Tucked in the middle of the increasingly appealing Old City Quarter is the unpretentious soup and sandwich café, Real Food, aka Real Food Fast. We’ve overlooked this place until now, but were given an opportunity to visit on a holiday on which almost everything else in the neighborhood was closed. We’re glad we did.
Let’s get something out of the way. Real Food is a soups, salads, and sammies kind of café. Don’t go here expecting a soy americano or gelato affogato. This ain’t that. That said, if you’re in the mood for one of the above “s” foods (or maybe some cake) you’ll be in the right place.
Our visit occurred on a hot hot day and while there was a small shady patio area, we were delighted to find the deceptively large dining area inside was air conditioned. Whew.
The café is roomy and brightly decorated, though somewhat dimly lit. There is plenty of booth and table seating. It appears to be operated by the owner, who was a touch brusque with us, at least at first. She was pretty busy with the endless stream of Skip drivers arriving, and she and her helper were going at 100% speed.
After reviewing the ample menu options (substitutions discouraged) we decided on the BLT-CG with Mennonite sausage soup for him and the BBQ chicken sandwich with house salad for her. There was a bit of a wait for the food, but all it took was a “Thank you for your patience”, and all was forgiven. Besides, these meals looked amazing!
The BLT-CG is a sandwich of bacon, lettuce, and tomato (obvie) but also with a mild chipotle sauce, and guacamole. It was hearty and loaded with greens giving it a satisfying crunch. The chipotle sauce was not too creamy so it was a good match for the silky guac. This was all served on a grilled multigrain panini. Delicious. In fact, this may topple the Milton Street Pub’s as our favourite BLT in town. The jury must deliberate further.
The BLT was served with soup the restaurant called “Mennonite Mama”. This was a hearty potato and Mennonite sausage soup and was a perfect mate for the sandwich.
The other sandwich we ate was the BBQ Chicken. This had roasted chicken, in-house BBQ sauce, cheddar, pickled onions (nom) and lettuce and tomato. Just like the BLT, it was generously stuffed and had big crunch from all the greens crammed in there. A sturdy cheese bun held it all together. Impressive. We were also quite impressed with the side salad as it offered a bit more interest than we’d typically see. There was a variety of greens (including radicchio for colour) and it was loaded with seeds for texture. There was a delicious wine vinaigrette delicately tossed in there too. Another great meal.
Real Food has coffee and tea available, and a limited selection of drinks in their cooler. It was hot so we opted for simple water.
Our bill for the two meals came to just shy of $40. At first we were a bit stunned by that, but after tasting the food we came away feeling better about it. With inflation these days, even a combo at Subway is $15. Paying $20 for a clearly superior lunch isn’t off the mark.
We started off a little unsure, but with every bite of our delicious meals, the Real Food Café grew on us more. Homestyle is the name of the game and the taste reflects that. Bring some patience (and money) and you will be rewarded with a splendid meal. We look forward to heading back soon to try some of the other menu creations items we passed over this time. Maybe we’ll see you there!