armenian bistro toronto

Armenian Bistro

Armenian Bistro is a simple hot counter serving a type of cuisine rarely found in the city. 

With a storefront facing the back of a plaza, you'd never notice this little restaurant, save for its discrete signage, barely visible amidst the rest of the plaza's various brands. 

armenian bistro torontoSitting on a strip of Dundas West by Kipling Station slowly burgeoning with noteworthy eats, the restaurant's interior, much like its food, looks simple, tidy, and maybe a little plain at face value. 

armenian bistro torontoBut, don't be fooled. This little gem is changing how people perceive Armenia—a tiny country of great historical significance, whose importance is often overshadowed by its more recent, tragic past—with homey, affordable food.

armenian bistro torontoThanks to the large diaspora of Armenian people in the Middle East, many people associate Armenian food with kebabs and flat breads. 

armenian bistro torontoBut ask co-owners Karen Margaryan and his father Gregori (who works the kitchen), and they'll insist that 'real' Armenian food is more akin to the Eastern European-inspired dishes found across the Caucasus.

armenian bistro torontoarmenian bistro torontoWhat that means is clean and simple orders like borscht ($7.99) and khinkali dumplings (4 pieces for $8.99), which are hulking knobbed pockets stuffed with beef and herbs. 

armenian bistro torontoFolded and steamed fresh every Wednesday, these dumplings are more commonly identified as Georgian dumplings but are equally popular in Armenia. 

armenian bistro torontoPro tip from Karen: grab them by their thick twisted ends, nibble the skin first to avoid soup splatter, then discard the knob. 

armenian bistro torontoBeef ribs ($14.99) are slow-cooked for five hours until they fall off the bone. It's simple and delicious, especially with the mashed potato and a serving of unreal gravy. 

armenian bistro torontoAlso incredible is the chebureki ($6.99), basically a panzerotti from the Caucasus, served with some Russian dressing-type sauce.

armenian bistro torontoIt's made of surprisingly thin and delicate dough, deep fried and stuffed with either pork or cheese. 

armenian bistro torontoChanaxi stew ($8.99) is a hearty stew made with eggplant, peppers, and pork, served with some house-made lavash bread. 

armenian bistro torontoLahmajoun ($5.99) is perhaps the most well-known Armenian dish. Almost every country in the world has its own take on flatbread, and this is Armenia's, covered with beef. 

armenian bistro torontoInterestingly, kebabs are barbecued over (not inside) a tandoori grill. You can get chicken, pork, or beef kebabs with salad and sides.

While you can't go wrong with mashed potato, there's also rice and Armenian spaghetti, which is both boiled and deep fried. 

armenian bistro torontoThis subtle spot definitely represents its country's cuisine in a big way, especially in a city where Armenian food is out-of-sight, out-of-mind. 

armenian bistro toronto

Photos by

Hector Vasquez

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