Thursday, September 18, 2014Partly Cloudy 13°C
Best of Toronto

The Best Pakistani Restaurants in Toronto

Posted by Guest Contributor / May 25, 2012

Pakistani Restaurants TorontoThe best Pakistani restaurants in Toronto are well-known to Canada's growing Pakistani population, but their culinary offerings often play second-fiddle to marquee fare such as Thai, Italian, French or Japanese. You can't be the crown jewel of multiculturalism and not have Pakistani restaurants dotting your street, through, and in many neighbourhoods in and around Toronto, Pakistani ex-pats have set up shop to serve biryani, qorma, daal, chana masala, and the other staples of the South Asian diet, saving you the plane trip to Karachi.

The Pakistani community, which grows alongside other South Asian populations, exists in several locations in and around the city. Thorncliffe Park and neighbouring Flemingdon Park are great areas to seek out Pakistani food, as is Little India on Gerrard Street, along with the suburbs like Mississauga and Scarborough.

Given the cross-cultural pollination between India and Pakistan, the menus differ only slightly--dishes vary not due to the border, but based on geography (north/south of the subcontinent). In Canada especially, where many Indian restaurants offer halal versions of their dishes and many Pakistani establishments increase their vegetarian selection to accommodate a more traditionally Indian palate, variation in the two cuisines are few.

Here are my picks for the best Pakistani restaurants in Toronto.

Writing by Jeff Dupuis. Top photo by Jim U in the blogTO Flickr pool. Additional photos by Morris Lum and Tim Shore.

Iqbal Kebab and Sweet Centre

Iqbal Kebab and Sweet Centre

Iqbal Kebab and Sweet Centre, in Thorncliffe Park, has a wide variety of dishes and desserts native to South Asia, as well as a separate paan station that allows you to customize your order. There are two seating booths that offer some privacy, and a general dining area, but the carrying-your-food-to-your-table gives it a cafeteria feel. They also have a full halwa puri breakfast on weekends along with paya and nehari. The demand for halwa puri, however, is pretty high so make sure you arrive earlier in the day as they do occasionally run out. More »

Zauq

Zauq

Zauq in Mississauga is a newer extension of the renowned Silver Spoon in Scarborough that virtually transports you to its homebase near Tariq Road in Karachi. It has great seating that can accommodate reservations for a large party. To request a buffet-style-dine-in as part of the food arrangement, you are asked to have a minimum of 30 guests. Highly recommended are their wraps accompanied by the savoury tamarind chutney, beef-behari rolls and the chicken tikka rolls (both at $7.99), and their Hakka (South Asian, Chinese influenced dishes) menu just adds to the number of reasons why you should visit this restaurant again. More »

Lahore Tikka House

Lahore Tikka House

Lahore Tikka House is arguably the most famous Pakistani restaurant in Toronto. Located in Little India, it serves the standard Pakistani fare, with a wide selection of appetizers and entrees, but few sweets. Don't let the patio tables and mid-renovation ambience bother you. Although the food is served on Styrofoam plates, it's rich and savoury with reasonable spice levels for a first sojourn into Pakistani food. Your cardiologist may not be happy, but tearing away strips of naan and scooping up liberal portions of tarka daal among the pleasant crowd is delightful. Their tikkas are mild in spice but flavourful, however, the restaurant is not suitable for vegetarians as the vegetable dishes are not always fresh. The main drawback is the serving style of Lahore Tikka House; it may not be expensive, but for the price you're paying, a waiter ought to come to your table and take your order. More »

Shaheen

Shaheen

Shaheen is a popular restaurant in Flemingdon Park, near the Ontario Science Centre, presenting patrons with a more intimate dining experience. The restaurant delivers a good plate of biryani (with beef or chicken as the protein option) that is more aromatic than spicy. Their curries and vegetarian dishes are stronger picks over their barbecue fare. It is not the only South Asian restaurant in the neighbourhood but is usually bustling, a clear sign that the food will be fresh. More »

Bar B Q Tonite

Bar B Q Tonite

Bar B Q Tonite capitalizes on sharing the moniker with the famous Karachi restaurant. This restaurant has indoor as well as outdoor seating, though it doesn't necessarily have the best ambience as far as Pakistani restaurants in Mississauga go. The glass screen allows patrons a view to the kitchen so they can watch their food being prepared. It serves excellent barbecued meat (great Chargha that reminds you of "Food Street" in Lahore) though it's slightly pricier than most other restaurants of its type. It is one of the few places that features lamb Kat-a-Kat along with the chicken variety, and is well known for its Maghaz Masala. More »

