What started as a relief work-project during the Great Depression in the 1930s has evolved over the decades into a bona fide food destination known as Kitchener’s Belmont Village.
While it has minor variations and permutations in composition and seasoning, souvlaki is a comfort food favourite – and there are no shortages of family-style restaurants in Waterloo Region preparing and serving the hearty Greek- and Cypriot-inspired dish.
The word souvlaki derives from the Greek word for a skewer-like tool on which the meat was cooked. The name for the cooking instrument eventually became the name of the meat preparation that was threaded and cooked on the skewer itself.
Souvlaki likely started out as chunks of skewered and grilled lamb, but it also might feature chicken, beef, pork and shrimp, and sometimes combinations thereof. The usual accompanying sides are a lettuce salad with Feta cheese, Kalamata olives and a zesty, tangy oil-and-vinegar and oregano dressing. And don’t forget the characteristic double-down on carbs of fluffy rice and braised, seasoned potatoes.
Despite any variations, the combination of oregano, lemon juice and the searing caramelization of a hot grill and some tzatziki is what makes souvlaki deliciously comforting.
Here a few Waterloo Region restaurants serving souvlaki:
Souvlaki Flame, Kitchener
Three Kretans, Kitchener
Fireside Deli, Kitchener
Omega Family Restaurant, Kitchener
A Dish Called Wanda, Kitchener
The Daily Grill, Waterloo
Angel’s Diner Family Restaurant, Waterloo