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Restaurants

Maroli

Posted by Alex Kovach / Reviewed on July 7, 2011 / review policy

Maroli TorontoMaroli has been around for a while so it's about time we gave it a featured review on this site. A Koreatown favourite, it's known for its annual Malabari Food Festival and being one of the few downtown restaurants specializing in dishes from the Malabar region and southern state of Kerala.

We arrive and feel immediately welcome in the stylishly quaint pumpkin-coloured dining room, with comfortable casual seating. It fills up quickly as the night goes on. The low-pitch murmurs of conversation and gentle unobtrusive Indian music flowing over the speakers around us exude an authentic, vibrant aura.

Maroli TorontoService is more friendly and helpful than we'd expect from any restaurant. The staff guides us through the menu as if taking us on a tour of southern India, which feels like we're interacting directly with the chefs, making the dining experience much more enjoyable.

The menu lies mostly at the lower end of the spice scale catering to a typical North American palette that may not be representative of our tremendous Toronto foodie population. Here's what we ordered:

Maroli TorontoNadan Chicken Curry ($13.99). This succulent Malabari curry with hints of tamarind and curry leaves had us wanting more of it throughout the evening with its delicately spicy coconut gravy.

Maroli TorontoMalabar Mutton Stew ($14.99). A mild coconut stew that we enjoyed, but the chewy, firm mutton made us yearn for even a cheap cut of stewed lamb instead.

Maroli TorontoButter Chicken ($12.99). A renowned Indian favourite across the globe, with Maroli's version featured in a Food Network TV clip on their website, and declared to be the best in Toronto (but not by us). Though the sauce was typically creamy and flavourful, the chicken was rather dry, and we did not find it to be particularly unique.

Maroli TorontoVegetable Biriyani ($8.99). Basmati rice with assorted vegetables, cilantro and Malabari biriyani spices gave this dish a very wholesome, hearty taste that we would recommend not just for vegetarians, but for anyone.

Vegetable Kurma ($9.99 - top photo). Another meatless specialty highly recommended for any carnivore, with a mix of vegetables tossed in a creamy cashew and coconut gravy. As stated on the menu, it is "from God's Own Country".

Maroli TorontoMeen Pollichathu ($18.99) - Weekends Only. A Pomfret fish baked within a banana leaf with Kerala spices had a pleasant aroma, but the fishy taste of the Pomfret put it near last place for us.

Maroli TorontoMalabari Roti ($1.50). We enjoyed these dense, traditional flatbreads to compliment our main courses.

Maroli TorontoOverall I'd recommend Maroli for its variety of tasty main courses - both meaty and vegetarian courses - but patrons craving an intra-oral inferno should ask for spicier suggestions from the staff, or for the chef to be more liberal with the chillies.

Discussion

28 Comments

Bibi / December 25, 2008 at 02:06 pm
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Delicious. Although they say they do take out (and they do), this is food made fresh -- you'll want to call ahead and then give them at least 30 minutes to get it ready.
Amit / October 23, 2009 at 06:25 pm
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I have found this little gem and I feel Maroli is the best indian restaurant in Toronto.
marie / November 7, 2009 at 04:39 pm
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I am a regular customer at Maroli.Love their delicious food,espeially the butter chicken is the best in town.
Roma / March 25, 2010 at 11:14 pm
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I have always loved this place , My kids are a fan of Maroli and it delicacies , at first I was hesitant to try Malabari dishes , But kids love the Butter chicken .
But have to mention how spicy want !
Good eating !!!

www.maroli.ca
ased / April 12, 2010 at 05:51 pm
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Went to Maroli this weekend. Tandoori chicken was flavourful and the luttuce and dipping sauce that came with it were very good complements to it.

Too bad that they don't serve naan.

The servant that night was very friendly, but he wasn't quite informative on the description of dishes as it's not provided on the menu.
mohit / July 8, 2010 at 05:51 pm
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excellent indian food served in the middle of korea town. malabari chicken was awesome.

would recommed to everyone who is looking for indian food with a difference
Andy / August 22, 2010 at 07:17 pm
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i can't believe that people like this place - i just ate there and wish I hadn't. The coconut cashew curry was flavourless, the channa massala was ok, and the dhal was really watery and quite bad.

rice was cooked poorly, naan was very doughy.

no no no no no do not eat here.
Hudson / September 15, 2010 at 01:04 am
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What a comment Andy , Ased says there is no NAAN and you say Naan was doughy , whom should we believe , Is it some kind of Indian restaurant you own Andy ??? Too bad you comment like this , this make me feel like going and trying , And more over other who have tried this place has a better reviews . will tell , how my visit goes this weekend .
Hudson / September 28, 2010 at 03:10 am
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We were 4 people who dined , we had ordered
Palak Paneer ,Butter chicken , Malabar chicken and ,shrimp Biriyani and side of Vegetable Pakora , raita for biriyani as the server recommended .And the bread they called Malabari roti .
Palak Paneer had creamy spinach sauce (Not bitter like some places have) Butter chicken was full bodied and spicy and not a sweet version ,which I thought was very flavourful . Malabar chicken had spices that was clear and distinct ,no wonder , they had sign that saying " KENTUCKY KNOW SQUAT ABOUT SPICES " Malabar chicken had thin marinade coating rather than batter.
the shrimp Biriyani was so flavourful ,the rice AL Dente ,yet fully cooked and tastefully made into biriyani .The shrimp was soft or hard but rightly cooked to perfection .By the time we had finished we were stuffed .I would certainly recommend this place eventhough I havent tried the andy's choices as that would have a prejudice on my choices ,now I know my tastebud I would try ,Coconut curry, dhal and channa.
Happy eating

