Address: 100 Steeles Ave. W Unit #27, Vaughan ON
When I visited: July 2014, dinner, 30 people
Rating: $$, 3
I first went to Shomal over 5 years ago with a Persian friend and I thoroughly enjoyed the offerings. The restaurant specializes in northern Iranian cuisine, close to the Caspian sea with grilled fish as one of their specialties. The interior replicates being in the coastal region.
Taking a gamble after the long haul, I chose the restaurant because of the location and the space to host a large birthday party, my birthday party. The restaurant had good intentions and placed our group in a private room. Unfortunately, there was little circulation even with a space air conditioner. With many kids in attendance, the noise amplified in the room and we were uncomfortably hot. If you are thinking of booking for a large group, ask to be placed out in the open dining room in the summer. It was too much trouble to move after we settled into our seats.
Having tried many items off their menu in the past, I decided to stick with the familiar items. I would recommend the items I ordered:
The warm appetizers were delicious including the kashke mademjan, made of fried eggplant with fried garlic, onion, mint and whey, and bademjan kebab made of pan fried eggplant stuffed with walnuts, pomegranate paste and spices.
For my main, I ordered the lambchop which came with 4-5 pieces of lamb, tons of rice and grilled tomatoes. The marinade from the lamb was flavourful but it was slightly overcooked.
The last item that I would recommend (ask your server since it is not on the menu) is the pickled garlic. It is not very garlicky but the crunch on the garlic and the strong pickled taste makes it so fun to eat.
We had really poor service! (1/5 rating!) Our server mixed up our orders and rarely refilled our waters.
Based on feedback from my friends who attended the party, the dishes were a hit or miss. Some mentioned that the meat was dry and overpriced for the quality. For me, I stuck with my usual and was not disappointed. The restaurant continues to be a popular spot for Persian families which is a great sign of being authentic. Although there were many large tables appropriate for large groups, I will return with a much smaller group and hopefully this means better service and attention from our server.