Monday, January 24, 2011

Restaurant Review: Cafe Manna

A few months ago, I bought a Groupon for Cafe Manna, an all-vegetarian restaurant in Brookfield. I had been for dinner a few times before and have always had great experiences. The Groupon expired at the end of the month, so Nate and I went for dinner last Saturday. I knew he'd like it, but thought he might be just a bit apprehensive with it being an all-vegetarian restaurant.

We made a reservation through Open Table (which I had never done before--it worked out great!) for 7:30. It's good we did--it was a full house and there was another party of two waiting when we got there.

We weren't hungry enough for an appetizer, but we nibbled on the pita chips and some kind of dip (it tasted like hummus, but maybe make with walnuts?), which was really good.
It took us a while to figure out what we wanted--everything looked so good! I finally settled on the roasted vegetable crustada--a flaky pastry shell filled with seasonal roasted vegetables in a silky herbed sauce. It was topped with crispy onions and sat on top of a roasted red pepper coulis. It was almost like a pot pie, but without a top and a flakier, thinner shell. it was fantastic.

Nate settled on the Caribbean potato cakes--savory and sweet, lightly spiced cakes made of vegetables, sweet potatoes and Yukon gold potatoes. They were served with a tomato mint chutney and drizzled with spinach and avocado coulis. They were excellent. They really did have a spice to them, and even just a few bites was very filling.

Both of the meals were so huge and hearty that we took half the dishes home. Cafe Manna is really a great place--it's all sustainable, with recycled and compostable to-go boxes and bags. The wine they serve is organic and they have only local beer (Lakefront and Capital).

The meal was great as usual, and I'll know we'll be back to try other menu options. Our waitress was pretty good, although it took her a while to come back to get our order and for her to clear our plates and box up our food.


  1. I found Manna to be overpriced for the quality of the meals we got. Also, there was something that seemed a little too uppity for my taste as well. Perhaps things have changed over the past few years though, it's been a while since we ate there. What did you think about the cost to value ratio at Manna?

  2. Thanks for the comment, Megan. The meals do seem to be priced a little higher than they should be. I understand they use organic, local ingredients when they can, but I'm usually more willing to pay a bit extra for food when I know for sure it's local or organic--for example, if the dishes made with these products are designated in a way. However, we did each get two meals out of our dinners, and it helped knowing one of our dishes was essentially free, because of the Groupon. That's not an excuse, but it makes it easier for me to pay a little more.

  3. It's cool that you like to go there though. There aren't too many purely vegetarian restaurants!

  4. I've tried two dishes at Cafe Manna, and would recommend them both: Thai Lime Noodles (I really want this right now!) and the Raw Tacos.

  5. The Thai lime noodles did sound delicious. I might try that next time. The raw tacos must be a favorite of many people--they were out by the time we ordered!