Thursday, October 30, 2014Mostly Cloudy 6°C
Restaurants

Tabule (Riverside)

Posted by Liora Ipsum / Profiled on June 26, 2013 / review policy

Tabule Queen StreetTabule has finally opened the doors to the long awaited, second location on Queen East. The Middle Eastern eatery is a welcome addition to the sea of shopworn falafel takeaway counters that populate the downtown (I happen to think the suburbs generally outshines the city when it comes to Middle Eastern cuisine).

Tabule Queen StreetBeing a fan of the original Tabule, I knew the food would be right up my alley but what I wasn't expecting was how stunning the new dining room would be. Owners Diana Sederis and husband, Rony Goraichy made a wise move in commissioning Commute Home who have made the new room sparkle with so much gilding.

Tabule Queen StreetRich with textures, every surface is seemingly covered in traditional geometric patterns, hand-painted Arabic details or swaths of black and turquoise. I stopped by in the afternoon and found the vibrant space half full of casual late lunchers though the setting seemed equally appropriate for after-dark cocktails.

Tabule Queen StreetMuch of the menu is the same as the original location listing cold and hot mezze plus veggie, meat and seafood options from the grill. The sample platter ($14) for the table offers a choice of three select cold plates like Labni, Babaganüj and hand-chopped Tabülè.

Tabule Queen StreetThe Fattüsh Salad ($9.95) is simple but expectedly delicious and exceedingly fresh. Tossed in lemon, olive oil and a dusting of sumac, it's composed of roughly chopped tomatoes, cucumber, toasted pita and fresh herbs.

Tabule Queen StreetMy table also shares the Hallüm Salad ($9.95) prepared with minimal fuss to showcases slabs of fried squeeky cheese laid over citrusy pomegrante dressed arugla. I could eat both of these salads all summer long.

Tabule Queen StreetBasturma with Labni ($12) is a new addition to the menu that is described as the Lebanese answer to carpaccio though the cured meat is so dry and salty it's really more like charcutes — a beef prosciutto even? It's topped with tart creamy labni and sprinkled with za'atar making a fine addition to the spread of mixed pickles and pita happening on the table.

From the grill, we try the Kefta Banadura ($18.95, lead photo), with minced ground lamb and beef pulled from the skewer and served in a deep dish of tomato garlic stew topped with onions. It comes with rice and grilled vegetables on the side.

Tabule Queen StreetThe new cocktail list, crafted by mixologist Nishan Nepulangoda (of Blowfish) includes a selection of mojitos with a Middle Eastern skew. At first sip, I'm an instant fan of the Kumquat ($9), muddled with mint and mixed with rhubarb bitters, habanero lime syrup and kumquats. On tap there is Moroccan Brown Ale along with a couple Canadian selects.

Tabule Queen StreetTabule is open daily for lunch and dinner from 11 am, on Saturday nights there is a belly dancer who weaves between tables. Eventually, they'll add sandwiches to the daytime menu like at the uptown location, but for now it's mezze all day. Outback there's space for a patio, but sadly it won't be in operation until next season. Take-out orders are accepted, delivery to come.

Tabule Queen StreetPhotos by Jesse Milns

Discussion

14 Comments

Riverside4Life / June 26, 2013 at 10:25 am
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Took a while it get it up and running, but thankfully its now open.

Great food and atmosphere.
careful / June 26, 2013 at 10:45 am
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Not sure if this location has the same online ordering function as the Davisville location does...but be careful.

Ordered online back in May for a late Mothers Day dinner and the charge went through, picked up our order. Everything seemed fine.

Until a few days later i noticed we had been charged twice for the order. Ok, that happens, no big deal.

It became a big deal when i had to call back 5 times to speak to someone, anyone, who would help have this charge reversed.

This occurred May 25th. June 24th when i finally got to talk to the GM and he advised it would be fixed. Here i am now on June 26th and still no sign of my $120.

The only response i have gotten from the GM was that "this online charge system is new".

