Paramount Restaurant (Yonge / Dundas area across Eaton Centre)
Anyone here been to the new Paramount Restaurant yet on Yonge across from the Eaton Centre just south of Yonge Dundas Square? I have heard ads on the radio for it and it seems to be open now (soft open maybe?) according to the Blogto photo writeup I saw on it:
Curious to hear what people here think of the place? Thinking of maybe going tonight before a show (the Cirque show at Canon Theatre).
Wow that looks fantastic in the photos. Looks like they've done a good job with the space. Please report back if you try it. Also curious if it's table service or fast food-style, there seem to be menu boards on the wall that indicate the latter. The website looks nice but doesn't have much info.
I was in the neighbourhood and needed a quick bite to eat. At first I was dreading looking around for options, but then I happened upon Paramount and got a spinach and cheese manakeesh and the Paramount Special drink to go. Both were fresh tasting, straightforward and satisfying. The skewers they had in their refrigerated cases looked tempting, and I'm looking forward to going back for a main.
It's a sit down restaurant.
Went there about 3 weeks ago around 8pm, the service upstairs was unbelievably poor, I would be surprised if the waiter had any previous restaurant experience; messed up orders, no cutlery, 20 minutes get a coke (which we had to remind him of), water for half the table but not the other half, etc.... And then he complained about his tip. In the top 10 "most clueless people ever", I wish he were high, that would have explained it, but I fear that this was his natural state. The slickly dressed manager spent the entire meal bringing the two girls next to us free stuff and fawning.
Food wasn't bad, kafta arayes was fresh and tasty, shish taouk plate was good, someone ordered the little sausages and enjoyed. And fresh pita! Yum to fresh pita.
So a mixed experience you could say.
Went there for lunch today at 12:15, we were a party of 2 and we were suprised to get seated right away. From the get go, it was obvious that the staff had very little experience. We ordered 2 Manakeesh, a falafel platter and a tabouleh. We got the manakeesh really quickly and it was very fresh and tasty.
Unfortunately, everything went downhill from there. 1/2 an hour later, our waitress asks how our food was and we mentioned we're still waiting on the tabouleh and the falafel plate. She apologizes and explains that the falafel was still being prepared. She comes back quickly with the tabouleh (which was already pre-packaged in the fridge). We wait another 20 mins for the falafel then ask to have it cancelled, I decided to just grab take-out and eat at my desk since my lunch is only an hour.
So I get to the take-out counter, there were 2 ladies ahead of me who had to repeat their order at least 3 times for her to understand even though they were clearly pointing at what they wanted on the take-out menu. 10 minutes later, I got to place my order. I decided to get a chicken schwarma sandwich (no cooking means less waiting). Given my receipt, but not directed where to go, I waited by the cash register....a few minutes later decide to ask a server where I'm supposed to pick up my sandwich from and was directed to the counter where the sandwiches are made. I find the cook holding my sandwich wandering around the restaurant not knowing where to bring the sandwich to.
So 1.5 hours later, I bring my sandwich back to eat at my desk to feed my pregnant self. Pull my sandwich out of the bag only to find it dripping with oil. I'm glad they did include napkins in my bag. My first bite into the chicken and I notice the chicken actually tastes like it's mixed with soggy bread, tasted breaded. I took a few more bites to realize the only topping they included was lettuce! No garlic sauce, no tomatoes, no yummy goodness to mask the taste of the breaded chicken schwarma.
I've been to Paramount in Mississauga before and love the authentic taste of their food. However, this location is lacking in both quality and service. Hopefully by the time I get back from my maternity leave they will have improved.
After giving this place a couple months to find its feet, we finally visited for an early lunch today.
First, the positive food highlights. The pita bread was a fantastic surprise, puffy and fresh. I've only ever had flat dry retail pita before and I honestly never knew this was how it could be. The chicken on the shawarma platter was delicious, moist and flavourful and drizzled with a delicious sauce. The beef kafta kabobs were also very nice.
Unfortunately these great mains were let down by insanely salty sides. What was apparently plain white rice had been inexplicably seasoned with so much salt as to render it nearly inedible. As a result, the pickled veg on the side, which are naturally salty, were difficult to enjoy since there was nothing to offset or balance their saltiness.
But, most of all, the factor that will make our return to this restaurant unlikely was the service. We waited nearly 15 minutes in a half empty restaurant without so much as a beverage before someone took our order. The water we asked for never materialized (extra important considering the saltiness issues.) After we finished eating, there was another interminable wait until I finally got up, wandered around a bit, and managed to flag a random staff member for the bill.
