When Thursday comes around, everyone is in search for a pregame plan to start their night. Often, the huge group BYO’s of choice have straight up inedible food or a prix-fixe menu that has no options for vegetarians. If I’m going to spend 35 dollars on dinner, I want to at least be able to choose what I eat and be able to explore new options. Kanella is perfect for both. It’s a cozy Greek BYO restaurant with innovative main dishes and appetizers. My two friends and my plan was to share three appetizers among ourselves, and potentially have some dessert if we weren’t too full. This would make sure we weren’t weighed down for the rest of the night. I recommend making a reservation on OpenTable for immediate seating. Our waiter was great, helping us open our bottle of wine immediately, while rattling off the specials for the day. We were also greeted with complimentary freshly baked bread and creamy tahini dipping sauce. We decided to go for two vegetarian options and one non-veg (for my two friends). We ordered the “dips of the day,” the bureki, and manti. The dips change and on our visit they had a pumpkin, feta, and chive dip, a roasted beet dip, and a potato garlic dip. As a garlic lover, these were perfect for me. But, my favorite was the pumpkin and feta, whose salty and slightly sweet flavors complimented each other perfectly. Can’t beat the warm, grilled pita it is served with either!
The bureki (“filo pastry parcels stuffed with feta and thyme, drizzled with thyme honey and served with roast beets”) was my choice because it combined 3 of my favorite things: beets, feta and honey. The combination may seem odd, especially wrapped in filo pastry, but you won’t regret ordering it. More sweet than salty, it satisfied my craving for dessert without actually ordering it.
My friends seemed to love the manti (“Armenian ground lamb dumplings with yogurt sauce with paprika, mint and parsley”) and even after the dumplings were gone they used the bread we had leftover to soak up the extra sauce off the plate.
Just as we finished off our bottles of Barefoot wine, we realized we had no time or room left to enjoy the desserts that looked so good on the menu. Head to Kanella before the next “downtown” to class up your pregame and actually enjoy and choose the food you’re eating (although it may not be as rowdy as Charles). And take note of Kanella’s highly praised brunch menu, which I will definitely be headed back for in addition to the missed dessert.
Address: 1001 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Hours of operation: Breakfast/Lunch: 11am-3pm (Friday) and 10am-3pm (Saturday and Sunday). Dinner: 5pm-10:30pm (Tuesday-Saturday). Cypriot Meze: 5pm-8pm (Sunday)