New restaurant is a great addition to the neighbourhood
Tasty Sabaya & Pizza opened about six months ago and I was so distracted with life that I didn’t notice until about Christmas that a new restaurant had opened across from Handy Bakery. I didn’t get a chance to try them until part way into January. After the first bite, I regret I didn’t try their food sooner.
After ordering for pickup, I went in to grab the food and was greeted by a woman popping her head out of the kitchen and then disappearing back into the kitchen. Another, very friendly woman came out of the second doorway behind the counter with my food.
My dining partner and I ordered the BCB (beef kofta, chicken kabob, and beef kabob) dish served on rice with a small salad, fries, and a garlic mayo dipping sauce ($19.99), the maharage ($10.99), and two mango lassis ($2.99 each).
The beef kofta, which is ground beef mixed with onion, spices, and parsley and rolled into balls, has Middle Eastern origins, but luckily has made its way here. The kofta and both types of the kabobs were exactly what I wanted them to be: flavourful, grilled, and fresh.
The rice was spiced and had a bit of a familiar flavour that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Cardamom? Cinnamon? Regardless, it was a pleasant amount of flavour that was unexpected and went well with the kabobs and the kofta. While not overly remarkable, the salad was a nice touch. The fries were a little soggy from the drive home, but were tasty dipped in the garlic sauce.
Maharage is a kidney bean dish with onions, carrots, and a rich tomato sauce. Its aroma was one of the first things I smelled as soon as I entered the restaurant. I enjoyed the maharage the most of the two dishes we ordered. The flavours of the ingredients coalesced together to create a dish that is greater than its parts.
When I ordered the dishes over the phone, I mispronounced the word maharage and the woman taking the order giggled a little and politely corrected me. When I went in to pick up the dishes, I asked again how it was pronounced and she took the time to tell me, which I appreciated.
Both dishes came with Somali flatbread. The flatbread by itself was a little bland, but acted as a nice scoop for the maharage, similar to the way you would dip naan into a butter chicken dish.
The portions of both dishes were quite large and we had leftover maharage and rice, which one of our cats went after when we looked away for less than a minute.
The mango lassi was good. Sweet and thick, but still refreshing. This is the second time in less than a year that I enjoyed a mango drink. Most of the time I wouldn’t give mango a chance, but I may be convinced to give it another try.
Overall, I give them four out of five forks. I am glad they are in our neighbourhood and look forward to trying one of their other east African dishes or one of their pizzas.
Feature Image: On the left, the BCB (beef kofta, chicken kabob, and beef kabob) was tasty and fresh, while the maharage had a flavourful blend of spices. The mango lassis were thick and refreshing. | Stephen Strand
TASTY SABAYA & PIZZA
11810 87 St
Open noon to 8 pm everyday