Can I give a restaurant a 7 out of 5 rating? If I could, I would give it to the Konga Cafe.
It is located at the bottom of Caswell Hill in Saskatoon and features an amazing assortment of Caribbean food and fare. Being from Guyana, it feels like I have travelled back in time and can eat some of the food that I grew up with.
When we go to the restaurant, it doesn’t feel like we are going out to eat in an establishment but rather like we are going over to a friends place to eat their excellent home cooking. From the first time we went, we were made to feel at home at The Konga Cafe. It has a festive laid back atmosphere. Not only are you chatting with your server but chatting with other guests.
Of course the food is amazing. Caribbean Jerk Chicken, Curried Shrimp, Spicy Peanut Shrimp, and an amazing steak. If the kids just want a burger or chicken fingers, they have that as well. For dessert, you need to try the key lime pie.
The Konga Cafe has long been a favourite restaurant of both Jordon and I. It is a great enough experience that makes it perfect for a special date night out but it’s casual enough that we can take the kids and enjoy it as a family any evening. No wonder why it is so highly rated on TripAdvisor, Planet S Magazine, and Zomato.
204 Avenue H N
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Grand Trunk Bridge in Saskatoon as seen from the Queen Elizabeth II Power Station.
It’s Jordon’s 41st birthday today. To celebrate I got Mark and Oliver up early and we gave him his gift which was a Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG Macro Lens for his Pentax camera.
He will use it to shoot Mark’s football this fall with and maybe some wildlife. I hope he likes it. Of course Mark is super excited as it means that he gets Jordon’s older Sigma 70-210 lens. He sees it as a win-win.
Mark gave him a new Starbucks Travel Mug
Oliver gave him Saskatoon’s Electric Transit: the Story of Saskatoon’s Streetcars and Trolley Buses by Easten Wayman
It’s a used book from Westgate Books.
They also ordered Jordon a 65 litre backpack for our trip to Grey Owl’s cabin. It’s big enough that we can pack Oliver in it and have room to spare.
It is Jordon’s day off today. I took it off to hang out with him. After the boys were off to school, we went for coffee at City Perk and then grabbed lunch at the Spring Roll on 33rd. This afternoon we are off for a long walk as Jordon tried out his new lens and then to Broadcast House where Jordon does his 5:15 roundtable with David Kirton and Cynthia Block.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
Jordon is working today but I am not. He did get up early and gave me a new “Canada” spring jacket, a chocolate rose that I wanted and a chocolate rose (my favourite kind of rose). He also took me down to the CP Rail Bridge in Saskatoon and put a love lock on the stairwell. The wind was howling and it was unbelievably cold by the time that we climbed the three flights of stairs. By the time we got back to the car our ears and faces were frozen. I’m glad he did it. It was a great romantic gesture. He does this romance stuff well.
I got him a new hat by Under Armour. His old hat was stolen out of our Mazda. It’s not the same but it is close enough and I think he looks good in it.
Think of it as lingerie for bald guys. Before you comment that I am horrible at this Valentine’s Day stuff, I actually am and this is what Jordon wanted.
For tonight, we are ordering in. We have tried to go out many times over the years and the food sucks on Valentine’s Day in so many places. They seat us late, rush some food out, and rush us out. Not exactly romantic. There are better nights for us to go out and enjoy being a couple.
We aren’t sure where we are ordering in from yet but I could go for some pizza or Vietnamese food. After the kids go to bed, we’ll chill out over some gourmet coffee and music to chill out to. There is a reason why we have a 60 gig iTunes library.
I hope you are having a good day as well.
Oliver looking east as we explore the CP Rail Bridge (and I try out my Sigma 19mm f2.8 lens that Jordon gave me for Christmas).
I used to hate going here. The only time we went here was when The Rook & Raven, The Congress Beer House and State & Main were all packed. Each time I regretted it.
Then things started to turn around. They changed the seating arrangements. The food improved to the point where it was edible. There seemed to be a better attitude by the serving staff. Instead of just having a wide selection of beer, they understood that a pub needs more than that, it needs to be a place where people enjoying going to.
They now have several good things on the menu from some excellent fries to some kind of nacho thing they do with fries instead of chips. It’s pretty incredible.
