Voted one of the best breakfasts by Esquire (slide 37), lauded by LaBan and others, I've heard only great things about Kanella, the bright blue BYOB on the corner of 10th and Spruce specializing in authentic food from Cypress. As with most restaurants, even with praise, it can take a while for me to visit.
I shouldn't have waited so long to visit Kanella. The food is simple, but stunningly fresh and flavorful.
Reservations are recommend, as the rest of the city is already hip to the heavenly food flowing from Kanella's kitchen. We went for a packed weekend brunch, and even with a reservation we had to wait about fifteen minutes. Not bad considering some weekend brunch waits.
Asterisks are next to menu items that can be made vegetarian, but if you see a dish without an asterisk that piques your interest and seems like an easy dish to omit meat (don't make the kitchen staff crazy, y'all), just ask. That's how we ended up with the Cypress Breakfast.
Each componet of the Cypress Breakfast is so simple, but combined makes for a lovely meal: salty and crispy fried Halloumi, whole grain bread, eggs fried in olive oil and herbs, and grilled tomato and fresh vegetables standing in for lounza (ham). A little bit of everything that is good.
The Malohwa breakfast plate stars a Yemenese pan-fried buttery puff pasty accompanied by the thickest Greek yogurt you've ever had, a spicy tomato and onion salad, and a boiled egg. It doesn't look like much, but the flavors are fabulous.
To end breakfast, we got a bowl of warm rice pudding sparingly sweetened, gently spiced with cinnamon and cardamom, and topped with a candied and spiced orange slice. Perfection.
Three veteran diners from New York City were also at our table and their undocumented meat dishes also received the highest of praises.
Simple. Fresh. Flavorful. Isn't it crazy that food so basic can knock your socks off? Less is more.
1001 Spruce St., Philadelphia, PA 19107
Breakfast/Lunch: Thurs & Fri, 11:30am-3pm; Sat & Sun, 10am-3pm
Dinner: Tues-Thurs, 5-10pm; Fri & Sat, 5-10:30pm