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Restaurants Reviews and Such

Oakwood Cafe – 600 Osborne St.

Oakwood Cafe on Osborne Street falls into that category of a place that I visited before I started blogging, but haven’t visited since.

A cup of black coffee from Oakwood Cafe.
On my latest trip I enjoyed a cup of black coffee with my meal at the Oakwood

The South Osborne neighbourhood is one that has transformed a lot over the last 20 years. Much like the east end of Corydon Ave. coffee shops, cafes, and restaurants, have sprouted up along this street.

Oakwood Cafe is one of the flagship restaurants of this renaissance. It began as a place called Samantha’s, but has existed as the Oakwood for about 30 years. the current owner has been running the place since 2016.

Located in a strip mall, one of the first things you notice when you walk in is that they Oakwood Cafe features plastic sheeting between the booth along both walls in the front of the cafe. Of the various things restaurants do to try and prevent the spread of Covid, this is one I really like. With the front of the restaurant facing Osborne, there are big windows that let in a lot of natural light.

Oakwood Cafe Lunches

Oakwood Cafe Chicken and Vegetable Bowl.
A chicken bowl meal from Oakwood Cafe.

My first visit to Oakwood Cafe was on a hot, summer day. It was also a late lunch early supper kind of day. Feeling that hot weather and heavy food would leave me regretting any order, I decided on one the salads. I added the chicken to make it more of a full meal.

Cold white wine
A cold white wine on a hot day at the Oakwood Cafe.

The salad really hit the spot. There was a good variety of textures and flavours, and it was not over dressed. I also added a glass of  white wine. It was well chilled, and along with plenty of cold water, helped me cool off on a hot day.

Oakwood Cafe Brisket and Mash
The Oakwood Cafe does a great job with simple fare like this Brisket and Mash dish.

On my most recent visit, I went with some good, solid home-style cooking. This time around I ordered the Brisket and Mash dish. There is nothing particularly fancy about this dish. What I like is that it is good quality food, that I could make at home, but which would take a fair deal of time and effort.

At Oakwood Cafe, the dish has been done really well. The brisket is fork tender. The cabbage has just the right amount of crispness to it. Finally there is plenty of gravy to go with the mashed potatoes.

Despite what is quite a bit of food, the dish wasn’t heavy. In fact, I decided to order dessert afterwards. That was a chocolate brownie with a bit of ice cream on the side.

brownie and Ice Cream
This brownie and ice cream makes a satisfying, yet surprisingly light dessert.

I really like this brownie. It is crispy on the outside, with a gooey inside. It feels substantial, yet at the same time doesn’t leave you feeling overly full.

The service here is very good. I particularly noticed it on my most recent visit. My server gave me time to make up my mind. My order was taken promptly when I was ready. Plus, the server came by on more than one occasion to make sure that both my water and my coffee were looked after.

Take Out Meals

One of the things I noticed when I visited earlier was the Oakwood Cafe has a freezer featuring meals-to-go. I’ve purchase such meals from X-Cues and Mottola Grocery, and really enjoyed them. As I left from that visit, I took a couple of them home to enjoy at my leisure.

My Oakwood Cafe choices were a Shepherd’s Pie and a Mac N Cheese. Each of them cooked up really well. They did me two meals each(but could easily serve 4 with a salad on the side).

I never know when I will end up revisiting a place, so I don’t want to say that I am certain to get up to Oakwood Cafe again. However, I can say that each of the dishes that I ordered was one that I would be more than happy to order again.

By Donald McKenzie

Anglican priest, and food blogger. This blog is focused on Food. It will feature reviews of places to eat books, and the odd recipe. I also write about what it means to gather together around food.