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Apr 2, 2011 05:16 PM

Me Va Me

Don't get the hype.

Average food.
Poor service.

Overall - Below average experience. Will not return.

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  1. for me:
    consistently ok to good food
    reasonably priced
    generally acceptable service
    Main reason I keep going back from time to time: consistency of food quality

    1 Reply
    1. re: shekamoo

      Whenever I hanker after a Russian/Israeli/Middle East menu, Me Va Me is always one of a half dozen or so restos in the mix. The more inventive Tabule is probably the best of the bunch - though it's more Middle East and less Russian/Israeli. And Mashu Mashu, in Forest Hill Village, is a tad pricier, more welcoming and somewhat superior to Me Va Me. But of the far north Toronto group of restos specializing in tasty, simple, garlic-laced Middle East nosh, Me Va Me is the most popular - that's what the OP calls "hype", I suppose - and with good reason. Well located, easy parking, and a menu almost exactly the same as other similar restos within a 10-l5 minute drive of Me Va Me at Bathurst and Steeles Ave. W. A big, barn-like room, usually efficient if not polished service, substantial portions, this joint makes no pretense to being fine dining. "Charming" is not a word you'd apply to it. Because of the nearby competition, prices are pretty much the same as other similar Middle East boites in the neighborhood. Two can eat well and get out for considerably under $50, all in (not including alcohol, which, given its price-sensitive clientele, Me Va Me doesn't serve much of). And as shekamoo has shrewdly pointed out above, it's consistent, something that's getting hard to find at all restaurant levels in Toronto (except for the chains). If you don't like Me Va Me, there is always Shoom Shoom, Sababa, Hanna's, Mr. Combo and any number of other Middle East spots, which don't differ markedly from Me Va Me's way of doing things.

    2. I like Me Va Me, but it's not amazing or anything. Stick with the schnitzel entree with mashed potatoes or the shish kebabs and you can't go wrong. Their shawarma is way too salty and their other sides are generally not very god. (Boring rice, bad fries, etc). Also I do really like their hummus and usually get a takeout container to keep in the fridge.

      I've never dined in, only gotten takeout from the small express location in the Toys R Us parking lot

      5 Replies
      1. re: duckdown

        $10 for a chicken shwarma sandwich with frozen fries.
        $19 for rainbow trout that was over done.
        Falafel starter was nothing special. The one at Tov Li is better.
        Yes, the Hummus is good.
        As I said overall, the food is average. Doesn't justify the prices or the hype.

        1. re: ManAbout

          Did you order from the take-out location?
          The food at the restaurant is quite good, 3 of us ate well for around $60 and I'd go back anytime if I was i the area.

          1. re: foodyDudey

            But, then it's not all just about eating well, is it?

            I can get a falafel at Tov Li the size of my head for less than $7, which will fill me up AND which tastes better than what I got at Me Va Me.

            If I am paying double the price at Me Va Me, I am expecting an experience that justifies it, but it didn't. That was my take anyway.

            1. re: foodyDudey

              As with any mid-level resto, it helps to know what to order at places like Me Va Me. Fries? They're lousy at just about all Middle East joints, as is the dreary rice. There's usually a choice, so go for the baked potato or the home fries instead. Chicken shwarma? Good in many Middle East snack bars, but not usually in full-service Middle East restos, which are more attuned to peddling complete dinners. Falafel, another snack bar favorite - and done nicely (and freshly) at the snack bar-ish Tov Li, as the OP notes - but nothing special at Me Va Me. The thing to order at Me Va Me is one of the dinners - kebobs, lamb chops, pressed chicken, assorted fish, that sort of thing - all of which come with a tasty salad, pickle plate, potato, veggies, warm pita bread. In short, a complete dinner for substantially under $20. You don't need anything else. Forget the snacky-type starters and sandwiches. Aside from one or two cold appetizers - like the hummus, which is a slam dunk at any such joint - those are not Me Va Me's thing.The rainbow trout was overdone? Unfortunate - and inexcusable because it's almost impossible to overcook trout executing that simple, foolproof recipe, which is used at all the Middle East restos - it's so easy I make it myself at home. It has never been overdone at Me Va Me when I've ordered it, and if it was, I'd send it back immediately. But $19 is a tad overpriced. It was $16 last I looked some months ago. Now it is indeed a buck or two more than most of its competitors. That tends to happen at hugely popular restaurants.

