Home of Turkish cuisine
126E McCaul St.
Monday to Thursday
11:00 a.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Friday and Saturday
11:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
By Judi McLeod
When crocuses and snowdrops cropped up this Spring, they paved the way for the opening of Torontos new Balkan Bistro.
Located at 126E McCaul Street, Balkan Bistro is right across the street from the famous St. Patricks Cathedral.
With windows overlooking busy McCaul Street, the Balkan Bistro is a treasure of a little restaurant and one of the few places where you can find Turkish coffee just the way it should be served, strong, sweet and served up in demi tasse.
The smell of home baked cookies waft from the bistro beckoning tourists and locals alike.
The Balkan Bistro is one of those little cafes whose dedicated chef takes pride in unusual entrees that include Kadinbudu Kofte, a traditional Turkish meal, made up of lightly fried ground beef and rice meatball in a soft shell of beaten eggs.
The Homemade Chicken Parmesan, fresh chicken breast cooked in the chefs special Parmesan sauce, topped with mushrooms and freshly grated Parmesan packs them in at lunchtime.
Theres panini made from ciabatta, foccaia or whole wheat bread, grilled wraps and a selection of yummy pastas that could compare with the best Italian restaurant.
I discovered the Balkan Bistro when friend James Doran invited me there for a coffee. It was one of those brisk early spring days in Toronto when something hot warms both body and spirit. James and yours truly promised ourselves wed stay from the freshly baked cookies, on that particular day crispy gems spiked with white chocolate. Needless to say, we couldnt resist.
The Balkan Bistro is a good place to meet a friend for breakfast, and their special fluffy omelettes are a little different than the usual breakfast fare.
Desserts, which vary daily, can be seen on the board, but tasty Baklava is always a mainstay. There are a variety of delectable cheesecakes, chocolate almond cake and crème caramel.
The best thing about the Balkan Bistro is: gourmet dishes at sandwich shop prices.
The most expensive entrée on the menu comes to the grand total o f $9.95. Its a special dish, known as Hunkar Begendi, an absolutely delicious Ottoman cuisine dish: veal stew, served on a bed of mashed grilled eggplant.
Most entrees, all them served with rice, oven baked potatoes, grilled vegetables and mixed salad, range at $7.95--and even lower.
Both Eat-in and Take-out are available at the bistro. On a fish kick ever since my return from the Coastal Carolinas, I recently ordered their fish-kebob. Grilled to golden perfection and lemon laced, it was delicious!
Check out the Balkan Bistro next time you find yourself in the McCaul-Dundas neighbourhood, its a treasure of a dining find.