La Sani Grill

La Sani Grill

La Sani Grill at Markham and Ellesmere is a much-favoured option with east-enders. Among the curry dishes, the steaming dishes of butter chicken are the most popular choice. They have a wide array of lunch specials at reasonable prices. The perfectly spiced grilled dishes are the best option though, in particular the tikka botis and reshmi kebabs. More »

Sahara

Sahara

Sahara, also in Mississauga, is a popular selection for hosting parties and events, with enough room to easily accommodate up to 40 people. It has a buffet selection as well as an a la carte menu. The buffet is a favourite with families on weekends, rather affordable at $14.99 per person (8.99 for kids under 8), and has quick food rotation, ensuring freshness. It has the best-known buffet for Pakistani food. The a la carte menu is not as cheap as the buffet but offers a great variety of flavour. Nehari is their specialty dish, and they use shank meat to ensure authentic taste. More »

Safa Tikka and Kabab House

Safa Tikka and Kabab House

Dishing spicy, flavourful food at deliciously cheap prices, Safa Tikka and Kabab House features a comfortable and clean seating space. Despite the abundance of restaurants serving Pakistani/Indian cuisine in the area, this restaurant allows for a more enjoyable dining experience. It tends to get especially busy during lunchtime so if you're ordering takeout be prepared to wait in line. More »

Tandoori Village

Tandoori Village

Tandoori Village, in the heart of the largest Pakistani community in Toronto, supplies a good selection of dishes, mostly Pakistani, but also including Middle-Eastern fare like shawarmas and falafel wraps. What really stands out, however, is their tandoor. Reminiscent of the naan shops in Pakistan, they have built the traditional tandoor (complete with the long metal skewers to extract fresh naans from the water-well-like oven). The very large naan, at $1.50, is truly outstanding and remains soft and fresh even after overnight refrigeration, making this the go-to place for naan in the GTA. More »

Discussion

41 Comments

Are you kidding me? / May 25, 2012 at 09:12 am
user-pic
I'm sorry but Lahore Tikka House is number one. the people have spoken and they don't have a clue
Andrew / May 25, 2012 at 09:14 am
user-pic
Re: Lahore Tikka House--your comments are very apt. The food is among the best on Gerrard, yet the ambiance definitely leaves something to be desired, which is frustrating as there are a number of neighbouring restaurants that deliver the atmosphere but not the food. What is particularly frustrating is that needn't be that way. The building is great and the servers are attentive. I'll still eat here because the food is that good, but with a little more effort, this place could really be something.

Of course, these comments are equally applicable to Udupi Palace just up the street. Of course, take-out is always an option.
Marco / May 25, 2012 at 09:52 am
user-pic
Lahore should definitely be #1, no question about it.
King Palace is also yummy, not amazing, but cheap/central and good.
xena / May 25, 2012 at 09:55 am
user-pic
Is Lahore still serving dine-in food in takeout containers or do they have tableware now?
Are you kidding me? replying to a comment from Andrew / May 25, 2012 at 10:53 am
user-pic
yeah a bit of silverware and dishes would go a long way. shall we conduct an intervention?
Adam / May 25, 2012 at 11:20 am
user-pic
This is a horrible list. Lahore is easily the best in the country. Iqbal's is bland!

Idiots
JB / May 25, 2012 at 11:35 am
user-pic
Lahore Tikka House is definitely the best in the GTA, if not the whole country. I do enjoy Iqbal - if only for the keema naan. But come on... there's no question that Lahore is #1!
Colin Smillie / May 25, 2012 at 11:48 am
user-pic
I too think Lahore should be #1, especially after trying Zauq once...
hmm replying to a comment from Adam / May 25, 2012 at 12:00 pm
user-pic
Funny... I don't see you lining up to be a writer on BlogTO.
Sam / May 25, 2012 at 12:28 pm
user-pic
Lahore Tikka House is OVER-RATED, they serve food on paper plates and charge you as though they are running a 5-star restaurant... Regardless, this list missed a few good ones, tandoori village doesn't even belong on this list. That place is ALWAYS empty.

Omer / May 25, 2012 at 01:16 pm
user-pic
Patna kebab house in Scarborough is really really good. I prefer it over the ones on this list though I haven't eaten there (Yes, I know Patna is in India, but its Pakistani run).

