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Very tasty food - Raby's 66 Overlea Blvd, Thorncliffe Toronto

My chowpal and I went for the 3rd time to this place at 66 Overlea Blvd (the old Country Style Donut...just east of Bamiyan).

Every dish we have had there has been very tasty and well prepared.

Today we had:

Lahori Fried Fish
Royal Chicken Boti Tikka
Thai Chicken Green Curry
A Cauliflower dish that I can't find on the on-line menu - very tasty
Biryani
Butter Naan

Enjoyed everything....

A warning....a large number of kids from the nearby high school come in for pizza at noon...all gone by 1 pm so go after that to avoid the youthful noise/chaos.

This is their website:

http://www.tastechnologies.com/webmas...

Recommend.

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  1. so....
    they offer Indian/Pakistani food, and also Lebanese...and Mexican...and Thai....

    and you say they also serve pizza?

    wow....

    4 Replies
    1. re: atomeyes

      Yup...pretty bizarre menu...have only tried one Thai dish and some of their Indo/Pak dishes...all very yummy...

      I think the pizza is just a way to get cash from the school kids....

      As I said....what we've tried....we really liked....

      1. re: tochowchick

        Do you know what kind of fish they use in the Lahori fried fish? I usually assume it's basa or tilapia when it's just labeled "fish".

        1. re: prima

          No....sorry...we didn't ask....it was very sweet but lots of spicing too....we found it very enjoyable...loved all the spicing....the biryani was lovely....

          1. re: tochowchick

            Thanks, tochowchick. Nice to have another biryani on my next-to-try list.

    2. Thanks for the tip, tochowchick. The menu looks a bit off putting if I may say so. How does it compare with Iqbal Kebab ( which is in the vicinity)?

      -----
      Iqbal Kebab
      2 Thorncliffe Park Dr, Toronto, ON M4H, CA

      1 Reply
      1. re: garfield

        We haven't been back to Iqbal in a while...last time we were un-impressed with a number of dishes swimming in oil...unappetizing.

        We love Bamiyan and also go to the Hakka place across from Tim Horton's sometimes.

        1. This place has an over-the-top menu. They have basically thrown everything at the wall to see what sticks.

          I have ventured in twice but walked out both times. Went once on Eid day and the place was rocking, went a few weeks later and again the menu board just screamed "jack of all trades, master of none" so I walked out, choosing the ever reliable Bamiyan Kabob over this place. A menu shouldn't resemble the New England Patriots' playbook.

          It's so confused,...Mughlai (re. rich, fat & creamy) Indian/Pakistani, Thai/Malaysian, Pizza/Italian, Mexican, Canadian, Middle-Eastern... but I will still try it out based on your review and because it's worth a shot.

          This place is eerily familiar to the new Middle Eastern place called Damas Grill that has taken over a former diner on the SE-corner of Vic Park and Lawrence. They too, have everything on the menu: smoothy and juice bar, shawarmas, burgers, Malaysian/Thai etc.

          Menu overkill is never the right way (Pickle Barrel et al)

          9 Replies
          1. re: pakmode

            What's wrong with that menu? That way they have something for almost everyone.

            Did you read this on the site? >>> Our menu boasts Mughlai, Thai, Arabic, Italian, and Mexican dishes, each of which is created by a master of that cuisine.

            If you believe that last part I have some swampland in Florida for you...

            1. re: foodyDudey

              I'm still going to try the biryani.

              They've got pizza, thai and fries on the menu to please the masses and bring in some income. Most restaurants end up falling back on caesar salads, burgers, pizza, pad thai, poutine, smoothies, etc. to keep the Lowest Common Denominator happy.

              1. re: foodyDudey

                you mean they don't have 5 master chefs, one from each country, in the back, waiting to cook their specialty?

                1. re: atomeyes

                  That's what I thought when I first read it, but after reading it again it appears the menus were created by those master chefs, but as they are executive master chefs, they don't actually cook the food. :-)

                  1. re: foodyDudey

                    Coming back to your earlier thread

                    Probably some Sri Lankans... :-)

                    Chances are they may have worked in a bunch of different restaurants and thus they've cooked the cuisine at one time or another. Guess don't knock it till you've tried it.

                    1. re: LUV_TO_EAT

                      Was I knocking it? I said that as you can find them cooking in many of the restaurants in Toronto, and not just the budget places. And since they are versatile at cooking different cuisines, who do you think you will find? 5 master chefs each sitting on a chair waiting for their specialty to be ordered?

