The Best Halal Restaurants in Toronto: 2012 Edition
Gone are the days when the best halal restaurants meant Pakistani or Middle Eastern food. Today’s restaurant owners are keeping up with the demand for diverse cuisine, quality ingredients and modern ambiance. From authentic Thai to classic comfort food, the best halal restaurants today offer more choice than ever before.
Since the range of best halal restaurants is so broad, it’s difficult to rank these places in order. We’ve tried to select a good variety of cuisine styles, location and budget to illustrate the best-of-the-best within the full spectrum.
You may be tempted to add places that you feel we may have overlooked. However, we’re only highlighting places that adhere to a full halal menu (with meat being from hand slaughtered sources), do not serve pork and do not serve alcohol. If one of more of above points are not applicable to the restaurant you feel deserves mention, it’s likely not aligned to what we believe constitutes a halal restaurant. If you have a suggestion that does meet our requirements, please share with us in the comments section below!
Halal authenticity can change at any time, so please remember to always verify with our choices below prior to eating. Not in any particular order, here’s what we think are the best halal restaurants:
1. Kara Mia, 7690 Markham Road, Markham
Ask anyone what they think about Kara Mia, and I’ll halal bet you it will always be something positive. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything negative about their food or service. It might get busy on a weekend, but in terms of food quality, professionalism and true culinary expertise, Kara Mia ranks very high. Their Italian inspired menu has morphed over the years to include some homely favourites like burgers and steak. But Chef Abdurrahim’s take is always stellar and rises above expectations. Read our FULL REVIEW here.
2. Bamiyan Kabob, 62 Overlea Blvd
Bamiyan Kabob is one of the best-known Afghan restaurants in the city. Most entrees feature a combination of meat, rice and naan, which sounds meek but just the opposite with their brilliant mix of spices. The white sauce is a must with your meal and so is their dessert, firnee, which is a creamy homemade pudding, spiced with cardamom and topped with pistachios. I prefer the newer Markham location mostly because it’s more spacious however; the Toronto location is more convenient and accessible.
3. T-Buds Tea Lounge, 3343 Yonge St
Only one year new and very humble in their halal status, T-Buds is not your typical halal restaurant. They’re an uptown lounge serving light foods and a huge assortment of tea which makes it a great place to enjoy a long and lazy Sunday brunch. The food quality, presentation and price are not what an average halal food eater would expect because quite frankly, we’ve never been able to fully enjoy a place like this before in Toronto. I tend to go for their dessert crepes and teas rather than a meal, but do try their savory fusion crepes like The Moghul or The Great Ceasar. Read our FULL REVIEW here.
4. Pizza Land, 1801 Lawrence Avenue East
Pizza Land, as the name suggests, is best known for their pizza. But almost everything on their menu is equally as delicious. I usually order a plate of BBQ wings, Shish Taouk or their home burger with fries. When I’m in the mood for fresh and wholesome comfort food I head here. There’s something for everyone and the quality is always consistent. I give them points for being clean and having ample seating with large tables, which makes it a great spot for families. When you’re finished, head next door to the amazing Lebanese bakery for dessert!
5. Chick Felay LaRosh, 2565 Steeles Avenue East #18
The owner of Chick Felay LaRosh opened his doors after leaving his Nando’s franchise many years ago. He offers those of us who crave that flame grilled peri peri chicken a wonderful and fully halal option (currently only the Brampton location is HMA certified). Their flagship location boasts a large interior and a great variety of menu items. Read our FULL REVIEW here.
6. Restoran Malaysia, 815 Major Mackenzie Drive East
This spacious Malaysian restaurant tucked away in Toronto’s north features beautiful décor and equally beautiful food. The menu is vast, literally pages and pages of appetizers, soups, rice, noodles and main dishes. I love the various homemade roti canai and prata they offer along with their soothing teh tarik, or pulled tea. This place gets packed on a Friday or Saturday evening, and with no reservation service, be prepared to wait if you arrive later than six in the evening.
7. Pak Centre, 2683 Lawrence Ave East
Pak Centre is on this list because of their ambiance, comfortable seating and cleanliness. In regards to menu and taste, they are comparable to most other reputable halal South Asian restaurant featuring the usual suspects – butter chicken, tandoori chicken, biryani, etc. However, they do offer some distinct dishes like Murgh Mumtaz, which is boneless chicken breast stuffed with cheese, baked and served with cream laced mango curry. I also like the fact that Pak Centre dishes are not soaked in oil and they pay attention to presentation and proper food plating. Read our FULL REVIEW here.
8. Paramount Fine Foods, 253 Yonge Street
Located across from Toronto Eaton Centre, Paramount is an ideal place to grab Lebanese and authentic Middle Eastern food in the heart of the city. It gets very crowded and there might be a delay in placing your order, but the food is worth the wait and several steps up from your typical shawarma joint. Of the various items they offer, I would say their manakeesh dishes and shish taouk plate are my favourites along with their refreshing cocktail juice, which is a mixture of mango, strawberry and banana. Read our FULL REVIEW here.
9. Hakka Garden, 25 Overlea Boulevard
This restaurant has reclaimed themselves in my opinion after a few years of being just average, mainly for lack of customer service. However, recently they’ve stepped up their game and have moved to the top of my list for Indian style Chinese food. They are now one of the few Hakka restaurants that have a reputable meat source and do not serve alcohol, pork or a partial halal menu. Their portions are quite large for the price; three (maybe even four) people can eat from a single dish if you order extra rice. I would say most items on the menu are delicious, but I personally like the garlic chicken and crispy beef best. I’ve also heard that their chicken pakora, chilli chicken and spicy green beans are worth a try! Read our FULL REVIEW here.
10. Lahore Tikka House, 1365 Gerrard Street East
Quite possibly the definition of South Asian halal restaurant in Toronto because it’s located in little India on Gerrard Street. People of all nationalities flock to this colourful, multi-level restaurant to experience Pakistani food. I usually stick to the grilled or tandoor made choices like their kebabs and ribs as I find their curry and rice dishes get greasy and unnecessarily spicy — which is when the sugarcane juice serves as a refreshing palate cleanser. Using the no frills approach to dining, you will eat with disposable plates and plastic cutlery. Not sure that this is true Lahori style food, but it’s worth a visit if you’ve never been. I wouldn’t call this the best place, but it is one of the best known.