- Address: 420 College St, Toronto
- Visited: 01/15/2016, Dinner, 4 people
- Cuisine: Middle Eastern
- Rating: 4.5 5.0 Excellent, worth every $
4.5 Good, food & value
4.0 Good, but $$, would re-visit
3.5 Meh, good $, would re-visit
3.0 Meh, would not re-visit
2.0 Did not like $$ [$] <20; [$$] <40; [$$$] <80; [$$$$] >80
- Website: http://www.pomegranaterestaurant.ca/
Post a busy holiday season filled with family, I met up with my best friend to catch up with our respective significant others. The plan was to grab dinner somewhere and attempt to get a table at Snakes and Lattes, which proved to be impossible on a Friday night even at their new, huge, College location. We did successfully enjoy a satisfying, vegetarian friendly dinner at Pomegranate across the street. This was also The Hubby and I’s first foray into Persian cuisine.
Atmosphere: The interior of Pomegranate was cozy and decorated with colourful tiles, fabrics, ornate light fixtures and a mini fish pond. My eyes kept wandering throughout dinner to the bright turquoise ceiling and wall paintings. The restaurant felt warm and inviting. When we arrived at 7pm, all of the tables were filled with diners. Pomegranate does close fairly early for a Toronto restaurant (9pm Sun, Tue-Thur and 10pm Fri-Sat) so 7pm was the last seating time.
Service: While friendly, I found service to be inattentive. Each entree had the option to replace the side of rice with salad, which I chose, but my plate arrived incorrect. Not a deal breaker and a good opportunity for The Hubby to snap pictures while I flagged down our server, who promptly corrected my order. For the remainder of our meal, we were left much to our own devices. It was a challenge to make eye contact with any servers when we needed something, like the bill, but once we had their attention we were looked after.
Food: To share, I ordered the mirza qasemi, a dish of charred eggplant in a spicy, garlic, tomato sauce served with toasted flatbread. The dip was creamy, smoky, sweet with a hint of spice. I have a soft spot for good eggplant dips and this one hit all the right buttons. We asked for a second serving to flat bread to wipe the bowl clean. This dish was also available as an entree.
My friend’s vegetarian boyfriend chose the vegetarian adas polo, saffron basmati rice with lentils, dates and raisins blended in. The rice was colourful and wonderfully fragrant.
I chose the fesenjaan with chicken breast, a thick stew of ground walnut and pomegranate syrup. This dish was savoury and earthy from the walnuts and sweet and tangy from the pomegranate syrup. An interesting dish with ingredients that I wouldn’t have known to combine. For a small bowl, the fesenjaan was very filling, complimented nicely by the refreshing side salad and citrus dressing. I did have to steal some of The Hubby’s basmati rice as a base for the rich stew.
His dinner was the baqali polo, basmati rice blended with dill and fava beans, served with a braised lamb shank and Persian pickles. First, those pickles were sour, cheek sucking, lip pursing sour, and delicious. The lamb shank was juicy, very tender and light on gamey flavour. For $15.50, the portion size was a good value (he was happy to share his rice).
Overall, dinner at Pomegranate was a wonderful introduction to a few Persian dishes. I can’t speak to the authenticity, but my taste buds were pleased.