Mona’s Roti has been proudly making some of Toronto’s best roti for decades by hand in full view of its throngs of customers. And yes, there really is a Mona.
The place is owned by the Khan family, run by mother Mona with the help of daughters Reesa and Melissa.
The small space is mostly taken up by a production area in the middle that’s a hive of roti-making activity, customers lining up three deep on weekends in the L-shaped empty space surrounding it.
Helpful signs instruct you to give your order to food handlers or tell them you’re here to pick up a phone order before proceeding to cash.
Dahlpuri (stuffed with crumbly split peas) and paratha (plain) roti are made by hand here, $2.50 on their own. They also whole wheat dahlpuri and paratha roti on Wednesdays, as well as potato puri ($3 alone) by special order only.
For a veggie roti ($8.41) you get your choice of three veggies from options like pumpkin, spinach, chickpeas, curry potato, or a spicy, juicy curry mango.
Stew oxtail ($11.51) is only available Thursday through Saturday, and it truly is something to plan for. Some of the best oxtail I’ve had, the meat is fatty without being gelid, tender and perfect for sucking right off the bone.
We get our oxtail on a bed of warmly seasoned rice and peas with creamy pumpkin and spinach veggie sides.
All meals are served as a roti or with rice, and all roti are wrapped with dahlpuri roti and curry potato unless otherwise specified.
Jerk chicken ($10.62) is a quarter leg, but you can get it deboned in a roti.
It’s nicely mildly spicy at first and you can really taste the hot pepper flavour in the rich, dark brown sauce, with heat coming in waves and then dissipating. This is a little spicier than the oxtail.
Apparently this is one of the most popular options for roti, along with curry chicken and goat.
There are also small West Indian snacks and treats like tamarind balls ($2 each) and plantain chips ($2.75).
I’ve seen some roti fluffed on the griddle by hand so they become airy and light, but at Mona’s they use wooden planks.
This place is also known for its doubles ($2.50) and potato balls (3 for $3.50) made, like everything, by hand in house. Don’t sleep on other limited-time specials like the oxtail such as curry duck ($11.51, Friday and Saturday) and chicken pelau ($9.30, Wednesday).