Wednesday, April 27, 2011


1001 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 922-1773

Looking for a light, quick lunch, I popped into Kanella for some soothing Cypriot food. My party was quickly seated, and it felt as though we had stumbled into a distant relative's small restaurant on the island of Cyprus. Especially if that island was located on Tenth and Spruce.

As I was trying to keep it light, I steered away from the much adored English Breakfast, and chose to try a couple of unlikely dishes for someone like myself.

The first was the lamb Mousaka. This consisted of ground lamb sandwiched between layers of eggplant and a light pastry shell, served with B├ęchamel sauce. Much like a Mediterranean lasagna, it didn't disappoint in the comfort department (I know I said I was eating light, it was small!) and the flavors melded beautifully. It was well over my normal price range for lunch, weighing in at a whopping $15, but it was artfully crafted, and definitely made with care.

On the light end, seriously this time, I also tried the Kanella platter. This platter (all vegetarian) came with stuffed grape leaves, two falafel balls, spicy tomato salad, tzatziki, tabouli, fried eggplant, olives and a couple of pita wedges. Although it was not substantial in any of its components, it was a perfect amount of food for a filling, light lunch. The star, without question, was the dolmathes. They were slightly crispy on the outer leaves, and just slightly warm on the inside. A welcome change from the usual way I have been served them, obviously just out of the cooler. The tzatziki was the other star and ended up as fodder for both the pita and the falafel. Everything else was delightful without being over the top. At a more reasonable $12, this was a great way to start the day, especially if you slept in due to extreme study fatigue.

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