Tag Archives: Kitchener

KW Greek Festival

8 Jun
Performers from the Greek Festival.

Performers from the Greek Festival.

OPA! The Kitchener-Waterloo Greek Festival is a celebration of Greek food, dance, music and culture. It is a two day event and this year is its 33rd birthday. Food options include roasted lamb, pork souvlaki, gyros, dolmades and moussaka.  There are also tiropitas, spanakopita and an assortment of desserts such as baklava, kataifl, diples, kourabiedes and melomakaraona. There is also face painting, a live band and traditional Greek dancing. Admission is $2 or free for those who bring a non-perishable food item. This year (2013) the festival is being held from June 8 to 9.

Combination plate consisting of pork souvlaki, gyros, dolmades, pita bread and greek salad, $15.

Combination plate consisting of pork souvlaki, tzatziki, gyros, dolmades (hidden behind the tzatziki), pita bread and salad, $15.

Roasted lamb with potatoes, pita bread and salad.

Roasted lamb with potatoes, pita bread and salad, $15.

An array of desserts: diples $2.50, kourabiedes $1, Melomakarona $1 and Baklava $2.50 (clockwise from top).

An array of desserts: diples $2.50, kourabiedes $1, melomakarona $1 and Baklava $2.50 (clockwise from top).

A tray of baklava.

A tray of baklava.


Arabesque Cafe

5 Mar

Arabesque Cafe, 869 Victoria Street, Kitchener, Canada.

Arabesque Cafe is a diner style family restaurant featuring Lebanese cuisine. It was recommended by a friend who raved about the quality and quantity of food. Indeed, the food is the heart of Arabesque Cafe.

Chicken mousahab with rice, hummus, fatoush salad and pickled beets, $12.99.

Chicken mousahab with rice, hummus, fatoush salad and pickled beets, $12.99.

The menu is unique and diverse. For example, the shawarma plate comes with your choice of beef, chicken or mixed, rice or fries and either tabouli or fatoush salad. Aside from these, the dish has a handful of vibrant red pickled beets, creamy smooth hummus and a couple of dipping sauces. It’s so hard to describe the exotic flavours but the variety of items on the plate offers so many savoury combinations to try. All plate dishes are accompanied with a warm puffed pita. When opened, a lovely burst of steam escapes.

Shawarma plate with rice, chicken and beef, hummus, pickled beets, tabouli and two dipping sauces (so good but sadly I don't know the names). $12.99

Shawarma plate with rice, chicken and beef, hummus, pickled beets, tabouli salad and two dipping sauces (which sadly, I don’t know the names of), $12.99.

Warm puffy pita. When opened, a lovely burst of steam bursts out.

Warm puffy pita. When opened, a lovely burst of steam escapes.

The front counter has a delicious display of homemade desserts such as bakalava and kunafa, salads and sauces. They are all available for purchase. For those wanting express service, there is a take-out counter. They also have hookah available on weekends in the later evenings.

Arabesque cafe is a must try for those wishing to explore authentic traditional Arab foods!


Serbian Food Festival

31 Jul

The Serbian Food Festival is held at Holy Trinity Banquet Hall (700 Fischer-Hallman Road) in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.

The Serbian Food Festival (July 29 to 31, 2011) highlights the culture and cuisine of Serbia.  There is a wide variety of barbecued dishes, sweets and drinks to sample as well as live music, dancing and Nole (the festival mascot).

There were a few charcoal pits with skewered lamb and pigs.

I tried the pita (or sometimes called burek) which is a flakey savoury pastry filled with cheese and is often served with yogurt. It is made into a shape of a long tube and then wound into a oval shape.  The pita has a crispy and flakey crust with a soft chewy center.

A cheese filled flakey pastry, $5.

I also ordered chevaps which are a cross between small sausages and mini-hamburgers.  It is served on a bun dressed with Serbian butter (kajmak), raw onions and a small dollop of coleslaw. The chevaps were my favourite and it also seemed like everyone’s favourite or at the very least quite popular.  Other entrées included kabobs, goulash with pasta and roasted lamb and pork.

Chevaps served on a large buttered bun with onions and coleslaw, $10.

A few kabobs waiting for the grill.

For dessert, I had palatschinke which is a thin soft chewy crêpe and the one I tried was filled with chocolate.  There was also an assortment of bite-size sweets, such as waffles, cupcakes, poppyseed swirl, and a large ice cream truck.

An assortment of Serbian sweets.

An ice cream truck with an awe-struck admirer.

It was quite a treat to try the unique dishes, hear the lively music and watch the crowd groove to traditional Serbian tunes.  The only thing I regretted was not bringing my own cutlery to help the environment.  If you can’t make it out this year, there is always next year.

Pho Dau Bo

25 Jun

Pho Dau Bo, 301 King Street East, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada

Recently,  I visited Pho Dau Bo, a Vietnamese restaurant, at the Kitchener, Ontario location. I had read generally positive reviews for this restaurant and wanted to try it for myself.  My general impression of Pho Dau Bo is it is a very causal and simple establishment. Every table receives a complimentary pot of hot tea and to order, you simply write down the item number on the receipt.

To order, write down the item number you wish to eat and any other preferred options such as type of meat and/or size.

