What’s on the menu at Amal, Yorkville’s swanky new Lebanese restaurant

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Name: Amal
Contact: 131 Bloor St. W., 2nd floor, 416-551-9929, amaltoronto.com, @amaltoronto
Neighbourhood: Entertainment District
Previously: La Société
Owners: Charles Khabouth and Danny Soberano (INK Entertainment)
Chef: Rony Ghaleb
Outdoor seating: Second-floor terrace will be outfitted with a tent and heat lamps for winter
Covid-19 safety measures: Hand sanitizer stations; tables are sanitized in between guests; masks are to be worn when leaving the table; protective barriers between tables in the dining room; guest information is collected for contact tracing; seating capacity adjusted to comply with city regulations
Accessibility: The second-floor dining room is fully accessible via an elevator from the building’s main floor

The food

Beirut-born Khabouth’s long-awaited project—INK announced the opening way back in March and you know what happened next—brings flavours of his homeland, via chef Ghaleb’s takes on familiar plates. Expect traditional mezze, like hummus and freshly baked pita, plus kebabs, tk and tk. For brunch, there are traditional Lebanese breakfast options, including manouche (meat pie with thyme), foul (fava beans) and balila (warm chickpea and cumin salad), but there are also a few modern interpretations, like pita with lox and labneh, and eggs with makanek (Lebanese sausage).

Olives marinated in citrus, chilies and bay leaves. $8.

 

The sampler platter comes with a choice of three dips and fresh pita bread. Pictured here, from left to right: hummus, baba ghanoush, and muhammara. $25.

 

The fattoush salad tosses baby gem lettuce, arugula, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, radishes, bell peppers and onions in a sumac vinaigrette. $18.

 

The grilled branzino is finished with fresh herbs, lime and pickled red onions. It’s served with green zhug. $48.

 

All of the skewers–including the pistachio beef kebab, shown here—are served with biwaz (parsley salad), grilled tomatoes, serrano peppers, grilled onions, pita and home fries. $32.

 

Rice pudding is embellished with walnuts, cinnamon and rosewater syrup. $10.
Here’s a whole spread.

The drinks

Nishan Nepulongoda (Sofia Yorkville) is responsible for the house cocktails made with Lebanese ingredients (tea, sumac, Arak). The wine, available by the glass or bottle, is largely European and there’s some spendy champagne, too.

The Heart and Soul—a twist on the gin and tonic—is made with Romeo’s gin, Briottet Curacao Blue, Supasawa (a sour cocktail mixer), lemon oil, sumac, elderflower tonic, orange and juniper bitters. $17.

 

The Lebanese Knight is a blend of coriander-infused Buffalo Trace bourbon, arak, chickpea purée, lemon, black tea, turmeric and maple syrup. $18.

 

The Merwah Negroni is made with Tanqueray gin, arak, Campari, Bruto Americano, Amaro Marzadro, Lem-Marrakech bitters and orange blossom water. $18.

 

The space

To capture the vibrancy and energy that Khabouth found in some fancy restaurants in Lebanon, he enlisted the talent of Lebanese design firm GraphicShop, one of the biggest in the Middle East. They collaborate with Studio Munge to create a fresh, sweeping space inspired by traditional Lebanese architecture and design. The one item they didn’t plan on: protective screens, which now separate tables in the main dining room.

The hand-painted ceiling tapestry was done by GZ Art Co.
Guests are currently not allowed to sit at the bar.
A semi-private dining space.
Pita bread is made on site.
The terrace overlooks Bloor Street.
The plan is to tent the terrace come winter.