Tabule Middle Eastern Cuisine - Queen (Toronto)

While Toronto restaurants have made great strides with accommodating food allergies, choices are still limited for those who have celiac level allergies to gluten. It’s an added liability or investment that some restaurants don’t want to take on to make to ensure their kitchens and food handling is celiac safe.

Accordingly, it’s admirable that Tabule Middle Eastern Cuisine has not only dedicated their chain to being celiac friendly but also offers a wide range of menu options. In fact, they seem to cater to a host of dietary restrictions including those who are vegan.

Traditionally, the tabule in the sampler platter ($22) wouldn’t be gluten-free due to it’s use of bulgur wheat. As a result, the kitchen substitutes quinoa into the finely chopped parsley, tomato, and onion salad instead, which gives it a finer and more delicate consistency. I love mixing the citrusy tabule with smoky rich babaganoush and sandwiching a spoon of it into the thin and chewy laffa ($3.95 a piece), it’s a great way to start the meal.

In fact, you can make a whole meal from their starters with the host of other mezze options gracing the menu. From the inexpensive assorted pickles ($4.50) made up on turnips, olives, hot peppers, and dill pickles to something warm and comforting like the aaranbeet ($8.95), which is unbattered fried cauliflower that’s tossed with tahini creating a warm nutty bite.

Tabule’s falafel salad ($14.95) continues to impress, the crispy chickpea and fava bean nuggets are deliciously fluffy, moist, and flavourful putting other falafels to shame. I do find the vinaigrette overly acidic (mixing a bit of tahini into it helps) and the dressing could use a hit more salt. If you’re not into super lemony salads, I’d stick with ordering the falafels solo.

The warak enab ($12.95) is also overly citrusy, which is a shame as the stuffed grape leaves are a great consistency – the leaves delicate and soft and the rice not too mushy. If only Tabule tones down the lemon seasoning and augments the tomato, garlic, and other spices instead.

For something filling, go for the eggplant meal ($16.95) where slices of aubergine are fried until soft and topped with tahini and pomegranate creating a salty, sweet, and nutty main. The sauces and juices go equally well when soaked into the mujaddara, a fragrant rice studded with lentils and onions. If things become too oily or heavy, have a bite of grilled vegetables that round out the dish.

Gathering around the table to eat and share is such an important ritual to build connection. Cheers to Tabule for making this possible for so many more people. 

Overall mark - 7 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 810 Queen Street East

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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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