BerMax Caffé & Bistro
Neighbourhood: River Heights
Address: 4-1800 Corydon Ave
While the Corydon strip is lively as ever, businesses are blooming further West. One of the newest additions to the food and retail rich area is BerMax. With a mash-up of certified kosher and authentically Italian eats, this eatery pays tribute to the culinary cultures that populate River Heights.
Maxim Berent, half of the mother-son team operating the bistro, is responsible for the space’s swank design, from the restroom faucets to the wall-length portraits of Italian street scenes. The space is light, modern, and chic, gleaming with custom countertops, a centerpiece chandelier and hanging light fixtures.
This no-holds-barred approach shines through in the menu as well, which, despite the eatery’s size, lists an impressive selection of crepes, sandwiches, soups, salads, pasta and pizza. This expansiveness may cause a double take after dinner with the realization you’ve been following a de facto pescatarian diet. Veggie-friendly entrées incorporate salmon or tuna, but steer clear of non-kosher mammals. A large crepe with pink smoked salmon peeking through its warm folds, layered with creamy goat cheese and a little bite from red onion, will satisfy the most beef-ardent diners.
BerMax excels with Italian fare, like caprese salad, discs of squishy mozza and plump tomatoes sprinkled with (dried, unfortunately) basil and fruity olive oil. Pizzas with charred, bubbly crusts are a perfect stand-in for airfare to Italy, with classics like Margherita served alongside rarer fare.
The shakshuka variety plays on the flavours of the Middle Eastern breakfast staple: diced tomato, rosemary, and a smattering of feta and parsley, topped off with two baked eggs. Other Israel-influenced menu items include a fresh mint-spiked chopped salad of vegetables, and the Jerusalem salad, which adds on feta, tuna, eggs, and pickles to greens.
Piles of buttery pastries are available at the counter, as are drinks proudly made with illy espresso, Italy’s prize bean. The slick coffee bar, complete with a shining chrome mammoth of an espresso maker, is helmed by baristas carefully swirling latte art rosettes on drinks in trendy glassware. Lingering with an herby, sweet lavender mint latte seems an apt metaphor for this beautiful and health-conscious bistro that somehow adds up to more than the sum of its parts.
BerMax Caffe & Bistro is open Mon-Thu 8 am-9 pm, Fri 8 am-3:30 pm, and Sun 9 am-9 pm.
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