Almanqal - new Middle-Eastern at Woodbine and Danforth
Just opened on Friday in the old Cozy Cafe space. The renovation is bright and clean and the place is owned by a Palestinian family from Jerusalem.
I got two Beef Shawarmas on Friday evening and was really happy with them. Meat was nicely spiced with a hint of Cardomon. Lots of toppings available and sauces include tahini, garlic and hot. They also sell whole roast chicken which is a staple at my house.
Opening special price was $9 for two shawarmas in pita - deal!
Will report back again after I've tried a falafel sandwich later this week.
I went by today for lunch and had the chicken shawarma plate. It was very large and there was a fantastic selection of sides. I had lentils and rice with onions, potatoes, tabouleh, cabbage salad, chickpea salad, baba ganouj, hummus, pickles and tahini, hot sauce and toum. All were good and had nice spicing, taste and texture - a cut above the usual. I find with Middle Eastern food that too often everything tastes the same or is masked by that one overpowering dish.
The space is huge and rather spartan. We and one other table of two were eating in and there was a steady take-out business. The servers were very friendly.
I tried the falafel last night. Freshly made, a little bland, but moist - I'd prefer them a little crisper. The garlic sauce is so tasty though. The best thing is the choice of fillings - you can really customise.
I've had the roast chicken twice now. You get tons of lentil rice and any sides you want. I tried the babaganoush and it was lovely and smoky.
Really nice people who run it. I hope they do well.