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What’s on the menu at Miznon, Canada’s first location of the Tel Aviv–based Mediterranean street food chain

Step right up for whole roasted cauliflowers to go

By Erin Hershberg| Photography by Daniel Neuhaus
What's on the menu at Miznon, Canada's first location of the Tel Aviv–based Mediterranean street food chain

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Name: Miznon Contact: 1235 Bay St., 416-922-2639, miznonca.com, @miznonto
Neighbourhood: Yorkville Chef-owner: Eyal Shani Accessibility: Fully accessible

Eli Benchetrit, the Israeli-born president of Miznon Canada, came to Toronto at the age of five but has spent every summer since in Israel. On one of these trips 10 years ago, he was taken by the freshness, quality and buzz of the Mediterranean street food hub Miznon. From then on, he made it a pit stop every time he was in the area. When Benchetrit learned that the brand had opened a location in New York, he wondered if it would ever make it to Canada. Then, when the pandemic prevented him from travelling, he tried to recreate chef Eyal Shani’s Minute Steak in his kitchen and pretend he was enjoying a meal at Miznon, which had become his home away from home. Though Benchetrit is an accomplished cook, that feeling just couldn’t be reproduced, so he—a virtual stranger to Shani—slid into his Instagram DMs and asked if he would be interested in coming to Toronto. The answer, we know now, was yes.

What's on the menu at Miznon, Canada's first location of the Tel Aviv–based Mediterranean street food chain
Miznon Canada general manager Eyal Kassirer (left) and president Eli Benchetrit

While this particular location is set up to serve the Yorkville crowd, the restaurant—with its cauliflower crates decoratively on display and a tomato paperweight on each table—is staunchly casual, a place where the food is fresh and hand-held, likely in a pita, probably eaten on the go. To that end, the warm and pillowy pockets, often brimming with fresh vegetables tinged with za’atar and punched up with Shani’s green chili sauce, are ordered at the counter and then brought to the tables by food runners. But the restaurant’s general manager, Eyal Kassirer, makes it clear: “We aren’t a fast-casual restaurant—good pita takes time to prepare.”

The food

One would be hard-pressed these days to find a Mediterranean menu without a whole roasted cauliflower confidently on display, but Shani claims to have started it all at Miznon. The sweet, tender baby cauliflower is first boiled in salt water, then roasted in olive oil and cooked to be gently pulled from the stem and eaten. And, while cutlery is available, the menu encourages hand-to-mouth eating, from the falafel burger to Benchetrit’s top pick, the Minute Steak, thin slices of juicy rib-eye stuffed into a pita, not over-sauced but quietly complemented with all the necessary accoutrements.

What's on the menu at Miznon, Canada's first location of the Tel Aviv–based Mediterranean street food chain
The wild mushroom pita is a melange of seasonal mushrooms seared with scallions on a hot steel griddle.

 

What's on the menu at Miznon, Canada's first location of the Tel Aviv–based Mediterranean street food chain
It’s lightly dressed with sour cream and house-made zhug. $16

 

What's on the menu at Miznon, Canada's first location of the Tel Aviv–based Mediterranean street food chain
A pre-pita lamb kebab made with house-ground local halal lamb roasted with parsley, garlic and onion

 

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What's on the menu at Miznon, Canada's first location of the Tel Aviv–based Mediterranean street food chain
The kebab is then joined by sweet grilled onion, tomato, tahini, zhug and local fave Marty’s pickles. $17.50

 

What's on the menu at Miznon, Canada's first location of the Tel Aviv–based Mediterranean street food chain
The folded cheeseburger is made with house-ground local beef chuck, which gets smashed in a tortilla press and then grilled with cheddar that forms into a crispy, cheesy lace

 

What's on the menu at Miznon, Canada's first location of the Tel Aviv–based Mediterranean street food chain
The juicy, paper-thin patty is then stuffed into a pita with bright garlic aioli, sour cream, tomato and a Marty’s pickle. $16.50

 

What's on the menu at Miznon, Canada's first location of the Tel Aviv–based Mediterranean street food chain
The literally named Run Over Potato is a truly deconstructed baked potato, flattened and crisped on the griddle and served with sour cream and dill. $9

 

What's on the menu at Miznon, Canada's first location of the Tel Aviv–based Mediterranean street food chain
The mesabaha is a plate of creamy slow-poached lima beans, simmered with olive oil, salt and green chilies until their breaking point, then dressed with rich tahini and bright tomato seeds. Pita dipping required

 

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What's on the menu at Miznon, Canada's first location of the Tel Aviv–based Mediterranean street food chain
Behold! The cauliflower. A whole cauliflower is boiled in salt water and roasted until tender in Miznon’s signature single-variety Kibbutz Magal olive oil

 

What's on the menu at Miznon, Canada's first location of the Tel Aviv–based Mediterranean street food chain
Here it is again, all wrapped up and ready to go. $13

 

What's on the menu at Miznon, Canada's first location of the Tel Aviv–based Mediterranean street food chain
The drinks

With only three cocktails and two beers on offer (Toronto’s Burdock and Israel’s Goldstar), Miznon continues its mission to keep things simple. Standout signature drinks include the smoked sage negroni, a classic blend of gin, vermouth and Campari infused with smoked sage leaves, and the Bright and Stormy, a lighter take on the classic cocktail made with golden rum and ginger beer.

What's on the menu at Miznon, Canada's first location of the Tel Aviv–based Mediterranean street food chain
Here’s the smoked negroni. $18

 

What's on the menu at Miznon, Canada's first location of the Tel Aviv–based Mediterranean street food chain
The arak mojito is a Mediterranean twist on the traditional drink, with deep anise notes courtesy of the Levantine spirit. $16.50
The space

Every day at opening time, in each Miznon location across the globe, a rotating member of the team blares their favourite song and burns sage on a cast-iron pan, a ceremony to make the space fresh for a new day. The urban design—subway tiles, graffiti art, mismatched industrial chairs—mirrors the energy of a street-food spot buzzing with people to feed. As spiritual as the space may be, it’s definitely not pretentious: everything from the slapdash scrawls on the walls to the wooden stadium seating and paper-covered tomato crate tables tells customers to go ahead and eat with their hands.

What's on the menu at Miznon, Canada's first location of the Tel Aviv–based Mediterranean street food chain
What's on the menu at Miznon, Canada's first location of the Tel Aviv–based Mediterranean street food chain

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