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  • Writer's pictureJenna B.

Ukrainian Eatery in Vancouver: Kozak

Updated: Nov 22, 2022

Kozak Homemade Ukrainian Food Restaurant Review by Illustrator's Kitchen blog

Hello, everyone!

Welcome back to Illustrator's Kitchen.

It’s been a while since I did a restaurant review.

Last October, I moved to Vancouver, Canada.

Since then, I’ve been trying many restaurants and I now have a good list to recommend to y’all!

Just like New York, Vancouver has diverse and delicious restaurants thanks to the effort of many immigrants.

The first place I found is Kozak, a Ukrainian bakery & restaurant located a 10-minute walk from my place in New Westminster.

(In this blog post, I am going to cover only the types of bread from this place.)

How lucky I am, to live in a location where I can buy fresh and delicious bread! :)

The first thing that caught my attention while exploring the neighborhood was the unique sign in front of this bakery.

“Did your mama tell you to eat more borsch?”

It seemed to emphasize that they serve authentic homemade Ukrainian food.

< Kozak Homemade Ukrainian Food Website: >

Kozak Ukrainian Food restaurant exterior illustration

There are 3 Kozak branches in different locations.

New Westminster - Bakery & Cafe

The most familiar branch I go to is Kozak in New Westminster.

The store is not big. However, there is a space to eat for up to 4 people.

I have an impression that they sell mainly bread and pastries in this store but you can also try other dishes such as borsch and pierogies.

*This post is mainly about Kozak in New Westminster.

Gastown - Restaurant

Kozak restaurant is located in Gastown.

This place has a more restaurant atmosphere with plenty of space to sit and eat. There is also a cocktail bar.

Kozak in Gastown offers more types of Ukrainian food than the New Westminster branch.

East Vancouver - Eatery & Mill

The third branch is located in East Vancouver.

It’s similar to the New Westminster branch but a little bigger.

Kozak’s in-house mill is located on this site.

Kozak Ukrainian Food New Westminster Interior Illustration

As soon as you enter Kozak in New Westminster,

you may see pickles, baked milk, packaged soup, and salad in the refrigerated display area to the right.

To the front, huge scrumptious sourdough bread and sweet pastries are displayed.

Smelling the delicious aroma of fresh bread and coffee, I instantly knew that I would come here very often.

There are 3 reasons why I love Kozak.

First, Kozak cares about what ingredients they put into food.

According to their website,

“We use only natural ingredients in your food.

There is no artificial stuff like MSG, dough improvers, preservatives, and nearly impossible-to-pronounce ingredients in any of our products.

Keeping it real - Just as Grandma taught us.”

Their bread and pastries are made with 100% organic non-GMO wheat milled from their in-house mill.

Second, kind service.

Staffs in Kozak are super nice and attentive!

I have been to this bakery countless times in the past 6 months, but I always have a good experience thanks to the nice staff.

Also, Kozak has a point system, where you can accumulate points for every bread or pastry you buy. Once you have enough points, you can receive various bread, drinks, or even goods for free!

Last, but not least, the food is delicious.

Almost all baking goodies have not disappointed me.

Because they are using good ingredients, the flavor of the fresh bread and pastries is exquisite.

It tastes like the kind of bread that Ukrainian grandmother made with love.

Here are 11 Kozak menus I would like to recommend!

Dark Chocolate Babka from Kozak Ukrainian Food

1. Dark Chocolate Babka Loaf (Brooklyn Style)

Ingredients: Wheat Flour, Margarine, Butter, Cocoa powder, Eggs, Yeast, Sugar, Salt, Water

The first thing that caught my eye from Kozak was the giant loaf of babka (thick chocolate bread).

The babka from Kozak is on a different level.

Kozak’s babka does not taste like artificially flavored and sweetened.

Thick dark chocolate and soft bread make a perfect balance in layers.

I can say it is the representative dessert bread from Kozak. It’s super addictive.

In Kozak, you have an option to buy a whole babka loaf or a sliced babka piece.

I prefer having a loaf of babka because it’s less dry and contains more flavor than babka that has already been sliced. However, preferring a whole loaf of babka is probably a subjective opinion of wanting to eat more babka. :P

Country Sourdough from Kozak Ukrainian Food

2. Country Sourdough

Ingredients: House-milled NON-GMO & organic wheat flour, Water, Sea Salt

In Kozak, there are various types of sourdough bread. My favorite sourdough is country sourdough because it is versatile in many uses.

It is my staple bread that provides maximum flavor with only the minimum necessary ingredients. The taste of bread is full of flavor because they use house-milled NON-GMO flour with a slow cold fermentation process, unlike many factory-made loaves of bread.

A slice of toasted country sourdough with a little bit of grass-fed organic salted butter has been giving me pleasure every morning.

