Before you even step foot inside the small restaurant and wine bar at the busy corner of 83rd Avenue and 104th Street, the pineapples stencilled on the windows and above the door welcome you inside. After all, the pineapple is a universal symbol of hospitality and, in this case, doesn’t lead diners astray. On the occasions I’ve visited, the friendly servers were just the right amount of attentive, and were always able to answer my questions – so much so that an answer about pt-nat wine turned into a delightful mini seminar. If wine is your drink of choice, you’ll be impressed by the list curated and supplied by the experts at Color de Vino. There are some more unusual offerings – the Vinho Verde from Portugal, for instance, is a regional wine, as is Champagne, rarely found on wine menus – and best of all the wine is available in two pour sizes by the glass.
The congenial feeling continues with a dinner menu of upscale comfort food. Familiar, simple dishes – spaghetti and meatballs, roast chicken, steak – taste so much more flavourful than the way you might prepare them at home. The brown butter gravy accompanying the roast chicken, for instance, could be its own dish. The brunch menu – served until 3 p.m. for late risers – consists mostly of savoury offerings save for French toast and, sometimes, the crepe feature. You’ll find pineapple pop up on the dessert menu and in a refreshing cocktail, Great Expectations, which nods to the restaurant’s namesake. The seared Manchego cheese is a must-order, and share only if you must. roast chicken
The dining room is small and cozy, and suited to intimate conversations more than large group gatherings. There are only 28 seats – including bar stools – and there is no waiting area, so make a reservation (available for dinner only) or be prepared to explore Old Strathcona while you wait.