Shomal (North) Restaurant (Toronto)

ocation: Toronto, Canada
Address: 100 Steeles Avenue West, Unit 27
Type of Meal: Dinner

You'll be pleasantly surprised when you walk into North with its large space and delightful decor. It feels like you've walked into the middle of an outdoor courtyard in Iran and are dining with the village.

A co-worker recommended this restaurant for good traditional Persian food, so a group of friends and I decided to try it. Ordering "family style" is definitely recommended as the portion sizes are large and dishes are flavourful so you will likely want to try a number of items to get a mix of flavours. We ended up getting four dishes for five people and this was more than enough.

Our first dish was an appetizer called Mirzaghasemi ($10). Warning: do not order this dish if you're on a date or plan to be close to anyone after dinner as it’s filled with garlic! Chunks of roasted garlic are incorporate with roasted eggplant and scrambled eggs to form a warm, thick, delicious spread. I loved the freshly toasted flat bread that accompanies the dish - the thick garlicky spread on ultra-thin, chewy, toasty bread was a great start.


Mirzaghasemi (1)

I was a bit disappointed with our mains after such a wonderful appetizer. Overall, everything had a citrus taste to it, so it was a bit repetitive and overpowering. But, if I had known a little Persian this could have been avoided, so hopefully this little lesson will help you in the future. "Torsh" means sour in Persian. Two of the dishes we ordered - Morghe Torsh and Torshi Tareh have the word in it, which should have indicated to us that the dishes are sour.

Half of North's menu is dedicated to kebab style dishes so we had to try the North Special Kebab ($30) which consisted of long skewers of beef tenderloin and chicken. The beef of course was very tender, but, unlike steak the meat is cooked thoroughly so there’s no pink left in it. The chicken was average and covered with a red spice that was slightly lemony. Although we couldn't see this being prepared, based on the menu, I believe it's broiled over charcoal. This left a powerful propane after taste to the meat that I didn't enjoy when eaten by itself. However, once some lemon juice, cilantro and raw onions were added to it, the gassy taste was masked and the kebabs were more enjoyable.
North Special kebab (1)

Morghe Torsh ($14) is a chicken stew with different herbs. It's much waterier than North American stews and resembles a sour lentil soup with a large hunk of chicken breast. The chicken itself was tasteless as it seemed it was just boiled, so may have been better if North chose to use bone-in dark meat instead. The broth of the stew tasted good and went well with the rice.
Morghe torsh (1)

Our last dish was Torshi Tareh ($13) a vegetarian dish consisting of broken down leafy greens (could be spinach?), herbs, what seems to be the juice of two lemons and scrambled eggs. When the dish was first served, it looks similar to the Indian spinach paneer. But, they taste nothing alike. The thick vegetable sauce was extremely tart and very strong. My least favourite and definitely will not order again.

Torshi tareh (1)

Despite the restaurant being very busy, our food arrived quickly. However, the service afterwards was very slow. The employees themselves were friendly; just not very attentive and somewhat forgetful. After all the rich flavours we really needed water. Unfortunately, we had to ask three individuals before someone finally brought us water. Additionally, when inquiring a staff member about dessert options, we were advised there is no menu but there are two items. She quickly listed them off, in Persian, offered no description and left. Given we had no idea what these were; we decided to avoid ordering dessert and just leave.

Overall mark - 6.5 out of 10

I given the restaurant a 6.5 as I normally wouldn't want to return to this restaurant based on the meal above. But, if we had ordered a better selection of flavours it'd likely be more enjoyable. So, I'll likely go back to give it one more try - this time hopefully with more help from the waitress/waiters to avoid another "torsh" experience.

Gastro World's Grading System
  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!
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Photo Sources:
  1. All photos courtesy of Shomal (North's) menu -

North Shomal on Urbanspoon