Michelle / November 5, 2010 at 12:41 am
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This place is wonderful. My friend and I ordered the butter chicken and the Malabar chicken with pulao rice and everything was delicious! Also, the service was wonderful; they were SO friendly! It also happened to be the birthday of the owner's little boy (or little relative, anyway) and they gave us free cake!
Jossie / November 5, 2010 at 11:02 am
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Their Lunch is special at 5.99 and 7.99 is unparalled, their roti bread is the best I have ever tasted. I am so happy I found this place!
Kate / February 7, 2011 at 02:21 pm
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Amazing.....Excellent food & super service...
Hazel / April 30, 2011 at 07:45 pm
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Loved whatever i have had at this place. Their food and service have always made me and family happy and satisfied.
Z / July 7, 2011 at 11:56 am
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I've only lived around the Annex for the last 6 months, and Maroli has become my go to restaurant for Indian. I mostly do take-outs. I, as well as any friends I bring food to, have always finished our Maroli meals with satisified tummys. And there's always enough leftovers for lunch, natch! The best thing about this place is indeed the service. On my only second visit there, one of the staff greeted me like old friends since he served me on my first visit. He makes me smile everytime I walk through the door!
interested / July 7, 2011 at 01:58 pm
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The food looks great in the photos, I'll have to check this out.

Quite a few of the dishes mentioned aren't actually south indian/malabari. Butter chicken is like the cheeseburger of indian food.

jeromey / July 7, 2011 at 02:14 pm
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I started going to Maroli the week they opened. They served us on paper plates with plastic knives and forks. They had original been set up as a "take-out" diner with a hot buffet counter to serve the food, and old cafeteria trays, chairs and tables. Within two months they were so popular that they bought all new dishes and silverwear and chairs and fixed the place up. I just bought a Groupon for it last week and I can't wait to go back. And they've further reno'd the interior! It's a success story of a great little mom & pop restaurant making it just on the quality of their food and customer service! So good!
idonthaveasmartphone / July 7, 2011 at 02:15 pm
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If you go here for the first time try the Malabar Chicken.. you won't regret it! I have never tried a dish like that before and it's simply delicious!
Bob Gundu / July 7, 2011 at 02:37 pm
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Here's some trivia, we shot a lot of scenes in the film, Amal in Maroli, India!
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0907674/
errr replying to a comment from ased / July 8, 2011 at 01:30 pm
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Don't you mean SERVER not SERVANT? I'd hate to have you as a customer if that's your interpretation!
Neha / July 8, 2011 at 01:37 pm
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Omg! I just read that! Tsk tsk
Sumit / July 12, 2011 at 06:09 pm
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i don't understand people who like naan, i mean, nothing wrong with it, but very few people know that nobody in India eats them on a daily or even monthly basis, as they are hard to digest, less nutritious, doughy objects, at least not in northern india, where i lived for years. We ate those organic whole wheat rotis, oh those beautiful little things, they fill up like hot balloon, just before being taken off the stove and then you would put butter on it, which of course would melt in seconds and i would eat like 7 of them. I actually have not seen a single restaurant in toronto make them right way. anywho, I was at this restaurant recently, very very reasonably priced, quality of the food was good and it looked fresh. We orderd malbari shrimp (stick to the vegetable dishes), vegetable kurma, like 5 chapatis and 2 malabari rotis and it was fulfilling.
Sami / August 6, 2011 at 10:57 pm
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I have been browsing and hav'nt found a single indian place that serves authentic BOMBAY BIRYANI. I mean with Potatoes and masala in it like the one we get in Mumbai. Not the kind of Pulao that is served as Biryani in Toronto.
Would love to have real biryani.
richard curry / February 6, 2012 at 07:25 am
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i went here because of the good reviews and was very disappointed.The coconut shrimp was bought in and was much more batter than shrimp, malabar chicken was deep fried for far too long and the roti was very tough and greasy(cooked and left to stand I suspect). the veg korma was very good with an authentic keralan flavour,not worth coming up from downtown for!!
In search of good keralite restaurant / March 5, 2012 at 12:24 pm
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Maroli has good butter chicken and other north Indian curries. But the keralite or malabar curries are not at all authentic. The vegetable stew and malabar shrimp were not representative of the flavorful dishes of Kerala instead they were bland. Either the chef needs to find better recipes or the restaurant should forego its description/name as a keralite restaurant.
lee lemon / August 1, 2012 at 10:09 pm
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ate here a few days ago and the food was great the service pleasant, would definetly go back again!
Charlie / November 6, 2012 at 10:20 pm
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Love the butter chicken, roti, beef Syrian, and gulab jamun!
Manish Sharma / April 26, 2013 at 06:53 am
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Butter Chicken is excellent. Strongly recommend.
Eliza / May 8, 2013 at 02:51 pm
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Not sure how this restaurant got on the list. The chicken was more than disappointing. It was more like chicken giblets. I also had the shrimp biryani which as well was disappointing not to mention I literally had a bout six shrimp tails with no meat in my dish, it was pretty gross. It felt like garbage was thrown in my meal. The mutton was pathetic. Barely and meet mostly bone with fatty chunks on it.

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