Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >
Apr 13, 2010 02:05 PM

Any restaurant in the GTA serving authentic Russian food?

Does any one if a restaurant exists in the GTA that serves authentic Russian food, whatever that may consist of?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. You can try:
    Amulet @ 4700 Dufferin St.,
    Barmalay Samovar Russian Restaurant‎ @ 505 Mount Pleasant Rd.
    I've seen threads on Chow that suggest Yonge and Steeles is the place to look for Russian restos.

    Also look at this thread which has a link to another thread as well:

    Dufferin Cafe
    2917 Dufferin St, Toronto, ON M6B3S7, CA

    4 Replies
    1. re: scarberian

      Barmalay has been out of business for several years. It was good while it lasted, but prices crept up astonishingly near the end. Which was death when it had to compete with the start-ups of a number of modestly-priced Russian/Israeli/ Middle Eastern-type restos around the GTA. Most are on or around the Bathurst St. and Steeles Ave. W. strip and northwards, where the locals support such cuisine. Of the bunch, my favorites are Me Va Me, at Bathurst and Steeles (rather bleakly barn-like in decor, but you don't go to these joints for atmosphere) and Hanna's, a nice spot in a small strip mall on the south side of Rutherford Rd., between Dufferin and Bathurst. There's another Hanna's not far from that one, on Bathurst near Rutherford - presumably with the same menu - which I haven't tried. Some of my friends prefer Paka-Paka, on Steeles Ave. W., west of Dufferin, and Shoom-Shoom, in a plaza on Bayview Ave. north of Steeles Ave. E. All these places have similar menus and prices, and I'm not sure how authentically Russian they all are (I don't recall Chicken Kiev and similar dishes, as Barmalay had) on any of their menus, but most are tasty and make at least a nod to Russian cuisine.

      1. re: juno

        While these recommendations are all good (I really enjoy Paka Paka), I wouldn't call these Russian restaurants - I'd say that these are more middle eastern style which I wouldn't necessarily label as Russian, while I will admit a huge Russian population in the GTA eat at these restaurants (including my dad) and there is an influence.

        If you're looking for some specific Russian-style food, there's Melody Restaurant ( which is on Centre St. between Bathurst and Dufferin, in Thornhill.

        I found this list of Russian places in Ontario, enjoy!

        Paka Paka Restaurant
        1600 Steeles Av W, Thornhill, ON L4K4M2, CA

        1. re: juno

          None of those are Russian restaurants -- they're all Israeli/Middle Eastern, no?

          1. re: Disparishun

            There's a reason why there are so few, if any, exclusively Russian restos in the GTA. As the demise of Barmalay seems to prove, such restaurants, with their narrow Russian menus, can't compete with the plethora of Russian/Israeli/middle Eastern joints that have sprung up around town in the past decade. The Russian/Israeli/middle East restos, often run by emigres from the former Soviet Union via Israel, offer modest prices and a much wider menu choice. You'll always find some Russian-style dishes, reasonably well done, but also zesty Israeli and middle East dishes (with occasional Russian twists) to appeal to a wider clientele that don't always find the oft-dreary Russian cuisine to their taste (even if they're originally from the Soviet Union). I recall being taken to a popular Russian resto in the city's northwest some years ago, where the nosh was quite boring and hideously expensive, and it was obvious that most of the high-rolling crowd was there mainly for the flowing vodka and the shmoozfest with their friends from the old country. There just aren't enough such high rollers around for places like that to exist for long. That's why tasty, mid-priced spots like Me Va Me are thriving and exclusively Russian joints come -and quickly go.

      2. Just had lunch with my Russian pals earlier this month. They took me to a Russian-Israeli place, it's called Bella or Belle and it was at Bathurst & Finch.. The bastards ordered a whole "flask" of vodka for the table and they had me drinking shots at like 1PM... gah!

        The food was good but I didn't see what was so "russian" about it.. the waitresses didn't even speak English so thats as authentic as I'll be getting!

        Also the place is weird. Don't be fooled by how its a shawarma place in the front, there is a sit down restaurant with lots of grilled meat at the back

        1. I've gone to a few affairs at Kiev. Dufferin and Steeles, northwest corner. Traditional Russian fare. Their 'chebruik' (sp) was awesome and they have the best creamed herring ever. The majority of the food is Eastern European/Russian.

          1. Not sure if you are still looking, but there are a number of russian restaurants in the GTA, the only issue is they are mostly banquet hall style as opposed to true restaurant, however, book a table for 4-50 people at any one of them and you will be happy. Dinner comes with all the alcohol you can drink and a russian band.

            Some recommendations that my family always goes to: Imprerator on Steeles and Keele probably has the best food. The National at Finch and Dufferin is also a favouritge for the bigger parties. Smaller restaurants that can be closed out for groups of 40 include Moscow Nights and Red Square are the favourites usually. Red Square is also a "banya" bathhouse or sauna (whatever you want to call it) so if you come during the day you can drink and eat russian food as you partake in the sauna.

            In the absence of banquet hall style restaurants there are a few cafeteria style restaurants that do Russian food. Warning, if ambiance is what you're looking for, this is not for you. But if you want a casual dinner or lunch, delicious russian food (with slight romanian flair) try Moldova on Dufferin between Finch and Steeles.

            Good Luck

            1. The original comment has been removed