Address: 10737 Yonge St
Phone Number: (905) 508-1515
City: Richmond Hill
Category: Middle Eastern
Yaz Lounge reminds us that you should never judge a book by its cover – situated at the end of a moderately-sized Richmond Hill plaza with plain blue and white sinage, one would not expect the luxe interior that awaits. Inside, dark floors, tables, and walls are illuminated by blue fluorescent lighting and accented with luxurious velvet chairs, and plush couches with pillows. Booths are assigned the name of a popular Rap/Hip Hop artist, including Cardi B, Nicki Minaj, RiRi, Jay Z, and of course, the 6ix’s own Champagne Papi. Music is bumpin’ and trap music videos play on the screens – and they take requests (there was some Hebrew music being played at the request of a patron when we were there)! The atmosphere is lively and upscale, making it the perfect spot to have drinks with friends or split a few shareable plates after work. Staff is wonderfully friendly and accommodating as well.
Yaz offers hookah for $19.99 for a regular head (and $9.45 for a refill) in a variety of flavours including Double Apple, Kiwi, and Blueberry Mint. To upgrade to a fruit head, you’ll be tacking on $8 to the regular cost, and a fruit refill is $13.45. You can also get an ice hose, milk base, or Red Bull base for a fee (ranging from $2.95-$5).
There is also a hefty bar menu featuring some super delicious hand-crafted cocktails for every taste. We tried the Blueberry Mojito and the Pomegranate Margarita. The Mojito was very refreshing between the blueberry and mint, which paired nicely together. This would be a good choice for someone who needs a drink but doesn’t like them overly strong. The Pomegranate Margarita, on the other hand, is very potent – rimmed with salt, every gulp can be a tequila shot with the slightest hint of pomegranate flavoring. Highly recommended if you’re in the mood for something strong.
After you’ve got drinks and/or hookah sorted, there are a plethora of Mezze (also known as small plates – both hot and cold), Dips, and Salads to start your meal off on a good note. We had the warm olives, spiced nuts, hummus (traditional and red pepper), baba ganouch, avocado fattouch salad, and Kofta (we were hungry).
The olives were just the right temperature and nicely seasoned. They came with Kalamata and green olives that were not too strong in flavor and might even please those who don’t care for olives.
The spiced nuts were a delicious, elevated, Middle Eastern take on the classic bowl of nuts one can usually enjoy at a bar – this one had a very subtle kick and featured dried chickpeas, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, and dried lentils. Very flavorful, crunchy, and delicious! We especially enjoyed the chickpeas.
We thoroughly enjoyed the hummus and baba ganouch, which was served with fresh pide (a puffed up, buttery pita that Yaz makes fresh in-house). We could not get enough! Each dip was incredibly smooth in texture and packed its own delicious flavor. The traditional hummus is a good option for purists, with its plain ol’ hummus base (which was still super flavorful) garnished with olive oil, chickpeas, and fresh parsley. The red pepper hummus was the shining star of the dips for us, having the vibrant red pepper flavor with a rich creamy taste reminiscent of asiago. This dip packed a ton of flavor – we couldn’t get enough! The baba ganouch was also superbly smooth and smoky. No to mention, some of these dips (the red pepper hummus and the baba ganouch) were garnished with beautiful edible flowers – totally insta-worthy!
Those seeking lighter, but still satisfying fare may peruse the salad menu – and these people should choose the avocado fattouch salad! It is creamy, fresh, crunchy, and oh-so packed with deliciousness. It comes dressed in a feta-avocado dressing over crisp romaine lettuce, fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, sharp pickled turnips, chickpeas, parsley, and pomegranate seeds for a nice, refreshing bite of sweetness. Not to mention the mouth-watering crunchy fried pita. This salad is bursting with colours, textures, and flavours that remind us about everything that’s right with food.
If you’re looking for a heartier app, try the beef kofta (essentially middle eastern meatballs). Honestly, meatballs have never looked so beautiful and upscale! Served in a balanced and flavorful tomato reduction, drizzled with yogurt, and garnished with beautiful edible flowers, these compact balls of yumminess are almost too pretty to eat – our advice here is: take a picture, it’ll last longer. As soon as you get a bite of one of these, we can almost guarantee that they’ll be gone as quickly as they arrived. The meat is fresh and perfectly spiced. Inside, it was a little on the medium-well side, so if you’re more of a well-done kind of person, definitely ask your server.
Can you believe we’ve only covered the starters so far? There are truly so many delicious items at Yaz Lounge. For the main event, we tried three things – Yaz’s ever-popular Kebobs, Pide, and a weekend special, roasted lamb shank.
We tried all three Kebobs: the chicken, lamb, and beef. All of the meat tasted fresh and was spiced to perfection. All three meats were perfectly cooked as well and very tender. The chicken was our favourite here! All Kebobs are served with basmati rice, red cabbage slaw, and toum. The sides were just as delicious as the Kebobs and everything on the plate was complimentary in taste and texture.
The Pide was one of our favourite dishes. We had one that came with mozzarella, lamb, mint, and feta. The base crust was just as buttery and fresh as the pide we enjoyed with our dips, and the cheese was decadent and creamy. The lamb added nice complexity as well, in addition to the fresh mint leaves, which complemented the entire dish very well.
The Lamb Shank (a feature item during weekends) is cooked wonderfully (not gummy as some lamb can be) comes drenched in a delicious tomato-based sauce similar to the one on the kofta, is served over Israeli couscous, and garnished with a yogurt drizzle and those captivating edible flowers. This dish is recommended for sharing – but honestly, it’s so delicious, we feel that may be difficult.
If you still have room after your Middle Eastern feast, there are also quite a few dessert options including waffles (with topping flavors like s’mores, dulce de leche, or a “create your own” option) and milkshakes (flavors here include classics like strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla, in addition to cookies and cream).