I ordered a large well done beef noodle soup (item number: 334)  which many reviews recommended, an appetizer described as steamed rice flour rolls with ground pork and Vietnamese sausage (item number: 110) and vermicelli with chicken or pork and a spring roll (item number: 448 ).  All three items arrived very quickly to the table.

A large well done beef rice noodle soup with bean sprouts, mint and lime served on the side, $7.00.

The first to arrive was the well done beef noodle soup which comes with mint leaves, bean sprouts and a wedge of lime served on the side. There was a generous amount of beef and noodles, and the accompanying broth was well flavoured. I like to add the bean sprouts to the soup immediately to warm them up and the sprouts add a nice crunch to each bite. I also enjoyed the sprinkling of cilantro and sliced onions on top of the beef noodle soup.

A small order of steamed rice flour rolls filled with ground pork and Vietnamese sausage. $5.50.

Fish sauce with strains of carrot and chinese radish (I think).

In a nutshell, the appetizer is two steamed rice rolls stuffed with meat and served with pickled carrots, cucumbers, bean sprouts and slices of a Vietnamese style deli meat.  I quite enjoyed the soft and warm meat rice rolls and I especially liked the pickle carrots.  A fish sauce also accompanied the appetizers but everything was flavourful enough on its own that I didn’t dip into it.

Vermicelli with grilled chicken and spring roll, $7.75.

The last item I tried was the vermicelli with chicken which comes with fish sauce, one spring roll and fresh julienned veggies garnished with peanuts.   The noodles were thicker than I expected and very soft.  I usually like to pour a bit of the sauce into my noodles.  The spring roll was stuffed with filling and the chicken was slightly crispy and had a great taste.

I prefer Vietnamese cuisine when I’m looking for something light and healthy but satisfying and unique at the same time.  The food at Pho Dau Bo definitely fits the bill and I shall visit it again.

Village Creperie

19 May

Village Creperie, 703 Belmont Avenue West, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.

Village Creperie is a modern and fresh cafe-style restaurant located at the trendy Belmont Village in Kitchener, Ontario. The restaurant specializes in organic ingredients and as the name suggestions, crêpes.

The interior of Village Creperie. I especially liked the hanging antique bicycle.

My first visit to Village Creperie was on a rainy Saturday afternoon. The breakfast menu was being severed until 2PM and the daily specials were written colourfully and prominently on a blackboard near the entrance of the restaurant.

The daily special on a rainy Saturday.

The menu offers many classic breakfast items such as eggs florentine and omelettes but with a twist: the dishes are severed on a thin crêpe.  I had the eggs florentine which has organic baby spinach, cheddar and hollandaise sauce served on a crêpe.  The crêpe was crispy around the edges and soft in the middle.  The hollandaise sauce was flavourful but light and the crunch of the fresh spinach added a pleasant texture.  All breakfast items are $10 or less.

Eggs florentine with one egg, baby spinach, white cheddar and hollandaise sauce served on a crepe, $10.

The good morning breakfast includes two eggs on mini crepes, two maple sausages, potatoes and a fruit salad, $10.

A fruit salad from the good morning breakfast.

The omelette crepe includes goat cheese, cheddar, broccoli and mushrooms, $10. (They ran out of broccoli and the server offered roasted red peppers as a substitute.)

A variety of dessert crêpes are also available for $9.

A sweet crepe served with toasted pecans and seasonal fruit topped with a thick carmel sauce (dulce de leche), $9.

A dessert crepe topped with vanilla ice cream and chocolate, $9.

The organic ingredients at Village Creperie are reflected in the quality of their dishes but while you would expect breakfast meals to include toast and potatoes, most of the items at Village Creperie do not. This restaurant is a great place to go for a light and healthy meal but if you’re famished, I’d save a visit to Village Creperie for another time.

Ellison’s Bistro

22 Jan

Ellison's Bistro, 14 Charles Street West, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada

Ellison’s Bistro is an intimate and welcoming restaurant specializing in Caribbean cuisine. The walls of the restaurant are painted a warm, rich burgundy and the pops of yellow provide a perfect balance of brightness. The restaurant has about ten tables and the bar is tiki style but with a sophisticated and updated twist.

The soup of the day was a pumpkin and sweet potato soup. This is a thick and chunky soup with an exotic sweet and spicy taste. Other equally flavourful and unique soups include the pepper pot soup  and black bean soup.  All three soups are hearty and perfect accompaniments on a cold winter’s day.

Pepper Pot Soup, $6.95

The entrées are an assortment of fish, goat, lamb, veal, beef and chicken as well as a variety of vegetarian dishes.  There is the Veal Westmoreland which is veal scallopini stuffed with onions and avocado.  There is also beef, chicken or goat wrapped in roti and served with seasonal vegetables.  I had the jerk chicken with seasonal vegetables and rice with beans.  The chicken was bursting with rich, exotic flavours while the vegetables and rice were lightly seasoned.

Veal Westmoreland, $18.50

Chicken Roti, $12.95

Jerk Chicken, $12.95

For dessert I decided to try the crepes with fruit which included slices of pineapple, mango, strawberries and blackberries. It was a perfect end to the meal.

Crepes with Fruit, $7.50

My three course meal was well over two hours but each course was prepared with care and quality. The server warned of the long wait during busy times but the evening was pleasant and alternated between tasty dishes and humorous conversation. Ellison’s Bistro serves unique dishes in a cozy environment and is definitely worth a visit.