Durham Region is home to many ethnic food restaurants.
Elias Naan, Kabob & Shawarma, authentic Afghan cuisine, needs to be on the top of your list to try. This restaurant also offers take-out options and is 100 per cent halal.
Halal refers to the way the meat is slaughtered, with a prayer of thanks and with one quick cut to the throat to minimize animal suffering.
Elias Naan, Kabob & Shawarma is located at 20 Broadleaf Ave. in Whitby, north of the intersection of Taunton Rd. and Baldwin St. S.
When entering the restaurant, one is immediately greeted with fragrant cardamom aromas. The warm lighting creates a cozy vibe and signals a sense of community. It is a family-owned and operated business.
The seating area is in a pristine condition. It is clear the staff take pride in their business. There is a consistent flow of customers, which indicates the food isn’t sitting around all day.
To start the meal off right, the mantoo appetizer is a great option. This dish is reminiscent of ravioli in a tomato, meat sauce, like a gourmet version of the Chef Boyardee – in the best sense.
Mantoo is a steamed dumping filled with ground beef and minced red pepper and onions. This is seasoned with black pepper, turmeric and coriander. It is served with two sauces: a beef, lentil sauce and a yogurt, mint sauce on top.
The savoury flavours of the filling combined with the yogurt mint sauce are mind-blowing. Be sure to order a large portion because the smaller option will leave you craving for more. The small portion is $5.99 and the large is $8.99.
For vegetarians, the lentil soup is delicious. One serving alone is sufficient for a meal. This is served with a toasty warm homemade naan bread, perfect for dipping into the soup.
The chicken shawarma plate ($9.99) is also fantastically flavourful. The meal consists of rice with shawarma meat on top and an assortment of vegetables (lettuce, red onion, cucumber, turnip, pickles, tabouli salad or tabbouleh) that each customer is able to select. Just think of a shawarma wrap on a plate, minus all the carbs.
The best way to enjoy shawarma meat is to lather it in tahini and garlic sauce. Tahini is often an ingredient in humus and is made with sesame seeds. There are also other options available to add on top, such as hot sauce and hummus.
Chicken tandoori kabob is another great entre. The meal includes one skewer of marinated tandoori masala, rice, a side garden salad and homemade naan. ($11.99)
The tender meat is a vibrant red (as any tandoori chicken is) and has a buttery texture which means the meat flakes off when you take a bite.
Whether you’re a large family looking for a place to enjoy each other’s company or an adventurous foodie on-the-go, Elias Naan, Kabob & Shawarma is the best place in Durham to explore ethnic food.