Something interesting happens when you walk along Roncesvalles Avenue. It takes you back to another time when Polish and German immigrants made the street a place where they could share their culture with others.
Anna Pandor, who is of Polish descent, brought her passion for food and music to her new country, Canada. As a child, Chopin was the music of her life - everything about the great composer made her smile. So Chopin Restaurant, at 165 Roncesvalles Ave., is a tribute to Anna's two pass
The food at Chopin is prepared with the love and spirit of a committed nation of people who adore life. We started with the delicious borscht with homemade dumplings, then moved on to the handmade perogies, which are a specialty of the house. No two perogies will ever look alike in Anna's kitchen - the dough is delicious, and the filling is even better. There is a choice of cheddar cheese, potato, sauerkraut and, often, beef.
The herring at Chopin is served in a sauce of sour cream and fresh herbs. Herring is a saltwater fish found in the North Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and there are more than a hundred different varieties. I ordered a combination plate that was large enough to feed two people. The plate is also served with perogies, cabbage rolls and a potato pancake.
We also sampled several salads. The beet salad is wonderful, fresh and juicy, but also try the delicately chopped carrot salad and the coleslaw.
The food at Chopin is very reasonable, and the portions are more than ample. One of my friends had the breaded chicken, and the dish seemed to be bottomless. I give him credit though - while he couldn't finish his plate, he came as close as anyone can be expected.
There's also a big old piano at Chopin that's played by different performers, making the whole experience even more magical. As full as we were, we tried the crÃ¨pes after dinner and, while the piano soothed our ears, the crÃ¨pes serenaded our palates.
People come to Roncesvalles for a bit of Canada's multiculturalism, but they never seem to forget where they're from. For Anna Pandor, life is about making people feel good - diners at her restaurant seem to be transported to a simpler time and place. Chopin died in 1849, but his music lives on in so many people's hearts. When you eat at Chopin Restaurant, close your eyes for a moment and realize that what is great in life will always live on. Let the music never stop playing, no matter how far away it may seem.