There are good sandwiches and wraps as well. The atmosphere has changed and the serving staff is now pleasant and fun to talk with.
There is a little less seating now then there was. It makes the place more open, relaxing and more flexible as it is a great place for game nights, poetry slams, or as a place for a big gathering.
Normally places that suck don’t turn themselves around but The Wood’s Alehouse has and in the process has made a lot of us big fans.
The Wood’s Alehouse
148 2nd Ave North
Saskatoon, SK S7K2B2
I have been eating at Alexander’s Restaurant for 20 years and it has remained one of my favourite restaurants from the first time I entered the restaurant. Alexander’s manages to keep what is good while updating and reinventing itself in areas that need improvement like almost no other restaurant I have ever seen.
Long time favourite meals have been the nachos, quesadillas, excellent burgers, sandwiches, and of course their desserts. Another staple of the Alexander’s dining experience has been excellent service which remains the same no matter how many waitresses and waiters come and go.
Over two decades, the restaurant has changed. Five or six years ago this would have been a different review as the quality of even the appetizers varied from visit to visit. Over the last couple of years the consistency of the food has returned which is what you want from a restaurant which serves up some excellent comfort food.
The prices is right, the food is good, and it is fun to go back to a place that brings me back to my college days while still remaining pristine and current. I love it.
Alexander’s Restaurant & Bar
414 Cumberland Avenue North
I joined Jordon and a small group of people at Bottega Trattoria last night for dinner and a party. It was my first time in the restaurant and we were seated in the lounge which features a fantastic garage door to let in the sights, sounds, and ambience of 2nd Avenue. Sadly for all of Saskatoon, it was -30 last night and that door was securely closed.
Service was great. Our server was busy (it was a Friday night) but she took care of our group well and was extremely pleasant, even as the night wore on. She brought us out their amazing fresh bread and garlic butter, got our drinks and was around when we needed her but not so much where it was weird. I liked her.
After having some of the bread, they brought out our appetizers where two wrongs made a right. Jordon and I declined to order an appetizer and regretted it when they came out. Luckily there was an ordering mistake and they had an extra order of deep fried mozzarella risotto balls so we split it. It was great.
I ordered their lobster ravioli and had no regrets. The portion size was good and it was extremely tasty. Jordon had a 12 tenderloin steak cooked medium rare. Another member of his party had the same steak cooked medium rare and it was cooked far better than Jordon’s which was over cooked. Same steak. Ordered at the same time. One was overcooked. Not sure how that happens. Jordon ate it and as he said, “it was a good steak cooked medium”. The steak was served on a cutting board (I love that idea) and had a healthy side of assorted vegetables.
I liked the restaurant and our dinner. Jordon and I will return but I really wanted to like it more which seems to be a common sentiment of UrbanSpoon reviewers and friends who have gone there. It seems so close to being amazing…
120 2 Ave N
Saskatoon, SK S7K2B2
One of my favourite pubs in Saskatoon has been The Rook & Raven. It offers excellent pub fare at a decent price with a great atmosphere. It was one of the best places to go in Saskatoon.
Over the years a couple of great meals have stood out. One is their legendary Mac & Cheese which has drawn me back for years. The other is their excellent appetizers which include great wings and cauliflower fritters.
The lunch menu also includes their famous pizza lunch special, an excellent grilled cheese sandwich and decent burger. The food and atmosphere was so good that we had anniversary dinners there, celebrated birthdays and special events, and was a great place to get together with friends.
The one thing that has changed over the years has been what once was great service has become really inconsistent. We were recently there with friends and the wings were undercooked to the point of being unsafe. The waitress took them away, never replaced them and we were still charged. Another time Jordon planned on leaving a cash tip but was rudely called out by the waitress for not tipping her with the debit machine.
One other thing that has changed is that while it is a pub where people go to talk, later at night the music starts to get really loud which kind of defeats the purpose of going to a pub.
The other big thing that changed with the Rook was the opening of The Congress Beer House across the street. Not only is the food better at The Congress but the service is noticeably better.
The Rook & Raven used to be amazing. It’s still good but no longer the best pub to go for a drink downtown. It’s too bad as it used to be my favourite spot in Saskatoon.
The Rook and Raven
154 2nd Ave South