I’m continuing on with my visits to Saint James restaurants. Today’s location is San Vito Coffee House. San Vito Coffee House is located on Portage Avenue in the Silver Heights Shopping Centre, a small, strip mall in the middle of Saint James.
San Vito is located at the west end of the mall. Stepping inside it reminds me of The Fyxx on Donald, or the original location of The Daily Grind. There are lots of windows that give lots of natural light into the restaurant. There are plenty of tables, and a wide variety of configurations from intimate to suitable for a larger group. There are also a few comfy chairs for those who need to sink into something a little softer. If you’re in the mood for such a thing, there is also a rather nice little patio out the front of the shop. Given that the weather in Winnipeg has been quite warm over much of the last few weeks I chose the inside of San Vito for each of my visits.
According to the San Vito website, the interior is designed on Costa Rican colours and their specialty is in coffee from Costa Rica. They have all of their coffee specially roasted for them by De Luca’s. While I enjoyed the colour scheme I have to say that until I read it on the website, there was nothing that made me think of Costa Rica. Perhaps I need to pay closer attention to my surroundings. I did some further looking and discovered that San Vito is a city in Costa Rica. I though originally that San Vito was Italian, and it turns out that there is a strong Italian influence in San Vito, Costa Rica.
On my first visit it was very hot out, and I wanted something good and cold. While I enjoy cold coffee beverages, I noticed that they were offering a frozen lemonade. This seemed like a nice, out of the way choice, and so that ‘s what I ordered.
The frozen lemonade was really cold. It certainly helped being inside, but I liked the fact that the lemonade took quite awhile to melt. At the same time there was plenty of lemon flavour so that even though it melted slowly, it didn’t lost flavour halfway through, as such frozen drinks too often do.
San Vito Coffee House Second Time Around.
The interior of San Vito reminds me of The Fyxx, or Daily Grind, but the menu reminds me the most of Human Bean. Both places feature a wide variety of beverages in three or four different sizes, a good selection of baked goods and a variety of store made foods. One thing I like about San Vito is that although there are a lot of choices posted on the board, they also have a laminated version of the menu that allows you to look through the choices in a more leisurely fashion.
Beyond having a fairly wide menu for eating in, San Vito also offers a catering menu.
It was around lunch time when I made my second visit, and I decided that I would choose the chili along with a side asian noodle salad. I ordered an Americano to drink.
The chili was halfway between a thick chili and a chili soup. However, there was a good deal of substance to it. The flavour was rich with just a little bit of heat. The Asian salad was the ramen noodle salad of potluck fame. It’s a quick and easy dish to make and adds plenty of crunch to the meal. The portion was generous, and the salad was not overly dressed. All in all it made for a pleasant lunch.
Visit Number Three:
On my third trip I wanted to try a little bit more of the menu along with something of a sweeter nature. For my meal I ordered the Wirth’s Wicked Chicken Wrap. For sweet I ordered a butter tart.
Seeing on previous visits, that San Vito prepared their own foods, I asked it this was also the case for the butter tarts. My server told me that the butter tarts came from Goodies Bakery. The restaurant had started off doing them in house, but over the course of time found that route to be to labour and time intensive so they had started ordering from Goodies. The staff here is well informed and quite efficient.
The wrap came stuffed with filling. There was plenty of chicken to go along with mixture of vegetables. This results in a wrap that is both crunchy and chewy. The Goodies made butter tart was also quite good.
After eating my meal I was still wanting a little bit more. So, I decided I would order one of the smoothies that San Vito offers. I checked the online menu, and none of the smoothies listed there share the name with the one I ordered. My choice was mango and other fruit.
It turned out that I went up to order just after a family of five came in to order milkshakes. The coffee house only has one machine for making the shakes and smoothies, so I ended up with a bit of a wait. However, this is where the efficiency of the staff, there was only one person on when I was there, came into play. The server took the orders, made all the shakes and had my smoothie ready in a matter of minutes.
One of the things I noticed as I observed people coming and going during my visits, is that there is a real neighbourhood vibe to the coffee house. It seems to draw a good, regular clientele that feels at home there. San Vito is the sort of place that I would be looking for if I lived up in that end of the city.