                      1. re: foodyDudey

                        kinda pissed that they don't do tacos. :(

                        1. re: atomeyes

                          They do hard chicken tacos. In fact they do chicken everything...some cuisines are entirely represented by chicken dishes.

                          3 Thai chicken dishes
                          3 Mexican chicken dishes

                          I'll have to check it out - it's close to me. Iqbal has let us down the last few times. The meat in their chicken biryani was dry and dreadful last time and the grease levels are rising.

                          1. re: hal2010

                            Yea, I've given up on Iqbals. When I feel like Pakistani food, I stick with the tandoori items at Makkah restaurant on the Danforth.
                            Also, I recently discovered Patna Kabab House on Lawrence/Pharmacy in the same plaza as Shawarma Empire/Nasib's. Their naan, beef kabob, chicken tikka boti and butter chicken were all pretty decent.

                            -----
                            Patna Kabab House
                            1885 Lawrence Ave E, Toronto, ON M1R2Y3, CA

                            Makkah Restaurant
                            1020 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4J1M2, CA

            2. I have to agree....the first time we tried it we were kind of shocked at the menu...but we decided to give them a whirl...as I said, we stuck to the Indo/Pak dishes but did order a Thai green curry the other day and it was very tasty too.

              Would love someone to give them a try and give your feedback too...

              We enjoyed...and will go back.

              1. Here's what I care: They deliver.

                Have a direct route to their website instead of that weirdness in the first post.
                http://rabys.ca/

                4 Replies
                1. re: Googs

                  My husband and had lunch at Rabys a couple days ago and loved it. We had one of the specials...very reasonably priced. I can't recall the name but it was the beef kabob special with salad, rice and naan. It was a bit on the spicey side but delicious. I love that they put a pitcher of ice water on the table and that they have delivery service.

                  1. re: bobinken

                    I drive past this place all the time so I will be sure to check them out. On a low carb diet right now but I am sure I can find something. I called to see what their hours were and they are: Weekdays 11:30 A to 11:30P and weekends 11:30 A to 10:30P apparently. Delivery starts at 12 noon and goes to 10PM. The discussion was slightly confusing but my sense was that they charge for deliveries outside of a 3KM range. Would like to see them do well as this may fill a void when people in an office want to order lunch from the same place. Lot's to choose from.

                    1. re: Poorboy

                      Did you go PB??

                      I'm on a low carb diet too and am always looking for new places to try.

                      DT

                    2. re: bobinken

                      So glad to hear from someone else who has enjoyed their food...yes, the water pitcher is a nice touch...

                      Hope others give it a whirl.

                  2. Sounds amazing. Is each dish freshly prepared or is it all ready to go from a steam table?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Tatai

                      We had to wait a bit until we got our food so I'm assuming the kebabs are freshly prepared...don't know about the rice (I didn't see a steam table with rice in it or actually any other steam table at the time) but it was wonderful and not mushy...seemed to be fresh. Their naan is delicious.

                    2. Finally had the chance to try out this place with a friend last night.

                      Overall thoughts: not bad, not bad at all.

                      My friend ordered a Thai dish. He was not impressed. I tried a bit, and it was eerily reminscent of a bad chilli chicken dish at any low-end Hakka Chinese restaurant.

                      Stay away from the Thai, Mexican, Pizza and stick to the Indian-Pakistani.

                      Why? Apparently it's the same owners as Iqbal's. So they have some pedigree.

                      I really wanted to sample some of the curries, but the combo platters seemed like a simpler option and I was really hungry so decided on the basic seekh kabob platter for $7.49.

                      In turn, I received a platter that was somewhat similar to Bamiyans. 2 skewers of ground beef, rice, naan, side salad and chutneys.

                      The kabobs were tender, well spiced and juicy. They were actually very good. The basmati rice was also very good, much better then Bamiyan's. They call it 'yakhni pilau' - yakhni is essentially the stock/broth the rice is cooked in. The naan was good, a standard white flour, tandoor-baked, sesame and butter on top baked bread. The side salad was diced red onions and iceberg. They also give the bottles of chutneys and sauces a la Iqbal's - and also some small containers of coriander and mint churney.

                      Overall, I must say I was pretty impressed and will return to try some of their other Indian-Pakistani offerings. I hope they cut the entire menu down to size and focus on the basics. Proper pronunciation is 'raw-bees' but I can't help but laugh after my friend nicknamed them rabies.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: pakmode

                        Is it cafeteria-style like Iqbal? The service there has never been anything to write home about - in fact sometimes it's downright hostile.

