Where: Yonge Street and Steeles Avenue
How to get there by transit: 53 Steeles East bus
Since the trailblazing grocery store Khorak Supermarket opened in 1989, this North Toronto area—referred to affectionately as “Tehranto” by some—has grown into a destination for traditional Persian food and drink. Immigration to Canada from Middle-Eastern countries, particularly Iran, grew during the war-torn 1980s, and continued throughout the 1990s with about 85 per cent of Iranian immigrants in Ontario settling in Toronto.
With eggplant stew and kabab koobideh (twice-minced beef or lamb) on the menu, the popular lunch counter at the Khorak Supermarket is unlike anything you’ll find at your typical Western grocer.
Almost every item at Arzon Supermarket is sourced from Iran by owner Carlo Zadeh. Here, you’ll find bulk baskets filled with nuts and dried fruits, baklava, and the chilled yogurt drink doogh.
The 24-hour Shabestan Cafe serves Persian classics like dolmeh, kebabs and stews, and breakfast staple kalleh pacheh, a soup made from boiled lamb head and hooves.
Red Rose Pâtisserie
The flaky pastries and cookies at Red Rose Pâtisserie are out-of-the-oven fresh. Elegantly iced cakes, honey-coated baklava and pomegranate ice cream will satisfy any sweet tooth.
The dessert counter at the tiny Persian bakery Papa Café & Pastry is generously stocked with roulettes in a variety of flavours and multicoloured jalebi (kind of like a pretzel soaked in syrup) alongside cakes and macarons.
[This story appears in the May 2018 issue of WestJet Magazine]