Makkah Restaurant
By YP Contributor

The Danforth's Go-To Indian Kitchen

It's no wonder so many people love Indian cuisine: rich with flavours, textures and aromas of all kinds, it is the comfort food par excellence on both cold winter nights and warm summer evenings on a patio. While Canada may have hopped on the Indian food train late compared to other countries – think the United Kingdom – Canucks' love for food from this South Asian nation has nothing but increased with time.

"I've been living in this country since 1993, and the love for Indian cuisine has skyrocketed over the years," says Mahbub Sikder, who owns The Danforth's Makkah Restaurant along with his brother Murshed. "It's popular with every cultural group, and that reflects in our crowd; we have people dining here from all cultural and ethnic backgrounds, and it makes up for a very interesting experience where many cultures meet around a great meal. I like that image," he says.

In operation since 2001, Makkah Restaurant serves up both Indian and Pakistani food — two similar culinary traditions that Mahbub, Murshed and their kitchen's staff have mastered. "Everything here is halal, we're one of the biggest halal restaurants in Toronto," says Mahbub.

Our butter chicken is a must-try, everyone loves it. It's just spicy enough, aromatic and the chicken is cooked to perfection. - Mahbub Sikder, co-owner
Makkah Restaurant

The Best Indian Dishes Around

The restaurant's kitchen churns out the best curries, kababs, tandoor-cooked naan and other staples of Indian cuisine, including chicken masala, dal, samosas and butter chicken. "Our butter chicken is a must-try, everyone loves it,” Mahbub says. “It's just spicy enough, aromatic and the chicken is cooked to perfection."

Another must eat, the Bihari kabab, is Makkah Restaurant's signature dish. "It consists of thinly sliced beef marinated overnight in a mixture made of 15 to 25 herbs and spices, onions, ginger and yogurt,” Mahbub explains. “It's then slow-cooked in the traditional tandoor oven and served with naan bread. It's one of our biggest sellers."

Makkah Restaurant

A Proud Canadian

"I landed in Canada in 1993, hailing from Bangladesh," Mahbub recounts. "Initially, I worked at my brother-in-law's restaurant, starting out as a dishwasher and eventually making my way up in the kitchen, where I learned everything about Indian cuisine. I worked there for about eight years, and was studying the rest of the time. When I graduated, I started thinking about opening my own place. My brother and I partnered and we bought my brother-in-law's restaurant, making it Makkah, as it is known today, in 2001."

When asked what makes him most proud about his business and being an entrepreneur, Mahbub doesn't have to think twice: "I'm proud of having made it here in Canada. It's a land of opportunities, and when you work hard enough, you can make a life for yourself. I'll forever be thankful to my country of adoption, for the trust Torontonians placed in me and in Makkah Restaurant over the years. It's really what has made me the most happy and grateful."

Makkah Restaurant
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