Mar 132011

Located in the Calgary’s north eastern industrial hood, it’s definitely a sketchy excursion getting to this place at night. An eerily dark backdrop and a lack of adequate exterior lighting define this hole-in-the-wall, which is probably why it’s more popular over the lunch hour.

This place came recommended by a Pakistani friend and so we arrived for the dinner buffet (apparently a la carte is also available).

The interior is quite different from the exterior; the decor is simple with Asian tastes which is reminiscent of authentic holes-in-the-wall.

We sat down for the buffet and proceeded to grab ourselves some plates (no sign of service thus far). The plates were not clean! Some of them had black grease stains on them and most had an oily sheen to them. Be it what it was we soldiered on. The first plate consisted of – Haleem, Nihari, Chille Chicken, Naan and Fried Rice. The salads and sides were not appetizing in presentation and thus avoided.

The naan looked a tad soggy but turned out to be very tasty (extra ghee/butter always works).

Haleem, a slow cooked beef and shredded wheat delicacy, was spicy and full of texture. It didn’t go down smooth. The Nihari, another slow cooked wonder, was tender, full of flavour and was accompanied very well by the naan.

The Chille Chicken was spicy and succulent. The soft, tasty pieces went very well with the rather oily fried rice.

Having seen no service up to this point we were suddenly presented with a sizzling chicken tikka platter. Nothing was said, nothing was asked and we dug in. It was well cooked and the spices excellent but despite it being served in a sizzling platter it wasn’t hot enough.

The second plate sampled was the Biryani and Karahi Chicken. The Biryani was cold. The flavours would suggest that the biryani has a lot of potential, but being cold it wasn’t enjoyable. The Karahi chicken was splendid. The masala and tomato\onion base made the rather tender chicken excellent.

We had to go to the front counter to order our drinks. The lassi was tried and definitely made the inconvenience of lack of service worth it. Thick, sweet and just a joy in general, it quells the buds. Reminiscent of Pakistani street side lassi, it was divine.

Dessert was kheer, which cooked in condensed milk gave it a different flavour from the kheer I am used to. It wasn’t bad. There was also custard which wasn’t much of a highlight.

Al-Muneer’s managers – Larosh – would do wonders for the reputation of this place if there was even a tad bit of service. A buffet is defined by plate removal and ensuring the food is kept at appropriate temperatures at the very least. I’m not sure I’d come back regardless of the anecdotal evidence of a most amazing takeout biryani, which is probably a hit because you can heat it up at home!

Al Muneer Restaurant, 3-3601 19 St NE, Calgary, 403-590-4272, Map it.Al Muneer Restaurant on Urbanspoon

  11 Responses to “Al Muneer Restaurant”

  1. No. By far this place is the best. I only went there once and I still remember each dish as to how delicious it was. Trust me I’ve been to all the restaurants and they all have attitude like your doing them a favor in eating at their restaurant. But this restaurant is by far the best and it has good service. It has the whole package!!! I’m dying to go back!!!!

  2. Hello,

    We are sorry to hear of your past experience with us. We are the new owners of Al-Muneer restaurant and we have changed management as well as some chefs. Please, revisit and inshAllah you will not be disappointed. Thank you.

  3. I agree with every halal food critic. This place is a nightmare for a service, except that it has good authentic food. The service is so bad that it makes you never want to go back there ever again. The waiter doesn’t speak English, heck he can’t even speak Urdu (native language of people of Pakistan). The owner looks extremely unprofessional and has no sense of customer service.

    Food is almost always cold but there is loads of meat a different curries available which makes it your money’s worth but God forbid if I ever go back to this dump of a restaurant.

    • Have you been there recently? I stopped going before because, like you said, the manager before was really rude. But I recently went with my family and there is new management i think. The owner seems nice but still the same employees. The food was warm and good, esp the kheer. I feel like this place should get re-evaluated because i didn’t have that bad of an experience as i did before. Its not the best restaurant but it isn’t bad either.

  4. Let’s get one thing straight… Western standard and cuisine are not the benchmark, in fact far from it. Plenty of evidence to back that up, just watch some of the reality cooking shows. Good service is when the owner and employees make great tasty food leave you alone to eat it, but are ready to serve you extra hen needed, and not coming up to you and bothering you by asking how you like the food (looking for tips) just as you put food in your mouth. Anyhow, I’ve been to this place twice before, the food was warm and tasted GREAATTT!! I noticed great consistency in flavour each time I wen there and I can’t wait to be back there again. I’ve referred close to ten people (two parties) there already and all are repeat customers now. So, halalfoodcritic, please realize that your opinion is just ONE, and that no body asked for you opinion. If your intent was constructive criticism then talk to the owner directly and complain to them rather than trying to make money of off hard working people’s expense. There are plenty of sites that offer the collective feedback such as Sorry to say but there is nothing credible about your website – just some constructive feedback!!

    • Hi,

      I thank you for your vocal response to my review. I’m happy to hear you have had repeat wonderful experiences at this establishment. Unfortunately, my experience was not the same and it seems there are a few others who share that opinion. Regardless, I will make it a point to revisit this establishment, as I do all the others I dine at, so as to not judge them on just the one visit. Inshallah, this experience will be different.

      Also, I agree with you completely when you say my opinion is only one. Fortunately for me I have somewhere to voice it.


  5. I agree, we came from calgary in roza, saw the reviews so iftar time we try to find this place in dark. You would not believe what this so called halal food place did to us, we went inside and they were opening roza family people of the restaurant. They eating infront of us snd said place is closing. I was like so upset and sad. Its so sad, these people have no souls left in them and I am sure food would have been pathetic too.

  6. This was a very “interesting” review. Pop into a restaurant, expectant, hungry, and impatient then tear these hard-working owners a new one.
    Take your western-world definitions and sense of entitlement and apply them to western restaurants. Cut the managers and owners some slack and help them, not hobble them.

    • Thank you for your comment. I try to write my reviews based on the overall experience offered by a restaurant. Every customer deserves an excellent culinary experience. This I believe is a combination of quality service and quality food. I do not believe that restaurants with non-western food should be held to a “lower” standard. These restaurants are a gateway into the culture of other societies and every effort should be made to ensure that tourists are left awed and amazed at the delights offered by non-western cuisine.

      I would like to understand what “western world definitions” in this review bother you – cleanliness? attentive service? warm food? Patrons of these restaurants are a diverse mix of people, and yet I am certain that most of them would find cold food or a lack of service unpleasant. If the western standard is the benchmark, then why not pursue excellence?

      A restaurant in Calgary ought to have the resources to meet certain criteria, and if it is lacking in any particular area, I try and give an honest an objective opinion to help both the clientele and restaurant owners alike. I hope that the owners understand that it is meant as constructive criticism. It is sad when a restaurant has fantastic food and great potential, but it is held back by matters that are so simple to fix. As I pointed out, this restaurant does offer some great dishes and I enjoyed many aspects of my dinner. I strive to be honest in my praise and my criticism – I am not an advertising service, and I believe that holding a restaurant to a lower standard simply because it offers non-western cuisine is neither fair nor helpful.

  7. Closed on Mondays! Wasted $30 on transport trying to get there!landed up at pizza 72.bye I’m leaving for bAnff .

    • In my opinion you didn’t miss much, but I believe it might still have been more enjoyable than pizza.

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