The Best Halal Restaurants in Toronto: 2014 Edition
Selecting the Best Halal Restaurants in Toronto has never been an easy task. The tail end of 2013 has set of a period of growth where many, many new halal restaurants have been opening up. This means that what we perceived to be the best before, might not be today. Here we’ll outline what stood out to be the best of the best for 2014.
This restaurant growth comes as no surprise since Toronto boasts the highest concentration of Muslims in all of North America. With half a million living in the GTA, representing many different cultures, Toronto sits in a beautiful and humble halal culinary hotspot. This year, we’re not only focusing on taste, but also ambiance, passion and a desire to excel in culinary excellence by maintaining an innovative and exciting menu.
This list is a combination of our opinion based on our combined years of eating just about everywhere and monitoring the success and growth of restaurants as well as social media polls involving you! Your feedback matters so we always use our online tools as a gauge to see if our views are aligned with popular opinion. If you’re not joining in on our conversations — follow us now on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest!
As usual, halal restaurants defined by halalfoodie.ca, are fully halal – meaning no pork products, no alcohol and only halal meat on the menu. And remember: ownership, meat sources and halal authenticity can change at anytime so always double check before you sit down for a meal at any halal restaurant.
Here are the Best Halal Restaurants in Toronto, in alphabetical order:
2200 Brock Rd, Pickering
What: One of the first restaurants in (kinda outside) of the GTA that catered to those Muslims who wanted some good ol’ halal western cuisine, Affy’s is a classic.
Why: Almost everyone we know has at least one favourite dish at Affy’s that they find themselves craving from time to time. For us, it’s definitely the Cajun Stuffed Chicken with extra sauce, and a side of poutine! Oh, and we can’t forget their Mango Milkshake which we always order when we’re there. It’s a restaurant that serves good food, great sized portions, and offers a nice ambience for those above-average occasions.
269 Augusta Avenue, Toronto
What: Burgernator is located in hipster central, Kensington Market, and in line with the current gourmet burger obsession that has taken over the city.
Why: They’re on this list because they push the envelope and come up with weekly features that push creativity and cater to the latest burger craze. Recently, they’ve introduced cool burgers like The Bombay Adventure and Mexican Night Fever. Their regular offerings are also well-received by the general Halal Foodie audience, and we’re excited to see what they come up with next!
3256 Lawrence Avenue East, Scarborough
What: Offering a unique type of cuisine that many probably have never experienced before, Charcoal Kebab House serves dishes from a region in China called Xinjiang. The folks from this region are known for their hand pulled noodles (langman) and charcoal grilled kebab skewers.
Why: It’s different, it’s cool and it’s delicious. We like that there’s restaurants offering a new cuisine that cater to the Muslim community popping up around the city. Though the dishes may ring a bell (for example, they serve a Manta that’s similar to the Afghan Mantu), the seasoning and spices they use are different from anything you’ve had before.
25 Woodbine Downs Blvd #5, Toronto
What: Opened for a few years now, Crave’s service and food gets better and better every time we go back.
Why: They made the list for Best Of Halal in 2013, and was also one of the Best New Restaurants last year, and they’re still doing well, alhumdulillah. Their food is always consistent, as well as their service. They also serve their drinks in mason jars which obviously is a big win to us. If you haven’t tried their ribs yet, be sure to do so next time you visit!
7690 Markham Road, Markham (Formerly the Vaughan location)
What: Kara Mia, an Italian-inspired restaurant is a GTA favourite, and has been for quite some time.
Why: Kara Mia is solid and has been solid for many years. They are dependable and an overwhelming favourite amongst the community. When they closed their Vaughan location for a few months in order to prepare for their Markham opening, everyone we knew was quite sad and going through Saffron Poutine withdrawal. Their Markham grand opening had guests waiting over an hour, with little complaint – the food is THAT good.
1365 Gerrard Street East, Toronto
What: Ask anyone you know where to get good Pakistani food, and they’ll tell you: Lahore Tikka House, a well-loved Toronto favourite, located in Little India (AKA Gerrard Street in Toronto).
Why: Minus the fact that it’s 2014 and they still serve you their food on styrofoam plates and you’ll be dining on a folded picnic table, the food is why we’re putting them back on the Best Of List for 2014. Though we hear people complain all the time about the decor, or lack thereof, the restaurant is always packed. And by always, we mean we’ve had to wait in a line outside the door to be served before. Don’t forget to grab a Falooda on the way out, it’s a favourite of ours!
145 Rexdale Boulevard, Toronto
What: Mushkaki is a west-end restaurant that offers the best of fusion cuisine, and always, always hits the spot.
Why: Mushkaki does fusion very well. We’re used to seeing South Asian or East Asian fusion, but Mushkaki’s style of East African, Italian and North American fusion is unique and super flavourful. One of the most appealing things about Mushkaki, besides their all-star dishes is the price point: you won’t break the bank with a meal from this popular joint.
1801 Lawrence Ave E, Scarborough and 30 Bristol Road East, Mississauga
What: An Afghan restaurant with delicious Afghan food, great decor and prices that don’t put a major dent in your wallet, Naan & Kabob is a popular restaurant.
Why: We can’t say it enough – the love for Afghan food is at an all-time high right now in the GTA, and more and more Afghan restaurants are popping up in our ‘hood. Naan & Kabob serves up great portions for great prices, and the food is really something to write home about (do people still say that?). With two locations that both make the cut, our east-end and west-end Halal Foodies could enjoy great Afghan cuisine.
Multiple locations across the GTA
What: The best thing about Paramount is that no matter where you are in the GTA, there will be at least one in the vicinity and that the food is consistent across the franchise.
Why: It is one of the best restaurants to grab a delicious and authentic Middle Eastern/Lebanese meal – in an equally wonderful atmosphere. Don’t forget to try their manakesh, homemade hummus — and their pita is to die for. We’re excited to see what their new franchise — Fresh East — has to offer soon!
815 Major Mackenzie Drive East, Richmond Hill
What: A trip to Richmond Hill is incomplete without a stop at this halal Malaysian restaurant that never lets us down.
Why: Confession: their ‘No Reservations’ policy is a tad bit annoying, especially when you go on a weekend evening with a large group of people. But the (sometimes) super lengthy wait is well worth it when your first warm dish arrives at your table. Great decor and the food is not only great, it’s actually beautiful – so colourful and vibrant – it makes the trek up north worth it.
Notable take-out options
These places don’t quite meet the guardrails for a full fledged restaurant, but they’re spectacular take-outs that deserve recognition:
Something 2 Talk About, 78 Gerrard Street West, Toronto
Appropriately named – they’ve been solid over the past years and need to be on this list. They don’t have seating, but have proven over the years to be something to talk about!
Fry Haus, 296 Gerrard Street East, Toronto
They are new but they are a combination of excellent prices, courteous staff and really good food. They specialize in German street food, do not serve pork products and only use meat from Iqbal Halal Meats.
Burger Factory, 5130 Dixie Road, Mississauga
Who doesn’t love carnival style food? We sure do — and that’s the type of fare you’ll find in the West End’s most loved burger joint. Although they don’t have much room to sit in and eat, take out is a wonderful option. Try their tornado fries and funnel cake!