September 25, 2018

Winnipeg
5° C, Light rain

Full Forecast

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Opinion

Stars for simplicity

At popular café's new Pembina location, basic breakfasts, lunches stand out

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>New Stella's location serves up great breakfassts on a rooftop patio.</p>

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

New Stella's location serves up great breakfassts on a rooftop patio.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 29/6/2016 (817 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Have you ever had this experience at a restaurant? All the dishes being carried past you to other tables look thrillingly daring. They lure you with dramatic presentation, obscure ingredients, intriguing scents.

You look down at your own plate, and suddenly your regular order seems dull and unambitious.

The opposite holds true at Stella’s, where the old standards will probably be your best bet. The much-loved, ever-expanding Winnipeg food empire started in late 1999 as a modest breakfast and lunch joint on Osborne. Even as it has boosted its menu and added a new location on Pembina — for a total of seven city-wide — Stella’s still does its best work as a modest breakfast and lunch joint.

Get the full story.
No credit card required. Cancel anytime.

Join free for 60 days

After that, pay as little as $0.99 per month for the best local news coverage in Manitoba.

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Join free for 60 days

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Subscribers Log in below to continue reading,
not a subscriber? Create an account to start a 60 day free trial.

Log in Create your account

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Mon to Sat Delivery

Pay

$34.36

per month

  • Includes all benefits of All Access Digital
  • 6-day delivery of our award-winning newspaper
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 29/6/2016 (817 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Have you ever had this experience at a restaurant? All the dishes being carried past you to other tables look thrillingly daring. They lure you with dramatic presentation, obscure ingredients, intriguing scents.

You look down at your own plate, and suddenly your regular order seems dull and unambitious.

 

The opposite holds true at Stella’s, where the old standards will probably be your best bet. The much-loved, ever-expanding Winnipeg food empire started in late 1999 as a modest breakfast and lunch joint on Osborne. Even as it has boosted its menu and added a new location on Pembina — for a total of seven city-wide — Stella’s still does its best work as a modest breakfast and lunch joint.

More adventurous dinner dishes exploring Italian, Cajun and Thai flavours can be uneven and uninspired, with tentative spicing and a healthy but stodgy feel. Stella’s basic all-day breakfasts, on the other hand, are wonderfully reliable and satisfying.

The new Pembina location departs from the dark and rustic feel of many Stella’s restaurants, offering a white, bright, beautiful space, with floor-to-ceiling windows along the front and clean, modern lines. It also experiments with revolutionary washroom design. (More on that later.)

A broad staircase at the back heads up to a rooftop patio that belies its location on a busy south Winnipeg thoroughfare with a relaxed, quiet atmosphere. The tables are a bit low for eating dinner, but the comfortable, well-padded chairs will welcome late-night patrons looking for pitchers of sangria under the stars.

For early birds, Stella’s breakfast dishes get solid support from homemade jams and in-house bread, including sourdough, spelt, and a robust multigrain. The Pembina location has a purpose-built takeout area for people wanting grab-and-go lattes and Americanos and baked goods such as scones and muffins.

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>The new Stella's also features a takeout area with baked goods to go.</p>

BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

The new Stella's also features a takeout area with baked goods to go.

French toast is made with eggy brioche. The café breakfast is a good all-around carb-fest, and there are a few Mexican-style takes on the most important meal of the day, including a hearty chorizo hash with eggs and salsa.

The well-made breakfast sandwich, which stacks eggs, cheese, tomato and mayo with a choice of ham, bacon or spinach and mushrooms, offers the best of breakfast while segueing toward lunch. Good midday choices are generous sandwiches made with fresh ingredients and zingy condiments. Standouts include the tomato and Havarti with pesto and the roast chicken and cranberry, which supplies that day-after-Thanksgiving feel all year long.

Stella’s house salad is also deservedly popular, mixing the fresh crunch of jicama, carrots, red cabbage, sunflower seeds, and romaine with a well-balanced dressing.

Switching over to Stella’s more elaborate noodle bowls, curries and pasta dishes, things become hit-and-miss. Eggplant Parmesan, deconstructed into slices of underdone breaded eggplant alongside marinara-tossed linguini, doesn’t really deserve the name.

Jambalaya is tasty but a little tame, as is a wholesome chicken curry made with brown basmati rice. And some serving combinations seem downright odd. Pad Thai, for example, comes with sourdough garlic toast. I like sourdough garlic toast as much as the next girl — probably more, in fact — but I don’t want it with my pad Thai.

Service is warm but sometimes slow. Be prepared to wait for a table during the weekend brunch rush or for weekday lunches.


A word on this location’s innovative gender-neutral bathrooms. Head around a corner and you’ll see a line of unlabelled cubicles — which are solidly enclosed from floor to ceiling, so privacy is not a problem — and one common area with sinks and towels.

This setup is transgender-friendly and also tackles the parity problem — the fact women almost always have longer wait times than men.

It’s part of a new wave of gender-neutral facilities in the city, and, like a lot of good design, it involves a surprisingly simple solution.

alison.gillmor@freepress.mb.ca

Alison Gillmor

Alison Gillmor
Writer

Studying at the University of Winnipeg and later Toronto’s York University, Alison Gillmor planned to become an art historian. She ended up catching the journalism bug when she started as visual arts reviewer at the Winnipeg Free Press in 1992.

Read full biography

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective January 2015.