Review: Kozak Ukrainian Restaurant Cafe

Your home for take away Ukrainian food and baked goods

Across the street from Di Beppe sits a place that I’m lucky wasn’t around for much of the time I lived in Chinatown, or I’d have a much lighter bank account and a bigger waistline. 

Kozak is a Ukrainian restaurant serving up authentic and creative national dishes. But next to it is the cafe. And what a cafe it is.

Tiny in comparison to the rest of the cafes, this is a grab-and-go spot packed like sardines with every type of Ukrainian takeaway food you can imagine.

Borscht? Check. Perogies. Oh yeah, with meat, potato and other flavours. Cabbage rolls. Yup. Babka? Tak (Ukrainian for yes).

Kozak Ukrainian Restauarant babka

Kozak Ukrainian Restauarant white chocolate babka and poppy seed loaf. Vancity Lookout/Geoff Sharpe

Beyond just the takeaway food, the real treat is the, well, treats. An in-house bakery churns out what has to be a top babka ($5.35, or $28.50 for the entire loaf) in the city, in traditional chocolate and less traditional white chocolate. Layer upon layer of rich bread, sweet chocolate and crispy outer dough make it a meal by itself. Come hungry, leave full. 

For a lighter treat, the wishnya, or sour cherry bun ($5.75), has a light sweetness with the exploding sourness of the cherry inside. Rum babas ($6.75), artfully constructed sloyka fruit danish ($5.75) and traditional poppy seed buns ($5.75) round out just some of what you can take home. 

  • They also have square croissants. I consider them an online fad, so I’ll refrain from sharing them. But if that

I’ve been to quite a few bakeries, and Kozak’s is a welcome change from the normal French varieties. You can also pick up loaves of bread, like buckwheat ($9.50), rye ($9.95) and Ukrainian rye ($13.95) sourdoughs. Creativity is on display here. 

With three locations throughout Metro Vancouver, Kozak is not the small local place it once was, but that hasn’t affected the quality of its cafe food or the friendliness of the staff. 

With a sit-down restaurant, take-away, along with all the items listed above available for delivery, there’s no excuse not to enjoy some Ukrainian food.