The staff were pleasant enough once coralled but seemed to have absolutely no idea how to prioritize tasks, and were often totally oblivious to the fact that dozens of customers around them were in need of something. There was no obvious hierarchy or person who appeared to be manager. Several times I noticed 3 or 4 staff slowly clearing a single table while customers tried to gain their attention, usually to no avail. Seconds later there would be no staff to be seen on the entire floor. This cycle repeated throughout the meal.
The service was more clueless than vindictive -- I felt kind of bad for the staff, actually -- but it made a simple lunch way more stressful than necessary. After being open nearly two months this place seriously needs to invest in some proper staff training if they hope that customers will return.
Paramount restaurant on Yonge Street, south of Dundas = really bad Middle Eastern food. This supposed to be a Lebanese operation, but their food is sloppy, overcooked, and overpriced. Had the lamb takeout with fries. The lamb was flavorless and tough, and the pickled stuff they usually include with Middle Eastern dishes was rancid! So for overcooked lamb, sub-par fries, and rancid sides, it cost me $15.99 + tax. Never again!
I went once, seated myself, was ignored for nearly 10 minutes, and left.
Obviously, I never went back.
Hi, I haven't yet been to Paramount because I have heard mixed reviews - more to the bad. However I have heard their baked goods may be worth visiting for.
With regard to the pita bread, I have heard conflicting reports. Would somebody be able to confirm 100% that they make their own pita bread at the Yonge/Dundas location? Do they just reheat fresh pita brought in from outside or do you know for a fact they actually make it from scratch? I checked their website and couldn't find anything related.
I went to the Yonge & Dundas location last night (first time visiting any Paramount location) and
was very disappointed. The food was ok--definitely nothing great, and I am sure there are better Lebanese restaurants in Toronto. The highlight was the pita, which I think was baked fresh...but after reading several comments on this board, it may have been brought in frozen and then "baked" off in the oven. I'm really not sure.
The worst thing was the service. We were seated fairly quickly, and took a few minutes to look at the menu and told the server that we would be ready in a few minutes. She never came back. A new server then came by to take our orders and was visibly annoyed when I asked if the shawarma plate comes with hummus or tahina, which is a pretty standard question, in my opinion. It took ages to get the bill and no one ever asked us how we were doing or if we needed anything else. Keep in mind that though this was on a Sunday, it wasn't during the dinner rush (yes, there was a steady flow of patrons) and I'm wondering how staff handle themselves when it is reallly busy there.
Even though a chicken shawarma plate is only $10.99 for a fairly generous portion, you are better off spending your money somewhere that has better food and better service. Just because you are a casual restaurant doesn't mean you can just dump the food off on someone's table, never check in with them, fill the water glasses once (over nearly two hours) , bring me the wrong flavour of baklava when I specifically asked for pistachio and then even be rude about bringing the POS machine to the table so that I can pay for my meal.
I guess the captive audience and tourists who aren't familiar with "Middle Eastern" food keep this place going.
I think the fact it's halal helps too... although maybe that counts as 'captive audience'. Food is
nothing special I agree, but given the area, lots of seating, veg options and halal meat - I can see how it works for groups of students and office workers (who have some time to spare!)
Not much has been said about this restaurant in the past couple of years. A Lebanese friend highly recommended the place. I saw that the existing reviews are mixed. I don't know if things have changed or whether I just see things differently, but I found the food to be excellent. The couple of times I've been, there has been no service issue or problem with seasoning. It is a take out/casual sit down restaurant that can get very busy, so I can see how on an off night there maybe service issues.
In other posts people have mentioned the pita, and it is fantastic. It comes to the table puffed up, hot, slightly crispy on the outside, and fluffy on the inside. Some of the larger plates are garnished with lame shredded lettuce salad, but it's the main components that shine. The hummus is smooth, the eggplant Moutabbal has a wonderful charred flavour, and the chicken skewer is moist and charcoal flavoured. The fried items like the falafel balls and kebeh are both very crispy and completely greaseless. The spicing on the kebeh is well balanced and the meat is moist. Garlic is not used aggressively like at some other middle eastern restaurants.
We live close to Mashu Mashu and enjoy it for take out when we are too busy to cook, but Paramount is far better. In fact, it is better Jerusalem and King Falafel which are also near my area. Given the price of admission I think it is worth judging for yourself.
Are you referring to the YD location specifically? Or another location?
I see it is franchising/growing quickly. They are opening up a location in Milton by the Cineplex there.
They are also launching a middle eastern "sub" chain. THey have one location at UWO now and another one coming to Liberty Village. Called Fresh East:
I've found the Yonge St Paramount's shawarma and tabbouleh way too salty, but it seems I find most Lebanese fast food in Toronto way too salty. I probably should just avoid shawarma/gyro in general, since I've got the same complaint about any Israeli shawarma or Greek gyros I've eaten in TO.