Journalist Sarah Efron explores strip malls and hole-in-the-wall restaurants in search of the city's best ethnic food

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A hidden hotbed of African food at Jane and Finch

If you look closely when driving around Jane and Finch, you'll notice that this is the heart for Toronto's Ghanaian community. There are Ghanaian clothing shops and restaurants, including Panafest Sport Bar & Restaurant, a recommendation from a friendly Ghanaian cab driver. It's located in a strip mall at 2708 Jane Street south of Finch.

African music pumps on the main floor bar; head down to the basement for the restaurant. There is a steady stream of Ghanaians heading down to pick up take out orders, some arriving by car and others arriving by foot.

A bunch of women are in the tiny kitchen preparing orders, including Tina, the owner. She opened up this place four years ago. She says the most popular thing to get here is the yam fries.

The food was absolutely wonderful. A nice piece of fried fish complete with its head and tail, just like you get in West Africa, but better quality. The plate came with a generous amount of plantains and a couple of large fried yams that were like giant starchy french fries. The best part was the black-eyed beans, a spicy dish cooked with tomatoes.

Other items on the menu include joloff rice (a rice and tomato dish common across West Africa), fufu, and pepper soup. They also serve banku and kenkey (both maize-based staple foods) and waakye (rice and beans). Meals run around $11 or $12 and are enough food to feed a small army.

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  1. I was just there and had the spicy baked fish with plantains and beans. Super tasty! Thanks for the tip.

  2. Wow, you are adventurous, as this is way off the beaten path! Glad you liked it. The food was amazing.

  3. great food but bad customers service