I’m just going to skip straight to dessert today. Don’t worry, I will get to lunch later, but I was so pleased with the baklava I had at Kisamos Greek Taverna, I can’t wait to share it. Honey-soaked, nut-filled, spiced layers of phyllo + butter aren’t an afterthought; today, they’re the stars of the show.
Kisamos is a modest-sized restaurant in Steveston, and just by looking at it you can tell it’s a local favourite; it’s comfortable, rather old-fashioned, and busy. We were in at lunch, and in addition to their classic appetizers, souvlaki, and entrees, they offer lunch specials, mainly wraps and sandwiches featuring their roast meats.
And of course, dessert.
They had the widest selection of Greek desserts I’ve seen in Richmond so far, and I went with the baklava. It’s difficult to find a truly good slice of this stuff, but when you do come across one, you feel like a gold miner who’s spent an entire year scouring a cold Yukon river and has just come across the biggest nugget known to humankind.
Right? That’s how I felt, anyways.
Kisamos’ baklava is a big golden nugget, both in theory and appearance. I took it to go, and when I later opened up the container, the wedge of honeyed-pastry practically glowed.
As far as Canadian-Greek food goes, this piece of baklava looked relatively standard, however it also included a kind of pastry I don’t usually see outside of Greece. On Crete, for example, they sell many varieties of baklava, some of which look like large shredded wheat; they’re actually called ‘Kataifi,’ and consist of finely-shredded pastry wrapped around a ground-nut filling. Like baklava, they’re soaked in a honey syrup.
This shredded pastry, as well as the phyllo, were both used in Kisamos’ baklava, plus plenty of walnuts and aromatic spices. It was crunchy, soft, chewy, and sweet, but not tooth-achingly so.
The final indicator of a good piece of Greek baklava is the buttery honey at its base. No one needs – or wants – a dry piece of baklava, and this one was indeed sitting in a pool of honey and cinnamon – it’s the perfect fix for a cold, really.
Ode to baklava aside, I’ll now tell you what we had for lunch! For appetizers, we tried the kalamari ($9.25), spanakopita ($8.95), and tiropitakia ($8.95). The kalamari was good – tender, crunchy, and satisfyingly deep-fried, with a side of some of the best tzatziki I’ve had in Richmond.
The spanakopita was also really nice – I would have preferred a bit more cheese in it, though I tend to say that about everything that involves cheese.
Therefore, there were no complaints when it came to the tiropitakia, which are small, cheese-filled pastries (by the way, cheese + pastry = the key to happiness). The three cheeses inside were feta, parmesan, and one with a long, long Greek name. They were wonderful, and I wish I had a plate of them for breakfast.
For entrees, my friends had the lamb souvlaki pita wrap, and shrimp and avocado pita wrap.
They were a very generous size, and came with oven-roasted potatoes. Their thoughts? Both great, apparently!
I asked our server for the restaurant’s signature dish, and ended up with a very large plate of roast lamb, rice pilaf, potatoes, and Greek salad. The lamb had been slowly-roasted, and was covered in a minted gravy.
It was very tender, flavourful, and amazing with the rice, rich-tasting potatoes, and side of garlicky tzatziki. If you’re a fan of lamb, then this is the entree for you.
If you’re not one to order a big piece of meat, there are some really lovely vegetarian options, as well. If I go back, I’d probably give the boureki a try.
Whatever you order, just make sure to finish it up with a piece of baklava. And if you don’t like baklava, order it anyways, and call me – the baklava gold miner. I will happily, happily take care of it for you.
Cash and cards accepted
Vegetarian options available