Keriwa Café

Parkdale Eatery Serves Real Canadian Fare

I didn’t know much about Keriwa Café before my taste buds met my appetizer. I kept hearing the buzz and friends saying “Joy, you gotta check out this Aboriginal restaurant in Parkdale”, but to be honest, I was not so keen on the idea of a slab of gamey meat on my plate as I’m not a huge animal eater. Boy was I wrong.

It was a lovely surprise. Everything at Keriwa was bursting with flavours I’d almost forgotten existed. It was completely the opposite of my preconceived notions and yes, the menu had a lot more to offer than just meat. I loved the focus on local, organic and seasonal foods too. Not just a trend, in my opinion, this is a must if I’m going to pay someone to make dinner for me, I want it to be as local and organic as possible. 


Our starters were borscht and venison kielbasa. The borscht is one reason alone to visit Keriwa – if you eat nothing else, this is what you need to order. The borscht made with beets (of course), rye berries, savoy cabbage, dill and horseradish was tasty, comforting and liver-loving thanks to those beets. The very Canadian venison was served with rye sourdough, apple and onion. If you like kielbasa, then you will love this dish – my fiancé Walker was all smiles and he does like his meat, being Austrian and all.

Our mains were the bison jowl served with a parsnip mash, kale (king of the greens!), apple, parsley and I had pickerel, very Canadian eh?? My pickerel was okay, but the bison jowl was rich, earthy and yummy. I think I ate most of the kale off of my fiance’s plate.

Now for the dreamy part of our meal — dessert. I would go back just for the dessert again which was wild rice pudding with seabuckthorn, Saskatoon berry and pumpkin seeds. It reminded me of my great Aunt’s figgy pudding at Christmas – bursting with hearty flavour, deeply satisfying (like a warm hug) and sweet, but not over the top cavity-inducing sweetness.

You know what I loved about Keriwa? The fact that it was so unique and different than 90% of the restaurants in Toronto. Every dish had incredible earthiness, richness and Aboriginal/ Canadian-ism in it, which to be honest, I really didn’t know what that was prior to my first visit. 

P.S. All the reviews I had read prior to eating at Keriwa (and what my friends had told me) was that you can expect to smell like a campfire after leaving Keriwa. So I’m happy to report there was no woodsmoke in the air. Either the food was so fabulous I didn’t notice or the smell was barely there, regardless – it was a joyous evening of unique tastes!


Keriwa Cafe
1690 Queens Street West

(416) 7533-2552




Joy McCarthy, is a Holistic Nutritionist, food lover and owner of