The Reveal – Byblos Uptown
Third times a charm. And what a charmer you are, Byblos Uptown.
The first North Toronto location for ICONINK and third in the Byblos fam - Entertainment District in 2014, Miami in 2015 - is captivating.
This comes as no surprise, as ICONINK dynamos Hanif Harji and Charles Khabouth are responsible for a staggering amount of our swish dining establishments: Akira Back, Batch, Estia, FIGO, French Made Café, KŌST, La Société (Toronto & Montreal), Mira, Mister C Lounge, Patria, The STORYS Building, and Weslodge (Toronto & Dubai).
From expansive dining room swathed in lush tapestries and sweeping 19-foot ceilings to aromatic Eastern Mediterranean fare, the upscale eatery is an oasis from the frenetic pulse of daily life.
Finally, a new go-to. That is, if you can snag a seat at one of the hottest restaurants in town.
Provisions & Tipples
Corporate Executive Chef Ben Heaton who also helms Estia, FIGO, KOST, La Societe, Mira, Patria, and Weslodge has created an alluring menu of starters, salads, wood-fired pides, mains, sides and desserts.
Whether diving into house specialties (duck kibbeh, braised oxtail, Spanish octopus) or new selections (eggplant-centric m’taabal, ras el hanout black cod), family style sharing plates adds a bon vivant feel to the Mediterranean meal.
Do set aside some time to go through the extensive wine list featuring varietals from across the globe. The spirits list is just as comprehensive. Either way, don’t skip over the cocktails. You’ll see.
Housemade Turkish Delight (complimentary)
Note: Not to be confused with the sickly sweet chocolate bar Big Turk. Instead, expect soft, elegant perfumed cubes covered in powered sugar more refined than the convenience store variety.
If you’ve grown up thinking this sweet wasn’t for you, you just haven’t had it like this before.
Seven Celestials ($42, serves 2-4)
Cocktails in a teapot? You fancy now.
There’s something to be said for topping up glasses at your leisure. And this Bulleit Bourbon, Canto (a ginger liqueur), chai tea syrup, peach nectar, and fresh lemon make for an intensely sexy collab.
Note: Normally served over dry ice.
Roasted Red Beets ($14)
Long, thin scalloped-edged strips of airy housemade Persian flatbread scattered with sesame seeds would be enticing enough.
Add in creamy house labneh crowned with roasted beets, pistachios, caraway seeds, and microgreens and you’ve got a light, guilt-free dip or spread.
Tomato & Cucumber Salad ($16)
To get to the salad, you’ve got to break through a thin covering of matzo topped with edible flowers. No heavy lifting required on your part though - a server shatters it with one blow, tossing the contents tableside.
Incorporating the unleavened flatbread cracker with cukes, tomatoes, radishes, lettuce, and two dressings – lemon vinaigrette and creamy cacik (think: Turkish tzatiziki) – results in a fresh, robust salad that excites the senses.
Turkish Manti Dumplings ($16)
Delicate eggplant packets set in a deep layer of yogurt sauce arrive in a long cast iron dish. Baked until crested tips are browned then scattered with finely chopped chives, the hearty dish on the menu since day one, becomes more of fun casserole to be divided amongst guests.
Ahi Tuna ($19)
Green tahini (the bright hue is a result of a herb water made with mint, cilantro, scallion, and salt), green olives, and amba (a tangy, saucy pickled mango condiment) energizes without overwhelming the fresh yellowfin.
Scooped up with thin, crisp sumac crackers, this “ahhh tuna” is a must.
Lamb Ribs ($21)
You’ll be tossing your usual wings aside to get your hands on these crispy, crunchy handhelds.
Heavily crusted with dukkah – a blend of nuts, spices and herbs – the delectable meat is punctuated with sweet (date molasses), hot (red chili schug), and tart (buttermilk) notes.
Ora King Salmon ($36)
One of the new additions to the menu features the fresh omega-3 rich fish augmented with vibrant flavours (harissa, sumac), and smooth citrus crème fraiche to round out the dish.
Dry Aged Ribeye ($75)
Say hello to one of the top steaks in the city.
This beaut comes with za'atar butter and smoked eggplant, but it doesn’t need a single accompaniment. It’s perfect just the way it is – charred exterior with succulent meat cooked to your specification, finished with a light sprinkling of salt.
Thrice-Cooked Fries ($9)
Byblos is too fancy to visit just for the fries.
But you wouldn’t be wrong to come purely for the golden crispy frites that taste like childhood. Bonus: elevated notes are thanks to za'atar and toum, a Lebanese garlic sauce.
Studio Munge works sumptuous bohemian magic on the former North 44 9,120 square foot space. The room feels like a sunken living room out of a Seventies New York sky rise.
With modern wall hangings from Marrakech (by Moroccan artist LRNCE), authentic Persian rugs, woven light fixtures, cozy seating, ad plump pillows, high-end dining becomes slightly more casual and relaxed, and finally more comfortable.
At the pass
Corporate Executive Chef Ben Heaton, Corporate Head Chef Jamie Ullrich
ICONINK Chairman Charles Khabouth and CEO Hanif Harji
Drop a pin
2537 Yonge St.
Come on in
Mon – Wed 5pm–10pm
Thurs – Sat 5pm–11pm
Please be seated
The restaurant accommodates 144 guests including the upstairs, with a semi private dining room (suitable for up to 10 diners) on the main level.
For more photos, visit Toronto Restaurants on Instagram.