Where ICONINK’s Hanif Harji gets to-go Greek feasts, Pakistani kebabs and Peking duck

Where ICONINK’s Hanif Harji gets to-go Greek feasts, Pakistani kebabs and Peking duck

We’re asking Toronto chefs and restaurateurs which takeout dishes have been getting them through the pandemic

Photo by Lu Chau

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For over 20 years, Hanif Harji, the CEO of Scale Hospitality and ICONINK, has opened and operated some of Toronto’s most successful restaurants—Byblos, Patria and Figo, to name a few. And, like everyone else in the restaurant industry, Harji has had to pivot. “Our core focus during this time is providing guests with the same hospitality at home that they would expect in our dining rooms,” he says of the new takeaway and delivery experiences. One to watch for: Shook, Harji’s recently reopened plant-based King West spot, is launching a monthly hummus subscription box.

When he’s too busy to cook for himself, Harji hits up some of his favourite restaurants for takeaway. “My wife and I have enjoyed more takeout since the pandemic started as a way of supporting and staying connected to our industry,” says Harji. “We order in about once a week.” Here, four of his go-tos and what he orders at each one.

Philoxenia Greek Cuisine

8199 Yonge St., 905-886-6566, philoxeniagreekcuisine.com

Go-to item 1: Grilled Mediterranean sea bass or sea bream
Tasting notes: “I love their grilled whole fish with caper olive oil. It’s extremely fresh and super simple. The skin is always crisp and nicely charred, and the caper oil is made with delicious Greek olive oil.”

Go-to item 2: Grilled shrimp with fresh herbs and lemon oil sauce
Tasting notes: “This dish reminds me of eating seafood on a Greek island.”


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Go-to item 3: Fresh lobster pasta in tomato sauce
Tasting notes: “The pasta sauce is nicely emulsified with lobster juice, tomato and white wine which gives it a tangy ocean flavour, and the pasta is always well seasoned with fresh herbs.”


Athens Tavern

707 Danforth Ave., 416-465-4441, athensdanforth.ca

Go-to item 1: Prasini salata (romaine, dill and green onions)
Tasting notes: “It’s super refreshing, with lots of dill—which I love—and creamy, authentic Greek feta.”


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Go-to item 2: Gemista (stuffed peppers filled with rice and herbs)
Tasting notes: “I try to eat vegetarian when I can, so I often order the stuffed peppers. They’re beautifully seasoned, and crispy on the outside and smoky on the inside.”

Go-to item 3: Patates fournou (roasted potatoes)
Tasting notes: “These potatoes are beautifully infused with lemon and herbs. They’re charred on the outside, perfectly seasoned and go really well with fish.”


Lahore Tikka House

1365 Gerrard St. E., 416-406-1668, lahoretikkahouse.com

Go-to item 1: Beef and chicken kababs
Dish description: Grilled on a traditional clay oven, the seekh kababs are a restaurant speciality and made of minced meat infused with coriander, ginger, garlic and served on a sizzling platter with onions.

Go-to item 2: Tandori naan
Dish description: The leavened white or whole wheat flour tandoori bread is available in plain, butter and garlic.


Dynasty Chinese Cuisine

69 Yorkville Ave., 416-923-3323, dynastyyorkville.com

Go-to item: Famous Dynasty roasted Peking duck
Tasting notes: Available whole or as half a bird, the restaurant-described “talk of the town” is a two-course affair that comes first with flour pancakes and garnishes, then with lettuce wraps.


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