In an era of no-frills restaurant decor, it’s refreshing to enter a truly opulent dining room in Toronto. Expect excellent, attentive service; gorgeous global cuisine; and a stunning atmosphere that wows families and hipsters alike. Don’t wait for a special occasion — lunch is relatively affordable, and parking is validated. Emmanuel, a helpful, gracious, child-friendly server, is just one of many talented staff ensuring an impressive experience at this top-notch dining room.
Chef Pat Riley still has the Midas touch (ex-Perigee) and knows how to wrangle flavour in this pan-Islamic-world menu. Some dishes arrive at room temperature, and some less spicy than expected, but overall, food is above average to excellent. Lamb manti dumplings are a must. Lamb kibbeh ball (one item on a Stuffed Bites Plate $13, that also features a terrific briouart artichoke spring roll, as well as beef samosa and baby marrow squash) will be fought over to the last crumb. Continue the lamb theme with excellent spicy adana lamb kebab with aromatic rice.
Toast with a local Spearhead Moroccan brown ale, a bottle of wine, or “spicy chai”. Save room for excellent dessert: order both the carob chocolate tart and ice cream of the day — cubed kulfi (mango and halva flavours).
Don’t forget to visit the Aga Khan museum itself. Free family passes are now available at most Toronto Public Library branches. http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/museum-arts-passes/ Toronto is truly blessed to have this opulent art museum open our eyes to the world.
From the website…
“Diwan’s elegant interior features 19th-century wooden panels hand-carved and painted in Damascus. Floor-to-ceiling windows overlook an intimate patio and offer a stunning view of the formal garden designed by Lebanese-Serbian landscape architect Vladimir Djurovic.
Chef Patrick Riley oversees the meticulous preparation of dishes that are inspired by the great cuisines of Turkey, Iran, North Africa, Central Asia, and the Indian subcontinent. Each course offers subtle fragrances and flavours that use traditional recipes and create exciting fusions of old and new. Halal and vegetarian options form an integral part of the menu.
Born in Singapore, Chef Riley has developed his culinary skills over a 30-year career, working in innovative kitchens in Canada and abroad while maintaining a love of the Middle Eastern cuisine that once filled his family’s kitchen.”