Meet the owner

Banu kabob and vodka bar is a delicious journey that begins from the moment you visit its website and continues when you enter the restaurant at their Queen St. West location in Toronto. Here you are transported to 1970s Iran, when the country was abuzz with culture, cosmopolitanism, the pop-art of Andy Warhol and vodka.

Samira Mohyeddin, a seasoned restaurateur, shares banu with her younger brother Amir — chef extraordinaire — and older sister Salome, who manages kad banu, their Iranian café just 10 minutes away. Before entering the restaurant business, Samira was a student of modern Middle Eastern history and Gender Studies at the University of Toronto, while Amir was in chef’s school at George Brown College.

“One day, in 2005, I was cycling past this space, when I saw that it was up for sale. This was my sign that it was time to fulfill my dream of presenting Iranian food and culture to Toronto in a way that had not been done before,” says Samira. The siblings opened banu as an homage, not just to the 70s Iranian culture and nightlife, but also to their beautiful mother, Zarrin. In Farsi, banu means lady or dame of culture, respect and distinction.

Read the story of Banu

Ratings & Reviews - Banu

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  • Atmosphere: 3.9/5
  • Food: 4.1/5
  • Service: 4/5
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Ali S
By

If you ar looking for a luxury Persian restaurant in DT Toronto, it is the place for you. However, it is expensive.

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john924s
By

DO NOT GO TO THIS PLACE. FOOD IS LOW PORTION AND OF LOW QUALITY. ALSO THE STAFF ARE VERY RUDE AND LACK CUSTOMER SERVICE SKILLS.

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Restaurantica12
By

terrific food

Went for Summerlicious. Incredibly delicious flavours. Service was slow and spotty - coffee arrived a full 20 mins after dessert. Very modern decor - uncomfortable seats.

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Restaurantica12
By

i cannot say enough about this place. A couple of...

i cannot say enough about this place. A couple of my Iranian friends took me there the other night for my birthday and it was great! The meats were amazing and the atmosphere was a lot of fun. The owner kept sending rounds of shots to every one (I think it was one of the staff members birthdays also). I highly recommend this place and i will be back

Atmosphere: 5/5
Food: 4/5
Service: 4/5
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Restaurantica12
By

What was supposed to be a pleasant night out for...

What was supposed to be a pleasant night out for me, my family and friends, and the last night of my holidays in Canada, turned instead into a nightmare of an experience thanks to the lack of manners and right out rude and sarcastic behavior by staff and management at Banu. As an events and conference organizer for a large multi-national company and an avid traveler I have the opportunity of experiencing the best and sometimes the worst of what the culinary world has to offer; from quaint traditional establishments such as Banu to Michelin star restaurants around the world. After reading the reviews on the restaurant (which I now believe were planted by the owners of Banu) I expected nothing but a warm and welcoming atmosphere that could introduce me to a unique part of Iranian past and culture. However, from the moment I entered the restaurant I was bombarded with what can only be described as orders: You must sit here, you may not move, the billing must be done like this, you must order now or you may experience long delays in receiving your main course etc- and this all before I even received my appetizer! I understand that every establishment has its way of working and that depending on its staffing situation / billing requirements it may need to process orders and do billing in a specific way, but that does not mean that the customer should be inconvenienced in such a manner. After what can only be described as an OK meal and poor service (items missing in our mazzeh plates, hostess that literally bumped into our faces while serving etc) we received our bills. At this stage my company and I noticed several hidden costs for items such as extra bread or pistachios. Now, I mention this not because I am averse to paying 3 $ for a handful of nuts but we were simply not made aware that items such as this, that in other establishments you receive as something to nibble on while you wait, were served at a cost. Had it been mentioned at any point it would not have been a problem. I think the final straw for me was the error in the actual billing. I requested that my bill was split 50-50 onto two credit cards. What I received was 100-50 distribution on two cards. Had I not noticed this, it would have cost me valuable time upon my return to Europe trying to fix this problem. Again, these things can happen- the distinguishing point is how you deal with them as an establishment! When I went to the hostess to alert her to the mistake I also implied that the least the establishment could do was to offer complimentary tea. Now, I don’t even like tea- the point is I was expecting something to remedy the disappointment we experienced up to that point. Instead, all I heard was a loud and sarcastic laugh by the person behind the counter at the grill. How uncalled for, unacceptable and irritating… As we were exiting I asked the person laughing, whether she was the manager of the venue, to which she replied ‘I am the owner’. When I inquired about a method of feedback on the restaurant she proceeded to tell me, in an unfriendly and confrontational manner, that I could tell her directly. Now how I provide feedback is up to me isn’t it? Or can patrons of Banu only provide feedback as it suits ‘the owner’? ‘The owner’ created a very hostile atmosphere in her approach towards a customer not satisfied by the service in her establishment. Suffice to say she raised her voice in her own restaurant and proceeded to yell at me with a knife in her hand, calling me ‘tacky’ and telling me and my company to ‘get out’. I think this behavior is not only unacceptable but petty and does not belong in North American culture! Accepting constructive feedback and proper customer service are the pillars in a service industry- especially in North America. Yelling at your customers, even if you think they are in the wrong, will not do you any favors, particularly during a global economic crisis I strongly suggest that ‘the owner’ of Banu is kept away from customers until she is educated on the art of customer care.

Atmosphere: 2/5
Food: 2/5
Service: 1/5
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Restaurantica12
By

Cozy trendy place on Queen W. Friendly...

Cozy trendy place on Queen W. Friendly environment. Seats are not very comfortable and space is limited just like a typical bar&grill in downtown. Has some eastern touch into it. Shishas served are satisfactory. Food is ok nothing typical, purely eastern stuff. I probably had better Persian kebob before, but the bread was spectacular. small menu, not a lotta choices in appetizers. Waitresses are mostly students, not professional but friendly. Maybe not the best place to toss a bill, but it's worth a try.

Atmosphere: 2/5
Food: 3/5
Service: 4/5
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Restaurantica12
By

Excellent food, service, ambience. Excellent...

Excellent food, service, ambience. Excellent quality for the price and unique atmosphere. Went there for the first time and will go back again and again and again. I like good food and am ready to pay premium for premium qulaity, no doubt. Its an atmosphere that I''d be proud to take my non-Persian friends to and show authencity combined with class.

Atmosphere: 4/5
Food: 5/5
Service: 4/5
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Restaurantica12
By

The service and the food were faboulos! I...

The service and the food were faboulos! I recommend this place this place to anyone who appreciate the small details in things.

Atmosphere: 5/5
Food: 5/5
Service: 5/5
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April 21, 2017

The best meal and the nicest staff! Thank you for a great night. The Torsh is amazing and a must

Ambiance: 5/5

Cuisine: 5/5

Service: 5/5

April 16, 2017

Have been dining at Banu for years . The food and service never disappoint. Best Persian cuisine in Toronto.

Ambiance: 5/5

Cuisine: 5/5

Service: 5/5

April 15, 2017

Been coming to banu for almost ten years!!! Still wows my taste buds.

Ambiance: 5/5

Cuisine: 5/5

Service: 5/5

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