1001 Spruce St., Philadelphia, PA | Directions 1910739.946238 -75.158007
Neighborhoods: Washington Square West, Center City
Bring your own bottle of sparkling for a bright and beautiful brunch at Kanella. The Cypriot brunching options include tomato-poached eggs and housemade lamb merguez.
I highly recommend the Sunday meze. The menu changes weekly for the meze and it offers a vegetarian option. If you're going with a group of three or four, other one vegetarian option and the rest the regular.
Kanella is exactly what great BYO dining should be in this town: comforting, soul-satisfying, and occasionally boundary pushing. Bring a red and a white, and a huge appetite.
Best option for a first-timer — the Sunday mezze, a $35 prix-fixe that allows you to taste dozens of incredible small dishes. Call ahead.
Was great until they asked us to move along... – I really loved this restaurant until the end and wished I could have found a contact email to discuss this with the owner before posting this review. The food was good, the ambience great, the server good, too. But right after we had dessert, we were asked to move along so that a large party could be seated.
Unfortunately, what this restaurant did not know was that we are in the restaurant business and have traveled extensively in Greece. This would not have happened there nor should it happen here. It was such a disappointment & ruined an otherwise wonderful evening.
We literally had taken the last bite of dessert when the waiter came to the table and asked us to pay and leave. We were honestly shocked. In over 30 years in the business we have never been treated like that and we think it is a poor idea of customer service.
Too bad, we would have recommended it highly.
Awesome – 2 couples were there on a THU night. All 4 entrees - excellent. You don't have to love Greek food to love this restaurant. Everything was really good. Service outstanding. One negative - it is small and kinda loud.
Awesome Sunday Meze – Went on Sunday night, and for $35 per person got the meze, three courses of many small plates which was more than enough for everyone, and each one delicious. The spanakopita, pork chops, salad, stuffed peppers, etc. were all wonderful. The waiters are friendly and attentive. My new favorite place.
So amazing – This place is the best! The waiter was very friendly and accommodating, and the food was done surprisingly fast. I ordered the flatbread with figs and vegetables, and it was one of the most delicious things I've ever eaten. I'd highly recommend this place to anyone.
A wonderful surprise – I'll start right off with some very brief and innocent drawbacks about this place, so I can get to the good stuff: my only worry (not even a complaint, because it barely affected me) is that 1) we weren't allowed to sit inside, only al fresco (which was wonderful) and 2) we were barely allowed to do take-out for our spouses at home, both because they were admittedly very busy on the weekends and we didn't have a reservation. Again, no big deal for us, but good to know.
When we arrived as they opened for the night, the tables inside were vacant, all with reservations on their way. We thought that maybe the host was joking, but within a half hour the restaurant was packed. From what we could tell, the ambiance inside was soothing and not too loud, but we were delighted to be outside in the nice weather. Our waiter, Bobby, paid us plenty of attention, which was a nice contrast to usual sidewalk dining service. He also described everything thoroughly and patiently and made engaging jokes.
Okay, the food. I am a fool for Mediterranean food of any kind, but the bold ingredients and simple preparations at this place were something I agree with wholeheartedly. We sampled the dips of the day - when we were there, a lentil anchovy, potato garlic, and an eggplant-something came out. I fell for the potato dip, with its enchanting texture somewhere between a mash and a rice. It was lovely and garlicky and while I appreciated the other two, that dip kept pulling me back. We sampled the lamb salad, which includes no greens at all, but is just perfectly seasoned and seared lamb, served over a moist sweet-savory crouton of sorts, with plenty of acidity from crushed green olives and preserved lemon rinds and capers... and it has a dollop of the creamiest Greek (?) yogurt to mellow it all out. Oh. Heaven.
We were introduced to the specials, and that day they included (among other tempting things) lamb shoulder, leg, or head. (I think.) Any cut would serve two, so we ordered a leg to share, and thought we'd take home any that remained for the guys. Well... this beautiful, grill-marked, enormous lamb leg came out, simply paired with red potatoes and a couple of lemon slices. It was perfectly seasoned and cooked, and we surprised ourselves by making only tiny marks in it and taking most of it home.
For dessert, we were torn between a yogurt mousse with thyme-honey syrup, and a chocolate mousse with lavender ice cream. Bobby recommended the yogurt, and we were so grateful. There were tiny flecks of lemon rind throughout the mousse - which reminded me more of a flan, because of its form and its delicate texture - so the flavors were all at once sour and tangy and savory and sweet - but not at all too sweet. It was a great finish.
I found this place by chance, blithely unaware that it was on my foodie-dad's list of restaurants to check out. It was a very happy accident, and I'll be recommending it and returning as soon as I can - maybe even for lunch!
Mediterranean food with many unique twists – If you are a fan of Greek cuisine, you will be intrigued, surprised and pleased by Kanella. Cypriot cooking is related to Greek by geography and heritage, but Konstantinos has taken the usual offerings to a new plane. The appetizers are standouts, as is usual in this type of restaurant. The Bureki, phyllo pastries filled with feta, do not contain spinach; they are seasoned with thyme, and drizzled with honey, for a sweet, salty and savory beginning. The dips are freshly prepared, and a choice of three are offered each night, including a smoky melitzanosalata, briny tarama and one made from white beans.
Main courses include lamb, as always--but prepared medium rare, and served over a hauntingly seasoned bulgur pilaf with roasted fennel. The fish is always fresh, and seasoned and grilled with a deft hand. And the vegetarian moussaka is so rich and savory that the absence of meat is rendered unimportant.
At the end of the meal, the desserts also depart from the typical by avoiding the typical tooth-rattling sweetness--the sweetness here is controlled, and allows the tastes of the nuts, phyllo, semolina and other ingredients to shine through. Paired with a thick, strong Greek coffee, they finish the experience on a high note.
And the staff is wonderful, attentive but not intrusive, and the service is well-paced to allow for a comfortably and leisurely dining experience.
Those who are down with bright and earthy cooking, light and easy surroundings and fresh flavors of the Mediterranean will dig this Cypriot newcomer – In Short
Konstantinos Pitsillides and his Philly-raised wife Caroline return from stint in Cyprus to open the city's sole Greek Cypriot BYOB, and critics, foodies and neighborhood regulars alike all dig in. Expect more use of coriander, hallumi [a traditional goat milk cheese], and culinary influences from Cyprus' many invaders - namely the French, Italians, Turkes - than regular Greek cuisine. Stand out dishes include wonderfully simple grilled whole Fish of the Day, shrimp baked with feta and tomato, rabbit tenderloin with fresh artichoke salad and pan-fried quail with baby eggplant pasturma (a flavorful cured beef). Décor is simple, bright, light - like many of the little restaurants you'd find along the Mediterranean. Afterwards, enjoy Greek herbal teas or hearty Greek coffee.
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