Unwind with delicious Levantine cuisine at the elegant Miss Aida

Sink your teeth into flavourful Mediterranean share plates and sip delicate cocktails in the relaxing, modern atmosphere at Miss Aida in Roncesvalles.

A spread of dishes at Miss Aida in Toronto

Miss Aida: The vibe

Nestled at the north end of Roncesvalles Village, Miss Aida is an unassuming spot that's easy to walk by without ever realizing the treasures of Levantine food that lay inside. She's not as flashy as some of Toronto's latest new restaurant openings — especially the all-sparkle-no-substance spots plastered all over Instagram — but still stuns with elegant, modern design and a warm, cozy atmosphere.

Shaped like many Toronto restaurants, the space is long and narrow with grey leather banquettes lining one wall and the bar as a main focal point on the other. White brick and delicate wood-panelled walls are accented by illuminated arching mirrors and art pieces. Miss Aida feels expertly designed and inviting, like the elegant home of a very stylish friend. 

Banquettes line the wall at Miss Aida in Toronto
Two people dig into dishes at Miss Aida in Toronto

With my calendar stuffed to the brim at this time of year, I'm grateful for Miss Aida's relaxing and comfortable yet polished atmosphere. We settle in for a beautiful and easy night without pretence or spectacle.

Miss Aida: What's on the menu

Before we know it, our table is full of share plates. I love this style of dining because I always want to taste a little bit of everything, especially at a restaurant like Miss Aida where the flavours are so diverse and delicious. We chomp on crispy falafel and bite into incredibly tender octopus on a bed of hummus and beets. The puffed-up, hollow pitas are the perfect vessel for sopping and scooping everything up.

Miss Aida in Toronto | Falafel
Miss Aida in Toronto | Octopus with hummus and beets

Forget everything you think you know about cauliflower — the often thick and starchy vegetable is given a complete glow-up at Miss Aida. It's served light and crispy, and covered with lip-smacking tahini sauce. My partner, who generally dislikes vegetables and protested ordering the cauliflower in the first place, fights me for the last morsels. 

The halloumi is another favourite dish that I would order again and again. The savoury, baked cheese sings when it's topped with sweet fig jam and honey. Each bite is a symphony of salty and sweet with zingy bursts from the pomegranate seeds.

Miss Aida in Toronto | Halloumi with honey, fig jam, pomegranate and zaatar
Miss Aida in Toronto | Cauliflower with tahini

The star of the meal is the tenderloin beef. The slices of juicy, pink-centred meat come topped with crunchy fried shallots and swimming in a cherry beef jus that I try to soak up with every piece. It's another beautiful combination of savoury and slightly sweet. Not a drop is left on the plate when we're finished. 

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Miss Aida: What's on the drink list

To let the punchy flavours in the dishes shine, the cocktails are a little bit softer, which I appreciate. They're still complex and balanced, but without being in-your-face about it. Bright and sweet (just like me), the Stardust could be my signature cocktail. The mix of St-Germain, hibiscus, lemon and lime is a citrusy and floral, pink-hued treat. 

Miss Aida in Toronto | The Stardust cocktail
Miss Aida in Toronto | The Arak Attack cocktail

On the other side of the spectrum, the Arak Attack is a booze-forward, slow-sipper made with bourbon, Aperol, bitters and arak, an anise-flavoured liquor that's often considered the national drink of Lebanon. 

The One Thousand and One mocktail is as creative as the cocktails, with grapefruit and hibiscus. And there's a small selection of wines by the glass and beer available, too. 

Dinner and drinks for two: around $150 before tax and tip