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Tunisian/Turkish/Moroccan restaurant suggestions

a
alexainto Jan 28, 2010 01:05 PM

Hello everyone! Can anyone suggest to me a good Turkish/ Moroccan restaurant that not only has good food (I love lamb!) but also very nice middle eastern decor that get you feeling like you were in Turkey or Morocco? ie. sitting on cushions rather than tables, carpets, chandeliers etc.
Thanks!

  1. r
    radiopolitic Jan 28, 2010 02:32 PM

    Tunisian - I can only think of one restaurant in Toronto - Djerba la Douce on the Danforth. Solid fare for the price point - I go when I can't go to a Tunisian friends' house. Decor would be lacking if that is what you desire though.

    Turkish - Anatolia is no good. Turkish Grill on Wilson I would pass on. Pizza Pide is solid but they don't exactly offer variety and their decor is VERY sparse. Alara - even though the original fellow from Pizza Pide is at Alara now and his pide's were better than the current PIzza Pide - Alara's fall short now. I haven't been to Istanbul Grill at Keele and Hwy 7 but my hopes aren't exactly high.

    Tunisian - Marrakech recently reopened, I haven't been post-reno but prices are now much higher than they used to be. Walima wasn't very tasty the time I went. I have yet to make it out to Tagine which gets good reviews on this board. Sultan's Tent is forgettable.

    93 Harbord makes some pretty solid Middle Eastern fare. A bit more high end than your regular Middle Eastern joint but the decor is modern and not traditional.

    *sigh* I guess I'll stick to home cooking when it comes to this.

    1 Reply
    1. re: radiopolitic
      Paulustrious May 23, 2010 06:50 AM

      << I guess I'll stick to home cooking when it comes to this.>>

      Forgive the minor hijacking...

      Costco have/had an good deal on tagines for $20. I bought two about 3 weeks ago.

    2. shekamoo Jan 28, 2010 04:57 PM

      Sofra Istanbul, 400 & Steeles, has generally solid food

      4 Replies
      1. re: shekamoo
        c
        chillihigh Jan 28, 2010 05:18 PM

        Not exactly tunisian/moroccan but Pomegranate on Bathurst and college has the ambience and lamb that you're looking for.

        1. re: chillihigh
          shekamoo Jan 28, 2010 07:34 PM

          Yes Pomegranate is Iranian with good food and sometimes very good specials. The sister joint next door has a good Kebobs and a great Dizi....

          1. re: shekamoo
            p
            piccola Jan 29, 2010 04:51 AM

            I love Pomegranate. And while you won't sit on pillows, the decor is very nice.

          2. re: chillihigh
            a
            alexainto Jan 29, 2010 01:53 AM

            Thanks!!

        2. r
          romanruin Feb 16, 2010 12:32 PM

          Tagine is outstanding and worth the drive to deepest Scarborough. We had the chicken tagine and the lamb couscous and both were deep and rich and fragrant. Owner/server is great - shares a mint tea with you before the meal. No liquor license. Bonus: right down the road is the amazing Arz grocery store, with the one of the best best nuts and sweets displays in town.

          5 Replies
          1. re: romanruin
            j
            jmk60 Mar 11, 2010 10:03 AM

            I had couscous, pastry and tea at this little decor store/cafe yesterday. The food was really good. Just like a better than usual meal in Morocco would taste. She only had two choices - vegetable couscous and bastilla. I had the couscous, which was definitely steamed and not made instant-style. Great spicing and inexpensive. Pastries were also finely done.

            Mmmm!

