Camel Restaurant ~ 675 Danforth Ave ~ (416) 778-8999

In Yemen, lunch is considered the most important meal of the day.  The Toronto Food Blog has enjoyed a few Yemeni lunches recently at the newly-opened Camel Restaurant (675 Danforth Ave).  “About as authentic a dining experience as you’ll find outside of Sana’a,” I’m told by a table full of students eating beside me, as we all bob our heads to the music of Ahmed Alshaiba covering “Smooth Criminal” on the Oud.

It’s recommended that we try a bowl of Fasha, arguably Yemen’s national dish.  This lamb stew is presented boiling hot in a stone pot, absolutely loaded with meat & fenugreek.  It’s served with a sidecar of fresh-baked Malawach flatbread.  Chef/owner Ali Nasser tells me to use the crispy bread as a utensil.  He and his cousins brought their love for cooking and their entrepreneurial spirit with them when they emigrated from Yemen just a few years ago.  They’ve created something very regional and very special right in the heart of #greektown

On our next visit we try the Chicken Mandi, another extremely popular Yemeni/Gulf dish.  Now this has to be my absolute favourite kind of quarter-chicken dinner.  Dark meat is marinated overnight and then baked until it literally falls off the bone.  Served with salad and the most perfect Mejara (rice w/ carrot & fried onion), this is as good a #lunchunder10bucks as you’ll find anywhere in town.

Aqdah, meaning “knot” in Arabic, is an aptly-named Yemeni stew that tries to tie all of the ingredients and flavours together.  Camel’s version is full of diced veggies (potato, zucchini, peas), pulled chicken, cumin & turmeric.

The dining room at Camel seems to have become somewhat of  meeting place for Gulf students, hungry for the tastes of back home.  I am always welcomed with warm smiles, a bowl of lamb broth, and a plethora of enthusiastic menu recommendations.

It’s nice to see such a vibrant and distinctly regional restaurant open-up on this stretch of the Danforth.  In fact, that’s what makes #danforth so great.

Happy New Year, everyone, and good luck in 2020 to all the young restaurateurs who’ve got a good thing going.

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