Check out the Latest Posts:

This Nordic smokehouse and café is quite the little gem! If you find yourself walking around Bloordale, you can’t miss the bright orange “Karelia Kitchen” sign on the north side of Bloor.

Karelia Kitchen

The origin of its name comes from a Toronto design store which was popular in the 60’s. The store, which was founded by Janis Kravis, sold design products which were brought in from Scandinavia and had a section in the store for cookware which was called “Karelia Kitchen.” Several decades later, the son (Leif Kravis) and daughter-in law (Donna Ashley) of the original Karelia founders opened up Karelia Kitchen.

Karelia Kitchen

The space is cute, clean and casual with minimal décor. One side of the narrow space features a glass display and hot table which resembles a cafeteria. They have a handful of tables in the restaurant but reservations are recommended during peak hours to secure a seat.

Karelia Kitchen

Karelia Kitchen’s (@KareliaKitchen) menu consists of a wide selection of Smørrebrød (open-faced sandwiches), cold salads, items from the hot table, house-baked pastries and sweets. Their lunch menu contains some pretty great options too including scallion crepes, smoked trout scrambled eggs and pot pie to name a few.

Gotta get my caffeine fix!

We dropped by for lunch and started out with a bowl of Smoked Salmon Chowder root vegetables, fresh dill & cream ($5). It was light, creamy and perfectly seasoned – a darn good chowder.

Smoked Salmon Chowder

Up next was The Smokehouse Platter – Atlantic salmon, hormone-free chicken, pork loin, rainbow trout, assorted house pickles, preserves & flatbreads ($16). It was an incredible spread consisting of a fantastic assortment of proteins as well as pickles, preserves and flatbreads.

The Smokehouse Platter

While my favourite proteins were the smoked fish, there wasn’t a component I didn’t enjoy. They weren’t overly salty which can often be a problem with smoked fish.

The Smokehouse Platter

Our platter came with some squash cubes, parsnip chips (super addictive!), beets, pickled onions, pickled crab apples, pickled caperberries, pickled gooseberries, pickled cherries and a ginger/pear compote. I loved how unique and seasonal the sides were. They all complimented the proteins incredibly well. And at $16, this platter is fantastic value!

Flatbreads which accompanied the Smokehouse Platter

Another platter we shared was the Herring Two Ways – house smoked Bismark and wine marinated herrings, warm dilled new potatoes, house pickles & sour cream ($10). Between the two types of herring, my personal preference was the imported wine marinated herrings which had a very rich and fatty texture.

While the house-smoked herring had a drier texture to it, the accompanying sauce and relish worked wonderfully with the fish. I also have to mention those warm dilled new potatoes. I have no idea what they did to those potatoes but they were phenomenal.

Herring Two Ways

In addition to the platters, we decided to try a hot dish, the Trout Lapland – sautéed mixed julienne vegetables & dill new potatoes ($15). What a memorable dish! The pan-seared trout was cooked to perfection – a nice, crispy skin and an incredibly moist interior. Topping the fish was a delicious Lapland sauce which was made out of shallots, wine, cream, dill and parsley. While it was a creamy sauce,  it wasn’t too heavy or overpowering for the fish.

A bed of julienned veggies sat underneath the fish. They were cooked wonderfully with the veggies still retaining some of their crunch. The fish was also accompanied by the same amazing potatoes which came with the herring.

Trout Lapland

We supplemented our dishes with a couple side salads. One of our picks was the Wheat Berry Salad. I’m a big fan of wheat berries – I love its chewy texture! The salad here did not disappoint. It was lightly coated and made for a nice accompaniment with the platters.

Wheat Berry Salad

The other salad we selected was the Potato Salad. It was creamy, well-seasoned and just really delicious. They sure know what to do with potatoes here!

Potato Salad

Overall, we had an amazing experience at Karelia Kitchen. With their unique offerings, this gem of a restaurant is definitely a must-visit!

At a glance:
• A Nordic smokehouse and café located in Bloordale (on Bloor just west of Dufferin)
• Named after a design store in the 60’s – Karelia Kitchen was opened by the son and daughter-in-law of the original Karelia founders
• Very casual – resembles a cafeteria
• Wonderful hospitality – Donna Ashley (co-owner) was out and about chatting with customers
• Menu consists of an extensive selection of Smørrebrød (open-faced sandwiches), house-baked pastries, sweets, cold salads and platters
• Must-orders: The Smokehouse Platter and Trout Lapland

Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 4.5 stars
• Service: 4 stars
• Atmosphere: 2 stars

Karelia Kitchen on Urbanspoon

  1. It‘s quiet in here! Why not leave a response?