Review: Karelia Kitchen, a cheerful new Scandinavian café

Review: Karelia Kitchen, a cheerful new Scandinavian café

Baby shrimp salad smørrebrød (Image: Megan Leahy)
 
Karelia Kitchen ½
1194 Bloor St. W., 647-748-1194
kareliakitchen.com
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The cheerful new Scandinavian restaurant from chef-owners Leif Kravis and Donna Ashley is one of the only places in Toronto to find traditional Nordic fare. The owners make nearly everything in-house and proudly guide guests through the menu. The smokehouse platter brings a feast for just $16: succulent chicken, pork loin, trout and salmon, and a collection of tiny pickled things, like briny brussels sprouts, beet slices, chunks of pumpkin and grapes that pop with fermented tartness. Of the smørrebrød (open-faced rye sandwiches), the sweet, lemony baby shrimp salad with fresh dill is a delicate standout. The Swedish meatballs with lingonberry jam are moist and flavourful enough to erase memories of IKEA’s cafeteria version. A honey-cardamom cake with rich cream cheese icing is blissfully reminiscent of Indian burfi.