In Canada, halal food sales now exceed $1 billion and are still increasing.
Photo Credit: Paramount Fine Foods
The population of Muslims in the GTA currently accounts for 47% of Canadian Muslims overall which has meant positive things for our culinary landscape. South-Asian cuisines and food from various countries like Turkey, Lebanon, and Iran have become more readily available in response to the increasing demand for halal options. More recently, some of the best non-Muslim restaurateurs in the city have begun catering to this growing customer base with traditional establishments adding halal items to their already popular menus.
Here we are going to explore the top halal food destinations of Toronto, covering their talented chefs plus some of our most well-known halal food trucks and the biggest names in the city’s halal dining community.
Chef Aleem at Holy Grill
Chef Aleem isn’t your typical Toronto immigrant success story, despite his parents venturing from Hyderabad, India and opening up Taj Banquet Hall as he grew up here. Aleem’s food truck, Holy Grill, serves “ethnic, upscale street food,” a result of his own vision and commitment. Putting the “Holy” in Holy Grill, it is the only food truck in Toronto with a completely halal menu, bridging the gap between Muslim and non-Muslim food lovers.
With a food truck, catering services and a Holy Grill dine-in experience coming out soon. #Chefonwheels aka Chef Aleem is now a famous personality on social media as his life story inspires others to follow their passion.
Chef William at Paramount
Chef Willam, aka “The Cooking Wizard,” is another one of our halal celebrity chef choices. His passion and commitment to the culinary experience has been the thriving factor for the success of Paramount Fine Foods. Paramount’s story resonates with the community as it is now the fastest growing Middle Eastern food chain in Canada with over 40 current locations and more than 60 due to be open by the end of this year.
With the most authentic Lebanese flavor made with the freshest and richest ingredients, the aroma of freshly baked bread in their wood-burning ovens, charcoal BBQ meats and handmade sweets, Paramount Fine Foods provides an experience not to be forgotten.
Known for being much more than an international executive chef, William El Dbaissy is described as a tv personality, creator of fusion flavours and being a food artist. We can definitely see a fusion of flavours play out on his Twitter account with his variety of food combinations. Big or small, @chefwilliam1 can cook meals to suit any diet, making him a big name in the halal industry
Seema & Amreen at Bombay Street Food Toronto
With tasteful attributes, from their decor to their food, inspired directly by the streets of Mumbai, the story of owners Seema and Amreen started with farmer’s markets, pop-up dinners and vendorships at various food festivals in Toronto. Through promoting halal food found in Mumbai in our own city, they transformed their culinary experience into a successful restaurant called Bombay Street Food Toronto.
The bubbly, welcoming and positively infectious energy translates just as much on-site as it does online. Having received raving reviews from top food critics and foodies alike, they keep strong yet friendly ties with their customers by keeping them in the loop. They’re also known for hosting book clubs and various food photo competitions, connecting customers with the journey of Bombay.
Cory Vitiello at Flock
Did you know one of the top 5 Canadian restaurants of 2016 serves halal meat? Chef Cory Vitiello offers naturally-raised, hormone-free chicken options at his chain of fast-casual restaurants, known to the community as Flock.
“We chose this chicken based on its quality – the way it tastes, the integrity with which the farmers produce and raise it,” he said. “We chose our chicken before learning it was halal.”
With a 4k+ following on Twitter, Cory tweets about healthy living, dining in Canada plus a selection of golden brown, perfectly roasted birds along with an appetizing selection of Toronto’s salads that eat like a meal. He can also be found on Instagram via @coryvitiello.
Rida Salman is an Online Content and Digital Marketing Specialist. Having done a Masters in Digital Futures from OCAD University & more recently a Nanodegree in Digital Marketing from Udacity. She has both education and industry experience in Digital Marketing. She is also the Account Coordinator at Branding and Buzzing.