Mon -Fri 7:00 am – 7:00 pm
Sat-Sun 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Last fall, Maha Barsoom, and her children, Monika and Mark Wahba opened an “Eygptian fusion” café along Greenwood Ave. in Toronto, just north of Gerrard Street and just south of the TTC subway yard. Monika and Mark were fave more-than-baristas at our local beloved coffee shop, Grinder. And Barsoom’s catering feats were legendary among the clientelle. So, it was no surprise that Maha’s eponymous café was going to be a hit among the locals.
Since opening, Maha’s has gained an almost cult status not only among the locals but across the city, getting rave reviews and must-eats from most of the Toronto papers and food blogs (see Now’s “Eat Like an Egyptian,” for instance) – and for good reason. I’m no food critic, but I can see (and taste) why! The menus are well-edited, i.e. wide-ranging and inventive without being overwhelming. The brunch card offers a range of Egyptian-inspired plates to suit every palate, including hits like the Cairo Classic (a plate of foole, a mix of fava beans, tomato, and onion, served with a boiled egg, felafel, house-made feta, and charred balady bread) and the Basturma Scramble (cured beef, spiced and sautéed in butter before being mixed into scrambled eggs, served with more of that famous house bread and greens). The flipside is just as fine, offering a smart selection of à la carte items, like the vegetarian Arnabeet (an anise laced, lightly pan-fried spiced cauliflower sandwich), the insanely addictive looking Pharoah’s Po’Boy (deep fried shrimp in a balady pocket drizzled with tehini, lime and parsley) and the super-popular Mind Blowing Chicken Sandwich (a pile of beautifully seasoned chicken with house made garlic sauce on a toasted egg bun). Eat these alone or pair them with some Pickled Baby Eggplant or a House Salad and you’re good to nurse your blessed hangover, write your next screenplay, and prep for your next night out (or night up with the baby). The drinks menu is just as cunningly devised. Offerings range from Turkish coffee to an exquisitely made Americano and a flirt-with-a-dangerous-brunette Hazlenut Latté.
On my first visit to Maha’s, I had what will likely be my standard lunch order from here to eternity (pics below): The Honey Cardamom Latté (and, yes, Mark made it decaf for me!), the Date Grilled Cheese (sautéed dates with a blend of gouda, havarti and swiss on egg bread drizzled with honey), and a side of Maha’s famous Lentil Soup. This is probably the best lunch I’ve ever had anwhere in the city or in the universe. Hands down, best “decadent” coffee bar drink. Most amazing grilled cheese ever, period – go away grilled cheese trucks, grilled cheezus wannabes. And Maha’s Lentil soup? Miraculous. I know, I know. I sound like a blithering idiot. But, again, I’m no food critic. I’ve been struck dumb. You would be, too, if you knew what was good for you and got yourself to MAHA’S.
Loving our local,
The Lunchbox Season