Having grown up in Saudi Arabia, we are always looking for Arab food that has that same flavour we know so well. Several years ago, some old neighbours of ours from Saudi took our parents to the Paramount restaurant in Mississauga. Only recently have they expanded downtown and up in Markham. We finally made our way to Paramount Fine Foods for lunch on our way to the Toronto Zoo.
They had our favourites, ranging from mixed fruit juices, manakeesh with Accawi cheese, moutabal, mujadara, and pink turnip pickles. Everything was amazing, from the Arabic music to the smells of spices and perfume to the counters of beautiful food in ready-to-go containers. I remember, before I had to wear an abaya and wasn’t allowed into the ‘male’ section of the restaurant, going with my dad to pick up some of these delicious foods, in the same ready-to-go containers!
Unlike a regular restaurant, you order at the cash register, and the servers will bring your food to your table as it’s ready. You pay when you are finished your meal, before you leave. The benefit of this is that you can keep on ordering more food, desserts, and drinks as you desire them, and only leave once you are good and ready. It makes for a leisurely, no-fuss meal.
The colours of these foods are fantastic as well, from the bright pink beet-stained pickled turnip to the vibrantly green tabbouleh and green pistachio nuts. We had to restrain ourselves from ordering everything on the menu, and we will definitely be back for more!