Mayrik is an Armenian restaurant that pays homage to a mother’s kitchen while bringing a new elevated vibe to the cuisine, the word “mayrik” translating to “mother.”
Headed up by Aram Gabrielian and Chef Sebouh Yacoubian of Mamakas, the restaurant is also meant to have the feel of cool restaurants in pocket neighbourhoods around West Queen West and Parkdale, but in midtown, and highlight the globalization of Toronto as a food city.
Stepping into Mayrik feels like walking into an elegant cabana party somewhere warm, all high ceilings and airy whites.
Dark tones for seating ground the space, with delicate tiling details jazzing up the open kitchen’s bar and even working its way onto chunky coasters.
A small patio out front completes a beachy feel when our Toronto weather happens to warm up.
A fatoush salad ($18), like everything here, is made from fresh ingredients, putting a spin on the typical fried pita with oven baked croutons instead.
It’s smashing, fresh tomatoes, shallots and purslane sourced from Ontario farms, combining divinely with bright cucumber and soumac yogurt.
Sharable mezzes include mante ($14), painstakingly handmade Armenian seasoned beef dumplings dressed with garlic yogurt, mint, parsley, and Aleppo peppers for a comforting flavour bomb.
Roasted cauliflower or qarnabit ($10) is a classic done right, served whole with a steak knife stuck in it. Drizzled with sumac garlic aioli, akawi cheese, tahini, and cilantro and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds, it’s a lovely side or even a great light vegetarian main.
Ontario lamb or karnoug ($34) is meant to represent the typical Armenian skewer, served as a chop instead on a smear of cooling labneh topped with a dribble of charmoula.
You’re meant to order family style and share, say a main of free range chicken ($22) and a side of yukon gold potatoes ($8) with za’atar aioli, though it’s not strictly necessary.
The Noor cocktail ($12) fuses a little Mexican into the Armenian with Tromba tequila, pomegranate juice, homemade grilled pineapple and pepper syrup, and a grilled pineapple garnish coated in finishing salt complements the drink like the rim on a margarita.
The Jallab ($8) is made with Screech rum, jallab syrup, raisins and pine nuts, and should be stirred a little first to mix the saccharine syrup into the drink.
Finish off your meal with a cup of Armenian coffee, prepared the traditional way in a miniature copper kettle and served in precious, intricately decorated handleless cups.
For a not-so-traditional Armenian experience in a classy upscale setting, head to Mayrik. Who can turn down sophisticated dining where you’re encouraged to eat with your hands?