New Bilan

Whenever someone asks me what my favourite place to eat in Toronto is, I answer with New Bilan. Why? My list of reasons could go on and on and on, but in short, here's how I would describe it: cheap, delicious, and the friendliest service you'll have.

Let's start from the beginning: getting there. New Bilan is located close to the intersection of Jarvis and Dundas. There can be a few interesting characters around these parts, so I recommend keeping an eye open. For all the times I've been in this area, I've only encountered being hassled for money and listening to random crazies yelling about God or Jesus or whatever.

Despite the sketchy location, trust me, this restaurant is worth trekking out there for.

You used to have to walk through an internet cafe to get to the restaurant part, but there are some renovations going on and the computers are no more! The eating area looks like an eating area now, complete with round tables and unique art on the walls.

There's even a TV, in case you want to watch something.

The menu only has six options, and the prices include tax but not tip. I always go with the Chicken Stew because of the incredible sauce it comes in. Chipatti is a handmade bread, sort of like naan but even better, so I recommend getting that instead of the rice.

First course is this delicious soup. There are so many spices in it, so it's difficult to describe the taste accurately, but there is a slight dill flavour.

If you're brave enough, you can put some of this really, really, REALLY hot sauce in your soup for flavour. I add a couple of spoonfuls because otherwise my eyes would start pouring tears like Niagara Falls.

After your soup, the owner of the restaurant, Hussein, brings you this huge silver platter of perfection. I should mention that he does everything in here himself - server, cook, greeter, tea maker, etc. You always have a guarantee that your food is fresh and hot, since he starts making it as soon as you order.

This platter is huge! (Shout out to my wonderful friend Jenny, who treated me to dinner and joined me on this food journey).

I'm seriously considering having Hussein cater my future wedding. The food is just that incredible. I remember trying to make my own version of Chipatti at home once and failing miserably (took forever and tasted nowhere as good).

Grade: 6/5 (it's my favourite restaurant, what can I say)
Cons: The only drawback is the location, but hey, food like this garners a sacrifice. They're also in the middle of renovations, so there's no bathroom currently, but I'm sure once they're done construction this place will look phenomenal. 
Pros: Taste, service, huge portions, cheap price, the hospitality of Hussein, the food, and pretty much anything else I can't think of right now. 

I've been to New Bilan a total of 6+ times, and the food has never ceased to disappoint me. Make the trek to Jarvis and Dundas, and immerse yourself in the Somalian cuisine!

(Thank you Hussein for posing for a photo with us and for being an amazing chef!)