                        1. re: hal2010

                          When I walked in, wasnt sure if I was supposed to order at the register or sit down. He told me to take a seat and then took our order from there. Brought the food to the table. So not like Iqbal's/Bamiyan. Service was friendlier, he made quite a few recommendations off the Indian/Pakistani menu as well.

                      2. Wine? (I'm assuming no---looks non-licensed.)

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Ediblethoughts

                          i assume they're halal, so no alcohol

                          1. re: atomeyes

                            Oddly, you have to go to the halal guide in order to find that info. You'd think they'd put that right on their home page.
                            http://www.zabihah.com/d/Toronto+2521...

                            1. re: Googs

                              I would think in that area its the rule rather than the exception.

                            2. re: atomeyes

                              Didn't notice that but yes, I guess that's true.

                          2. My chowpal and I were at Raby's again for lunch on Thursday....another very tasty meal....one cauliflower dish was especially yummy and we love their fish cakes. We were the only people there....hope others try it and give them some business....I reiterate....yummy food....

                            1. Got a takeout from Raby's yesterday. Everything was obviously freshly prepared. (It took almost 1/2 hour to get my order; a bit long considering the place was empty in mid-afternoon.) It was all really good.

                              I got a beef kabab roll, which was huge and fabulous. The kabab was beautifully spiced and it was wrapped, along with some lettuce, onions, and a couple of sauces, in freshly made naan. Since this was lunch, I gobbled the whole thing up in the car on the way home.

                              I also ordered a chicken tikka combo. The tikka was nicely charred and tender and came with a huge amount of excellent pilau, a bit of salad, and naan. Got another chicken dish a la carte -- can't remember the name -- which was wonderful: somewhat hot spicing in a tomato-based sauce. These two dishes were supper for my husband and me and there are leftovers.

                              The place is very clean and somewhat sterile, service was friendly, and the food really good and plentiful. Also inexpensive. The total for my order, including a pop, came to $26.

                              1. We got takeout tonight and were mostly impressed. I usually go to Iqbal but have been put off by the never-changing menu and the oiliness of the food lately. Raby's offers more variety and some unique dishes, but the grease levels are still really high! Lots of oil on top of the curries when we got them home, and as soon as they hit the place a reddish oil started oozing out of them. But, the food was very well prepared with fresh ingredients and a good depth of flavour.

                                Lamb biryani had good flavors with a nice hint of mint. It was a bit wet, though and the lamb seemed to have already reached puberty. Mutton biryani would have been a more appropriate name. I have to say I prefer Iqbal's biryani - more aromatic, lighter and fluffier.

                                Chicken Angara - a nice curry with peppers and onions and a bit of heat. Quite oily.

                                Daam Aloo - a good potato curry. I prefer the potato chunks to be a bit larger than they served them.

                                Sheek Kabab - well seasoned, moist and tender. Not compacted so much that they are tough, which can be an issue. Came with coriander raita and tamarind chutney.

                                I think we'll be back, but I'm not abandoning Iqbal. Their biryani is too good.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: hal2010

                                  Thanks for the tip. We ordered takeout, which they delivered reasonably promptly. Really good, well-spiced and tender bihari kabab and lamb chops - and yes, the yakhni pulao is awesomely tasty. A decent enough mutton handi dish and a baked spiced pomfret that was fresh enough but didn't come together as well as the other dishes. But then fish is always the weak point for North Indian/Pakistani food. 10 bucks for delivery above 3 kms. The standpoints for us were the kababs, the rice and very nice, huge tandoori rotis. Pakistani owners and cooks I would surmise, without having seen the actual resto. We've added it to our rotation now, esp since Makkah, while tasty, is way too hot for our little one and she actually managed a bit of the kabab from Rabys.

                                2. I must say I've become somewhat of a regular at Raby's and seem to go there at least once a week.

                                  The yakhni pilau is the best plain basmati rice I've had in the city.

                                  The sauces and chutnies are all very good (when they have them).

                                  The beef seekh kabob is excellent.

                                  The lamb chops were awesome.

                                  The butter chicken was pretty good, but not a showstopper.

                                  The naan is always fresh.

                                  The service and table clean up could be improved, and obviously the menu selection is still atrocious. But if you go there for the Indian/Pakistani cuisine you will not be disappointed.

                                  Have tried all 4 chicken tikka skewers and they are also very good.

                                  The chicken kabob was ho hum (ground chicken skewers).

                                  The chicken tikka plate is the only tikka made with white and dark meat, but it is really good. Well-marinated, moist and juicy. On the mild-medium side in terms of spiciness.

