Paramount Fine Foods (Front)
Paramount Fine Foods can now be found at a prime Front Street location next to the St. Lawrence Market. Like their other Toronto locations, everything here is halal. The food is generally Middle Eastern, but borrows from various influences, and there are even some more North American dishes on the menu like pepperoni pizza.
The inside of the restaurant is huge. A waterfall element greets you as you walk in the door, though bright lighting and a takeout counter indicate that this is no romantic little kitchen. You can sit down to eat or just grab something from the counter and go. Washrooms are fully accessible with push-button operation.
First, we grab a "saj wrap" ($10.99): this is basically a shawarma wrap, but made with their special saj bread perfected in the Paramount kitchen. It's a Lebanese bread flattened by hand and cooked on a domed oven.
The shawarma itself is basic, but the presentation isn't: served with fries, pickles, turnips and sauce on a "tabliyeh" or wooden board, it's cut into sections that counteract the sensation of eating a giant meat tube that shoving shawarma into your face usually contours.
Next we go for some plates. The mixed shawarma plate ($14.59) has chicken and beef shawarma, and comes with tahini and a potent garlic sauce. You have a choice of fries or rice as a side, and all main courses come with lettuce, tomato, mixed pickles, and bread to scoop it all up.
The mixed grill plate ($21.99) comes with all this, too, as an accompaniment to a skewer of striploin beef, a skewer of shish tawouk (chicken), and two skewers of minced beef kofta. In addition, there's also spicy bread topped with Paramount's hot sauce, parsley, and red onion. I wished I had more of the bread, but as for everything else, definitely share with a friend.
Lastly, Paramount has a range of fresh juices on offer, from strawberry to orange to lemonade. We try the signature Paramount Special ($6.99), an exotic blend of layered strawberry and mango juices topped with kiwi, strawberry, pineapple, almond, crushed pistachio, ashta cream and honey. It kind of reminds me of a healthy alternative to a sundae.
Photos by Hector Vasquez