Gandhi Indian Cuisine, Toronto

Concept: 3 out of 5
Execution: 4 out of 5
Yeah, but: Take a half-day from work. You'll need it.

The Long Version: Gandhi is one of the gems of Toronto - unquestionably the best roti in Toronto, I've been getting the same thing from them at least once a month for the last fifteen years. Chicken roti, usually medium (spicy); once or twice a year, I'll mix it up and get a medium chicken curry on rice. (On my first visit I ordered the beef roti, but it wasn't very good and has been dropped from the menu.) But that's a reflection on my taste, not a limitation of their culinary skills: the mixed vegetable roti, cauliflower roti, and chicken jalfrizi roti are all endorsed by people I've brought there, and I've been told by several authorities on lamb curries that theirs is one of the best. I don't doubt it, but lamb has never been my thing.

One unusual thing about Gandhi is that it's an East-Indian roti shop, so it's very different from the Caribbean roti that is much more common in Toronto. Unless you order the Channa, there's not a trace of chick peas to be found. Instead, potatoes are the other ingredient, and they're a great vehicle for the curries. The different dishes also have different curries, so it is worth trying different things, even though I've never managed to veer away from my favourite. Be warned, though, that this is not McDonalds, and there's some variety no matter what you do. Some days the Medium spiciness is nothing remarkable, other days it's so hot I can't eat it all in one sitting. Not that that's a bad thing, since the portion size is huge. Getting roti is the sign of a one-meal day.

Gandhi is at 554 Queen Street West, on the north side just east of Bathurst. It's worth ordering ahead of time if it's likely to be busy - like during daylight, or in the evening - since the waiting time for a friday lunch can be over an hour. Call them at 416-504-8155; if nothing else, it's a great way to skip the crush of people trying to get to the counter or fighting for one of the four tables. Their menu can be found on their website by either following the link to the menu or their chief's daily specials - they both go to the same page. They're open from 11:30 to 10pm.

It's also worth mentioning that Gandhi is closed on the weekends. That's either a sign that they're ridiculously successful, or that one of their chiefs is on an extended vacation. I suspect that those are both true; they've done this before. Regardless of the hassle of getting their food, it's absolutely worth it.


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