Andrew Coppolino's top 10 restaurant and takeout dishes of 2020

CBC Kitchener-Waterloo's food columnist Andrew Coppolino runs down his top ten favourite meals from area restaurants in 2020.

You can find these meals at independent restaurants in the area

Barbecue pork skewers, Caribean roti and summer on a plate are three of Andrew Coppolino's top 10 dishes of 2020. (Andrew Coppolino/CBC)

The year 2020 certainly won't go into the record books as one to recall fondly, but there were some memorable meals I ate, both take-out and dining in.

In no particular order, here are a few of my favourites — but do note, there could have been more to add to this year-end list. I had to draw the line somewhere!

This winter please continue to support local food businesses as you are able. It's going to be a rough one.

Summer on a plate from TWH Social

A foundation of sweet-pea purée with vegetables and lentils sit alongside the unusual but delicious seabuckthorn berries that are given a sweet-honey pickle, and sorrel, spinach patty pan squash. It truly captured the bounty of summer and was complex in flavours and textures.

The Summer Harvest Veg from the TWH Social on King St. in downtown Kitchener. (Andrew Coppolino/CBC)

Pizza Margherita, La Cucina

A Neapolitan-style pizza with the simplest of ingredients: tomato sauce, mozzarella, olive oil, salt and, of course, fresh basil. The key, though, is the hand-stretched dough that needs just a bit of char at the edges but maintains a classic "libretto fold."

Jerk chicken roti, The Caribbean Kitchen (Kitchener Market)

Choose from vegan with chickpea, curried shrimp or jerk chicken for the filling; roti wheat flour dough is rolled thin and cooked on a tawa. Drizzle on the hot sauce and enjoy!

The Jerk Chicken roti is made by the Caribbean Kitchen, located in the upper level of the Kitchener Market. (Andrew Coppolino/CBC)

Croquetas, La Lola Catering

Miguel Pastor deep-fries a dollop of rich and creamy chorizo-studded béchamel sauce encased in a light and crispy panko bread-crumb batter. Munch these with a good red sipping vermouth — like they do in Barcelona. Divine!

Croquettes from La Lola are made at their restaurant which is located at 739 King Street East in Cambridge. (Andrew Coppolino/CBC)

Panes con pollo, Swine and Vine

As seen in demonstration during CBC-KW's Sounds of the Season celebration raising food, funds and support for the Food Bank of Waterloo Region, Swine and Vine chef Denis Hernandez creates a family-favourite comfort-food sandwich that features mustard-marinated roasted chicken (or turkey) flavoured with Central American spices like achiote and relajo mix.

Beer ice cream, Bent Elbow

It's never too cold for beer ice cream. The Bent Elbow pub — truly a beer-lover's haven — creates a changing menu of home-made ice cream, from an Alvinne Kreik hop cherry-vanilla to S'mores chocolate stout.

The Elbow Beer Ice Cream is made at The Bent Elbow at 2880 King Street E. in Kitchener. (Andrew Coppolino/CBC)

Chickpea falafel, Community Kitchen Co-operative K-W

Cook and volunteer Noha Hashim led a team of cooks preparing Sudanese dishes as part of the African Cultural Cooking Project, an initiative of the Community Kitchen Co-operative of Kitchener-Waterloo. Best falafel I've had in a long time!

You can taste the chickpea falafel at the Community Kitchen Co-operative K-W on Water Street in Kitchener. (Andrew Coppolino/CBC)

Jerusalem Artichoke, Bruce Hotel Stratford

Also known as the "Canada Potato," Brandon Clemens at The Bruce Hotel in Stratford draws on unique and local ingredients such as cattail and purslane for a tasting menu course that packs a lot of flavour, including the humble sunchoke.

What's called the 'Canada Potato' is served at the Bruce Hotel is located at 89 Parkview drive in Stratford. (Andrew Coppolino/CBC)

Barbecue pork skewers, Sari-Sari Filipino Cuisine

Savoury, sweet, salty and sour, this dish is a popular one at a small family-business that opened during the pandemic —and has been thriving since.

The Sari Sari Philipino Cuisine serves the pork skewers at its location on 347 Lancaster Street West in Kitchener. (Andrew Coppolino/CBC)

Bienenstich, Alpine Café

Translated, this is a "bee sting" cake, a delicious German pastry with caramelized almonds and luscious vanilla custard created by long-standing (but under the radar) Alpine Cafe in the Krug Street plaza.


Andrew Coppolino

Food columnist, CBC Kitchener-Waterloo

CBC-KW food columnist Andrew Coppolino is author of Farm to Table (Swan Parade Press) and co-author of Cooking with Shakespeare (Greenwood Press). He is the 2022 Joseph Hoare Gastronomic Writer-in-Residence at the Stratford Chefs School. Follow him on Twitter at @andrewcoppolino.


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