Maha’s is a happening Egyptian brunch spot on Greenwood Ave, just a quick walk from both the Gerrard India Bazarr and Leslieville. Maha Barsoom opened her eponymous cafe in late 2014 and, with the help of her kids Monika and Mark, has been filling the tables with aplomb ever since. It’s easy to see why there is often an hour-long queue for weekend brunch. Luckily Maha’s isn’t far from work, so my colleagues and I tend to drop in during the week right after the lunch rush.
No matter the time of day, I will always start my meal with either their award-winning Lentil Soup (the recipe can be found framed on the wall) or the Egyptian Beet Salad. Both are finished with EVOO and fresh-chopped parsley and are so good that, truth be told, my guests and I have been known to go splitzies on numerous occasions. We’ll typically only order the “side order” size, though, as the main attractions are quite generous servings.
After round one, the Toronto Food Blog has two go-to dishes, all depending on whether I’m feeling more like breakfast or lunch…
Eggs on foole ($11) is a most traditional Egyptian breakfast dish. At Maha’s the eggs are made to order, served atop a mélange of mashed fava beans, diced tomatoes and onion. I tend to order my eggs sunny-side-up so the yolks run into the foole. By looking at the tables around us, hard-boiled eggs seem to be another popular rendition. Just ask for the Cairo Classic. The dish is completed with pieces of toasted balady bread, and I can’t help use the crispy flatbread as more of utensil.
Maha’s Mind Blowing Chicken ($8) is quite possibly one of the best Shawarma sandwiches I have ever eaten. Grilled chicken is tossed with parsley, onions and tomatoes. The mixture gets liberally applied to a toasted egg bun and then doused with tahini, tomeya (garlic sauce) and optional hot sauce. This sandwich is so big that a knife and fork are absolutely necessary.
While the desserts are not made in-house, both Mark and Monika used to be baristas at Grinder Coffee around the corner, so they’re quite talented at whipping up a Honey & cardamom latte, a Turkish coffee or a black teak (mint) tea to finish off the meal.
So… the next time you are driving on Greenwood and you find yourself wondering what that line-up is all about, know that it’s totally worth the wait.