Laffa, Hummus, and Falafel

By Erika Simon, as part of the Travel at Home series: Eating through 30 recipes from 30 countries.

This week I traveled to Israel. Well, not actually, but I traveled in my imagination through the food that I ate – stuffing my face with crispy falafel balls, the smoothest hummus, shawarma, and fried eggplant – various authentic recipes by a man named Yoram who opened up a small restaurant in Toronto. I may not physically be in Israel, but Yoram’s restaurant makes you feel, in that moment, pretty darn close. He uses family recipes, imports his spices every two weeks from Israel, and had a custom oven made to get his laffa bread just right.

For those who aren’t familiar, laffa is like your typical pita but it’s really light and ideal for eating with just about anything, in particular those dishes that are begging to be wiped clean off the plate. It takes 56 seconds to bake in an oven the Doctor, in this case Yoram, ordered custom-made in Los Angeles and then shipped to Toronto. In Middle Eastern cuisine, laffa is a street food oven stuffed with shaved meat or hummus, and has become a staple found at every food stand in Israel.

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There’s a good reason why Dr. Laffa, Yoram’s restaurant now located at Bathurst and Lawrence, was featured on the Food Network’s You Gotta Eat Here. What it lacks in aesthetic grandeur it makes up for with authentic, perfectly spiced dishes like their falafel, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, shakshuka, a dish of tomatoes and onions with a drippy egg served in a sizzling pan, or the gargantuan chicken shawarma, easily split into three sharable portions.

The place itself has half a dozen tables, and people are constantly coming in and out for take-out orders. They are open 11am-10pm Sunday to Thursdays, until 330pm Fridays, but closed on Saturdays.

Dr. Laffa http://www.drlaffa.com 3027 Bathurst Street

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