Mayrik (Toronto)

While downtown Toronto is filled with the O.G., new trendy, and fancy restaurants; and Scarborough, Mississauga, and Brampton are home to very authentic eateries; mid-town Toronto melds the two together to form a collection of restaurants that draws on traditions, but adds an element of familiarity as well. In no way is this comment meant to be a disparaging remark: mid-town restaurants offer a safe space to try different cuisines without feeling uneducated.

I’ll fully admit my experience with Middle Eastern food is still in the elementary stages. Since it essentially encapsulates Arab, Persian, Jewish, and Turkish food (to name a few), there’s a wide array of flavours, ingredients, and dishes to taste.

Mayrik serves Armenian dishes that are inspired by Chef Sebouh Yacoubian’s maternal kitchen, but updated with his own flair. For example, octopus ($32) isn’t something that you normally find on Armenian menus, but Mayrik prepares it excellently, on account of Chef Yacoubian’s lineage with the Greek Mamakas Tavern. It’s tender enough that a dinner knife slides through easily and grilled lovingly so the seafood develops a smokiness and the tendrils become crispy.

Both meaty and delicate, the octopus is simply seasoned, but add some of the mild harra sauce and it gets even better. Sitting on a bed of eech, a bulgur wheat salad, I can’t say it really compliments the octopus, but I guess isn’t a terrible choice either. The eech just seems to be missing something – more salt and even some of the tabouli would be nice.

The babaghanoush ($8) is the healthiest and freshest version I’ve ever tasted, the base merely well-roasted eggplant with a splash of olive oil and seasoning. Topped with a tabouli that’s equal parts parsley and bell peppers with a light splash of lemon, it helps to give the dish some crunch and freshness. The pink ribbons is a date tahini adding an element of sweetness while the pine nuts fairly neutral creating something to chew on.

Each dip arrives with two toasted pitas that are freshly prepared and hot – be careful when pulling these babies apart. The bread really hits the spot and would be even better if some of the dried parsley is substituted with salt.

Surprisingly, it’s the humble shawarma ($26) that elicit the most excitement at the table. A stunning affair with another hot fresh pita (thinner and more toasted) that’s topped with decadently oily and tender pulled lamb neck … make sure you have a piece of the meat solo before adding any accompaniments… it’s so good.

Mayrik keeps the condiments separate so you decide how much chimmichurri, pickled red onions with sumac, tahini, and pickles to include in the shawarma. My husband was able to add tahini to his heart’s content while I loaded up on onion and pickles, which I found help cut through the lamb’s richness.

Sharing is essential and this dish is fairly heavy. The lamb neck is loaded with oil, so although it can get messy, I suggest picking up the wrap and eating it taco style so the oil can drain out the other end. At least a tablespoon was left on the plate after I finished my half.

Plus, you need to save room for the kunefe ($16). The dessert consists of fine semolina dough baked with cheese and some custard creating a cross between a flan, cheesecake, and gooey cheese all melted into a pan of deliciousness. It’s certainly sweet owing to the brown sugar topping and the orange syrup that gets poured at the table. It’s rich enough to share amongst a table of four; a quarter is all you really need.

The other great thing about dining midtown is the calmer pace. Especially on weekdays when people just seem to have more time and there’s no reminder that meals can only last for two hours. At Mayrik, our waitress was helpful, in particular helping to navigate through the Greek wines, which I’m also inexperienced with. It’s my chance immerse myself in a new cuisine, without feeling like a dunce.

Overall mark - 9 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 1580 Bayview Avenue

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more -
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!

Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:

Mayrik Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato