THE AL-SOUFI FAMILY
We're the Al-Soufi's, the family behind Downtown Toronto's first Syrian restaurant and cafe.
We've got two specialties in our kitchen: manaeesh & knafeh, which we prepare daily with the best ingredients and utmost care.
At Soufi's, the world of traditional Syrian street food is brought to life by Queen West's vibrant and welcoming atmosphere. Our family is your family, so come on in and let us take care of you!
Our family is headed by Husam and Shahnaz Al-Soufi, and their three children are Alaa, Jala and Ayham. We immigrated to Canada in October 2015 (with the exception of Jala, who arrived in 2012 to attend the University of Toronto). We were inspired to open up Soufi's by our love for our Syrian culture, music, and delicious home-made food. Many generations of Al-Soufi's and Syrian families alike have grown up with the sweet cheesy taste of Knafeh for weekend brunch, and a colorful variety of freshly baked Manaeesh over a big family breakfast. So, we thought: why not bring the authentic taste of Syria to Toronto, our new home? At Soufi's, we're dedicated to serving the most traditional, authentic, and flavorsome Syrian food to our customers. Ultimately, our goal and hope is to transport Torontonians to the vibrant, bustling streets & markets of Damascus with every bite...
If you were to stroll through the busy streets of downtown Damascus [our home-town], you would find- amongst the countless shawarma and falafel shops- an abundant number of Manaeesh bakeries. We call it the 'Pizza of the Middle East'.
The warm, comforting smell of fresh bread baking in the oven, the animate hubbub and clamour of bakers, and an endless line of locals waiting to get their hands on a man'ooshe paints the perfect picture of these lively shops. Soufi's is the physical manifestation of our beloved memories of Syria- right in the heart of Queen Street West.
Our manaeesh dough was developed over several months by experimenting with different ingredients, ratios and recipes. Today, we are proud to say that Soufi's serves the most authentic Middle-eastern flatbreads in Toronto. Our dough is prepared daily and baked fresh per order. Our topping options stay true to the classic manaeesh varieties, with one or two Toronto-inspired twists like adding fresh Avocado to your Zaatar man'oosheh (Seriously, who knew those two would be a match made in heaven?).
As for all our health-conscious, vegan and dairy-free customers, we've developed a manaeesh dough that's whole-wheat, dairy-free, egg-free, and just as delicious!
Knafeh is the quintessential Middle-Eastern dessert, tremendously popular across all Levantine countries like Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Turkey and Israel. It's geographically widespread adoration is reflected in its many different spellings, pronunciations (knaffeh, kunafah, knafah- the list goes on!) and preparation techniques. Our cheese knafehs are made in the "khishne" style; a shredded phyllo pastry massaged in ghee (clarified butter) and spread over our special cheese mix. Once baked in the oven, the sizzling knafehs are soaked in a sweet orange blossom syrup "attr", and topped with raw pistachios.
Our vegan knafehs, the Cashew knaffeh and Banoffeh respectively, were concocted by Jala (Daughter Soufi). Inspired by her love for vegan baking, she created a vegan-cheese version of the traditional knaffeh- made in-house and from scratch using raw cashews! The banoffeh, a banana & coconut caramel filled knafeh, is a creative twist on one of her all-time favorite desserts, the British banoffee pie (banoffee + knafeh = banoffeh- get it?).