When you step into The Pomegranate, it’s literally like stepping back in time and then traveling halfway around the world. The beautiful restaurant is decorated in a classical Persian style with handmade textiles on the walls, intricate lanterns perched atop tables, paintings of old Iranian legends of heroes, and, most of all, an array of turquoise shades in the form of artistic plates, tiles, and more. After walking in, you feel relaxed and transported away from the stresses of daily life immediately. You’re thus able to peacefully enjoy a truly unique and delicious meal.
Beginning with a trio of appetizers, we dug into some unknown territory, and were glad we did. The Dolmeh, citrus-flavoured rice rolled in vine leaves with a yogurt dipping sauce, was gone in under five minutes. The vegetarian caviar, ("zeitoon parvardeh- a tapenade of green olives marinated in a pomegranate walnut sauce with a generous amount of fresh garlic” according to the helpful menu) was incredible and warranted two baskets of delicious herb infused, fresh-from-the-oven bread. The “pickled pleasures” starter consisted of gherkins, garlic, and shallots, and, although it wasn’t to my taste, was my pickle-loving friend's favourite.
The vast array of entrees (all helpfully explained by the menu) was complete with a bountiful vegetarian selection, all of which looked savoury. Each entree comes complete with basmati rice (the rice is infused with jasmine, saffron, or other flavours depending on your entree choice), creamy yogurt, salad shirazi (tomatoes, red onions, and cucumbers diced in a dressing), and mixed greens dressed with oil. The main part of each entree is the stew it comes complete with. Each stew can be spread across the tender rice or eaten from the bowl. Choices include the delicious “mirza qasemi” (charred eggplant purée in a mild garlic tomato sauce), “adas polo” (lentils, dates and sultana raisins blended into a saffron basmati rice topped with crispy onions and barberries) which can be ordered as a vegetarian dish, or with a shank of tender lamb, or the daily specials. I enjoyed a saffron based lamb stew with sliced pistachios, walnuts, and barberries. It was divine.
When you’re finished your generous entree (or have had it packed up to take home by the attentive and genial staff), desserts and drinks (a variety of wines) are offered. Although I didn’t have the room for either, if the other dishes are any indication of the dessert menu, it’s sure to be delicious. The Pomegranate provided an excellent and aromatic atmosphere, beautiful decor, and deliciously unique food. It’s great reputation has been justly deserved, so if you’re in the mood to try some foreign cuisine, look no further than The Pomegranate.
The Pomegranate Persian Cuisine is located at 420 College Street, which is just east of Bathurst and College. It can be easily reached with the College streetcar, or if you would enjoy a short walk, simply leave the subway at Bathurst station. Reservations are not needed but are recommended.
Sunday, Tuesday -Thursday: open from 5PM-9PM
Friday to Saturday: open from 5PM-10PM.
Prices range from about $10-$15 per entree and from $3-$5 per appetizer.