One of our favorite things to do in the world is to dine out. There are many reasons for this beyond just a deep love of gluttony- trying new things, leaving the house and getting dressed up, *no dishes* and gettin’ tipsy on fancy drinks, among other things. It’s kind of dumb really, we work our asses off making food, which we sell-to buy different food because we don’t want to make any more food. On the upside, now that we work in the business we get to call it “market research”, and dine out as part of our job-specifically to see what others are doing really well, where they could definitely be stronger, and where there are holes in the market that we could possibly design a product or service to fill. All of this to say, I feel like we have pretty well developed palates, high standards (with the exceptions of the really, really low standards parents sometimes have to have-toast hovering over a sink specifically) and have some street cred when it comes to giving you recommendations on where to have a lovely and delicious dining experience. I am proud to say we are Kingston’s unofficial restaurant guides and are quite often asked where to go and what to have. While I hope someday Knifey Spooney will be able to meet all of your needs- from a fancy corporate dinner, to a first date, to a tasty and well priced lunch to a cozy Saturday morning brunch-right now you can only have us Sunday mornings at the Memorial Center Farmer’s Market and for special events. In the mean time, you’re hungry and we have so many fellow local businesses that we want you to fall in love with too. Here’s what made our grade:
Best For Lunch: *Tie*
What to get: The chana masala lunch with samosas on top, spicy if you dare. It is truly delightful and the perfect amount of food. For those with a bigger appetite, the lentil soup is a great starter. We don’t drink soda very often, but for some reason a coke is the perfect accompaniment to this spicy lunch, so if you’re up for it-indulge. One of the reasons we love coming here is the lovely family that run it. We hope you’ll love them too.
Sally’s Roti Shop
What to get: Double double. You need to get the doubles, and you should get two. Chickpea curry in between two fluffy pancake type deals, you can get a sweet tamarind sauce and a *spicy* fresh green sauce. We also like to split a chickpea roti, but you have lots of other plant based options for inside it-if the chickpea on chickpea lunch might be too much for you. Make sure to eat it with those sauces, and a big portion of crunchy coleslaw.
What to get: The foccacia sandwich with veggies (no cheese). The bread is so fresh it’s often still warm-all fluffy and oily, then smeared with a pickley tapenade, mustard and crispy lettuce. It’s sublime and big as a house- for only $6. Also found there, local ingredients and exciting imports to make beautiful Italian and Mediterranean foods at home. Bring cash, as it’s all they’ll take.
Best For A Night Out:
What to get: Tango has blessed us with a full vegan menu. We always have a hell of a time narrowing it down, and since Tango is a tapas restaurant it’s very easy to go overboard (that is if you believe in such things). Our current favorites: the Turkish Bruschetta with walnuts and pomegranate molasses, the smokey grilled eggplant with mint and pomegranate seeds, the avocado tartare with grilled corn and the brussel sprouts caramelized and perfectly accompanied. Everything is beautifully plated, perfect for sharing and the atmosphere is in my opinion the sexiest in town. Just try not to get laid.
Best Burrito/Drunk Food:
What to get: The vegan midnight special. I’m not sure if it’s because nothing taste as f*cking good at 12 am as a burrito, that the owner is so wonderful and friendly, or the fact that it’s the literal definition of “hole in the wall charm” but we *love* this damn take out joint. Here’s how you get it- on a white tortilla, vegan, spicy (if you can handle it). The beans are smokey magic, the homemade hot sauce will blast your face off, the crisp iceberg and cool avocado slow down the heat. Wrap it with seared onions and peppers and you have the best burrito in Kingston. Fight me.
What to get: I’m so happy that Pan Chancho has upped their vegan game. Nothing makes me angrier than salad for breakfast, and for a long time, that was the option. Now though, they have that *damn delightful* Banh Xeo and it truly is one of the most delicious things I can think to eat. A fluffy crepe/omelette type business, rich and coconuty. Filled with so many crunchy vegetables and edamame and an incredible umami sauce that comes on the side to pour on top. Have it with freshly squeezed orange or grapefruit juice, and finish it with a deep and intensely delicious dark chocolate fudge square with pistachios and cranberries. If you eat it in house, you’ll also get berry coulis, which definitely takes up. Note: I believe it’s only available after 11 on weekdays, and this has broken my heart many times before-so don’t hurry out of bed. If you can’t wait until 11, the Southwest scramble wrap is a great second best.
The Industry Darling:
What to get: Chez Piggy is a Kingston institution, and gets it’s incredible table bread from it’s sister restaurant/bakery-Pan Chancho. Ask for it with balsamic and some olive oil, and try not to fill up before your appetizer even gets there. I’m going to recommend coming in for dinner, specifically because you can’t get the jackfruit crab cakes before 5 pm. (Again, another first world problem type heartbreak) Folks, if I was pressed to pick my one favorite thing to eat in this city, this would be it. They are simply perfect, and the house made cashew cheese on the bottom really makes the dish. My favorite part is that they don’t skip the finishing touches because it’s vegan. If you get nothing else on this list, get this. Chez Piggy also has two really fantastic plant based entrees- a Korean gochugaru fried tofu dish, full of kimchi and a variety of crunchy and salty flavors. Also delicious is the Chimmichuri cauliflower steak and lime sweet potatoes with black beans. Like where even do we get the luxury of indecision on which entree to pick?
So now I’m hungry, and hope you are too. What needs to go on our next list? What is your favorite place to go in YGK?