Little Sito is a Lebanese restaurant located on Bloor about halfway between Ossington and Christie. Not quite Bloorcourt and not quite Koreatown, this area has long struggled to find an identity, amazing Ethiopian, sushi and ramen restaurants competing with bars and cafes.
The authentic Lebanese seems to fit much better here than previous occupant Two Bite Saloon and serves as more of a contrast to bars with generic greasy snacks and adds another culture to the mosaic in this wonderfully confused area.
Sito is grandmother in Arabic, and the name comes from owner Michelle Bouzid’s great-grandmother who was under four feet tall.
The interior is spacious and a little industrial without sacrificing too much old world charm. There’s plenty of seating at both tables and the bar, and chalkboard drink and dessert menus adorn the rustically unfinished concrete walls.
This would be a nice place to go to crush a plate of mezza and have a good long chat. The mezza plate ($12) is a trio of creamy, tangy hummous and baba ganoujh with refreshing taboulleh breaking it up in the middle, served with soft and elastic pita bread.
Go just for that for a light snack, or go all out and order the sito supreme ($30), a vegetarian platter of appetizers. Meant for two, the supreme includes the dips, mjadra (lentil dish), loob’yeh b’zait with olives (a green bean dish), tasty and sweet fried cauliflower, and crunchy falafel.
It’s finished off with some feta and turnips house pickled in beet juice (available for $5.95 a jar).
If you’re really feeling hungry, you can also go for a meat version of the sito supreme, the sito supreme deluxe ($55). Shish tawook along with kibbeh saneeyeh and hushwi on hummous replace the falafel and mjadra.
For a salad we try the halloumi and beet ($10), a pretty typical combination. I never pass up the chance to eat this salty, chewy cheese, and the pan-fried halloumi combines well with the pickled beets, arugula and light vinaigrette.
As for an entree, we go with kibbeh saneeyeh ($15), which implies the ground lamb was prepared in a tray, almost like meatloaf. It’s better than that retro dish, though, the lamb mixed with onion, cracked wheat, and spices and topped with pine nuts, cut by creamy laban on the side and served with a basic but hearty and balancing salad.
All wine and beer is from Ontario, and the ingredients are always as local as they can get them. The interior is long and narrow but cozy. Guests can see each elegant snack and meal arrive at the pass from a relatively open kitchen.