus, fried eggplant tabule, and two mains and weren't able to finish it all (2 people) - we knew we ordered too much though but really wanted to try everything
                            i think thats probably enough for yourself plus another person, but you can always have the leftovers the next day! definitely recommend the eggplant though!

                            1. re: fickle

                              agreed, the portions are fairly big.

                              when we went, we ordered falafel and the fried eggplant to start, and the kefta kebab and red snapper for mains. It was too much food for us and we're both big eaters. we said the next time, we would just split one of the mains (it comes with rice and veggies), and maybe order an extra app instead (i think they're better than the mains).

                              and yes, get the eggplant! it's fabulous

                              1. re: tygrr_lily

                                Way to make me feel like a pig.

                                When I go with another person we usually get 4 starters, 2 mains and 2 desserts.

                                Ditto on the starters being better than the mains.

                              2. re: fickle

                                That's almost exactly what we ordered when we went last weekend; I think we had the hellum salad instead of the cauliflower. I really enjoyed my meal! Great service and (I say this with complete irrelevance) such pretty lights!

                                1. re: fickle

                                  Are you looking to share? If not, that's quite a bit of food for one person, but it's doable! I would recommend adding an order of their rice pilaf (with extra fried onions, please) to eat with the eggplant and the cauliflower. And since you're doing the "just apps dinner", I might throw in an order of the fried garlic tomatoes as well -- they are slices of tomato stewed (they don't really look or taste fried) in a garlicky tomato sauce. Yummy.

                                  1. re: TorontoJo

                                    Thanks everyone. I think I will need that wheelbarrow after all! All these recs and so little room. I'll have to see if my dining companions want to share (this bunch is more the "to each their own" crowd) so I may be bringing home lots of leftovers.

                                  1. Went this weekend. Everything was fresh and delicious, and so well priced. We shared the falafel salad (best I've had in the city), taboule, and tawuk. The rice with the tawuk was excellently spiced and perfectly cooked, and the chicken was moist and flavourful. Best falafel ever. Had a nice half bottle of pinot grigio to share. Definitely will return.

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