New Openings: Roman Zaman

Published January 22, 2016 at 5:33 pm


Roman Zaman captivates you with an extra-sensory experience from the moment you step into the restaurant. It wows you with the vibrant palate of colours and contrasting prints and materials and the Middle Eastern music that invites you into the space. 

Nabil Dabaan, proprietor of Roman Zaman, had a vision for his first restaurant — one that focuses on Damascene cuisine (Damascus, Syria). Dabaan explains that he presented 1,300 photos to the design company he hired to translate his vision into reality. 

“Each seat will give you a very different view of restaurant. There are five wall pomegranate (fruit) themed prints,” says Dabaan. 

The attention to details flows through the entire space. Bold colours, glass and metal light fixtures, wooden columns, plush printed booth seating and a visible wood burning oven in the back all add to the dining experience. The front-of-house staff wear beautiful traditional Syrian garments that Dabaan said are typically worn when people welcome guests into their home. 

“I want it to feel like you are in a Syrian home. The water fountain and floor tiles in the restaurant are part of the decor in a Syrian home. If you come to my home, I will feed you this same food you will find at my restaurant,” says Dabaan. 

He brought a taste of Syria to Mississauga and everything, from the design to the food to the plating and cutlery, is wonderfully authentic. The food is presented in traditional and beautiful copper dinnerware and paired with copper utensils. The entire experience is a combination of traditional and modern-day dining. 

The name of the business, Roman Zaman, literally translates to pomegranate (Roman) and old days (Zaman) to represent the restaurant’s fusion of both the old world and today. The pomegranate is often used in Syrian cuisine. 

What makes Roman Zaman captivating is that it presents diners with the opportunity to experience what Syrian culture (through the universal language of food) is about. 

Why did you choose Mississauga? “I believe in this city and this is the type of restaurant the market needs. Mississauga has a big population and a large Middle Eastern population.”

Food Menu: The Damascene cuisine menu includes both traditional dishes and modern takes on Middle Eastern cuisine and includes a number of cold and hot starters such as yalanji (vine leaves stuffed with rice, tomatoes, parsley, mint, olive oil, pomegranate molasses, tomato paste, onions, and crushed bell peppers), kibbehnayeh (raw meat dish includes habra meat, crushed bulgur wheat and spices), muhammara (mixture of breadcrumbs, pomegranate molasses, olive oil and walnuts) and chili potatoes (grilled potatoes, olive oil, garlic, parsley and coriander).You will also find soups, salads, shawarma platters, saj (middle eastern flatbrad) and sandwiches on the menu. The kibbeh section of the menu includes beef, potatoes or helah (fried or grilled). The grilled portion of the menu includes charcoal grilled skewers (beef and chicken) known as shish tawook and kebabs. Last but not least, there are four desserts on the menu, including knafeh (knafeh paste/rice flour paste, cheese, simple syrup, ghee and pistachios), rice pudding, muhalabiah (simple pudding made with milk, flavoured with mastic and garnished with pistachios and honey) and Roman Zaman fruit mix.

Grilled beef kibbeh, chili potatoes, lentil soup

Drink Menu: You will find cold juices on the menu such as pomegranate, watermelon, mango and carrot and the hot drinks include mint tea, Damascene herbal tea, Arabic coffeeand cappuccino.

What’s Up and Coming?  Grand opening TBA. Future plans to expand the brand globally. Dabaan is looking to build his second location in Toronto.

Seats: 100+

Patio: No 

Licensed: No

Type of Restaurant: Full service

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