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Friday, July 29, 2011

[Toronto] Paramount Fine Foods

Review Location
253 Yonge Street Toronto, Ontario
(Major Intersection: Yonge St. and Dundas St.)

One afternoon my coworkers and I were craving Mediterranean, so we decided to go to Paramount Fine Foods near Dundas Square after it was suggested by my co-worker Fatima. I was surprised to learn that this restaurant has several locations, including Mississauga and even North York!

The first impression I got coming in here was its very cultural. There was soft bollywood music playing, and the waitstaff consisted of all different ethnicities. The decor has a rustic warehouse feel to it, with it's high ceiling and dull orange brick walls. The dark oak furnishings, carpeted floors and chandeliers tops off the decor with a classier touch. It was a busy afternoon, so we were placed in the upstairs dining room.

 Top floor dining area of Paramount

The menu is not too big, but sufficient. We were quick to order  and the food was quick to arrive. Perfect if you have a tight lunch time frame.

"Cocktail Juice" ($4.99 for small) -A mixture of fresh mango, strawberry & banana, slightly sweetened with sugar.

Fatima ordered this before her meal, and after all the praise she gave on this drink, I decided to have a small taste. It was in fact quite good. It's very tropical tasting, but I question whether it really is made from "fresh" fruit. It tastes exactly like a smoothie that William's Coffee Pub (now known as William's Fresh Cafe) used to serve. Having worked there in high school for a couple years, I know for a fact that it was definitely not fresh fruit. Regardless, this Cocktail Juice at Paramount was a refreshing drink for the hot weather that day!

Left: "Hummus" ($4.99) -Chick peas paste, tahini sauce and virgin olive oil.
Right: Pita Bread that comes with your meal

When my coworker Fatima told me that the pitas here were really fluffy, I thought she meant that the bread would be light and soft. Little did I know they would look like balloons! These pitas were practically hot air balloons. It was heated up to the point where the air inside the pita bread expands, resulting in a hot pillow of pita bread! When I tried to rip a piece of the pita bread by puncturing it, the steam rushed out and almost burnt my fingers. It was worth it though! The pita was crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and so delicious with the hummus! The hummus itself was a bit bland, but tasted a lot better with the oil, chives and spices that are garnished on top of it. 

"Chicken Shwarma Plate" ($10.99) -8oz. of grilled chicken Shawarma, garnished with mixed pickles, tomato and lettuce.

When the main course of our lunch came, I was overwhelmed about how big the portion was. I found it was way too big for lunch. It's practically a mound of carbs next to a bigger mound of protein! I wouldn't have minded a side salad of some sort to go with it. Regardless it was quite tasty. The chicken has a nice marinade to it, but I find like most other shwarma meats it's a bit on the dry side. I guess that's why I prefer eating shish kebobs most of the time.

Overall, I'm glad to announce that the food here is much better than my previous downtown Mediterranean experience at Kabab Grill! Given Paramount's excellent location near Eatons' Centre and the fast service, I'm not surprised that it is such a popular lunch spot.  Make sure you order the pillow pitas!

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