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BEST NEW BISTRO

Niddo

shortlisted by Lefooding

WHO
A Mexican family with Eastern European and Jewish roots who spent years in Canada’s multicultural Vancouver, with a lot of culinary ties in its blood, but also the warmth of Mexico, its people and flavors are what have always drawn chef Karen Drijanski back home. So in 2018, she followed through and manifested her dream of sharing her passion for comfort food by opening Niddo with her son, Eduardo Plaschinski.

FOOD
The breakfast/brunch menu is a house specialty and draws a crowd from 8:00 a.m. The lunch menu isn’t expansive but has a fairly wide range of options, from generously portioned healthy salads to staples like a grilled cheese sandwich ($185), mac and cheese ($170), and an impressively large hamburger ($190). The three shrimp tacos, however, are the most popular choice, a fresh take on a classic, and I took my cue from the surrounding tables, not to be disappointed: huge chunks of breaded shrimp on a bed of citrusy creamed avocado, topped with purple cabbage, cilantro, and salsa macha, a sort of spicy chile pesto ($220).
Dessert was off-menu, and I was offered a brownie or ricotta cake, both meant for extended families – or doggie bags at the very least. The ricotta cake was smooth, moist, and studded with blueberries, all topped with whipped cream, fresh blackberries and strawberries ($120).

DRINKS
A limited wine list is on offer, plus a popular fresh lemonade, and a number of off-the-beaten-track Mexican beers, including:
Blanca de Maguey aguamiel from Tenochtitlán – $110
Piedra Lisa India session ale from Colima – $110

DECOR
The restaurant is tiny, but it makes the most of its space, all while packing in a whimsical combination of plants, designer furniture, and somebody’s grandmother’s sweetly inadvisable knick-knacks, which are set on high shelves running around the room. It works, and the mirrors on the walls allow you to people watch in every corner, as well as keep an eye on the large and bustling open kitchen, with bunches of herbs everywhere.

NOISE
A funky chill soundtrack played low, because here conversation predominates, and that will likely extend to conversations with your neighbors, considering you’re packed in so close. This doesn’t feel intrusive, but rather as if you’re all enjoying a mutually pleasurable experience together.

SEATING
Avant-garde red banquettes with gold accents, low red cushioned bar chairs, and a deep terrace filled with big potted plants. It’s close quarters wherever you sit, with 20 covers in the main dining room, 10 on the terrace, and 15 in an adjacent room where the bathrooms are located.

VIBE
A good mix, skewing young, with lots of digital nomads at the lunch service, gringo accents and overheard plans of scaling up and optimization strategies – some of them tourists, but mostly local residents, at least temporarily. Beer and lemonade is served in jars, cutlery and paper napkins materialize in clay pots.

RESTROOMS
Off an adjacent dining room. Cramped but clean, with two stalls and an open sink.

SERVICE
Friendly, casual, and easy in English. Incredibly quick – too quick? – but this is a local canteen, and most diners seemed to have places to be and people to see.

WOULD RECOMMEND
Without hesitation, especially if your cool, healthy-eating gringo friends are in town and want to ease into Mexican food culture with something that feels reassuringly familiar, with a twist.

WHO
A Mexican family with Eastern European and Jewish roots who spent years in Canada’s multicultural Vancouver, with a lot of culinary ties in its blood, but also the warmth of Mexico, its people and flavors are what have always drawn chef Karen Drijanski back home. So in 2018, she followed through and manifested her dream of sharing her passion for comfort food by opening Niddo with her son, Eduardo Plaschinski.

FOOD
The breakfast/brunch menu is a house specialty and draws a crowd from 8:00 a.m. The lunch menu isn’t expansive but has a fairly wide range of options, from generously portioned healthy salads to staples like a grilled cheese sandwich ($185), mac and cheese ($170), and an impressively large hamburger ($190). The three shrimp tacos, however, are the most popular choice, a fresh take on a classic, and I took my cue from the surrounding tables, not to be disappointed: huge chunks of breaded shrimp on a bed of citrusy creamed avocado, topped with purple cabbage, cilantro, and salsa macha, a sort of spicy chile pesto ($220).
Dessert was off-menu, and I was offered a brownie or ricotta cake, both meant for extended families – or doggie bags at the very least. The ricotta cake was smooth, moist, and studded with blueberries, all topped with whipped cream, fresh blackberries and strawberries ($120).

DRINKS
A limited wine list is on offer, plus a popular fresh lemonade, and a number of off-the-beaten-track Mexican beers, including:
Blanca de Maguey aguamiel from Tenochtitlán – $110
Piedra Lisa India session ale from Colima – $110

DECOR
The restaurant is tiny, but it makes the most of its space, all while packing in a whimsical combination of plants, designer furniture, and somebody’s grandmother’s sweetly inadvisable knick-knacks, which are set on high shelves running around the room. It works, and the mirrors on the walls allow you to people watch in every corner, as well as keep an eye on the large and bustling open kitchen, with bunches of herbs everywhere.

NOISE
A funky chill soundtrack played low, because here conversation predominates, and that will likely extend to conversations with your neighbors, considering you’re packed in so close. This doesn’t feel intrusive, but rather as if you’re all enjoying a mutually pleasurable experience together.

SEATING
Avant-garde red banquettes with gold accents, low red cushioned bar chairs, and a deep terrace filled with big potted plants. It’s close quarters wherever you sit, with 20 covers in the main dining room, 10 on the terrace, and 15 in an adjacent room where the bathrooms are located.

VIBE
A good mix, skewing young, with lots of digital nomads at the lunch service, gringo accents and overheard plans of scaling up and optimization strategies – some of them tourists, but mostly local residents, at least temporarily. Beer and lemonade is served in jars, cutlery and paper napkins materialize in clay pots.

RESTROOMS
Off an adjacent dining room. Cramped but clean, with two stalls and an open sink.

SERVICE
Friendly, casual, and easy in English. Incredibly quick – too quick? – but this is a local canteen, and most diners seemed to have places to be and people to see.

WOULD RECOMMEND
Without hesitation, especially if your cool, healthy-eating gringo friends are in town and want to ease into Mexican food culture with something that feels reassuringly familiar, with a twist.

CHEF

Karen Drijanski and Eduardo Plaschinski.

OPENING HOURS

Lunch service begins at 1:30 p.m

RESERVATIONS

They don’t take them. Get there early, but if you don’t, turnover is quick

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