Enzo / May 25, 2012 at 06:01 pm
user-pic
If you want Authentic Pakistani food, check out both Shahi Tiffin & Shahi Karahi. Shahi Karahi (Markham/Lawrence) is in its 12th year of business & one of the first good Pakistani restaurants in Toronto. Its other branch Shahi Tiffin (Danforth/Main) is in its 2nd year of business. The interior is really unique, made up of wooden furniture imported from the homeland. Both have the same menu & incredible prices. And the BEST pakistani food is NOT from karachi its from the province of PUNJAB. These restaurants may not offer the best service,(it gets crazy busy and you might just feel as though you're in Lahore) but their loyal customers will tell you just how great the food is!
The daily deals are not to be missed. Some items go for as low as $2.79.
Unlike other Pak/Indian restaurants, Shahi Tiffin & Shahi Karahi cook & serve Fresh Tandoori NAAN.
They also offer catering and backyard catering services.
http://www.shahikarahi.com/index.html

oermens / May 25, 2012 at 09:01 pm
user-pic
Enzo must work at Shahi Karahi.
Giselle / May 28, 2012 at 02:31 pm
user-pic
I agree with Enzo. Shahi tiffin is amazing! We order their Sheekh Kabobs (beef ones) all the time when we have our friends over. Great with some cold beers!
And the prices are just phenomenal and the service has always been more than pleasant. I love their off the menu specials as well. Love love love it.
Rob / May 28, 2012 at 03:03 pm
user-pic
2 words: Chandni Chowk. Look it up. And Lahore Tikka House is SERIOUSLY over-rated.
Sadie / May 28, 2012 at 07:55 pm
user-pic
King Palace at Yonge and Church is out of this world. Ask any one of the cab drivers* that can be found eating at this 24 hour joint at any time of day.

*Don't worry - this is not a racist remark. It was a cab driver I had one night that turned me on to King Palace. He said all of his friends swear by it... And he was from Pakistan! :)
Cookie / June 1, 2012 at 06:49 pm
user-pic
Lahore is good but highly over-rated.
Iqbal's deserves the #1 spot!
Octavia Ahsan / June 4, 2012 at 11:11 pm
user-pic
Some guy named Jeff Dupuis wrote a piece on Pakistani food?! Hence why Lahore Tikka House wasn't put first on the list. I am Pakistani, and know GOOD Pakistani food - Lahore Tikka House is the truth.
anon / June 10, 2012 at 01:38 pm
user-pic
TABAQ RESTAURANT!!!!
S. / June 12, 2012 at 07:38 pm
user-pic
I'm from Pakistan, but I suppose based on Octavia's comment, that's the only kind of food I should know about. Maybe I should take that a step further and comment that someone with the last name "Ahsan" can comment in English?!
Everyone has different opinions, and while I may not necessarily agree with Lahore Tikka being one of the best, it is certainly one of the most famous.
Note: Quit squabbling--blogTO lists aren't in order of rating. It's a list of the best in no particular order.
Taday / June 12, 2012 at 08:08 pm
user-pic
Lahore Tikka house is overrated. My friends from work (who happen to be Pakistani) went there last Thursday, and told their service was pathetic. The food has lost it's taste and quality. I'm from Pakistan and I can easily say that Lahore Tikka's food is nowhere close to authentic Pakistani food. @ Octavia Ahsan, quit being a racist :]
M's mum / June 13, 2012 at 02:22 am
user-pic
Awesome review by Jeff Dupuis!
I have been to Lahore Tikka twice and have always left disappointed. The food is not bad, but the authenticity of it has been really watered down. Not to mention, the disposable cutlery and shabby ambience really doesn't justify the prices.
I didn't realize one needed to be Pakistani to be able to enjoy or critique Pakistani food.
I am Pakistani and such mentality offends me. Octavia, you need to step outside your little clique and appreciate people like Jeff Dupuis who is broad minded and adventurous enough to review a cuisine he didn't grow up around.
I really enjoyed this article and look forward to Jeff doing some more reviews of places around Toronto!
Opee / July 6, 2012 at 10:34 am
user-pic
If you guys think of Zauq as #2 and Lahore at #3. You guys definitely have to try 'the only authentic' pakistani flavour at CAFE DE KHAN in Heartland (Mavis & Britania) in Mississauga.

Cafe de khan, easily beats any of the abovementioned restaurants. Lahore might have some advantage over ambiance with dhol, rikshaws, but service and flavour is totally not at its best autheticity.
Zain / July 22, 2012 at 04:08 pm
user-pic
@Octavia: Man thats a pretty shallow comment. God forbid I ever write a piece on steak and chips or gelato, I should just stick to kebabs and tikkas. And if you knew good pakistani food (at least taste wise) you would never rate Lahore Tikka as the best for food.

That being said though I think people should try Kabul Express, its my favourite, and its downtown.
fahad / August 25, 2012 at 12:36 pm
user-pic
My appeal to Pakistani Community in Toronto
Respected Brother Assalam-o-aliekum
It is stated that my mother is having Liver Cancer and in she needs Liver Transplant immediatly to safe her life.

I am tearing while writing you this email.And her Liver Transplant will be in Liver Transplant Dehli India.

It is therefore requested kindly Respected Brother help us Financially for her Transplant in India.

If she survives me and my Mother will always pray for you whole life.

Allah always gives you Success.