                                  The Royal Chicken Tikka was a black pepper marinade and isn't too spicy.

                                  The Chicken Malai Tikka is a mild tandoori marinade and not spicy at all.

                                  And the the Chicken Haryali Tikka is a fresh, green marinade composed of what seems to be cilantro, chiles and mint.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: pakmode

                                    Wanted to update this thread, as I've become a full blown regular to this place. I'd rank it up there as the Best Pakistani comfort food currently in the GTA, imho. Have converted a few co-workers, friends and family to this place, but the crowd still pales in comparison to Bamiyan which is a couple of doors down. Visited last night and there were a few couples dining at Rabys, but Bamiyan was packed to the rafters.

                                    Anyways a few quick updates:

                                    The chicken tikka masala is good, and I find it better then the butter chicken. It's a rich, cream and tomato based sauce, with thinly sliced green chilis on top. The yakhni pilau long grain basmati rice that is served with their combo plates is still outstanding.

                                    Until yesterday, I had never tried anything besides Indian-Pakistani food off the menu. They had a special on their Tandoori Chicken Pizza, so we ordered a small pizza along with our Beef Seekh Kabob combo.

                                    Now, I know that 5 of my favourite pizza places (Danforth Pizza House, QMP, Libretto on Danforth, Pizza Pide and Mr. Pide) are within a 5-10 minute drive of Raby's - but the Tandoori Chicken Pizza was actually pretty good. To clarify, the only thing tandoori about the pizza is the chicken, which is cooked in their tandoor oven. The pizza itself is cooked in a standard conveyor oven. The dough seemed to be the same as their naan dough, so I would ask for it a bit more well done next time. Fresh sliced peppers, chicken tikka, mushrooms and onions were the toppings.

                                    The last few visits, the seekh kabobs, bihari steak kabobs and chicken tikkas have all been excellent.

                                  2. I just wanted to pop on and say thanks tochowchick. This is one of the biggest reasons I joined CH. Anyone can find the sparkly new place on a major street in a popular area. Not in a million years would I have found Raby's without your post and the voices that joined in.

                                    Beau and I had a very tasty delivery dinner that, for about $30 was enough for two dinners for two. We stuck to the Pakistani offerings and were quite pleased. I should say that this isn't high end cooking, but home style. They use more oil than I would like and, I humbly suggest, more than is needed to accomplish what they want. All in all, though, a very satisfying experience for the price.

                                    I have only one question that's been asked before, but seemingly never answered. Are they licensed for beer & wine? A good glass of Riesling for me and an IPA for Beau would entice us to dine in after the next time we're at the Science Centre.

                                    10 Replies
                                    1. re: Googs

                                      Googs,

                                      Muslims don't usually drink alcohol (well a few I know do) but you will not find it in their restaurants if they are from Pakistan or Afganistan.

                                      1. re: Googs

                                        The restaurant is strict Halal so they are not licensed.

                                        1. re: pakmode

                                          pakmode, I'm wondering if ANY Pakistani restaurants have alcohol. I've never encountered one.

                                          1. re: foodyDudey

                                            doubt you will find one that offers alcohol.

                                            1. re: atomeyes

                                              That's what I thought, so was wondering why people even ask.

                                              1. re: foodyDudey

                                                I ask because if you ever have a mouthful of Mutton Handi Laziz and then a sip of Riesling, your eyes and tastebuds will light up. In other words, it was worth a shot.

                                                I also don't assume that what one will or will not personally consume will absolutely influence their business decisions.

                                                1. re: Googs

                                                  Googs, I posted what I did as others have asked exactly the same question about alcohol in other threads here. Using that same assumption, you haven't seen pork offered in any Muslim restaurant have you? They don't eat it, but surely they should have it on the menu for us infidels.

                                                  1. re: foodyDudey

                                                    Infidels'. That'd make a good restaurant name. It could serve every ethnicity of food with exceptions made to each dish. From my people (the Irish), you could serve a Shepherd's Pie made with ground beef.

                                                    1. re: Googs

                                                      I'll add this lest anyone think I'm disrepectful. I agree it would be a poor business decision to have alcohol on Raby's menu. They're extraordinarily well-positioned to clean up once the Aga Khan opens the Islamic Centre. An inexpensive, family-orientated, restaurant with a diverse menu not 5 minutes drive from Don Mills and Eglinton. The success clock ticks.

