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Oct 25, 2013 03:16 PM

Gulf House

I was at the reference library today and as I stepped out I noticed this place across the street. I was in a rush so I was only able to peek my head in but I did notice they have some middle eastern dishes not so commonly found in Toronto.

I believe I saw Jireesh, Margoog, and a few others. Decor was spartan, blaring traditional tunes.

Anyone been?

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  1. Finally tried this place after The Grid writeup.

    Very cozy joint, delicious food, warm friendly (albeit slow) service. The Yorkville location made since to me finally, when I saw its in the same building as the International Student Centre (ps. you can perks by showing your ISX card).

    The Arabic gulf cuisine is completely foreign to me. Best way I can describe it based on my previous food experiences- it's a beautiful blend of Lebanese, Persian, and hint of Indian. I went there with friends from Bahrain, who raved its authenticity.

    We were greeted with coffee (I opted for tea) and had endless supply of dates, bread, and labneh throughout the night. All the mains came with a side of house salad or tabooleh, and choice of sauces. The proteins we had were all served on a very generous portion of flavoured basmati and a delicious caramelized onion/raisin mixture.

    I had the Murabyan - a shrimp/rice mixture that's lighter and more tangy than the Indian biryani version I have had. My companion's lamb stew over rice pilaff was definitely the star of the night. It's a beautifully balanced concoction of tender boneless lamb in complex spices, with a hint of tang and bitterness from lemon. Just as impressive was the sizeable chicken leg dish, beautifully grilled, although my companion complained portions of it were dry.

    We were stuffed to the brim with no room for dessert, regrettably. <$15 each with tip. This place deserves return visits.

    Gulf House
    842 Yonge St.

    2 Replies
    1. re: happycamper

      Thanks for the review happycamper. I am heading to a show at the Panasonic Theatre and was thinking of this as an option as it is a relatively short walk. Anyone else been??

      1. re: happycamper

        do you remember if they have vegetarian options?

      2. I have not been there, but want to mention that two or three weeks ago I saw place at the NE corner of Danforth and Donlands that advertised Yemeni and Gulf food. I want to go check it out but have not had a chance yet. I looked at their website and it appears to be a catering service more than a restaurant but I will have to go and see for myself.

        It is called Kabsa Mandi and here is the website:

        If you perform a search on Mandi and Kabsa, you will find these two pages which suggest this could be interesting to try

        1 Reply
        1. re: foodyDudey

          if you go, let me know how it is. i am curious to try it too. i have tried some yemeni places in brooklyn and the food was amazing (yemeni cafe, for one). would love to find a yemeni place in toronto!

        2. I ended up managing to go this past weekend and unfortunately my experience was not as good as happycamper's.

          We went early ish (5:30pm) and the atmosphere was definitely "family friendly" in the sense that there were screaming kids. I didn't mind it so much as I got used to it when dining out with neices/nephews but my dining companion was a bit more annoyed. She had the chicken dish (the first one on the menu, I forget which one). Original she wanted it with the thigh but they came back like 20 minutes later to tell us "oh, we are out of the thigh". Instead she got a chicken breast that was terribly dried out. I had the lamb manti and while it was okay it wasn't worth the money and again seems like it had been sitting all day long. The rice for both dishes was the highlight. I enjoyed both of them (two different styles).
          I found service to be inadequate. They took so long to just come back to say they didn't have any "thigh". My friend ordered a tea and it didn't come until the end of the meal (If ordered it as a beverage at the start of the meal and if it is suppose to be served at the "end " of the meal then they could have told us, my friend wanted to drink it with her meal).

          Anyway, I might give it another chance in case it was a bad night but overall I wasn't that impressed.

          2 Replies
          1. re: ylsf

            We went two months ago, for lunch at 1 PM..Food was admirable but still basic. In relation to price, it was good value.

            Maybe they cook for lunch and dinner at the same time? I think is closes early, so food may be from the lunch prep.

            1. re: Dean Tudor

              Mandi is supposed to be very simple and same time delicious.