A new Armenian restaurant opens in Toronto in honour of owner’s late mom

Taline is a new restaurant that’s focused on bringing the cuisine and experience of Armenia and Lebanon to Toronto. But Taline isn’t just a celebration of these countries; it’s an ode to one special woman.

The restaurant is named after the late mother of the three brothers who conceptualized the space. “We’re just going to be replicating basically her legacy through our restaurant,” says owner Seb Yacoubian. To do this, everything about Taline represents who she was, by serving the wine and spirits that she liked, to offering the music and ambience that she enjoyed. “We’ll be refining the flavours and the tastes that she would put into a Sunday dinner.”

Though Yacoubian and his younger brothers, Saro and Serouj, are from Toronto, their mother was Armenian by descent and born and raised in a village in Lebanon. As a result, the boys grew up eating the food that she was raised on. Yacoubian says that throughout their childhood, the brothers spent every summer break visiting Armenia.

Photo: Adz World

“It opened up my eyes to a lot that us Canadians would take for granted in the sense of flavours, hospitality and food.” says Yacoubian. “That’s why I really want to showcase our food in the way that it should have been a long time ago.”

With a focus on Armenian dishes of the diaspora, Taline utilizes the produce, herbs and spices of the Middle East, mainly Lebanon. Standout dishes include a 40 day dry aged 24 oz rib steak and farouj, a charred flattened chicken.

Photo: Adz World

“The food will be pulling back ancient bread making techniques that are used in the village,” says Yacoubian, who suggests they’ll be producing different styles of bread, beyond the favoured Armenian flatbread lavash.

As for the extensive drink menu, the cocktails are formulated by Yacoubian’s brother Saro and spearheaded by Tao Zrafi, a Montreal-based mixologist who was a fan-favourite finalist on Netflix’s Drink Masters. The 80-seat restaurant covers two stories, with room available for private dining. The space itself is white and airy, whereas tones of olive, maroons and dark wood subtly replicate the colours of the region. As the sun goes down, the lights will dim to make Taline more romantic and intimate for diners.

Taline is located at 1276 Yonge St.

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO