4.50 Stars – Overall Experience
3.75 Stars – Price
4.25 Stars – Service
4.75 Stars – Food
4.00 Stars – Atmosphere
Turkish Manti Dumplings
Crispy Baby Artichoke
Chanterelle Mushroom Wood Fired Pide
Creamed Spinach Wood Fired Pide
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Traditional and contemporary is swirled into one delicious night out at Byblos restaurant. Almost a gourmet Middle-Eastern tapas, the dishes are bursting with flavour and melt-in-your-mouth texture.
Sophisticated and modern with subtle influences of middle eastern decor, Byblos offers a high-end touch to match its high-end dining experience. The lighting is dim with candles flickering on each table adding a romantic setting for any couple dining at this restaurant. The restaurant seems geared to the after work crowd, dinner out with friends or a special night out with a loved one as opposed to family dining. Keep the kids at home and enjoy an evening out.
I have to say our waitress was excellent. Her bubbly personality and extreme attentiveness to detail enhanced my experience. She even had the kitchen write “Congratulations” on our dessert plate as she had picked up on the fact that I was newly pregnant. What a lovely personal touch!
My friends were kind enough to indulge me by ordering vegetarian dishes for the appetizers. We ordered a several dishes as the restaurant lends itself to a sharing tapas style dining experience. This gave me lots of opportunity to try different things. First up was the Crispy Baby Artichoke which was served with a delicious Middle Eastern bread. The bread alone was to die for as it had a great crust, soft centre and was generously adorned with sesame seeds (yum). The fried baby artichokes were cooked to perfection and well proportioned to its batter. The labneh dip (made in house of course) was rich and smooth and balanced out the dish perfectly.
Next was the Turkish Manti Dumplings which, to be honest, took a lot of restraint not to lick my plate clean! Inside a cast iron skillet are little wrapped dumplings filled with a smoked eggplant puree that sits atop a rich, creamy molasses yogurt sauce. Rich, decadent and scrumptious.
Next we ordered two wood fired pide which were an interesting play on a pizza and pita. The Chanterelle Mushroom pide was great for someone who enjoys strong flavours as the onions, garlic and fontina cheese were very prominent. The dough was excellent and the toppings were well balanced. The Creamed Spinach pide was served much differently, almost in a baguette style and the dukkah added great texture to the softness of the spinach while the feta added a pop of flavour and saltiness.
Again, we shared a few dishes for the main course. We ordered the Mejadra which was a lentil based dish mixed with a hung yogurt and topped with fried shallots. Like many of the other dishes, there was clear attention to balance of flavour and texture. Absolutely delicious and enjoyed by all. On the side we ordered the Roasted Brussel Sprouts which were dressed with tahini, yogurt and halloumi cheese – a fresh and vibrant accompaniment with the Mejadra.
Stuffed to the gills, we decided to share a dessert. We settled on Stuffed Baklava. It was the perfect way to end the meal and, despite being so full, we managed to polish off every last bite. The baklava consisted of refreshing mint ice cream enveloped in a flaky phyllo dough and topped with a ganache-like dark chocolate sprinkled with flakes of salt and pistachio nougat. Delicious.
I was a bit nervous about going to Byblos as I wasn’t sure if I (a vegetarian) would have enough to eat. Not only was I overwhelmed by the vegetarian options, but each one brought its own unique sense of flavour. So yes, very vegetarian friendly.
My friends and I could not agree more that each bite of food was filled with pure enjoyment and we would definitely be coming back. That being said, the next time I go, it will definitely be for a special occasion as good food and service come with a price. My meal (including a virgin cocktail) came to around $60 – a bit pricey for me – but I thoroughly enjoyed my plentiful food and experience.
Time of Dinner: 6:45 pm
Date: Mon Feb 26th, 2018
For more information be sure to visit their website at http://byblostoronto.com