College Street · Dinner

Pomegranate – Persian Perfection

Everyone in life needs a friend like my bestie MS. She’s the friend that blurs the lines between friendship and family, the one who you know your kids will play with (or in this case learn Hindi from) and she’s also the girl that broadens your horizons, breaks your borders and makes you try things you may not if left to your own devices. Between her being a doctor and me having unreliable work hours we don’t get to see each other as often as we like so this get together was a mix of:

– Belated birthday dinner
– I have this cool new place for your blog
– Catch up on what’s happened to each other in the last 2 months
– I love you and miss you

All great reasons for a night out, not like I need any more reasons to justify eating out as much as I have been lately!

Tonight we find ourselves in the cozy arms of a small, quaint, yet infamous Persian restaurant called Pomegranate. Small enough to be missed, its located right at College and Bathurst setting itself apart from the myriad of Italian restaurants the area is known for. Once inside you literally feel as if you have been flown to Iran with all the beautiful tapestries, rugs, tablecloths and paintings that adorn the place from floor to ceiling. There is traditional music playing and the staff is even dressed up in traditional (yet functional) Persian attire. By the time we were wrapping up dinner the place was PACKED. The menu is a blend of home-style appetizers, salads and entrees all influenced from the different regions of Iran. I always check out the menu before I go to a new place to eat and I won’t lie, I was definitely intimidated by the choices. Luckily MS had been there so it was easier to figure out what to order.

On the Menu:
Mirza Qasemi – charred eggplant in a mildly spicy garlic tomato sauce
Zeitoon Parvardeh – vegetarian caviar – a tapenade of green olives marinated in a pomegranate walnut sauce with a generous amount of fresh garlic
Vegetarian Fesenjaan – a smooth rich stew of ground walnut, pomegranate syrup, portabello and button mushrooms service beside a plate of saffron basmati rice
(the entrées all come with salad and plain yogurt but we upgraded to the maast-e saadeh which is yogurt dusted with dried mint and rose petals)

They have a big selection of meat dishes as well but since MS is vegetarian and I’m not the biggest fan of lamb (mostly on the menu) we opted for an all-veggie spread. Our two appies came out first along with basket of warm naan-like bread. All I have to say is that I would go back JUST for the vegetarian caviar dish. SO GOOD. Olive pastes are already one of my favorite spreads to use on bread but this one took it to the next level. The blend of tart olives with the sweetness of the pomegranate was to die for. I couldn’t get enough! That was the one stand out part about the food which really teased my taste buds – the blend of different flavors. At first read you would think that pomegranates, walnuts and olives wouldn’t exactly blend well together but MY GOD do they ever! The charred eggplant was very similar to an Indian eggplant dish, and unfortunately this one was lacking some salt. Still good though when spread on the naan.

Our entrée came out and there was more than enough food for two people to share. Portions are huge so if you don’t have a hefty appetite then share!
The stew didn’t look so much like stew but more of dip, again so yummy and filling because of the portabello and button mushrooms that surprised you along the way. The yogurt was fresh and clean tasting and neither the mint or rose petals over powered it. Overall the food was simple in its presentation and preparation but the blend and combination of flavors was complex and perfect for a palette that’s craving some change.

Address: 420 College Street, 416-921-7557
Parking: plenty of street parking
Price: $$
Service: 8/10
Food: 8/10
Ambience: 8/10

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