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5188 Gatineau. Côte-des-Neiges métro. BYOB

Tel.: 735-7083. HOURS: Mon - Tue 5:00 PM to 11:00 PM; Wed - Fri 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM, 5:00 PM to 11:00 PM; Sat - Sun 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM. No smoking section. Wheelchair access. Prices—Table d’hôte: $12.95—$16.95 (2 for I specials: $12.95—$20.95 Wed. to Sun. only). Credit cards: Visa, Mastercard.
A Greek wise man once must have said: Let there be a place where Hera can take little querulous Hectate and meek little Hestia for a bite of Spanokopita without a Corinthean War, for once, f’ Kristos’ sake.

Thus was born Kalimera, the word for “Reconciliation among warring family factions” in Greek. Just kidding, but this little neighbourhood hideaway seems designed to heal all ills that plague the urban soul, especially ones of the tiny variety.

It’s a hole-in-the-wall only in the sense that you can’t tell from the outside that a party space lurks inside, complete with hanging vines, lamps and a genuine Olympic ethos to whet the hungry Spartan within.

Very popular with the locals, Kalimera is packed every night, rain or shine. A lot of its appeal is the family angle, but the fact that you can (read: must) bring your own wine is a strong incentive to create the grounds for your own private bouzouki fest.

We were served on the delightful terrace, a blue-and-white gateway to the curious (and envious) neighbourhood, and the service was proportionately languid, just like you might find at home on Hydra.

A calamari frit appetizer came crunchy, golden and rebelliously springy, in a large pile accompanied by large cucumber and tomato wedges. The table d’hôte offers such rib-sticking fare as filet mignon brochettes, fresh salmon filet or chicken and shrimp for a medium of $18. For this you get a soup—a chowzilla lentil or Mom’s Killa chicken noodle--salad or fried zucchini, not necessarily in that order.

A slight chewiness in the brochettes and a sneak trip to the Métro grocery around the corner for the “Black Forest Cake” should not detract from the festive feeling at this resto.

The bring-your-own is a huge incentive, as they muscularly decapitate your chosen bottle and smoothly decant it into handsome “verres d’occasion” with naught but a slight wink and a sparkle.

Baby will be enjoying all this as he nurses the wine secretly, because above all else this is an amazing resource for beleaguered families—always millions of kids running between the legs of the servers.

Learning to be true Spartans, no doubt.—
Reviewed by Nicholas Robinson

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