Just like many other sourdoughs, the surface is too tough that requires skill and strength to cut the bread. However, do not worry! You may ask the staff to slice the bread at the checkout, they will slice it for you. :)

Apricot Sloyka from Kozak Ukrainian Food

3. Apricot Sloyka

Ingredients: Unbleached wheat flour, butter, sugar, yeast salt filling: Apricot, milk, eggs, sugar, butter, starch, salt

This pastry is so pretty. It looks like two egg yolks are on top of danish pastry, but they are actually delicious apricots! With many buttery layers and the sweetness of apricots make this pastry very special. If you want to try this unique fruity pastry, I strongly recommend apricot sloyka.

Pletenka with Cinnamon from Kozak Ukrainian Food

4. Pletenka with Cinnamon

Ingredients: Unbleached Wheat Flour, Milk, Butter, Margarine, Eggs, Cinnamon, Yeast, Sugar, Salt

Personally, I love these cinnamon rolls more than American-style cinnamon rolls topped with icing.

Pletenka with Cinnamon is a soft moist layered dough filled with caramelized cinnamon sugar.

It has a mild sweetness with a burst of cinnamon flavor.

Buckwheat and Chocolate chip cookies from Kozak Ukrainian Food

5. Buckwheat & chocolate cookie

Ingredients: Buckwheat: Dark chocolate, Wheat flour, butter, sugar, buckwheat flour, rye flour, baking powder, egg yolk, salt

If you like soft chocolate chip cookies with a crumbly texture, this one is for you.

It’s my favorite chocolate chip cookie!

This buckwheat and the chocolate cookie has moist yet pleasantly crumble textures, not dry hard cookies.

Croissant and Almond croissant from Kozak Ukrainian Food

6. Croissant and Almond Croissant

Ingredients: Wheat Flour, Milk, Sugar, Butter, Yeast, Salt

I was captivated by the beauty of the almond croissant that I couldn’t resist trying it first.

The moment I took a bite of the almond croissant, it was so good that I was super curious about the plain croissant from Kozak.

So the next time I went, I had the plain one and it was above my expectation.

I believe that a delicious croissant starts with good butter. With rich pastry layers, the flavor of the butter used in Kozak was excellent. Once again, the great taste comes from the best ingredients.

The almond croissant has mild sweetness, and crispy nutty almond slices with a flavorful butter aroma.

Wafer Tort from Kozak Ukrainian Food

7. Wafer Tort

Ingredients: N/A

My husband’s favorite in Kozak is wafer tort.

Unlike store-bought wafers, the high-quality sweetness and thickness are the strength of Kozak’s wafers.

The only downside, however, is that we eat these sweet crispy goodies too quickly.

Medovyk Honey cake from Kozak Ukrainian Food

8. Medovyk Honey cake

Ingredients: Wheat flour, Sour cream, Sugar, Butter, Eggs, Honey, Baking soda

As the name suggests, it is a moist cake with honey.

Layered with sweet sour cream aka smetana, soft sponge cake melts in your mouth.

This cake goes really well with a cup of black tea or black coffee.

Rogaliki aka Rugelach from Kozak Ukrainian Food

9. Rogaliki aka Rugelach

Ingredients: Rogaliki: Dough - Wheat Flour, Cream cheese, Butter, Sugar, Sour cream Filling - Strawberry jam Shortbread cookies: Flour, Butter, Eggs, Icing sugar, Strawberry Jam, Baking Powder

I first tried rogaliki because it’s a small pastry that would go well with coffee.

Since then, my husband and I get them every time we go.

The savory cream cheese and the sweetness of strawberry jam are in perfect harmony with the buttered dough.

Wishnya Sour Cherry Bun from Kozak Ukrainian Food

10. Wishnya Sour Cherry Bun

Ingredients: Soft and sweet dough stuffed with juicy Sour cherry. Unbleached Wheat Flour, Milk, Margarine, Sour cherry, Eggs, Yeast, Sugar, Salt

Wishnya sour cherry bun is a deliciously soft bun with the characteristic sweet and sour cherry flavor.

The sweet crumble is on top of the bun. If you like sweet cherries, you must try them!

11. Ukrainian Latte

Ingredients: 12 oz Espresso with steamed condensed milk and baked milk

Ukrainian Latte is not like any other latter we know of. It has a thick cream texture and sweet taste because this latte contains condensed milk and boiled milk.

Kozak uses coffee beans from 49th Parallel, a Vancouver coffee roasting company. You may also buy the beans at the store too.

If you want to try a delicious unique creamy latte, I highly recommend the Ukrainian latte.

In addition to delicious loaves of bread and pastries, Kozak also sells a variety of foods such as borsh and pierogi.

Next time, I’ll try to dine in at the Kozak restaurant in Gastown.

I’m so thankful that there is a good bakery near my house.

Pray for Ukraine

A terrible war is still going on in Ukraine.

There are many Ukrainian immigrants living in my neighborhood.

A baker, a butcher, a hotdog lady, and even managers of the apartment I live in are Ukrainians.

I earnestly pray for the peace in Ukraine for the neighbors I love and for the people in Ukraine.

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