            Marrakech Colors & Cafe 170 Bedford Rd, Toronto Bus:416 920 CAFE(2233

            1. re: jmk60
              1sweetpea May 10, 2010 11:36 AM

              I tried Djerba la Douce on Saturday evening. My SO and I had a truly enjoyable experience, from top to bottom. We arrived at 7:00 p.m. and were greeted and seated immediately. We ordered a pot of mint tea and began to peruse the menu. The owner came over to say hello and make suggestions. He quickly helped us make some choices and gleaned from us that we had travelled to Tunisia (as well as Morocco) and were fans of the cuisine, as well as all things hot and spicy. The tea was very minty and sweet, just like the teas we'd had in both countries. First out was the Djerba soup, which we shared (on the owner's advice). It was a vegetable puree drizzled with olive oil which was redolent with spices. As mentioned already we'd indicated that are fans of heat and the soup delivered. The owner spiced to our specifications and the soup rocked our worlds! It was delicious and very filling. We were grateful that he had suggested we share one. We also enjoyed the meshwi salad, the pan-fried calamari (also made spicy as per our request) and the merguez platter. Everything was scrumptious. We shared everything and were quite full by the end. Next time I think we'll each have our own soups, try a Tunisian salad and share a different platter. The meal was reasonably priced, though it's worth mentioning that payment is cash or debit only. My only complaint about the meal would be that they aren't shy about using copious amounts of olive/vegetable oil. I recall our meals in Tunisia being on the oily side, so I wasn't completely surprised, but I personally don't need to have that much oil drizzled on the meshwi salad. If I order it again, I might ask them to go easy on the free-pour. It's also worth noting that the accompanying flatbread is a thick Greek-style pita that comes straight from the bag. I can't necessarily expect them to be baking fresh bread, but I'd personally prefer a crusty bread (flat or loaf) from a solid nearby bakery. The nicest aspects of the meal, in addition to the food, were the attentive and courteous service by all staff members and the time that the owner spent chatting with us. I suspect he will remember our faces and greet us with familiarity next time we visit. In fact, I expect it. We experienced the same hospitality in North Africa and it's something we'll never forget. I'm so happy we wandered into Djerba la Douce.

              -----
              Djerba la Douce
              1475 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4J1N5, CA

              1. re: 1sweetpea
                m
                mussetto May 10, 2010 07:34 PM

                I have to second the big ups for Djerba la Douce. The food is well seasoned and rich in textures and flavours. The place is family run and if you phone the chef a day before you go in he will make you a special tagine. This is our go to gathering place for our friends when we are hungry for some home cooking.

                -----
                Djerba la Douce
                1475 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4J1N5, CA

                1. re: mussetto
                  Full tummy May 10, 2010 07:37 PM

                  And I will third it. Very nice people and surprisingly good food, given the surrounds.

              2. re: jmk60
                Paulustrious May 23, 2010 06:58 AM

                There is a Marrakech on the Danforth discussed in this thread...

                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/624397

            2. j
              jmk60 May 19, 2010 01:59 PM

              There is a new place on the north side of Queen Street in the Beaches. It used to be a Sushi place and now it is a brand new Libya restaurant called Shakshouka. West of the Fox Cinema by a couple blocks. I can't wait to try it out. Anyone else been there yet?

              1 Reply
              1. re: jmk60
                munchieHK May 19, 2010 06:05 PM

                I saw that yesterday. The menu looks good. I will try it on the weekend and report back.

              2. e
                evansl May 22, 2010 04:58 AM

                The only place in Toronto to get authentic Turkish food is at Nephes on Yonge St.

                2 Replies
                1. re: evansl
                  e
                  evansl May 22, 2010 07:56 AM

                  I should amend this to say read "The only place in Toronto to get authentic Ottoman food is at Nephes on Yonge St." Some people regard Ottoman as the only authentic Turkish food, others don't. It depends on what you mean authentic. Kebabs, lamachan, etc are very very common in Turkey so they are authentic in that sense. But they are not especially Turkish in origin (except for Iskender) like Ottoman food and few other things such as lokum and simmit.

                  1. re: evansl
                    elvisahmed May 22, 2010 03:57 PM

                    Do you have the address. What is the cross street for Nephes?

                2. ekim256 Oct 22, 2010 04:13 AM

                  Thumbs down for Walima.
                  Pics: http://www.cookiesandtomatoes.com/201...

