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Jul 21, 2011 05:27 PM

Persian restaurants at Yonge/Finch area?

I drove up Yonge the other day and noticed that around Finch and north of there, there are tons of Persian restaurants. I love Persian food so want to go back to try one or more out sometime. Any recommended places that are vegetarian friendly?

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      1. re: helenhelen

        wildly inconsistent. overpriced. mismanaged service. 2 reasons it gets good reviews: 1) it is better than the competition in the area, said competition being horrible food that is a disgrace to the cuisine. 2) my fellow Persians who give it good reviews are afflicted by a deep cultural narcisism that leads them to believe a)even a weak version of Persian food is still the best thing on the planet you could eat b)non-Persians wont notice the difference between good and bad food anyways.

        I am serious: there are no good Persian restaurants in the area, if by that you mean a good representation of the cuisine.

        1. re: shekamoo

          Yeah, I have been to Shomal / North twice and while I thought it was okay I didn't think it was amazing. I enjoyed my meal at the persian spot on College more (blanking out on the name right now). I was always curious about all of the other spots up in that area though. Interesting to hear that Shomal is the best of the worst (to paraphrase). Any other recommendations for Persian in the city?

          1. re: ylsf

            Just the one you mentioned: Pomegranate on college/bathurst, and its sister next door shehrzad for kebab and Dizi

            1. re: shekamoo

              Ah yes, thanks, couldn't remember the name. This is also one of my Persian friend's favourite restaurants. She actually heads downtown from up north of Yonge because she says it is authentic/good.

              1. re: shekamoo

                thanks for the info. it saves me a trip up there! i have been to both these ones on college and think they are very good. it would have been a shame to go all the way up there and learn that the food is better closer to home for me!

              2. re: ylsf

                Banu on Queen Street West is excellent (Queen and Euclid).

                777 Queen St West, Toronto, ON M6J 1G1, CA

                1. re: thebutcher

                  I find it neither excellent nor in any authentic sense Persian

                  1. re: shekamoo

                    Maybe it's more Iranian than Persian :-)

                    1. re: foodyDudey

                      haha I doubt it! I am one of those Iranians who use the terms interchangeably, despite knowing better!

                      in seriousness, they promote themselves as recreating the ambience of an old Iranian Vodka Bar(Meykadeh or Araghi), but they do absolutely no such thing. I would say the owner has never been inside one, which makes sense since they have been extinct since 1979

          2. not the yonge/finch area, but my friend found this:


            so, what's the verdict? is the reviewer accurate? my friend and i want try some of these, but which ones have some decent vegetarian options? (only places i have tried are Pomegranate and Sheherazade - both very good)

            3 Replies
            1. re: helenhelen

              As the Blogto "best of" are compiled via voting of users, I don't find them all that reliable as often just the popular places (well known) get voted vs. actually good places. I am curious what others think about the other ones listed as well.

              1. re: helenhelen

                this is actually a rather accurate roundup of the 'better' persian food available in the city. with some caveats: they are wildly varying options, from price to ambiance to type of food. They are all more or less plagued with the age old problem of consistency, some more so than others. Most of them have particular dishes that are good, whereas the rest of the menu can be downright horrible. some specifics:

                Pomegranate is the best of the bunch by far. Shahrzad is good for dizi, so so for kebab. Gol, tah Deeg and Taftan are take outs with wildly inconsistent food on a daily basis, but they are three of the better ones anyways. ask for daily specials.

                Banu and Zaffron I find over priced and over rated, but the food is competent most of the time.

                Shomal on a good day is good for the hot appetizers and Kebab Torsh.

                Darband is a strange pick and is 'good' only for Kalle Pache(literally Head and Foot) an 'offalesque' persian specialty

                none of these places serve a truly great kebab in my opinion, such as you would find deep in the Bazar of Tehran

                EDIT: as I have said elsewhere on this board, none of these places are by any stretch representative of the true potentials of persian cuisine

                1. re: shekamoo

                  thanks for the input! do you know if any of them have many vegetarian options? i know pomegranate has a few

              2. Try Super Khorak Supermarket at Yonge and Newton. Great hot table. I usually get their kebabs though.

                1. Shekamoo, we need to eat together. Like TE Lawrence going to Mecca, I am prepared to go in disguise to Iran with you if this is what it takes. At least there I won't be at risk of being obviously identified in the same as I would be in my native Poland.

                  My first experience with Persian cooking was in Washington DC, about 15 years ago , a place called Paradis. Delicious . We ended up going every day. Since then, in Toronto, a quest continued only by memories and hope. The best I found was some years ago on Yonge downtown, "something" Kebab House.

                  Most recently, Alborz.. Highly recommended by an Iranian woman who talked a good meal and looked like she enjoyed her food. In the right places.

                  It is hard to make Iranian cooking really bad if you control the oil an ddon't reheat it too many times , but I thought that Alborz was so uninteresting and so much less than what it can be that the trip was a waste of calories. All that I liked was the torshi (pickling) and the tea. And I selected characteristic dishes in the menu . The pomegranate and walnut sauce dish (fesenjan) , a kebab, (koobideh, although I don't think tyat it was ) , the rice- fava bean - dill ( polo baghal- once on Yonge downtown- almost as good as all the virgins), pickled garlic, olives in walnut etc (zeitoun parvardeh- comment- "English" olives , prep seemingly missing all the ingredients except walnuts), baklava and something that looked like a peanut in the shell-( just calories). And the Persian tea which I liked but wouldn't seek out.

                  Not that it was bad-bad, but I thought the food had the standard of a school cafeteria and was expensive for what it was. If this were my first experience in the cuisine it would be my last.

                  My meal was pars for the course in Toronto.
                  I don't understand why it is like this here.

                  Any comments Shekamoo?

                  Shekamoo, please name a cheaper but better that the norm place. I am interested only in the food.

                  Alborz Restaurant
                  5907 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M2M3T9, CA

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                    HaHa Vinnie, I would definitely like to eat in your company, if it is Persian food in Iran, all the merrier!
                    I think you accurately capture Alborz, and your same words can be used for most other Persian places in Toronto. What is difficult to understand is why otherwise sane Persians will praise places where the food is but a cruel joke compared to what the cuisine can offer.

                    Why is it like this? I can cite many reasons: absence of professional chefs trained in the better kitchens back in Iran (these kitchens are endangered species in today's Iran); the general cultural tendency of Persians to have good food prepared almost exclusively at home and to treat 'outside food' as inferior by definition; the lack of business acumen on the part of Persian restaurateurs in Toronto who are invariably amateurs; and the list goes on.

                    a cheaper but better than the norm place? the takeout places mentioned in my post above, but only on a good day. If that is unhelpful, that is the state of the offering at this time.