                                          2. re: pakmode

                                            I almost forgot... Thanks pakmode. Kinda too bad, but then again that probably makes it much nicer for the lunch crowd and families that apparently go there. I'll still definitely get their delivery again.

                                        2. Hey gang, (PakMode, TCC, et al)
                                          Have any of you Raby-lovers checked out Silver Spoon on Sheppard in Scarberia across from Babu? How about La Sani Grill on Ellesmere?
                                          Strictly take-out, but anything I've had from Babu & Silver-Spoon was good - I just wondered how Raby's compared. I lived down in the Overlea area for a couple of years and personally wasn't blown away by Bamiyan, especially after having a dramatic gastric disturbance :-) after dinner one evening, but Raby's sounds great.

                                          Any experience with Babu / Silver Spoon / La Sani?

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: TorontoTips

                                            I've been to Babu and thought it was great. I have not been to Raby's but have it on my "To do" list. Perhaps when I return from Down Yonder I'll give it a whirl.

                                            DT

                                            1. re: TorontoTips

                                              TT...

                                              Haven't tried either Silver Spoon or La Sani Grill so I can't compare to Raby's....sorry...

                                              TorontoChowChick

                                              1. re: TorontoTips

                                                Silver Spoon / Karachi Kitchen are of the same 'genre'. Greasy, spice for the sake of spice, and lots of quantity. Due to infighting, they have split and splintered the past few years into these different restaurants, but have the same basic premise. Not destination worthy, or Chow worthy to be honest. I've had it plenty of times when Pakistani families catered dinner parties, and each time found it too greasy, salty, spicy.

                                                Babu is South Indian, so the spices and taste are a bit different. I liked it years ago, but haven't been back since.

                                                I haven't been to La Sani, will try and visit it sometime.

                                                Like I mentioned in an earlier post, I still find Raby's to be the best Indian-Pakistani comfort food in the GTA right now.

                                                1. re: pakmode

                                                  Yeah, Raby's is definitely a good find so long as your expectations are attenuated correctly. Don't expect anything more than great value for the money homestyle Pakistani cooking. On most days that's plenty.

                                              2. Anybody know what the hours/delivery area are for this place?

                                                1. So...as the original poster, I've been interested to follow this thread. I haven't been back to Raby's in quite a while...my chowpal and I made another visit on Monday.

                                                  I have to say, I still really enjoy the food there. We had several dishes...a fish to start with...very well fried and "non greasy"....we then has some paneer, chili chicken...had another dish but I just can't recall what it was....sorry... with both naan and rice.

                                                  All in all lots of quite yummy food for a reasonable price.

                                                  I was glad to see quite a few other customers there...I've been worried previously that we were the only customers there.

                                                  Continue to recommend this place.

                                                  1. Tried it tonight. Delivery. Was very underwhelmed. Lots of tomato paste, salt, frozen veg. Not a lot of distinctive flavour. Makkah is FAR better. Won't bother with these guys again.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: haggisdragon

                                                      I was a great fan of Raby's until my last visit in April. The yakhni rice was cooked the previous night. The manager said they are far too busy during the day to cook it fresh. The seekh kebabs were tasty and moist. The chicken tikka was hard and dry. When we complained the waiter immediately took it back and said that they would cook a fresh portion. Well in a few minutes the fresh portion arrived. Lo and behold it was the same chicken reheated including the half eaten piece. This was followed by the chef coming out from the kitchen and yelled at us from the counter that the restaurant was closing in five minutes and that we should be paying our bill and leaving right away. So we paid the bill and left.

                                                      1. re: mkvirani

                                                        My husband and I just returned from Florida after 6 months and couldn't wait to have a meal at Raby's.....we had eaten there many times before and thoroughly enjoyed it. We were sooooo disapponted...the food was NOT nearly as good as we had in the past. The ground beef kabob (forget the name) was dry, the rice was dry, the butter chicken tasted like they poured a can of Heinz tomato soup over it and in the past we used to get the butter naan automatically with the combo and now you have to remember to ask for it or you get plain naan. I casually asked if the place had new owners or a new chef and they said "new chef"...I said I thought so and told them about our feelings about the food...the waiter told me they had other complaints like ours and I suggested that he make sure to tell the owners that people were complaining. I will give them another try in a few weeks to see if anything changes and if not then that will be the last time we patronize this place....what a shame...it WAS so good. :(

                                                    2. Passed this place today and it's gone...no surprise really as it had really gone downhill...it's being transformed into Authentic Afghan Grill (I think that was the name) and the old Burger King next door is going to be some type of Chinese...can't remember that name at all...