Closed down restaurants, Richmond
Restaurant Name: Little Europa (closed: summer, 2005)
Little Europa was the only Russian restaurant in Richmond. It was located in the Gayton Crossing shopping centre in the West End. Despite being located in a shopping centre, you felt like you were in Russia from the moment you entered the door. The menu offered authentic Russian fare, even including the beverages. On the far wall was a mural of what must be a view from a dacha on the Crimean Peninsula. Russian music is played over the loudspeakers and there is live entertainment at the weekend. The service was so attentive, it was almost like Lee and I were the only ones there. In fact, that was the problem. We were almost the only ones there one Tuesday night in March, 2005 and it closed several months later.
Favourite Dish: The native Russian waitress was especially impressed that I ordered the kvas, a traditional Russian drink made with lemons and (sometimes stale) rye bread. That was an intriguing combination. It was so good I ordered a refill. For an appetizer, my friend and I shared beef piroghkis which are hot puff pastries stuffed with this and several other things. For the entree, I had golubsy which is minced beef, rice, onions and cilantro rolled in a cabbage leaf. I loved everything from beginning to end. The food was great and I felt like I was in Russia.
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Restaurant Name: Brasilian Cafe (closed: late 2005)
Ironically enough, this short-lived Brazilian restaurant was located cattywampus from the J.E.B. Stuart statue on Monument Avenue. Maciek, Urszula, and I discovered this place quite by accident in October, 2004. We had intended on taking supper that night at La Casita Mexican restaurant. It was Urszula who discovered it on the walk to the Jefferson Hotel when she had to use the loo. We decided on the way back that it might be convenient for us to give it a try. For awhile, we were the only ones there, but then it was a Wednesday night. I'm glad we did. The food was superb and so was the service.
Favourite Dish: Maciek and I had the Bife Acebolado (steak with onions, for those from Roxboro) with black beans and rice. Urszula had some beef with either white cheese or sauce served with tortillas. The waiter (and owner) is a native Brazilian and I ordered in Portuguese. Maciek, Urszula, and I had guaraná to drink. Several months later, my buddy Lee and I went back for some Brazilian pizza. The owner was glad to see me again. This pizza, the Florianópolis, has cheese, tomatoes, onions, and peppers. Normally, it comes with pineapple, but we asked them to leave it off and they were glad to do it. They also gave us some hearts of palm just because Lee asked what they were. The owner said we would never be able to eat the whole large pizza ourselves, but we did. I can't understand why it closed down. It had a prime location and it served good food with typical Brazilian hospitality. It is not because Richmond is not ready for international cuisine because many such restaurants survive.
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