                  Casablanca Platter
                  Zaalook (mashed grilled eggplants, tomato, garlic, and cilantro topped with olive oil
                  )Hummus (mashed chickpeas, sesame, lemon juice topped with paprika and olive oil)
                  Bakoula (Morrocan spiced cooked spinach with olives and preserved lemon)
                  The eggplant was nice, but overall the platter wasn't anything special. It came with a basket of toasted pita bread.

                  Chicken Bastilla ($13.75)
                  Wrapped in a crispy pastry pie, sweetened almonds, shredded chicken, eggs, onions, cilantro, and sprinkled with powdered sugar and cinnamon
                  I wasn't a huge fan of this - the chicken was too sweet for my taste. However, as my first bastilla, I have nothing to compare this with. The powdered sugar on top just pushed this over the top. It was like a meaty dessert pie.

                  North African Couscous ($14.25)
                  Shrimp, white fish, calamari, peppers, and garlic stewed in tomato sauce
                  There was very little seafood, which was quite disappointing.I didn't feel like there was anything special about this sparse dish. Awful value, really. I felt that I could've just dumped a bunch of frozen seafood with canned tomato sauce together and gotten the same result. On the plus side, the texture of the couscous was pleasant and the whitefish was flavourful. There were only a few pieces of calamari.

                  Lamb Shank Tagine ($13.95)
                  Sultan's Tagine: Sweetened figs and apricots topped with almonds
                  This was the only decent dish of the night. The lamb shank was braised, very tender, and fell off the bone. Unfortunately, it was swimming in syrup which brought this dish down a notch. There were figs and apricots in this dish.

                  The lighting was poor The service was okay - aside from forgetting to give us menus and being noticeably more attentive to another group. I did not leave satisfied. Is this what Moroccan food is supposed to be like? I hope not.

                  Maybe someone can enlighten me. I've only tried this place and MoRoCo - I left both very unsatisfied. I'm thinking of trying Marrakech next, because I want to know if I've just chosen bad places (it really seems that way) or if I genuinely don't like Moroccan food. I see lots of recs for Tunisian and Turkish food, and a good friend of mine told me to try the lamb at 93 Harbord after I told her about Walima. Are these cuisines similar?

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

                  Walima Cafe
                  1450 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4J, CA

                  1. u
                    UptownGal Nov 29, 2010 11:04 AM

                    I am surprised that not many people has mentioned this little hidden gem, Moroccan Tagine, situated on Lawrence and Warden in a little plaza.

                    http://www.moroccantagine.ca/

                    Their lamb is fall off the bone tender, but service can be a bit slow but worthwhile, so don't go when you are absolutely starving, best to go with friend so you can chit-chat over complimentary yummy mint tea, while waiting for your meal to be freshly prepared in the kitchen.

                    I still miss Boujadi, but since it's not coming back, I now go to MT for my couscous fixes.

                    We asked the lady who served us about David Adjey's picture in their Gallery, as we thought they were in the Restaurant Makeover show, but she told us he was there to research on what is "authentic Morrocan cuisine".

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                    Moroccan Tagine
                    1993 Lawrence Ave E, Toronto, ON M1R 2Z2, CA

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: UptownGal
                      j
                      jmk60 Dec 5, 2010 07:05 AM

                      I thought it was pretty good. Tasty, well spiced. No surprises here, just Moroccan standards. Very friendly owner. Fair pricing. I liked it better than Walima or Djerba La Douce. No Shisha (thank goodness!).

                      -----
                      Djerba la Douce
                      1475 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4J1N5, CA

                      Walima Cafe
                      1450 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4J, CA

                      Moroccan Tagine
                      1993 Lawrence Ave E, Toronto, ON M1R 2Z2, CA

                      1. re: jmk60
                        l
                        LTL Dec 6, 2010 07:13 AM

                        Thanks for the echoed recommendation. This is not too far from where I live so I am hoping to visit soon. I have been looking for something to replace my Boujadi cravings since it closed and this sounds like a good option.

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