My love for authentic Arabic food is not a secret and having grown up in the Middle East I admit that I can be quite
snobby picky particular on the Middle Eastern cuisine I enjoy. I have my favourites but none have impressed me as much as Tabülè. I had heard many good things about this spot but given that they were a bit out of the downtown core, I never got around to visiting them. That is until a fellow foodie friend told me that Tabülè had a second spot down on Queen East and invited us over for a meal with the kids to check out the good eats and drinks. So that’s what we did one Wednesday evening.
Baby Boy was a bit sick so we dropped him off with my folks and took the Little Monkey for a dinner date as just the three of us. Like back in the day. Life is so much easier with just one kid…and that evening I remembered how easy it really is to dine with one versus two. On arrival we were greeted warmly with fun decor elements and Arabic Pop music that hints at the authentic dishes that will be warming our bellies and putting a smile on our faces. This is a happening spot that sees many families pop by for a meal (they have a patio during the summer!) and I loved seeing kids lined up by the bar waiting for their take out orders! Very cute.
I love the space at the Leslieville location and hope to visit their original location soon. Warm yet very chic and as the hubs noted… the person who writes their menu board is a true artiste! As soon as we enter we’re welcomed with much buzz and excitement exuding from the warmly lit space and our server whisks us to a table by the window and brings out a high chair for the Little Monkey. They even brought out some crayons and books! With Arabic tunes in the background the hubs and I start drooling as we ponder over the menu and wish we had more people with us so we could order the entire menu!
I loved that they have FRESH juices here… and clearly a reason I need to bring my mom in (if you’ve been reading our posts for a while you’ll recall how she asks for fresh juice EVERYWHERE she goes). The hubs and I started with a Mojito and an Arak cocktail and the Little Monkey had a watermelon lemonade. Of course she decided she needed a potty break so off we went down a set of stairs to a very cool hallway lined with Arabic newspaper (as wallpaper) and we did a little dance as the beats were much louder downstairs and we could do a little jig away from the crowd;)
The flash fried Cauliflower dish drizzled with Tahini came HIGHLY recommended and I’m glad I got it. Honestly, not something I’d usually get but definitely a must when here. I was able to sneak one into the little one and that’s quite the achievement. We also started with a mezze platter of Hümmus and Tabülè. One thing you notice as soon as the food arrives is that everything is fresh and made with quality ingredients. Not something I can say about most Middle Eastern spots we frequent. The Little Monkey is a huge fan of Falafel so obviously we got a platter of that and was pleased as punch when she polished off two of them. She hadn’t been eating well that week so I was beyond happy that we were at Tabülè!
Being the meat lovers we are we also ordered the Ma’anek which a spicy sausage that had pine nuts! Another fave! The hubs loves himself some Kefta and while the platter sounded daunting at the end of our meal, our lovely server suggested that we omit the rice and veggies and just get the meat. BRILLIANT idea! It was so darn juicy and succulent that my constant lamb craving was well satisfied.
To end the meal the hubs ordered some sorbet (made fresh in house I was told) and I ordered the Mühalabiya which is a Lebanese custard with rose water and pistachios. Typical of Lebanese desserts, this was extremely sweet and very rich – just the way I like my
friends dessert. Needless to say, I’m craving a visit back as I write this post and I’m thinking of perhaps taking the whole FamJam in for Father’s Day this weekend! Mondays and Tuesdays are BYOB with no corkage and Saturday has some Belly dancing action. Definitely a spot that has to be featured in our Top 10 dining spots with babies and a reason I chose them for our Rogers Daytime Tv segment. Here’s a toast to the lovely husband-wife duo, Chef Rony and Diana, on their one year anniversary at the the Queen Street location! Fisehatak !!
What are some of your favourite Middle Eastern dining spots in Toronto? Do share!