So be very wary of ordering through their online system
Gary / June 26, 2013 at 11:19 am
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@careful - Dude, just call mastercard (or visa). Don't bother calling the restaurant - I can see why it would be hard for them to reconcile, but mastercard will see it's an error and will force the change back to the restaurant.
careful replying to a comment from Gary / June 26, 2013 at 11:32 am
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Wise.

Not sure why i havent thought about that.

Thanks.
Mar / June 26, 2013 at 12:05 pm
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Loved the yonge and davisville location years ago. Live in riverside. So eager!!!!
Alek / June 26, 2013 at 03:39 pm
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My partner and I live in the area and we've already been by four times. All great experiences. The food is fantastic, and they're also super friendly and welcoming. Very happy to have them in the neighbourhood!
chris / June 28, 2013 at 03:42 pm
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I was there with a friend last night for dinner. We had a great meal and the servers were very attentive. The writer is correct - it's a lovely space, even lovelier than the photos show.
Joan / August 15, 2013 at 05:26 pm
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I have been to the new location about 4 times. The food is always great, and you are greeted with a smile. However, the last two times we have had just OK service. We had a really rude male waiter, who could care less about us, and the next time we had a great waitress, but there was sloppy communication between back and front of house. I still would recommend this place but prepare for spotty service.
AA / September 4, 2013 at 10:24 am
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I cannot believe how slow this place is. It took 55 minutes to get our apps & mains (both delivered at the same time) and the restaurant was less than 1/4 full at lunchtime.

The food was delicious, though, so it was pretty much worth the wait.

Portions are small but huge in flavour.

Make sure you have time if you're planning on eating here.

Hungry / October 14, 2013 at 03:41 pm
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Great food but don't order the sple platter.
It is served on an open dish and the portions
are small.
If you want proper portions go to the Yonge and
Davisville location where they serve it on a proper
serving dish.
Hungry / October 14, 2013 at 04:46 pm
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Also about the sample platter, it is served on a wooden dish. Wooden dishes are gatherers of bacteria. Not worth the health risk.
Beware of this bacteria risk.
Amanda / January 25, 2014 at 11:57 am
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I visited Tabule last night with a couple of friends. We had made reservations for 6:30 p.m. Upon arrival, we were seated by the door (despite the restaurant being almost empty), so we asked the host if we could move to a space near the back (it was -20 that day and we didn't fancy being sat by the drafty door). The host looked like we'd asked for a trip to the moon then bashed about moving us to another table in the empty space in the back. He was pretty rude and we felt awkward, it left us wondering what his job was? He seemed pretty adverse to seating people. Additionally, our waitress (Amanda?) was sassy, slow and pretty unhelpful with regard to answering any questions we may have about the menu. We heard the ladies at the table next to us complaining about her poor manners, too.
The food, while good portion sizes was pretty 'meh.' It was by no means bad, but it certainly wasn't worth the $27 for a falafal entree and bottle of beer.
Overall, due to the shoddy service and no real value for money food-wise - we won't be back!
AndrewRiverside / February 6, 2014 at 10:01 am
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I've eaten at this location twice now and have booked for a group of us next week. Everybody I know that goes loves it. I can't wait to eat there next week. Amazing food, venue, and value. Service could use a bit of work though.To be fair it's been about 8 months since my last visit so maybe they have some more helpful servers working now.
Overall 4 out of 5.
Rob / August 3, 2014 at 05:57 am
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Ate there on Thursday, July 31. Sat in the back patio. Great cocktails (Beirut Sangria) and a decent low price wine (hard to find in TO restaurants-low price wines that is). Food is amazing. Had the Babaghanouj. Had a very nice smoky charred taste. Hallum salad and lamb & beef Kafta Banadura. Everything excellent. I'm from Montreal and have Lebanese family and Tabule's food is the best I've had outside of home & Montreal.

Service was great also. Fast, attentive, and with smiles.

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