              In the best of all possible worlds, all restos would do everything on their menu well all the time. But in restos at this price level, it is not to be. The best you can do is seek advice before venturing in, or do what I do in Chinese restos with voluminous menus and minimal English. I ask the locals at the next table, and who seem to be regulars, what's good. That ploy works surprisingly well.

            2. re: ManAbout

              I find the food at both Sofra and Tov Li better.

          2. Then there was the service. I distinctly felt like we were being ignored. I didn't think much of it at first, and just put it down to them being busy.

            However, at the end of the meal, we had some food left over which we wanted packed. The waitress came over and dumped two takeout containers on our table and took off. Fine. But then I look around, at another table across from us, and she has packed the food for them and brought it back to the table. A few minutes later I see her packing the food for a second table. Hmm.. speculating on the difference between those two tables and ours, I could only come to one conclusion.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ManAbout

              And that conclusion was? a) those were regulars and known decent tippers and she was very busy thus sacrificing the unknown table (you) or b) she didn't like the cut of your jib.

            2. After years of delay, I finally tried Me Va Me this past weekend.

              I’d gone to the takeout location a few times, but have not returned in years as honestly I could not take the indifferent to rude staff any longer.

              After hearing horror stories about the service at the sit down location I was bracing myself, but actually found the service really quite good. I mean, I’ve only been the once but my server was quite nice and efficient and all the other servers seemed to be working very hard too.

              The food. I’m not sure where the big portions reputation comes from. I honestly did not find the portions that big. I mean, (for the most part) they were fine don’t get me wrong, but huge?? No way. In fact, one of the main criticisms I have of the food, is not in how it tasted, but portion size. My friend ordered 2 salmon skewers. Most of each skewer consisted of tomato and onion. I was shocked that for $18.99, there was actually not a lot of salmon to be seen. This does not happen at Mashu Mashu, where the entire skewer is loaded with beautifully grilled salmon and nothing else. The salmon tasted fine at Me Va Me, but certainly nothing I’d ever crave, as I do with Mashu Mashu’s version. My friend admitted they would not order it again on return. They remarked it was unfair to see other tables have only meat on their skewers while the salmon skewers were dominated by cheap-as-chips tomatoes and onions. I could not agree more. That was a rip-off and they were justifiably angered.

              I ordered two skewers of chicken. One dark and one white meat, as I love the taste of both and believe each brings their own strengths to the party. I love that Me Va Me actually offers both, as most places only offer white… in my experience at least. Both were quite good but I definitely give the edge to the dark meat. The white was quite good but fell short of Mashu Mashu’s white meat skewers – which remain my favourite. The mashed potatoes were really REALLY good. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed them. Would for sure order those again as my side.

              The “house salad” that came with my dinner was gross. If it wasn’t bottled dressing it sure as hell tasted like it. And alarmingly overdressed. Jesus. I ate two forkfuls and pushed it to the side. My friend’s Caesar was much MUCH better and next time I would upgrade to that – even though Caesar salad is kinda boring it was the better choice at Me Va Me. Their salads were overall though, extremely uninspired. I think I am just used to Mashu Mashu, who I think serves some of the best salads in Toronto. Even still, pretty boring stuff offered at Me Va Me in terms of salads I thought, and was disappointed there.

              Most of the menu looked really good. I was delighted to see that they offer potato latkes (!!) and will definitely try those next time.

              I agree, I don’t know why anyone would think fries at these Israeli/Middle Eastern style places would be anything less than ho-hum - if that. I would never EVER order fries at a place like Me Va Me. I have no idea if they are any good, but why would they be?! It’s simply not what these types of places do and I would avoid them. Garbage frozen fries over fresh mashed potatoes? Not even a choice if you ask me.

              Other than the ridiculously small and woefully inadequate and bottlenecked waiting area, the space itself was much nicer than I was expecting.

              All in all, although there were a couple of misses, my overall first food experience there was pretty good and I would definitely return. Maybe I’ll discover that my good first service experience was a fluke? Who knows. But I’ll definitely return.