(plus restaurant in front)
6009 Yonge St,
Irregular closing time - call ahead
Very good of its type
Tabriz is a prosperous city in the north-west corner of Iran with a reputation for good cooking. Two restaurants in Toronto are named Tabriz. They are unrelated. I write about the one on north Yonge St, in the same plaza as Tim Hortons.
The place is primarily a catering kitchen, but has about 25 seats out front. It has a limited menu, most of what they sell is different varieties of kebab. (So what else is new?) There are additional items not on the menu available when the kitchen prepares the item for catering. You have to ask. It is constantly busy. This Tabriz has an excellent reputation among those in the Persian community with whom I have spoken about Persian restaurants. I think that it is good, for what my opinion is worth, as does my Thai friend, who is an electronic engineer but in Canada runs an excellent Thai restaurant.
This is a no-nonsense place- you go there to eat, period. The staff has a limited ability or no ability in Engish, which can be a problem. Customers will freely help out. Prices are modest, the standard is high.
So every meal starts with a small soup, dairy based. Then your main, then a small cup of tea usually with a bit of dessert, usually a date.
Meat is heavily marinated in yoghurt. I have never seen meat so white in any other Persian place. I would get the koobideh (beef) kekab, which doesn't have the yoghurt marinade. All dishes come with a mountain of basmati rice, plain for most dishes. Wait till it cools down, it is very tasty then.
There is also (a) green rice- basmati with dill and young broad beans. Tabriz’s is better than some but there is still room for much better. Wonderful at its best. (b) basmati with barberries. Once at Tabriz I had one of these that was fabulous, with a bit of spice and crushed pistachio. I got lucky that day. These special rices are $2 more if they are not standard with the dish.
A really good dish is the two chicken legs with barberry rice. Beautiful flavouring in the marinade and sauce. And very tender. A French kitchen would be proud it made it. (I didn’t ask about a yoghurt marinade and hoped.) It is available off-menu often, ask, but see infra.
I haven’t been there for a while.
(a) I couldn't handle the rice mountain any more.
(b) I don’t do meat in a yoghurt marinade. Choice for me can be limited to the koobideh kebab.
(c) The level of English is low to non-existent. Often I was the only non-Persian customer in the place. I was given the wrong item on two occasions, chicken leg kebab instead of the two chicken legs. Forewarned, I thought that I had been explicit the second time and I even had demonstrated legs. The first time I ate it, the second time I sent it back and got a lot of friction. On the other hand, the Persian customers are extraordinarily polite and helpful.
(d) I came in and sat there waiting, which is quite OK by me. After a while, I went to the counter and asked for a small cup of (prepared) tea to pass the time. I got it. At the end, I asked for another tea, what I thought was part of the meal. I got charged another $1 for the extra tea. I smiled and remembered this stupidity.
(e) You have to ask If you want a glass of water, which you will find out is a good thing.
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