Summerlicious 2014 Restaurant #9: Banu

Located at 777 Queen St W in Toronto

Banu was my final stop on my Summerlicious 2014 journey this year (insert sad face).  The three October babies reunited again for a prix fixe meal; I think that’s what we do best and enjoy the most. 🙂

Banu features Iranian cuisine, one that I’m sure I haven’t tried before.  I was excited to try out all the dishes on their menu.  🙂 I’ve seen it before many times on previous Summerlicious & Winterlicious so I know this restaurant has been around for a while.  

The restaurant itself is a long hallway decorated with Iranian elements but with hints of modernity.  I liked how the table was unique in that it was made with small blue tiles!  It was pretty neat.

The interior is a cozy and homey atmosphere

Salad e Olivieh
Potato salad Iranian style: pickles, carrots, green peas, potato, served with nigella seed bread

The first course was a potato salad with nigella seed bread which tasted surprisingly delicious.  You scoop some potato salad onto the bread and the entire thing goes so well together!  I tried some of Holly and Joyce’s smoked eggplant (which I was tempted to get but didn’t since I had recently had roasted eggplant at 93 Harbord).  I really liked the smooth texture of the eggplant and how comfortingly warm it was compared to the cool but refreshing potato salad.


Mirza Ghasemi
Smoked eggplant, roasted garlic, tomato, egg

Baghali Polo
Classic Iranian fare: a fresh dill, saffron, and fava bean basmati rice with cardamom and cinnamon

For my main course, I chose the “classic Iranian fare” of Baghali Polo.  It was a vegan dish so I expected no meat but I didn’t expect that the entire plate would be just a dish of basmati rice with sour cream and butter on the side.  I wish there was more to this dish because it was very boring to eat all the rice on its own.  Yes, the rice was flavourful and I enjoyed the burst of fava beans in every other spoonful but other than that, something other than plain rice would have been a better main course.  I suggest adding some solid vegetables but then I guess that is not what Iranian cuisine comprises of.

Holly and Joyce ordered the Khoresht e Karafs (veal shank).  It came as a bowl of veal, herb, and celery stew with saffron basmati rice on the side.  I tasted a bit and it was just okay.  They really enjoyed it though.

Khoresht e Karafs
Veal shank, mixed herb and celery stew served with saffron basmati rice

Sholeh Zard
Saffron, rose water, rice pudding

Lastly, for dessert, we all chose the Sholeh Zard, rice pudding with rose water and saffron.  I’ve never had rice pudding with such a strong flavour of saffron before but I really liked it.  The grains of rice in the pudding were big and mushy.  I really liked this and how it wasn’t too sweet.

Overall, my first sampling of Iranian food was mediocre.  I liked the appetizer and dessert but the main was not outstanding.  I will have to try more Iranian dishes in the future for more variety!

Banu on Urbanspoon

About stenoodie

I'm a stenographer, foodie, avid traveller, and new mom who loves to share her experiences with the world.
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11 Responses to Summerlicious 2014 Restaurant #9: Banu

  1. andy1076 says:

    You’re like me Karen, If i don’t see meat on my dish and just plain rice or veggies I am just not satisfied. I’ve never seen saffron rice laid out like that before, but I sure do appreciate that the dishes came well presented and clean, It all sure looks yum!

    • stenoodie says:

      Hehe, it was my choice to choose a vegan dish, but I was very surprised to see JUST plain rice on the plate! 🙂 I really can’t wait to dine out with you someday, Andy! Sounds like we’ll have a blast! 😀

      • andy1076 says:

        It would be the best dining experience i’ll ever have, I know it! 🙂

        Do the vegan dishes remind you of when you did your cleansing? 😀

      • stenoodie says:

        Haha 😀

        Lol, actually, not really! For my detox, I had to cut out carbs and starches as well so the rice would have been a no-no.

      • andy1076 says:

        oh right right, oof that wasn’t exactly the best idea either was it? I remember it left you rather weak at the end. :-\ which is why…..I intend to indulge in good ol TO! 😉

      • stenoodie says:

        You have a really good memory, Andy! Yeah, I don’t know why it made me really weak on the 5th day. For my other friends, they all reported feeling really good after the 3rd day. I guess I’m just not cut out for plain veggie and fruit diets! 🙂 It was still good to cleanse out my system though and give my liver a break!

      • andy1076 says:

        oh hey speaking of foods and stuff, are you taking the carb blocker right now? somewhere in the torrent of emails from WordPress I seem to have lost your last email :O

      • stenoodie says:

        Nope, not right now. I’m thinking of trying it out in the fall time perhaps. Aw, should I send my last e-mail to you again? Try searching up key words?

      • andy1076 says:

        Cant’ find it for some reason, could you send it to me again pls? sori 😦

      • stenoodie says:

        No problem! I’ll do that now

  2. Pingback: Winterlicious 2016: Rally Sports Bar & Smokehouse | stenoodie

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