Gaia Bistro

>> Monday, May 3, 2010

It was just time to return to Gaia Bistro. This amazing Mediterranean/middle eastern place is one of the best restaurants in Kerrisdale. Yes, it was empty when we first arrived shortly before noon on a sunny Monday in May, but when we left, every table was taken. We were excited to see that a patio was under construction. We'll have to return in the summer and try to snag an outdoor table.

They have beer and wine and a good selection of non-alcoholic drinks as well. We opted to stick with the wonderful flavoured water, redolent with real mint, lemon and orange blossom.

Knowing we really couldn't go wrong with anything we ordered, we opted for the daily lunch specials. First up was a bowl of red lentil soup, which we shared. Okay, maybe we shouldn't call it sharing when one person has a few spoonfuls, and the other person has the rest.

Next up was our main courses.  In the Ni├žoise Salad, the typical ingredients were simply a launching pad for dramatic presentation of seared Ahi tuna steak, olives, snap peas, and hard-boiled egg.

Our other main course was an Israeli Bruschetta.  The chicken breast, marinated in Silan, a date syrup, was perfectly moist. The Spring Salsa, a melange of nectarine, mango and papaya, along with the tahini spread on the crisp bread, worked beautifully to complement the chicken.

We decided to take a slice of mocha cheesecake to go. The airy concoction had just the right combination of coffee and chocolate, not too sweet, but without the tang of a New York style cheesecake.

Our cheerful server was calm and competent, despite juggling eight tables and the phone. While there are a few pre-made items, like panini, everything else is made to order. Don't expect zippy lunch-time service. Come in for a leisurely culinary adventure, and walk out refreshed, satiated and eager to return.

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