West Edmonton bistro ships in a taste of Montreal

By Heather Rastas

EDMONTON — A west Edmonton bistro is serving St-Viateur bagels shipped fresh from Montreal.

Dahlia

Dahlia's Mediterranean Bistro at 10235 124 St. in Edmonton. Photograph by Heather Rastas

Dahlia’s Mediterranean Bistro at 10235 124 St. is one of the few restaurants in Edmonton that sells St-Viateur bagels.

At the St-Viateur bakery in Montreal, Que., each bagel is made by hand, first boiling the dough in water and then cooking it in a wood-fire oven. They are truly homemade and do not contain any preservatives.

Fadi Smaidi, the owner and creator of Dahlia’s, admits that when he first started ordering the bagels, it wasn’t for the business.
“Well, it started off as a thing for me,” says Smaidi. “I was buying bagels for myself.”  He then started letting some of his customers try them, and they loved them.

It wasn’t until after a trip to visit family in Montreal, where Smaidi was born and raised, that he decided to start shipping St-Viateur bagels to Edmonton for customers.

Dahlia’s initially ordered nine dozen bagels per shipment.  The order gradually rose to 60 dozen per shipment, which come in weekly.
As soon as the bagels arrive, the staff flash-freeze them. They then thaw them out as needed.

Smaidi admits it isn’t cheap to order the bagels from Montreal, and it really doesn’t bring in a lot of money. “We really just do it to be able to give a service for the customer,” says Smaidi.

Dahlia’s bagels are gaining popularity in Edmonton.

“Bagels aren’t big in Australia at all,” says Australian native Shane Hughes, the manager of Dahlia’s.  “And I’ve tried a few since I’ve been here and they are the best I’ve ever had. People know quality.”

The reason that Dahlia’s is not able to make the bagels in Edmonton is that St-Viateur keeps the recipe closely guarded. Also, the difference in altitude in Edmonton would result in the bagels cooking differently than in Montreal, Smaidi says.

“The water in Montreal is slightly polluted, which gives it a nice little kick to the flavour,” he adds jokingly.

The bagels cost $7.50 for 6 and $13.50 for a dozen. Dahlia’s also gets smoked Montreal meats, and flies in some Montreal beer as well.

Dahlia’s is named after Smaidi’s daughter and serves Lebanese, Syrian, Italian and Greek cuisine.