Indian Desire, Toronto

I met a friend for dinner at Indian Desire last week. I was a bit hesitant because my experience of Indian food in Toronto hasn’t been stellar to now - I’m used to the Bengali/Bangladeshi food in East London (UK). I was also afraid that the portions would be very big, to match the big prices.

I got there and my friend was starving. She’d ordered some pappadum (5.95) that came with a not-spicy chutney. I didn’t take a photo but there were two very large pieces of billowy cayenne-dusted pappadum, overflowing the basket they were served in.

They visited the table three times to ask for our order but we were still discussing it. Then when we were ready to order, no one was in sight (of course!). When the young female server came by the table we asked if we could order and she said that someone would be over. When he arrived, he apologized, saying that it was her first day. OK.

I noticed the appetizers were at quite a high price so went straight for one vegetarian and one meat main between us.

They arrived in quite small containers perhaps 10cm diameter: A baigan bharta (15.95) and lamb korma (22.95). I can’t eat a lot of spices these days so I also ordered a raita (4.95). Two thin, flaky naan were served (5.95 each). Funnily, the young server set them on the table announcing the baigan as raita. I smiled. My friend declared them ‘the smallest dishes I’ve ever seen.’ Well, I knew that Indian food can be filling and we had two creamy ones so I didn’t think we would be hungry afterwards.

The food was enough to eat and it was cooked well. The baigan had the right amount of heat and tasted exactly as expected, the lamb korma was mild enough but not bland, with a nice creamy sauce and the meat was tender - well done on that. However, it felt like a little bit for not too much money. Keep in mind I am used to ordering a whole variety of food from my old local for about a third of the price so my review is slanted. I have no idea of the final bill since my friend announced she was treating me. You can see the whole menu at

My friend announced that she wouldn’t eat there again, but I think it was decent. Just not sure I want to spend that kind of money for it. This isn’t a glowing review, I know, but it’s an honest one. Their lunch menu isn’t too expensive so perhaps I would try it. Many more places to check out first, though.


If you’re looking for more bang for your buck, I would think some of the Indian restaurants on College St (such as Mannat) or in the Junction would serve more for less than Indian Desire.

There’s a fairly shallow reason I’ve never dined at Indian Desire. I don’t like the name.

I lived near the Annex for 8 years. I recently moved west.

Most of the restaurants located on Bloor between Spadina and Bathurst are overpriced and mediocre. The restaurants in Koreatown and Bloordale offer better food at lower prices. There are nicer upscale options on Harbord and Dupont.


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It wouldn’t be my choice either. It was my friend’s. I’ll be annoying and say I don’t expect to like much anywhere. I miss the things I used to have and I miss the variety. I’ve tried a thali or two here and there but I don’t like them much at all. Not saying I’ll give up but so far I’m not optimistic. Thanks for the recommendations :wink:

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I think you probably have to adjust your expectations for Toronto after living in the UK. It’s hard not to compare Toronto to where you lived before.

That stretch of Bloor has a captive market, with its location close to the university. I love the Annex, and I’m sad that the restaurants aren’t better right now.

I completely understand going with the flow when a friend or relative chooses a restaurant you wouldn’t typically choose.

With respect to the prices, the high prices you’re seeing is a result of world wide inflation. The prices have gone up a lot in the UK, too.

I’ve been interested in keeping track of prices for specific dishes lately. I’m glad you included them. $15ish is the going rate for midrange Indian vegetarian dishes in Ontario right now.

Yes, prices have gone up. As for UK prices, I’d say that restaurants have always been too expensive in the UK and we chose very carefully indeed. Our favourite Indian restaurant’s starters are around £3, vegetarian mains are £3.95 each, the meat dishes in the £7-8 range, naan etc in the £2-3 range and enormous. The similar lamb dish there (in size and taste) is £6.95. No extra taxes, of course. Grocery prices, on the other hand, may have gone up there but nothing like the astronomical prices we face here in Toronto. NOT about Toronto of course but it’s a comparison and you might find the above interesting. I can very firmly say that I try never to compare. Both places have their strong points and separate economic bases.

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I think the prices have gone up astronomically everywhere

Lamb is very expensive in Ontario, relative to lamb in other places. I buy local Ontario lamb once a week, to cook at home. It’s typically $16- $18/ lb for leg of lamb, $26-$30/ lb for chops, $30/lb for rack of lamb. To put this into perspective for other people reading this, paid $22/lb for beef prime rib last week, and $4.99/lb for a whole organic chicken.

I think most Indian places in Toronto that are not upscale use NZ lamb, which is cheaper than local ON lamb, but still more expensive than pork, chicken and most cuts of beef.

You’re right. We need a coffee at Janelle’s :smiling_face:

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Sounds good :slightly_smiling_face: