Hey there, time traveller! This article was published 22/8/2018 (653 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
With broad appeal, easygoing ambience and good value, Pete’s Place, previously a West Kildonan fixture, has reopened in Osborne Village.
This family-friendly resto is known for solid diner-style fare with a few Greek favourites. The new menu is slightly changed-up — some old Main Street regulars are lamenting the demise of the hot turkey sandwich — but Pete’s retains a populist approach in its fancier new digs.
The spot at the corner of Osborne Street and Stradbrook Avenue has housed the relaunched Basil’s, and more recently the short-lived Black Rabbit and Ward 1. It has also languished through long periods of downtime.
There is nothing wrong with the location or the space. In fact, this spread-out venue, which includes a freshened-up dining room and a long bar, also hides away one of the city’s best patios, green and sheltered under a series of pergolas.
Open from lunchtime to evening, along with weekend breakfasts, Pete’s serves up basics like fries, burgers and poutine.
The burgers are meaty and good. Variations include a classic Fatboy, along with half-pounders gussied up with condiments like maple-bacon bourbon sauce and aged cheddar, or arugula, roasted garlic aioli and portobello mushroom (perhaps unnecessarily breaded).
Fries were slightly dry one night but tasty and nicely crisped on a return visit. A sampled Greek salad — you can get with lettuce or the more traditional version without — seemed light on olive oil.
The Reuben sandwich is made with thick-cut house corned beef, but the Swiss cheese was almost missing in action and the dressing a bit overpowering.
There are some Greek specialties in the appetizer category, including nice calamari, light and accompanied by garlicky tzatziki, and big prawns served with chunks of feta and a tomato sauce finished with a little ouzo.
There are also steaks (eight-or-14-ounce) and a sausage ragu. When a menu offers only one pasta dish you might think this is mere tokenism, but the ragu is terrific, ribbons of egg fettucine mixed up with house-made sausage, bright San Marzano tomatoes and warming spice. The serving is massive, supplying not only a good dinner but a reheated lunch the next day.
The dessert menu is short, and includes baklava, not dripping with honey but dark with walnuts, and a rice pudding, along with rotating specials.
Greek house wine is a bargain at $8 for nine ounces. Classic and craft cocktails are reasonable, a sampled Village Fizz, with its hint of orange blossom, feeling like a suitably silly summer drink. There is also local beer on tap.
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Weekend breakfasts are served from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The cups of coffee are bottomless and the portions are hefty, so plan accordingly. The Hero’s Breakfast actually requires two plates, one laden with fat pancakes, slightly undercooked, the other bearing a stack of thick bacon, two eggs and home fried potatoes — not consistently crisp enough — with optional onions.
I ordered poached eggs, which came properly prepared — not cooked in cups — and to the specified level of doneness.
Service is friendly and casual, diner-style, but the food can be a little slow coming out of the kitchen.
Still, if you’re not in a hurry, this gives you even more time to enjoy that green and gorgeous patio. Summer will be over too soon.
Alison Gillmor Writer
Studying at the University of Winnipeg and later Toronto’s York University, Alison Gillmor planned to become an art historian. She ended up catching the journalism bug when she started as visual arts reviewer at the Winnipeg Free Press in 1992.
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