A New Take on Halal South Asian Food at Spice Shack

*** UPDATE (February 22, 2014): MOVED to 308 Painted Post Drive, Scarborough – much larger location! ***

The family and I have decided to head out to another lazy Sunday lunch in downtown Toronto. A place that I’ve been wanting to try out for a while is Spice Shack.

I’ve had Spice Shack on my must try list for a while now because of a few very key things; one being their chef. He’s not aunty from across the road (no offence to aunties that work in South Asian restaurants). He’s Chef Lionel John, born in Pakistan, but raised for many years in Toronto and is apart of a new and upcoming generation of professionally trained chefs that are emerging onto the Toronto halal food scene.

Chef Lionel specializes in Italian cuisine, but his love for home cooked food that his mother lovingly made while he was growing up is what he is serving at Spice Shack. With his own touch of course.

If you know me, you’ll know that one of my biggest turn off at any restaurant is a pool of grease/oil. South Asian restaurants are famous for it and one of the reasons why I haven’t found a place that I can say I love.

I’ve been to so many where my attempts at skimming off the oil leads to a nearly 50% reduction in the bowl – a bit of drama, yes, but there is some truth as well. Even if the food is tasty, it just doesn’t sit well.

So here, at Spice Shack where focus is on health and freshness, I’m really happy that I can report the food is comforting, perfect spice level for me with complex tastes that vary dish to dish and no pools of oil.

Spice Shack

Best things off the menu – definitely have their fried masala fish and fries ($7.99). Also try their tender beef kebab ($6.99) served with rice or naan, malai chicken ($7.99) (a.k.a. butter chicken) and samosa (3 veg or 2 meat for $1.50).

Also noted is their plating. My kebab remained succulent and moist even though it was the last thing I ate because it was covered in a layer of fresh cucumber and tomato salad then dredged with chutney. Practical and beautiful!

Spice Shack

I would absolutely make this my South Asian go-to. I hope that is where there direction is in the future!

Meat Supplier as of April 23, 2013: Iqbal Halal Foods and Corsetti Meat Packers, meat is from hand slaughtered sources.

Spice Shack
308 Painted Post Drive, Scarborough
(647) 748 0786

Spice Shack on Urbanspoon

By: April 23, 2013

10 Comments


  • Looks great! We also don’t like that sea of oil floating on top :) Hope they will one day make it a sit down place….it’s a long way to go from Markham for take out!


  • Great review, although I wish you had also included the prices.


    • Halal Foodie on April 24, 2013

      Thanks Sarah! I just updated the post to include prices! I usually do include price, but left it out this time – will not do that again! ;)


  • I think we went here on our last trip to Toronto. It was the only place we ate on our very short trip, but it was really good masha’allah. Thanks for sharing- it brought back some good memories!


  • Robina Malik on April 24, 2013

    Awesome looks delicious hope to visit soon!


  • Stephane Levac on May 29, 2013

    Great little restaurant. I live around the corner and have been there often. As noted in the review, their vegetable samosas are very good and not greasy at all. On Saturdays, we have the vegetarian special. This is a very good meal and at a price of $4.99, can’t be beat.


  • Eat there often. Introduce friends from office to the quality Pakistani food and they all loved it. They can even deliver orders in the neighbourhood!

    They food is always great. My favourite is Masala fish and Tandoori Tikka. Their Samosas are wonderful too. Go with the rice (their Nan is supermarket premade nan warmed up…not good). Did’nt like the mango lassi. Other than that everything is wonderful there.

    Their service is awesome too (which is unusual for a desi restaurant!!!?? :) ) I have been met with smile and they have changed items in menu for us (due to our preference/dietary restrictions). Just awesome place to visit regularly. Would highly recommend them.


  • We went here with some friends last week. We ordered the steak dinner, bhonda ghost (meat) and grilled chicken dinner. The waitress wasn’t sure about everything we ordered and had to go double check if they had it. Steak and mash potatoes ($25) were great but the chicken was dry. We mentioned it and the chef brought out some lemon butter sauce. Also, if you like it spicy make sure you ask for it spicy. The food overall was good, service and prices was ok. We waited 40mins for the food and were the only ones there. They did provide chips and dip while we waited :)


  • used to like spice shack until
    This incident a few weeks back.. My 4 yr old wanted halwa puri. So we end up at spice shack around noon. It was empty. I ordered halwa puri and sat down. 25 mins down and nothing as yet. Finally a waitress walks over holding up a pack of frozen baturas from the brand Deep. She explained that the grocery next door ran out of puris and if it’s ok for them to serve these baturas instead!
    I was shocked!
    It’s probably just me but when I go to a restaurant I expect the food to be freshly prepared. I can make frozen store bought puris at home too.
    It made me wonder what other dish items at Spice Shack came from frozen prepackaged meals from the Grocer.
    Anyways, since we had been waiting for over 40 mins and my son was hungry I agreed. 15 mins later we get burnt baturas along with the halwa. Seems like the cook didn’t know how to prepare frozen baturas.
    That’s when I gave up. Since the place was empty I just told the guy in the office that we are leaving. The guy then goes on to explain that they are having trouble with their kitchen. Well… That’s the first thing he should have told me when I walked in!

    No more Spice Shack for us.

    Ps: while we were waiting we were served complimentary hummus with nachos since the wait was too long.


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