Byblos (Toronto)

Byblos offers a vast selection of cuisines under the Eastern Mediterranean umbrella. Consisting of countries such as Greece, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, Israel and Cyprus, there is seafood from the Mediterranean Sea and a variety of spices creating flavourful dishes.

Their house labneh ($11) was rich and delightful, but too filling if you’re only a table of two. The strained yoghurt was impossibly smooth and decadent - you’d think you’re eating ice cream if it weren’t room temperature. Honey comingles with the olive oil so there’s a hint of sweetness against the pure oily sheen. As you dip the warm barbari, tasty on its own, the bread’s toasted grains gives the smooth topping a nutty bite.

Byblos Toronto: Lebneh

Widely written about, Byblos Turkish manti dumplings ($14) are nothing like the typical meat filled varieties from other cultures. These are delicate and bite sized – food for a princess - the mere smidge of smoked eggplant inside gives off such a powerful flavour that you’d swear there’s meat. Sitting in warmed yoghurt, the creamy sauce is further drizzled with molasses so the dish could be dessert if it weren’t for the hit of unexpected spiciness.

Byblos Toronto: Turkish dumpling

At first poke, the Spanish octopus ($19) seemed rubbery and overdone. Although its skin was a bit hard to permeate, upon chewing, the seafood was surprisingly meaty and tender. On the bottom, the urfa biber chili vinaigrette was tasty providing a light smokiness reminiscent of harissa and each tendril sat on a wedge of fingerling potato so as you cut through there’s a starchy surprise.

Byblos Toronto: Spanish octopus

The Persian rice ($24) was beautiful,the gorgeous yellow colour and the wafts of spices drew me close, beckoning me to eat spoon after spoon despite feeling full. With the decent amounts of small fried Laughing Bird shrimp and fried pieces of sujuk, a Turkish sausage that tastes like prosciutto, the rice is another filling but should be experienced dish.

Byblos Toronto: Persian rice

Joel, our server that evening, was laid back and attitude almost like he’s inviting you into his home. He cautioned that with a small table it’d be hard to share many dishes and would warn us if we ordered too much. However, his last push of asking if we wanted something to nibble on was really not required, as the resulting labneh excessive, disappointingly leaving us too full to enjoy Byblos raved about desserts. Note to self: always trust your first instincts.  

Byblos Toronto: gulab cocktail

Luckily, the virgin gulab ($6.25) was so tasty that it could be dessert… well … almost. The cocktail was refreshing and utterly enjoyable even without the rose infused vodka. Just be sure to stir well as the tart lemon juice sits on top and pomegranate syrup sinks to the bottom. The pieces of gulab (red rose) and rose water gives the drink an aromatic quality. What a wonderful concoction to ring in the warm weather, cheers!

Overall mark - 8 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 11 Duncan Street

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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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