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

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Absolute roti perfection at Drupati's

I knew it was going to be a good meal when a regular customer invited me to his table to try his food and listen to anecdotes about his love for the restaurant. Drupati Doubles & Roti Shop, located at 975 Albion Road in Etobicoke, inspires this kind of devotion in many of its loyal patrons. 

"Five days out of seven I eat here or at the Drupati's in Brampton," enthused Trinidad native Vaughn Khan (below), who started coming here in 1994. "The food is just as good or better than what they serve in Trinidad. Servings are large, the food is excellent and the people are like family."

Even with high expectations, I was impressed by the food. Normally I find that Caribbean roti can't compete with my favourite Indian-style roti from Gandhi's Indian Cuisine, but Drupati's roti was just as good, if not better than the Gandhi classics.

The dough was made up of many thin layers dusted with bits of dahl (yellow split peas). Inside, the lamb was tender and lean, with a powerful spicy sauce. A regular sized rotis are $7.49 to $8.99; smaller versions sell for $5.49 to $7.25.

The doubles were also excellent: this dish consists of two fried pieces of bara—a doughy bread—slathered with a chick pea curry for just $1.50. If you like it hot, they will add some sauce made with shado beni, a Caribbean herb.

Drupati's started off as a struggling grocery store run by a Trini family of Indian descent. Business was slow, explains Asha Ramlakhan, daughter of the founding couple, so her mom started cooking up doubles in the tiny staff room and selling them. (Drupati is her mom's first name; she's pictured below with her granddaughter.) "The doubles took off and we started expanding from there."

Then Asha's father took up the cooking, and he's never stopped. "My dad has done all the cooking since day one, and we've never had another cook," says Asha. "He'll be here until he is ready to retire, and I don't know what will happen then."

There are some other interesting menu items if you'd like to try something new. Appetizers include saheena, a greasy spinach fritter, and pulourie, oily balls of dough that make Timbits look like health food, served with a wonderfully tangy tamarind sauce. Duck curry (shown above), goat tripe and fish soup are also available.

Thanks to Gilbert Li for the tip. 

Drupati Doubles & Roti Shop is located at 975 Albion Road, Etobicoke. Telephone 416 745-4189. It's open Tuesday to Friday, 10-8; Saturday 9-8; Sunday 9-6. 

There is another location at 4550 Ebenezer Road in Brampton; Tel 905 794-5944; and 1085 Bellamy Road North, Scarborough; Tel 416 289 9988.

View Larger Map


  1. You know, I love this blog. Having lived all over the world, it is these kind of places, authentic, cheap and cheerful, that I miss from traveling. The hipper, 'Caucasian' spiced, Younge and Eglinton type of places just don't get me excited.

    As an aside, I've recommended your blog to a few foodie type friends, and their feedback was they liked the subject matter, but wished the navigation was a little easier. Have you thought of throwing a calender with the months and entries on the side of the screen like many blogs have, for easier navigation? Or some type of indexing, etc. I've been reading your blog for awhile, and enjoy sitting for quite some time clicking "Older Posts" and slowly reading backwards through it. For people who are looking for a little more quick access or certain types of restaurants, etc, maybe a more streamlined approach would work better.

    Regardless, love the blog. I will keep reading and maybe throw you some of the little finds my SO and I have come across along the way as well. Thanks!

  2. You know what? I'm an idiot. You DO have a calendar, click to expand and see your entries kind of option on the side of your blog. I guess it is a little ways down, and I missed it. Apparently so did my friends. Sorry about that - I'll tell them to get their eyes checked and try again.

  3. Hi DJ,

    Thanks for the feedback. Yes, the calendar thingy is a bit buried, I agree. If you haven't already, check out my Google maps, as an alternate way to navigate the blog. Restaurant tips are always welcome--I need to beef up my hit list.


  4. I've been the the Caribbean several times and can affirm that Drupati's "doubles" rivals those at Trinidad's Piarco airport ot the infamous "Debe doubles" Their Roti's are some of the best around as well. When I pass through Toronto from our home in Niagara falls I try to make a vist just to experience their cuisine.