There is plenty to see and eat in New Westminster, and you can take yourself on a food crawl that will tempt your tastebuds from Trinidad to Mexico with a few stops in between, without having to move more than a few blocks along the same street.
Zero in on 12th Street between London Street and Seventh Avenue, and you can put together a DIY food feast on foot (or wheels) that will fill you up and possibly even get you connected with some cuisines you haven’t tried before.
While there are quite a few spots to eat on this particular stretch of 12th, we’ve singled out four of the best standouts–it’s up to you if you want to add on a slice of pizza, a donair, or some Chinese food while you’re at it.
Here are four must-try stops on a self-guided food crawl along New Westminster’s 12th Street.
Kamini’s is a perfect spot to kick off a day of great eats on 12th Street. This corner spot has become a real local favourite since they opened up; it’s where folks from around the neighbourhood know they can get a great cup of tea or coffee, a sweet treat, or even a home-style meal.
The storefront is an extension of Kamini’s catering operation, and while you might not have an event you need to book them for, they run a pre-made meal program that solves the enduring “what’s for dinner” dilemma for many area families who sign up and come by to pick up their meals for four of dishes like hearty lasagna, Butter Chicken, or Shepherd’s Pie.
For those with a sweet tooth, Kamini’s is known most for their creamy New York-style cheesecakes, which come in a range of flavours, like cappucino or chocolate, or topped with berries. They’ve got plenty of other treats, like fresh muffins, cookies, or scones, too, or their signature cinnamon rolls.
Kamini’s is a daytime only spot, though, with a focus on healthy breakfasts and lunches in the cafe–in addition to helping you get dinner on the table at home. Look for a few egg dishes to get your day going, then salads, sandwiches, and entrees come lunchtime.
Kamini’s Corner Cafe is open Tuesday through Friday from 9 am to 4 pm, and Saturday from 9:30 am to 3 pm.
Address: 909 12th Street, New Westminster
If you’re wondering what a Mexican deli is, or where the cases of meat and cheese are inside Ole Ole, it helps to know this longstanding restaurant’s back story. Originally hailing from Michoacan and Mexico City, Ole Ole owner Raul Senties evolved the spot from being more of a specialty shop carrying things like chorizo and other Mexican groceries to being a comfy neighbourhood restaurant.
Making familiar Mexican fare using ingredients and methods from his own experiences in his native country, Senties has been feeding New Westminster for decades now. You’ll find all the hits here, from their salads and share-ables (hello, nachos!) to fried delights like flautas and classics like chile relleno and enchiladas. And tacos, tamales, tostadas, tortas, and much, much more.
One of Ole Ole’s signature eats are their Dobladas, which are basically corn tortillas stuffed with chicken, beef, and pork. They come three to an order and are topped with salsa, pickled onion, and a bit of cheese for a perfect snack or opening to a bigger Mexican feast. Senties says he learned how to make these from a Salvadoran woman. Wash it down with a creamy horchata or a sweet Mexican soda pop, and save room for dessert; they’ve got fried bananas or flan, or buñuelos (fried tortillas with ice cream and sweet syrup).
Ole Ole Mexican Deli is open Monday through Friday from noon to 9 pm and Saturdays from 4 to 9 pm.
Address: 831 12th Street, New Westminster
One of the best places your tastebuds can take you on this strip of 12th Street is the family-run and incredibly affordable Trinidadian spot, D Roti Shak. This spot is a hit both for people familiar with Caribbean cuisine and those who are new to island eats, and it’s one of only a handful of eateries that offers this kind of food in Metro Van.
Appetizers include Doubles, a sandwich-like dish of bara flatbread rounds, curried chickpeas, and a healthy dose of spicy yellow curry and sweet tamarind sauce, Aloo Pie, a fried dumpling dish traditionally stuffed with spiced potatoes and veggies, and Curry Mango.
A must-try appy is the Phulourie, a dish of fried, round spicy fritter-like dough balls made from split pea flour and served with tamarind chutney. These babies are only $2.67 for 6 and $5.33 for a dozen.
For mains D Roti offers two popular styles of roti: Dhalphurie and Buss Up Shot (AKA Paratha Roti). These dishes come in hefty portions and cost anywhere from $9-$13 depending on your choice of protein: chicken, beef, goat, shrimp, and vegetable. They’ve got curries, and rotating specials, too, depending on how much of a Trinidadian feast you’re up for.
Pair your meal with something unique to sip on. Patrons can enjoy beverages such as Rubicon sparkling mango, and authentic Caribbean drinks like Peanut Punch (typically made with peanut butter, milk, sugar and spices), and Sorrel, a twist on iced tea which is made from flowers and cinnamon and traditionally enjoyed during the Christmas season.
D Roti Shak is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 am to 6 pm.
Address: 808 12th Street, New Westminster
Wild Thyme takes its name from one of its star ingredients, the spice mixture za’atar. Wild thyme is found throughout the Middle East, and one loose way to interpret the core of za’atar is to translate it as “wild thyme.”
Their house flatbreads are Wild Thyme’s calling card, and come in all sorts of versions; get one topped simply in a white Armenian-style cheese, or go for straight za’atar spread all over.
If you’re a carnivore, you can tuck into hearty dishes of saffron rice with chicken, or kafta (meat patties) and all the trimmings, including tahini, a show-stopping puffed up pita, salad, and heaps of garlicky sauce.
Vegetarians will have an easy time filling up here, thanks to the abundance of options from flatbreads to soulful sides, like a traditional Fattoush salad (veggies and greens), Tabbouleh (an herb-based salad), and familiar dips like hummus and baba ganouj (eggplant dip). You can find more savoury heaven in protein-packed dishes like lentils, chickpeas, or beans stewed and topped with lots of lemon juice and olive oil.
Wild Thyme is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 am to 10 pm.
Address: 705 12th Street, New Westminster
With files from Hanna McLean