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Roti at Jardin du Cari

Posted by Emily / September 20, 2007

Do restaurants have personalities? It may sound odd, but you can’t deny that some restaurants have a certain je ne sais quoi that makes them instantly likable. And that special something isn’t always food. A restaurant can serve the best food in the world and still not have half the personality of Jardin du Cari, a tiny Guyanese eatery on St. Viateur.

I don’t know how anyone could pass by Jardin du Cari and not stop to peak inside. The place is positively packed with Guyanese trinkets and memorabilia. To the left of the entrance, a large Guyanese flag hangs on the wall. A cluster of photographs of Guyanese landscapes hangs across from a sparkly map of Guyana. On the back wall, a pantheon of Hindu gods on small postcards watches over the cash register.

The main courses on the menu were divided into roti, curry, and fried rice. I’d never had roti before, so I didn’t really know what to expect when I ordered it with goat meat and pumpkin. My roti was a large warm meat pocket wrapped in what looked like paratha. I took one bite and…oh my goodness. The bread was a little thinner than paratha, but just as soft and moist. The meat was perfectly tender and the spices were peppery with a taste of cumin. Soft chunks of pumpkin added a little sweetness to the savory meat.

But I soon had to take Jardin du Cari off of the pedestal I’d put it on after that roti. On my second trip to the restaurant, my friend and I both ordered the fried rice. Big mistake. I had assumed that there would be something uniquely Guyanese about the fried rice, but if there was, it wasn’t obvious to the untrained palate. The rice wasn’t bad, it was just boring.

I returned a week later with the same friend, hoping to find another dish as good as the roti. We decided to share the chickpea and potato curry and the goat curry. As its name implies, Jardin du Cari can definitely make a decent curry. They both had a peppery taste that made them different from Thai or Indian curries, and they were very thick and tasty.

Still, the curries didn’t compare to the outstanding roti I had my first time there. But that’s okay. With fast service, a fun ambiance and prices under $8.00, one spectacular dish is more than I’d hope for. Even if the food was just okay, I’d still enjoy going to Jardin du Cari. The place has got character.


Jardin du Cari
21 St. Viateur West



Fairfax / September 21, 2007 at 01:16 pm
I agree Emily, I've always found this place charming. And the rotis are phenomenal... in fact, I've never ordered anything else, and your review makes me glad of that.

Note that some of their appetizers are quite good too, though... fried plantains are a favourite of mine.
Pierre Phaneuf / September 23, 2007 at 06:20 pm
<em>Peek</em> inside, not <em>peak</em> inside.

Signed, a grammar freak. ;-)
french panic / September 25, 2007 at 12:09 pm
Pierre - pointing out a spelling error makes you a spelling freak, not a grammar freak.

a grammar AND spelling AND roti freak

Jardin du cari's appetizers are fantastic, as is the soup. As is the staff. As is the delicious garlic-intense dressing on their salads. And the ginger beer goes down well with a roti.
Claire / September 30, 2007 at 04:50 am
The potato balls are the most delicious things! Have some as an appetizer before your roti. And the ginger beer is a MUST! It's so spicy and delicious. I basically adore this place.
jesse hicks / October 10, 2008 at 05:25 am
i found this review helping
i love hte rotis and currys
the fried rice, yes is ok, even if it is bad this is still my favourite restaurant
i love it here and the staff always call me "friend" or "buddy"
this is hands down MY favourite i love goat curry with pumpkin
Lorenzo / February 4, 2015 at 03:30 am
Oooh .... I love paratha. Ate quite a lot this trip I went back. Just so good with curry, eilpcsaely with dhal curry or lamb curry. Have tried the instant one. I think it can't be compared to the freshly made ones.
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