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Feb 27, 2012 06:45 AM

semi-formal Afghan restaurants?

Hi there,

Are there any Afghan restaurants in the GTA that are suited for more formal dining? I’m looking for a place where I can sit down and be served. Not fine dining, but something a cut above the tile floors and McDonald's tables that are standard in places like Bamiyan, Pamier, etc. Does something like this exist?

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  1. I note that no one has yet to step up the plate to answer your request, possibly because "semi-formal" and "Afghan" are not words that ordinarily go together. Just so you don't feel alone, bereft and ignored, though, let me suggest a place in a somewhat down-at-the-heels plaza on Don Mills Rd. south of Eglinton Ave. E., not far from the Bamiyan Kabob outlet in the Flemington Park neighbourhood. Indeed, a friend and I were driving south along Don Mills Rd. on our way to Bamiyan when we spotted it in Flemington Park Plaza, boldly fronting the plaza on the east side of Don Mills Rd., and decided to give it a shot, though we're decidedly partial to Bamiyan. Afghan Village is what it's called, and it's a huge barn of a place, looking inside a little like a cross between a banquet hall and a funeral parlour. Quite formal, given the cuisine. We were the only ones in the joint - I got the impression that lunch was their busy time, with an occasional group dinner in the evening. Can't remember the details of what we ate - this was more than a year ago - but it was acceptable, if not exactly memorable. For sure, Bamiyan has more zing to its food. But this joint seemed to have what you're looking for: plush chairs, big tables (even tablecloths, if I recall, though I may be fantasizing), some intriguingly elaborate decor that can't be called chic, and good, if hesitant, service. I don't recall seeing any tile on the premises, if that's the deal-breaker for you. Seems to me there's been good mention of this place on other threads.

    3 Replies
    1. re: juno

      That would be Afghan Village. I find their bread and rice to be superior to Bamiyan's, but their meat, alas is not. And I think they have a huge mural of the Buddhas in the Bamiyan Valley on one wall.

      1. re: hal2010

        Are these the ones that have been done from memory?

      2. re: juno

        Afghan Village, I happened to drive past there today, that location, the large "barn" tucked in behind the new Tim's and Subway seemed to be papered over but if you go around the corner in the mall behind the McPukes there is a new sign on a storefront for Afghan Village, windows there also papered over. There was still some sign of activity in the original location. I think they are in the midst of moving out of the old location and into a smaller storefront in the newer part of that mall, I suspect the old part containing the old grocery store is probably due for demo soon.

        In any case give it a couple weeks for the dust to settle.

      3. Thank you all! I'm no longer feeling bereft and ignored :) Actually I wasn't expecting too much of a response as I didn't have high hopes for such a place existing. It sounds like Afghan Village may be a possibilty, unless they'll be changing operations in their new location. I"ll do some googling and see what I can find out. Thanks again for your input.

        1. As mentioned, Afghan Village is the only one that comes to mind. I haven't been there for dinner in over a year so I'm not sure if it's pro/regressed. I know they are currently moving to a different location in the plaza. I found their decor to be a bit awkward/over the top for the location - but let's see how their new location turns out.

          Address is 747 Don Mills Rd.

          5 Replies
          1. re: pakmode

            Pakmode, do you think that hey should try a good Pakistani restaurant instead? I am not impressed by by the prior recommendations of Afghani restaurants.

            1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

              Yes, definitely - but the list of potential Indian-Pakistani restaurants could be somewhat extensive.
              They are probably better off going to a Persian restaurant. The only Pakistani restaurant that serves food in a similar style to Bamiyan/Pamier etc is Raby's - due to their proximity to Bamiyan's original location.

              1. re: pakmode

                Pakmode, pick two that you would recommend. I think that you hav eto keep heat levels in mind.

                As for going to a Persian restaurant , I have not been to one on Torotno that has been better than mediocre and overpriced at that level. Essentially with minimal talent.

                There is a discussion with someone Persian in the threads who really knows and this is also his view. Basically , he says that the best that you can do is go to a place and if you are knowable and lucky, you can pick their one dish that usually is good and will be good that day.

                Where is Raby's?

                How is the heat level? I still have a headache from the night before at Shahi but my reaction is idiosyncratic. also it was OK until the last two bites.

                1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                  Vinnie, I bet you can find a Persian place that is decent if you try. One thing for sure is you won't have to worry about heat levels and I see that is important to you. You will probably find that it is the most refined of the three cuisines.

                  Have you tried Pomegranate?

                  1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                    Vinnie - Raby's is located at 66 Overlea Blvd. It's in the same plaza as Popeyes and Bamiyan in the Thornecliffe area just west of Don Mills Rd. Stick to a combo plate - best bang for your buck. Most of their chicken tikka kabobs are fairly mild. The beef and bihari steak kabobs are mild to medium. I like the chicken tikka masala, it's spicier then the butter chicken because they add sliced chili peppers and ginger to it.

                    For a first visit I would recommend the Chicken Malai Tikka combo platter and a side order of 2 Beef seekh kabobs. Total cost = $14.50, enough food for 2 people. If you want something saucy then order the Chicken Tikka Masala.

                    As per Persian restaurants - I would have to agree. Although I do like Pomengranate on College St. quite a bit.

                    66 Overlea Blvd, Toronto, ON M4H 1C5, CA

            2. The original comment has been removed
              1. Does anyone have a recent opinion on Kabul Express on Dundas East downtown? What should we order that is actually Afghan food? We want Afghan food for a book club meeting -- so it doesn't have to be semi-formal, just have sit-down area big enough for 6 people at a table.