Yours brother

Fahad Ali

Sialkot city
Mobile no
00923008614716
COSPLAY / September 26, 2012 at 11:29 pm
user-pic
Lahore Tikka house is overrated. My friends from work (who happen to be Pakistani) went there last Thursday, and told their service was pathetic. The food has lost it's taste and quality. I'm from Pakistan and I can easily say that Lahore Tikka's food is nowhere close to authentic Pakistani food. @ Octavia Ahsan, quit being a racist :]
Aaqifah Shaikh / October 20, 2012 at 07:23 pm
user-pic
Well i must say that list is horrible. but according to me Safa is best and best food in Canada. i have been to lahore tikka but Service is horrible. if u really want to taste Pakistani and Indian food try SAFA.
Shahid Maulvi / October 20, 2012 at 07:29 pm
user-pic
The Food of safa tikka is awsome.I went there wid my frndz i like d service and food.i wud suggest the people who access this website shud go n try d food special bihari kebab n lambchops chapli kebab and karaih and biryani items which is made by chef saqib bhai..thank you
Aarif / March 25, 2013 at 12:22 am
user-pic
Dear Friends
As Salam O Alikum
I am looking for a partner in Canada who can sell our products (Pakistani Ladies/Men Dresses). We assure best style, dress & Best price.
Contact
Aarif M Chaudhry
www.amaintl.com
telephone
+923008508905
+9232335310218
facebook/amainternational.ama
Aarif replying to a comment from Andrew / March 25, 2013 at 12:24 am
user-pic
Please contact me
amainternationaluk@gmail.com
Ale / October 12, 2013 at 07:32 pm
user-pic
eww who evver said shahi karahi is good let me tell you sure the food is good but the guys there are total MORONS and they jsst F*ck around and dont cook your shit properly UNTIL THERE MOM WORKS AND YELLS AT THERE @SS LOOOOL other wise its a fu#cked up restuarant .. i ordered there once and there like ok were making your food wait please..we wait 20 mins and were like is it ready there like what ? what was your order ? and look at each other like monkeys lmao was so pissed cussed them off and left ..dont go there ..horrible -oh and it was the one around cederbrae mall that plaza were dollar store and b4u is ...horrible
salman javed / October 23, 2013 at 04:54 am
user-pic


hello...am salman.i was live cyprus work in pakistani res as chuef i know so many new pakistani and indian dishes those u never eat before...recanttly i came from UK to learn more things if any res need plz email me....salman
whitemoon_courtyard@yahoo.com
0300 0600374
Hungry Planet / December 16, 2013 at 07:25 am
user-pic
Find the best cafe with Hungry Planet in Islamabad. Get addresses and phone numbers of the finest cafes including all the best cafes you like and their services.
Hassan / December 27, 2013 at 05:50 pm
user-pic
Sorry, but this list is bogus.
Jo Beth Gracey / June 28, 2014 at 05:39 pm
user-pic
Salam Ali Come, I'm a single mom of 2 lookin for a good muslim hsband. I's born in Milton on a banana farm and I got two brothers, Jeb and Jo-Bubba and a dog, her name is Fat-Mama, but she likes it when we calls her Fatima, like the Prophets wife. Every Friday I luke to read the Quran, gosh darnnit, I read that dang book from back to front, the story ne'er changes. I want a nice muslim man, must be 4-5ft tall, I is 6'7ft and like em real short. I got auburn hair, brown eyes, and my papi says I got a killer bod. Mama always said "good girls read the quran and take it in the behind. I'm not sure bout that last part. If any nice muslim guys out there want to meet over halal pizza or BLT, call me 4!6 4O6 !668. Peace out and yalla yalla.
nav / July 25, 2014 at 03:00 pm
user-pic
hi,
I used to live in Toronto... Now i live in Calgary.... I visited Lahore tikka. .. Me and my family had the worst experience in Lahore Tikka..... Service was horrible. ?..food was old and over cooked........ Will never recommend to anybody..... Waste of time and money
Maryam / July 27, 2014 at 07:18 pm
user-pic
King palace should be in the list.
Katie / July 28, 2014 at 12:19 am
user-pic
Can someone please please tell ,e the name of the dish in the top picture (and Lahore Tikka House pic) omg looks soooo good.
mamood ramroduddin replying to a comment from Katie / July 28, 2014 at 01:30 am
user-pic
It is lamb and monkey brains in Tandori gravy.

Allah Akhbaaaaarr!
Ayesha / July 28, 2014 at 12:00 pm
user-pic
King's Palace at Church and Yonge...how is that not on here?
Tanveer mirza / August 8, 2014 at 06:21 pm
user-pic
I think if you feel hunger every dish you find good in a teast even onion and chatni

Add a Comment

Other Cities: Montreal