After several years operating a stall in St. Roch Market and a few months serving out of Marigny restaurant Silk Road, Torshi has opened a new restaurant and market on Frenchmen Street, taking over the longtime downtown home of Mona’s Cafe.
Torshi is from Rafik Abohattab, who was born and raised in Cairo before moving to the U.S. 15 years ago. He’s been cooking professionally since he was 17, when he ran his first food cart in Cairo. After moving to the U.S. and working in kitchens throughout the South and East Coast, he landed in New Orleans, driving a cab before eventually opening Torshi Kitchen in St. Roch Market in 2018. (A second location of the food stall opened in Houston’s Politan Row food hall in 2019, but was short-lived — Politan Row, a sister food hall to New Orleans’s St. Roch Market, closed in November 2020 after just a year.)
At Torshi, the Arabic word for pickles, Abohattab’s family recipes for mezze, gyro, falafel, shawarma, and Egyptian teas quickly gained a following, becoming known as a fresh, affordable option for Mediterranean food comparable to the likes of Shaya and Saba. After a little more than two years at St. Roch, Abohattab moved his kitchen to Silk Road restaurant in the Marigny, where he served his menu alongside Indian-fusion food from longtime Silk Road chef Ganesh Ayyengar. There he experimented with Egyptian street food specials, like a pita filled with stuffed with spiced ground beef and fried, and brunch items, like a hard-boiled egg wrapped inside falafel.
Torshi opened at 504 Frenchmen Street on Friday, April 2. It replaces the longtime Frenchmen Street location of Mona’s Cafe, a local Mediterranean chain that has one remaining restaurant on Banks Street after closing its Magazine Street restaurant over the summer. Eater has reached out to Mona’s about the closure and will update this post if we hear back. The Mediterranean market in Mona’s will be revived as part of Torshi.
Torshi is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon to 7 p.m. Sunday.
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