PtboCanada Restaurant Review: Karma's Cafe

Karma’s Cafe
217 Hunter Street West
(Reservations Recommended)

Karma's is one of my favourite restaurants in the city and best for authentic Tibetan, Malaysian and Southeast Asian cuisine. I love it for its vibrant flavours and unpretentious atmosphere.

Its walls are uncluttered, the tables free of unnecessary cutlery or condiments, the air calm and peaceful, and the food sings. Every bite fills your mouth with tastes that burst with authentic flavours of lands far away.

In the heart of Peterborough’s restaurant district, Karma's has been a fixture for many years and the most impressive quality about this establishment is the consistency of its food. One of the biggest compliments owner Karma has received in the history of the restaurant was bestowed upon him during his appearance on Restaurant Makeover—the celebrity chef on the show didn't change a single item on the menu, and in fact, stated that Karma actually taught him a thing or two.
We go to Karma’s a few times a month.  Tonight we bring a friend from out of town. As always, we dive into Karma’s Platter—a platter of each of the appetizers.

We all get to savour chicken satay with its succulent grilled chicken and a tangy, mildly spicy peanut sauce, light and crispy Thai spring rolls stuffed with chicken, glass noodles, cabbage, cloud ear mushrooms, cilantro and green onion that are thankfully in no way greasy. We also sample fried momos—dumplings filled with ground steak, cilantro and onions, cold rice paper salad rolls overflowing with fresh green mango, papaya and herbs, lemon garlic shrimp wraps with a sweet chili sauce, Bami–Hapjes—noodle and vegetable patties and Nasi–Hapjes, which are rice and vegetable patties served with a smooth tamarind sauce. Each dish offers a distinct signature and each mouthful is alive with texture and freshness.
Karma's specializes in exotic noodle dishes, offering a wide array of tastes to suite any craving: sweet, spicy, tangy, citrusy, smooth, and crunchy heaped on plates garnished with fresh vegetables. Or treat your taste buds to one of Karma's delicate curries served with fragrant steamed rice. All the food is fresh, healthy and beautifully presented, and we marvel at the impact it has on our soul as the tastes linger on our palette and in our memories for days. As I write this review, I am hungry all over again and long for our next visit to Karma's Cafe.

—reviewed by PtboCanada's food writer Tammy Simon

(Other reviews by Tammy Simon: Brio Gusto; Electric City Gardens; Elements)

Tip us at Follow us on Twitter @Ptbo_Canada.

PtboCanada Restaurant Review: Elements

It’s a warm Friday evening and we find ourselves on the patio of Elements with some good friends for dinner. The patio is lively, yet very comfortable with soft lighting and comfortable seating.
Read More

PtboCanada Restaurant Review: Brio Gusto

Brio GustoThe perfect place to spend a soggy, gloomy Tuesday evening is in a warm, inviting, gourmet pub, so we head out to meet a friend at Brio Gusto...
Read More

PtboCanada Restaurant Review: Electric City Gardens

Electric City Gardens
373 Queen Street, Peterborough
Reservations are recommended;
call 705-749-1909

Welcome to one of Peterborough’s hidden dining gems. Electric City Gardens offers an internationally inspired menu in an intimate, romantic setting that is relaxed and elegant. The owner, Chef Toby Tylor, approaches food with love and respect; he shops daily for local ingredients that are in season and every dish is made from scratch.

Friends of ours join us for dinner to celebrate a birthday. Toby greets us at the door with a warm smile and a hug, and escorts us to our table in the back room. Charming and homey, our table is adorned with gleaming silverware, candlelight and the menu, hand written on the white board, propped on a chair for our review. Chef Toby focuses his attention to a select few dishes each night, so while the menu may not offer numerous choices, rest assured that each dish is crafted with only the finest ingredients. And, lucky for us, because we are a party of four, we are afforded the luxury of ordering every item off the menu so we can taste it all.

I start my meal with the blue cheese, pear and dill salad; it is fresh, crisp and lightly drizzled with a creamy, citrus-infused dressing—a wonderful start to any meal. My husband savours a salad of field greens and mild, creamy goat cheese—as tasty as the ones we had in Barcelona—and our friend indulges in a steaming bowl of white bean soup loaded with fresh pepper and succulent pieces of ham. Toby carries the cheeses into the main courses, pairing the blue cheese with linguini for a decadent dish, and pairing the goat cheese with grilled shrimp and linguini for a more subtle, gentler dish (and may I add kudos to Toby for taking the tails off the shrimp before serving them). The Cajun salmon is cooked to perfection; flaky with just the right balance between flavour and spice. Tangy and dressed with smooth chutney, the Tandoori chicken is moist with a subtle hint of vinegar that works beautifully with the fragrant basmati rice.


At this point in the meal, we are beyond satisfied, but we are celebrating a birthday and no birthday is complete without chocolate. We dive into Toby’s new creation of chocolate cobbler: traditional apple cobbler, only better. This one is drenched in freshly made chocolate sauce and dusted with icing sugar. The result—thick and rich and chocolaty heaven— is such that the apples are almost lost in this version. The crème-au-pot is a sinful cup of a thick chocolate mousse topped of with fresh whip cream. My favourite of the evening though is the light and fluffy almond cheesecake on a coconut graham crust. And yes, it is as good as it sounds.


Tucked away on Queen Street a little off the beaten path of downtown Peterborough, Electric City Gardens is the perfect spot to nourish your soul with creative, delicious food and an eclectic wine list. Toby and his team provide wonderful individual service focused on attention to detail. We left pleasantly full yet hungry for more. We will be back.

[Reviewed by PtboCanada's food writer Tammy Simon]

Tip us at Follow us on Twitter @Ptbo_Canada.