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Aug 22, 2010 10:53 AM

Zeitoun Turkish Cuisine

I'd passed by Zeitoun during the recent Taste of the Danforth festival and made a note to return when I had the chance. Last night a friend and I decided to check out Zeitoun for dinner. I've learned from past experience not to have high expectations with Turkish food in Toronto (but one still hopes) and besides, it's perhaps unfair to expect the same quality from a Toronto restaurant as you might from a gem hidden in an alley near Taksim Square in Istanbul. But I digress.

The sign outside the store proudly advertised kokoreƧ (grilled sheep intestines) so that's what I tried to order first. Sorry said the man behind the counter, we don't have any right now. Okay, can I have some Iskender Kebap instead? Sorry, we don't have that either. I should have figured out something was wrong when two of their mains were unavailable (it wasn't that late either) but I persisted. We finally settled on 2 types of pides: sucuklu pide (sausage) with an egg cracked on top, another ground beef pide, adana kebap, and pacha (trotter) soup.

The adana kebap was a single stingy piece that was accompanied by your typical salad (onions, cucumbers, tomatoes), and plain rice. The kebap was dry and bland. The pides weren't really pides -- they were an oily, sorry, soggy, mess barely resembling the real deal. They didn't have minced beef and so they replaced it with shredded chicken (which tasted stale) without asking us. But the ultimate insult was when the sucuklu pide arrived -- there were no sausages on the pide, but sliced HOT DOGS. The egg wasn't cracked on top as it should have been, but congealed along the side. Did they really think we wouldn't notice? Finally, the pacha corba (it arrived last) was a watery excuse for soup. Squeezing my lemon slice from the salad didn't make the soup taste any better. The only redeeming thing about my meal were the 2 ayrans (and you can't go wrong with a prepackaged drink - ).

By far one of the worst dining experiences I've had in Toronto.

980 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4J 1M1, CA

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  1. How do you rate Pide Pide on Gerrard East at Logan?

    4 Replies
    1. re: KitchenVoodoo

      Do you mean Pizza Pide? If so, the last time I went there was in February 2008 and it was excellent. I had the sucuklu pide (see picture) and it was exaclty how it's supposed to be. But I've read that its ownership has changed since so I don't know if the quality remains. Maybe someone else who's visited Pizza Pide more recently can comment.

      Pizza Pide
      949 Gerrard St E, Toronto, ON M4M, CA

      1. re: keshkul

        Sounds good - can you tell us what's in the sucuklu pide?

        1. re: KitchenVoodoo

          It's Turkish Sausage with cheese. You can also order it with eggs.

      2. re: KitchenVoodoo

        This review is spot on.
        Zeitoun opened a few months ago and I've been meaning to try it since. So off we went last week to give it a try...what a disaster!

        We ordered 2 pides. One was a sausage and cheese, the other a veggie.
        I kid you not - they were disgusting.

        The OP is right - the 'sausage' was sliced hot dogs! Tasted like Maple Lodge.
        The veggies had frozen peas and carrots in it??

        I don't see this place lasting long.
        We were so disappointed we went to Pizza Pide to get the real deal.

        Out of all the Turkish pides I've had in the GTA, Pizza Pide is still the best.
        The owner hasnt changed, it's still the same guy, but he was saying he's getting worn out and tired.
        Still, the pide was top notch, good authentic ingredients, baked perfectly.

        Pizza Pide
        949 Gerrard St E, Toronto, ON M4M, CA

        980 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4J 1M1, CA

      3. I don't know much about Turkish food, but the shwarma (doner) at Babos Donerpoint is awesome! They also make pide and other Turkish food, but I haven't tried them. I think it's a very well-run operation. On Eglinton at Caledonia.

        2216 Eglinton Ave W, Toronto, ON M6E2L1, CA

        1 Reply
        1. re: Yongeman

          I've had their pide and it is absolutely delicious. I can never decide between their doners and pides. Often I get both. Personally, I find that it's run a little bit chaotically there, but the staff are well meaning and most often get things right. The food is always amazing. And I go often.

        2. Heh...I had to have a chuckle when I saw this. I made a pretty scathing comment about it when it first opened during a discussion on Turkish food. I honestly thought they might improve, but evidently not. I feel sorry for anyone venturing in here for their first taste of 'Turkish' food. They will be turned off for life.
          I was so excited when I peeked in there and saw a tray of Kabak Dolmasi (Stuffed zucchini), my daughter's favourite dish. I took an order home and she didn't even need to taste it. She could smell that it was wrong. I took a bite, to ensure she wasn't being picky - big mistake! It wasn't just that it was badly prepared, which it was, or bland, which it was - it was repulsive. The texture, flavour, smell, presentation - all ghastly.
          Please (deity of your choice), will some enterprising young Turk please get out there and open a place that makes food like the Turkish grandmother I didn't have would have made, had she existed. Which she didn't, but you get the point.

          1. Sorry, a bit off topic, but back in April(?) there was a fascinating article in The New Yorker about a fellow in Istanbul who is trying to revive really traditional (almost lost) Turkish dishes. Try to find it.

            6 Replies
            1. re: hungry_pangolin

              There's a man in Istanbul known for this called Musa Dagdeviren who runs the Ciya restaurants in Kadikoy. There was talk at one point of opening a NYC branch but I haven't heard anything to that effect in a long time.


              Im assuming this is what you're talking about.

                1. re: hungry_pangolin

                  New owners 7 months ago. Not sure if that's after the previous reviews or if the cook has changed. Just had the beef doner sandwich and the lentil sandwich. Both were really good. Friendly service also. Very good olive store and Turkish grocery store next door.

                  1. re: Nemesis

                    If there's another confirmation of this I'll make another visit. However when I went in August, 6 months ago, this place was disgusting and an epic failure.

                    I do agree on the new Turkish grocery store, however, very friendly service. They tossed in a couple extra lahmajoon meat pies,last time I was there. Also the sesame bagels somehow reminded me of St Viateur bagels in Montreal...they were pretty good.

                    1. re: pakmode

                      Thanks pakmode. Fwiw Zeitoun was very clean this time.

                      980 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4J 1M1, CA

                      1. re: Nemesis

                        Sorry, the place itself was clean then too. But it was the pide was disgusting. Sujuk - was sliced up maple lodge hot dogs. Veggies were frozen peas and carrots. It was gross.

            2. The original comment has been removed