Banu Toronto: Persian Restaurant on Queen Street West

Banu Toronto is a popular Persian restaurant located on Queen Street West close to Trinity Bellwoods Park.

The Iranian restaurant offers exotic Persian-inspired cocktails and authentic salads, kabob and desserts.

Toronto offers a great kaleidoscope of culinary offerings. Canada’s little city on the lake is formed by a patchwork of ethnic neighbourhoods, offering food fans a smorgasbord of options from cheap and cheerful Tibetan treats to fine dinning Italian eats.

For those looking to dig into the traditional dishes of Iran it can be a bit tricky as Persian restaurants are few and far between. In 2013 I enjoyed my first Persian feast on Yonge Street at Darvish, an intimate family restaurant, which claims to be the first of its kind in the city.

I swooned for each pretty Persian plate, immediately reminded of the Lebanese, Jordanian and Egyptian food I’d enjoyed on my travels to the Middle East.

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Step Inside Banu Toronto

Samira Mohyeddin, a seasoned restaurateur, manages Banu Restaurant with her younger brother Amir — chef extraordinaire — and older sister Salome, who manages Kad Banu, their Iranian café just 10 minutes away. “One day, in 2005, I was cycling past this space, when I saw that it was up for sale. This was my sign that it was time to fulfill my dream of presenting Iranian food and culture to Toronto in a way that had not been done before,” says Samira.

The siblings opened Banu as an homage to 70s Iranian culture and nightlife when the country was abuzz with cosmopolitanism, the pop-art of Andy Warhol and vodka. They also pay homage to their mother via the restaurants name: in Farsi, Banu means lady or dame of culture, respect and distinction.

The space features chic vinyl couches and retro blue bar stools, offering a linger and lounge atmosphere for those looking to sip slowly.

Persian cocktails at Banu Toronto's Bar.
Persian cocktails at Banu Toronto’s Bar.

Banu Toronto Bar

The bar at Banu Toronto boasts a selection of 14 different vodkas, which are infused with ingredients such as saffron, cherries and pomegranates.

  • Sharab e Anar: chilled pomegranate wine
  • Bakhtiar’s Revenge: pomegranate molasses, angelica, dark rum, red chilli, lime, cilantro
  • Bloodshot: tequila, cointreau, pomegranate, sumach
  • Safka: house infused saffron vodka, sour cherry juice
  • Vodka Limoo: vodka, mint, mint, lime juice
  • Vodka Anar: vodka, pomegranate
  • Vodka Albaloo: vodka, sour cherry juice, lime
  • Vodka Sekanjebin: vodka, cucumber, mint-basil syrup
  • Pretty in Pink: gin, cucumber, lemon, rose water syrup
  • Iran ’75: cava, gin, pomegranate, cointreau
  • Emerald Isle: fresh basil, cucumber, vodka, lime juice
  • Rum Thom Teheran: dark rum, luxardo, sour cherry, egg white
  • Vanilla Isis: galliano, bourbon, egg white, lemon, cinnamon
Banu Toronto: Mast O Moseer
Banu Toronto: Mast O Moseer

Banu Toronto Menu

From the Banu Toronto kitchen you’ll find a parade of Persian plates worth sampling through. Favourites include creamy Mast O Moseer, Kashk E Bademjan topped with caramelized onions and meat lovers Chenjeh and Koobideh duo.

Banu Toronto Appetizers

  • Zeitun Parvardeh: green olive tapenade with garlic, pomegranate molasses, anjelica, ground walnut
  • Nan o Paneer: sheep’s milk cheese, brined walnuts, homemade sour cherry jam, basil, mint, tarragon
  • Kashk e Bademjan: roasted eggplant topped with whey paste, caramelized onion, fried mint and turmeric
  • Koobideh Loghmeh: skewer of koobideh, grilled tomatoes, fresh herbs wrapped in lavash flat bread
  • Zaban: cow tongue braised in a tomato, cardamom and cinnamon sauce
  • Mirza Ghasemi: house smoked eggplant with egg, roasted tomato, caramelized onion, roasted garlic
Banu Toronto: Kashk E Bademjan with roasted eggplant, whey, caramelized onion, fried mint, tumeric
Banu Toronto: Kashk E Bademjan with roasted eggplant, whey, caramelized onion, fried mint, tumeric

Banu Toronto Salads

  • Salad e Laboo: roasted beets, sheep’s milk cheese, fresh herbs, pomegranate molasses vinaigrette
  • Salade e Shirazi: diced tomato, cucumber, onion, lemon, olive oli, mint, basil, taragon
  • Salade e Sekanjebin: grilled romaine heart, pomegranate seeds, fried mint, sheep’s milk cheese, sekanjebin
  • Salade e Adasi: lentils, parsley, onion crisps, scallions, olive oil
  • Salad Olivieh: Iranian potato salad with cornichons, carrots, green peas, turmeric, saffron

Banu Toronto Polo Khoresht

  • Khoresht e Gheymeh: braised veal tenderloin stew, yellow split pea, frites, saffron basmati rice, tomato, cinnamon
  • Khoresht e Ghormeh Sabzi: kidney bean, fenugreek, turmeric, mixed fresh herbs, braised beef stew, saffron basmati rice
  • Zereshk Polo Va Morgh: turmeric and saffron braised chicken thighs, barberry saffron rice
Banu Toronto: Chenjeh + Koobideh
Banu Toronto: Chenjeh + Koobideh

Banu Toronto Kabobs

  • Koobideh: 2 skewers ground sirloin, tomato, fresh herbs, saffron rice
  • Torsh: grilled veal tenderloin, pomegranate, walnut marinade, saffron rice
  • Chenjeh: grilled veal tenderloin, lime yogurt marinade, tomato, fresh herbs, saffron rice
  • Baal e Joujeh: grilled chicken wings, yogurt, saffron
  • Bareh or Bareh Torsh: grilled Ontario lamb rib chops, pomegranate molasses, walnut, saffron rice
  • Maygoo / Mahi: grilled prawns or whole fish
  • Del: flash grilled cow heart with torshi, lime, lavash
  • Don Balan: grilled lamb testicles, torshi, lime, lavash
  • Joujeh Kabob: grilled saffron chicken
  • Dandeh: grilled beef side ribs, pomegranate molasses and garlic glaze
  • Banu Burger: grilled ground sirloin, cucumber, basil, roasted tomato, sheep’s milk cheese, barbari
Banu Toronto: Flourless Chocolate Cardamom Cake with sour cherry and barberry sauce
Banu Toronto: Flourless Chocolate Cardamom Cake with sour cherry and barberry sauce

Banu Toronto Desserts

  • Orei Made It: dark chocolate with nougat, sumach and barberry
  • Almond Baklava Cake: dense pistachio and almond cake
  • Cafe Glace: french vanilla ice cream topped with coffee
  • Barberry Bark: SOMA Peruvian dark chocolate with nougat and barberry
  • Samovar Chai: darjeeling, cardamom, rose petal tea served with house sweets

Banu Toronto Hours

Sunday to Thursday: 12-10pm

Friday and Saturday: 12pm-12am

Banu Toronto Reservations

777 Queen Street West, 416-777-2268

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