587 Ellice Ave.
Only minutes from the University of Winnipeg, the Ellice Cafe and Theatre combines a warm, unpretentious atmosphere with a good selection of home-style dishes that will take your mind off even the coldest Winnipeg day.
Located on the corner of Sherbrook Street and Ellice Avenue directly across from the West End Cultural Centre, the Ellice Cafe is the perfect place for a hearty meal before a rousing show at one of Winnipeg’s most popular music venues.
The night that my companion and I stopped in for some food, Chad VanGaalen happened to be playing the WECC, but we had no problem finding a table.
The first thing we noticed was the historical theme of the café.
Several backlit panels above the coffee bar show black and white photographs from Winnipeg’s past. The tables each have a unique card with the name of a nearby street and its history, accompanied by more old photographs.
Settling in at Langside table, we waited several minutes for menus and then several minutes more before our drink orders were taken.
Whether the slow pace was connected with the VanGaalen pre-show crowd or not, I recommend giving yourself plenty of time for dinner here if you have a show to attend or somewhere to be.
While the service was a little slow, the staff made up for it with their cheerful attitudes and awesome shirts that read, “White collar, blue collar, no collar.”
My companion ordered tea, which came in a full-size teapot with a beautiful authentic china cup. I ordered the locally roasted Wellington Fine Coffee, which was quite good but not outstanding.
The menu at Ellice Cafe has a decently wide selection of appetizers and entrees at prices between $8 and $15. We settled on some winter-busters: the veggie chili and jerk chicken were both beautiful to look at and really tasty.
The veggie chili, about $8, included peas, which was strange but delicious nonetheless. The jerk chicken, about $12 and served with mashed potatoes and sautéed veggies, was the perfect spice level.
On the whole, both dishes were well made with good portions at good prices.
The best thing about the Ellice Cafe is that it’s a very nice place to be. It’s not fancy and it’s clearly not trying to be. The food is not groundbreaking, but it is satisfying and delicious.
That, combined with the friendly, relaxed service and the warmth of the space, makes this a great destination for a nice meal with nice people.
For more information about the Ellice Cafe and Theatre, including operating hours and full menu, visit www.ellicetheatre.com/cafe.
Published in Volume 66, Number 17 of The Uniter (January 25, 2012)