The Best Halal Steaks in Toronto Plus Tips for Grilling at Home
The Best Halal Steaks in Toronto
The ever popular steak is one of the most sought out foods in both mainstream and halal restaurants. People want a good steak. The definition of said good steak is relatively accurate across the board: tender, juicy, flavourful, high quality — and at a great price. Although it seems simple and straightforward, it’s not.
So many factors can sway a good halal steak. The most common is not understanding how to grill or cook using various methods, not marinating properly and overcooking.
The best steak I’ve experienced was made at home with organic meat, seasoned only minutes before going on the grill and a topped with a bit of butter (pictured above!) We followed grilling tips as closely as possible and this made a world of a difference.
We’ve decided to provide a list of a few places that are known to serve great quality halal steaks in a restaurant setting, and then list a few places that sell halal steaks to cook at home plus end off with a few techniques to get the best possible results right in your own home.
There are restaurants that have been omitted which may also fall into the best category but if they serve pork on the menu and/or serve alcohol, we cannot add them to our list for best halal steaks.
In alphabetical order, here a handful of halal restaurants which currently have the best halal steaks in Toronto:
Affy’s Premium Grill, 2200 Brock Rd, Pickering
Service is questionable at times, but it seems like the crowds just can’t resist Affy’s. One of their most popular dishes is their New York strip loin served in different ounces and grades served alongside your choice of gravy and side. A 10 ounce AAA steak here costs $21. Our insider tip is to visit on a Tuesday or Wednesday when crowds are light to get improved service and food quality vs. a weekend visit.
Crave Grill House, 25 Woodbine Downs Blvd #5, Toronto
Crave Grill House opened their doors this past May and have gained popularity for their customer service, clean and comfy decor and quality menu items. They have a good selection of steaks and sauces as they should if they’re going to add “grill house” to their business name. All of their steaks are AAA and aged for a minimum of 28 days. Select from a variety of cuts, doneness and gravies plus vegetables and a choice of an additional side. A 12 ounce AAA New York strip loin dinner will run you $22.
Kara Mia, 7690 Markham Road, Markham
Long time favourite Kara Mia in Markham (originally in Vaughan) serves up beautiful pasta dishes and steaks. Like Affy’s, they are pioneers in the halal food service industry for bringing in mainstream style menu and dining. Kara Mia is unique in their offering and flavours. They use AAA Angus that run between 10-11 ounce for $21.99, served with both fries and vegetables (your choice of steak). Tip: upgrade with a side of saffron poutine vs. their regular fries (you’re welcome).
Toppings, 426 Major Mackenzie Dr E, Richmond Hill
New to the steak game but have been a big hit recently with their Ramadan steak night special. The demand was so great, they have just recently brought their 10 ounce AAA aged Angus NY Strip Steaks back for the same great price of $19.99 served with fries. Their steak nights are every Friday and Saturday evening. It’s recommended to call ahead to make sure they have seating and steaks available.
Make your own halal steak at home with premium cuts from these retailers:
AAAHalalSteaks.com, online only
An online hub selling only aged AAA Angus Beef in a variety of cuts, sealed for freshness. Simply visit their site, purchase through an order form and voila… you’re done.
Blossom Pure Organic Halal Meat, 100 The East Mall, Etobicoke (also a Mississauga location)
They offer both a retail store (2 locations) plus a delivery service to various areas in and out of the GTA perfect for making organic more accessible. They also carry organic chickens and other grocery items.
Krave by Chef Aleem Syed, online/phone orders only
Well known Chef Aleem is offering pre-packaged marinated meats – including grilled cuts of steak. Using his unwavering talent as a trained chef, you’ll be bringing gourmet quality home with you. Price list and inventory brochure available upon request.
Paramount Butcher Shop, 4646 Heritage Hills Boulevard, Mississauga
No delivery service, but a massive selection of various meats for a variety of uses. You go in a little lost, but come out feeling inspired.
- Grades: there are four grades of beef in Canada: Prime, AAA, AA, A — Prime being the highest and based on the amount of marbling it has.
- Angus: this is a breed of cattle, not a grade. The breed is known to have better marbling which is what is associated with flavour and tenderness. The word Angus has been used as a bit of a marketing tool to make it seem more exclusive than it really is. When purchasing Angus beef, make sure it’s Prime or AAA for best quality. Just having the word Angus will not cut it, you should still look out for a grade.
- Aging: dry aging is a process that’s been around for many years. The meat is hung after being cleaned and closely watched in a refrigerated environment. The key effect of dry aging is the concentration and saturation of the natural flavour, plus making the meat texture more tender. Wet aged is growing in popularity as it takes less time and requires less space. Cuts of meat are typically aged in vacuum sealed bags and the aging process takes place during transit from packaging to retailer/restaurant. There are some pros and cons between the two – Read more info here.
Canadian Beef divides steaks into three classifications:
- Grilling steaks, usually the most costly, these cuts are well marbled with fat and can be put directly on the grill or in a pan with little/no preparation except seasoning. These include T-bone, porterhouse, top sirloin, strip loin, tenderloin and rib-eye.
- Marinating steaks, usually less expensive cuts from the more muscular areas of the animal, are equally or even more flavourful but less tender with less marbling, so they should be marinated. These include sirloin tip, inside round, eye of round, outside round, flank and skirt steaks.
- Simmering steaks are cuts such as blade or brisket. These are the most tough cuts and should be simmered or braised in liquid for a long time over low heat to break down the muscle and make them tender.
8 Tips for better halal steaks at home:
- Searing is the process of sealing the meat using high heat. The sizzle is the sound the steak makes on a very hot grill/pan and indicates the outside of the meat is being seared to hold in the juices and being caramelized with flavour.
- Preheat your grill/pan on high and sear on high. Don’t continue to cook on high! After the meat is sealed on both sides (from searing), move the steak to another section of the grill to complete cooking with indirect heat from the original side with medium high heat. If you’re on a stove top, reduce your heat to medium-low.
- When pan cooking, place pieces at least one inch apart or they will steam vs. brown/sear
- If pan cooking, don’t discard the juice and crust that forms in your pan, add water or high quality acidic juice like grape and cook on medium heat stirring and adding spices, onion or any vegetable if you wish. To thicken the sauce add butter or corn starch (diluted).
- If you’re using a grilling steak; keep it simple. Five minutes before grilling, pat your steak dry with a paper towel, rub a sliced garlic clove on the surface and rub in some sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
- When applying a marinade to steaks, one important step is to first use a fork to pierce the meat all over.
- If using barbecue sauce, it should not be brushed on until a couple of minutes before the meat is cooked, partly because most sauces contain sugar that will burn if on the heat too long.
- When the meat is almost cooked to the desired level, it should be removed from the barbecue and allowed to “rest” for three to five minutes. It will continue to cook a little and this time allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat from the centre.