Israeli Restaurants in Toronto

Mesiba ba ba and all that balagan

As you may know, Toronto has the biggest Jewish population in all of Canada. While it was originally composed of Ashkenazi immigrants from Europe, many Israeli migrants have made The Six their home. Israeli food is unique and super delicious, ranging from shawarma to falafel to coos coos and more. Everything is made super fresh with each ingredient perfectly complimenting each other. 

What is Israeli food?

Jews are originally from the Levant, having been forced into exile by invading governments. As a result of the expulsion, Jews have settled in (nearly) every corner of the globe, using local ingredients within a kosher framework. While many Israeli restaurants are not Kosher today, many avoid pork, shellfish, and the combination of meat and milk. If you are looking exclusively for kosher restaurants in toronto, please click on the hyperlink contained in this sentence. 

While some dishes have foreign origins–like in Morroco, Poland or Ethiopia-some are indiginious to Israel. The modern Israeli palate is multifaceted and brilliantly complex, highlighting traditional cooking techniques and produce. While there are many halal restaurants in Toronto, few offer the authentic Israeli experience as offered in the restaurants below. Getting hungry yet?

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The Haifa Room
224 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J 2Z9

The Haifa Room started as a takeaway window during the pandemic, serving things like falafel and sabich. That window is still open for lunch, but a full-fledged restaurant was always part of the plan. The owners and chef, all close friends, collaborated on a tight menu that draws on their Palestinian and Israeli backgrounds. But here, everyone co-exists peacefully… mostly. “Do we fight? Sure. We fight about glassware,” says Dabdoub. Small plates meant for sharing and snacking feature heavily—think deep-fried halloumi sticks with a harissa-labneh dipping sauce, or lamb kibbeh “torpedos” with sumac-yogurt dip. A few hearty mains and desserts round out the selection, like the meltingly tender, shawarma-spiced boneless lamb shoulder, or a vegan stuffed eggplant.

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I think that it looks pretty lit from the outside. The food tastes and looks delicious. It is super chill and is a great place to bring your fam jam. Betay avon – sachtein!
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Of course, all of the dips are accompanied by a warm, fresh pita. All of the plates at the Haifa Room are served with hummus, Israeli salad, pita, and fries, and options include falafel and kebab. There are plenty of other light bites and shareables on the menu, too, including a colourful tabbouleh made with Israeli couscous and parsley, beef and lamb kofta served with harissa tahini, and irresistibly cheesy halloumi sticks. 
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Mashu Mashu Mediterranean Grill
387 Spadina Rd, Toronto, ON M5P 2W1
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This is a picture of their famous steak. It comes sizzling on a skillet, complimented perfectly by fresh onions and other herbs and spices. Dig in!
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On the left you have two shishliks (bbq chicken breast) and on the right you have grilled seasonal vegetables. Doesn’t it just look delicious?
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Notice how beautiful the chicken came out? It is freshly cut from the shwarma machine, ensuring that every side is charred perfectly. Paired with some rice and hummus, you are definately in for a great meal!
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Old Avenue Restaurant and Bakery
1923C Avenue Rd, North York, ON M5M 4A2
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Chef MAHMUD ALLAHVERDIYEV and bakery chef GULNAR ALIYEVA. They are a serious team and I recommend that you click on the image (to learn more about their accomplishments and contributions in the global culinary world).
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The food originate in the Caucasus but has become famous all over the world. Thousands of Mountain Jews have moved to Israel, merging their ancient recipes with local ingredients. I am excited to try everything on the menu.

While many restaurants are having difficulty attracting customers, Old Avenue has attracted a fan base in the Russian, Azerbaijani, Jewish, Chinese and multicultural Torontonian community. Featured in BLOGTO as one of 18 best places to grab brunch, you will be introduced to a fascinating cuisine sure to stimulate all of your taste buds. 

According to Stephanie Dickison,  owner of Toronto top Restaurants magazine, Old Avenue is described as a place with “Grandmacore at its finest.”

Maybe you haven’t heard of Dolma, Kutab, Shah Plov, SAJ, or PAHLAVA, but you will soon become acquainted.  Pairing delicious kebabs with fresh produce and herbs, their fresh bread is served with every meal. Azerbaijani food is one of the most popular foods in Israel. These delicacies come straight from the Azerbaijani Mountain Jews in the Caucasus. According to Esther Mordechai, one of the restaurant’s owners, the food is super fresh and integrates a variety of cooking techniques and traditions. Famous choices include khachapuri, khinkali, and Manti. Without being too hyperbolic, some would say the best in town.Esther goes on to describe the rich history of Azerbaijan, providing a safe and comfortable home for the Jews to live and thrive.

While some restaurants are strictly Kosher, all abstain from pork and cater to Jews who are more flexible with their eating habits. Promoting a “Kosher-style” level of comfort, you will not find shrimp, lobster, or anything else prohibited by Jewish law.

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me va me East Mediterranean Kitchen
240 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1Z7
This is one of my go-to places. Here you have some shwarma and grilled potatoes. Be sure to check out their laffa, which is a middle eastern type of bread. It is much bigger than pita and comes fresh out of the tandoor. There have many locations around town with some designed just for takeout.
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For carb-hesistant diners, try out this awesome dinner combination. Two juicy sticks of marinated chicken breast topped on to of a bed of fresh veggies. This is a great way to keep on track while enjoying a nice meal out with friends and family.

Is Israeli Food Unique?

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Even if a dish has foreign origins, the Israeli iteration is something different altogether. This is caused by fushion cooking, matching different cooking techniques, ingredients and spices together. Would you try some gefilte fish and hummus? How about some spicy Morrocan matza balls? Please, I am just kidding. No one would think of making something so crazy. Would you give it a try?
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When I was a grade 8 student at York Hill Public School, I used to come here quite often. It was super tasty and rather cheap. While prices have gone up, the quality is better than ever. Their pita is the best pita that you will get anywhere in the world, taken directly from an authentic Israeli oven. The staff are super friendly and I look forward to coming here in the near future.
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These are the world famous pitas that I described above. It goes amazing with some hummus, tahina, or babaganoush.
Famous Israeli Dishes

Not every restaurant sells every dish but here are some famous Israeli dishes that will get your taste buds working! I would say that this is the best food in the food but what do I know? In order to figure this out for yourself, treat yourself to one of the amazing restaurants that we have in our city.

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