Zula Kitchen and Wine Bar is advertised as Mediterranean cuisine. At first I didn’t know what this entailed. Did it mean Greek? Turkish? Italian? The answer is yes to all of those options, and more.
My family and I chose Zula for my mom’s birthday dinner, as my parents had drinks there before and this time wanted to try out the food. Wanting to explore the delights of Mediterranean cuisine and what it has to offer, how could I refuse?
Zula is located in West Glenora, on the corner of 102 Ave. and 142 St. The street parking is minimal, but there is a parkade that allows two free hours of parking.
The dining room of the restaurant was a smaller space, but this made for an intimate atmosphere. We sat at a four-top, which was already cluttered with wine glasses, napkins, multiple utensils, four food menus, and a lofty cocktail menu, so the amount of things on the table felt a tad cluttery.
The walls were a deep sage green, with numerous plants hanging from platforms on the ceiling. The green was balanced by medium chestnut-brown tables. The music was easy-listening, and was at a decent volume to maintain a conversation with everyone at the table.
We started off with drinks – although it took a few minutes for us to decide because of the seemingly endless options on the menu (with cocktail prices ranging from $15-$19). As well, I liked how they had more than two fruity drink options. My drink, the Sunset Sangria, was refreshing with its blend of citrus flavours and white wine. My dad opted for his usual Negroni, to which I declined his offer for me to have a sip – I try not to drink things that taste like gasoline. I think I’ll stick to my sangria.
For food we started off with two appetizers (with the selection ranging from $9-$24). Dining with four people and opting to share can be challenging, since everyone can have different tastes. While I wouldn’t have chosen some of the choices, they were still delicious. There was an assortment of appetizers, with everything from Warm Feta Stuffed Apricots to Wagyu Meatballs to Tuna Tartar. They had a generous amount of vegetarian options that I usually don’t see on other menus.
Out of the two appetizers we ordered, the Sujuk Beef Sausage with Hummus was my favourite: it came with baguette slices, hummus, and sausage, all meant to be eaten together. The sausage was the perfect amount of spicy and tasted almost like chorizo (with more of a barbeque flavour). The hummus was plain, but the oil in it made it smooth, which was delicious to me. The other appetizer was the Grilled Tiger Prawns: feta stuffed mushrooms topped with grilled tiger prawns, and a tomato basil sauce. Since I am not a fan of mushrooms, I ended up scooping the feta out of the mushroom shell to spread on my prawn. It was tasty nonetheless.
For the main portions, there were several options; however these were a bit on the pricier side, with the cheapest option being $25, and the most expensive at $90. We looked over the choices including the Rack of lamb, Braised Short Rib, Grilled Octopus, Kebab Board, and even Sablefish, before ultimately landing on the Saffron Risotto. To add to it, we decided to pair it with the White Bean Salad, which had simple ingredients like tomatoes, red onions, lettuce, and beans. This balanced out the garlic-taste of the appetizers from earlier, and was a lighter option compared to the second main portion, the Saffron Risotto–which was mouthwatering in comparison. It was delicately fluffy and the creamy tomato sauce made it smooth and added a quaint flavourful touch. The large chunks of parmesan cheese on top were the perfect addition.
The hospitality of the staff was warm and welcoming. During our experience our server went above and beyond multiple times. When the lights were continuously flickering, he immediately went to dim them so it wouldn’t be as harsh. When my dad was hesitant about ordering the negroni because of the type of gin it had, the waiter offered to make it for him with one that was “less-flowery” – which my dad happily accepted. At one point, my mom was having trouble deciding which white wine to get, and the server asked her questions to help narrow down the decision. He even brought out three options to try, and they were generously large samples that all four of us could test too!
Even though our bellies were full and our cravings were satisfied, we had to end the evening with dessert. We went with the Chocolate Mousse – and it did not disappoint. The mousse was cool and fairly dense. The strawberry mint compote on top balanced out the richness of the chocolate. In a mere eight or so spoonfuls, the bowl was clean.
Zula’s atmosphere was relaxing and the staff made it both welcoming and enjoyable. The food was simple, but the combination of ingredients made it packed with flavour. It is the perfect location for a quiet, sophisticated night out. The prices are slightly upscale, but for a restaurant on the fancier side, they are reasonable. I’ll definitely be back to devour that Saffron Risotto.