Darvish Restaurant (Toronto)

For some people, their first impression of a restaurant is how it looks, whether it’s the establishment’s store front or an initial glimpse of the dining room. For me, a more important impression is how the place smells, the sense that intrigues my nose about things to come. Upon entering Darvish, it was the first thing that struck me – all the spices melding together with a faint smoky meat scent. Sure, their colourful tablecloths were nice, but that’s secondary.

Most of the heavenly aromas must come from Darvish’s stews. When our aubergine stew or bheymeh bademjoon ($16.99) was set on the table, it certainly made me inhale deeply, a calm yoga breath. You really can’t go wrong with a hearty dish spooned over the basmati rice, where the tomato sauce has a hint of citrus thanks to dried lime, which keeps it light while the split peas helps to thicken the sauce. The meat wasn’t immensely tender for veal, but good enough. I only wished there was more eggplant (especially since the stew was named after it), as the vegetable absorbed many flavours and I wish there was more than one piece.  

Make sure to choose the saffron barberry rice if you’re getting a kabob as despite looking regular basmati topped with cranberries, it's certainly more flavourful thanks to being cooked in saffron liquid. You’ll need the extra spice as the kabobs aren’t overly strong; tasty enough on their own but slightly plain without a flavoured grain.

We sampled a mixed kabob plate containing a skewer of koobideh and lamb ($18.99), I was pleasantly surprised by how moist the koobideh (a spiced minced meat) was as I find at most places it’s rendered into an overcooked hamburger. The lamb was tender and with a bit of the onion and parsley mixture helped augment its flavours and ensure there was no gaminess.

All in all, Darvish provides satisfying Persian comfort food. As much as they say ‘you eat with your eyes’, for me, I’m certainly eating with my nose as well. 

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 508 Yonge 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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