We have enjoyed a couple of rather good meals here in Regina lately. One of our favourite meals was eaten at Hunter Gatherer Vegetarian Restaurant on 15th Ave., just east of Toronto Street. (Since it is vegetarian fare, I get the "Gatherer" in the name, but wondering just where the "Hunter" comes into it!) It is down the block from the Regina General Hospital. It seems an unlikely place for a restaurant, buried in a rather elderly residential section of the city, close to downtown but nowhere near a main street. There are several old buildings along 15th Ave. that indicate a former business district in existence probably well over 50 years ago and it is nice to see many of them have been restored or are being restored to useable business sites. What we enjoy about the location, besides it being off a main drag for traffic, is that it reminds us of some of the charming restaurants, bakeries and the like we stumble into in similar older, treed areas of residential Vancouver. It is like a little taste of the west coast only a few blocks from our own home.
The restaurant is a small one with a combination of booths, plank tables and single seats along the counter. The walls are, appropriately, Hunter Green and lined with copy upon copy of an old fashioned, poorly painted mountain scene, similar to ones my own family members had above their sofas in the 1950's and 1960's. Nearly everyone I knew had a similar mountain scene in their living rooms, framed in giant, gaudy gold, scrolled frames. What a blast from the past. Along the back wall is a high row of old luggage stacked on top of each other, disguising who knows what construction disaster the owners of the restaurant may have discovered upon moving in. The service kitchen area is characterized by a giant old aluminum bedstead, complete with springs, hanging from the ceiling, from which hang pots and pans of all descriptions. Should I ever be so blessed as to be able to purchase another house of my own, I want one of those for my cooking pots!!!
The lunch menu is limited to about a dozen items and a variety of drinks. There are wraps and veggie burgers, sandwiches, several kinds of salads and a soup of the day. (My favourite menu name was "Beans in a Blanket"!) My husband opted for the "Stranger" burger and it had lovely jalapeno peppers under a slice of real cheese, lettuce, tomato and pickle, as well as a delicious saucey mayo. He chose a bowl of the carrot ginger soup as his side and it was a large bowl of thick, hearty soup that was delicious! It was so nice to be able to still taste the carrot under the top layer of ginger.
I had the "Usual" burger. It had real cheddar cheese and the usual toppings of lettuce and tomato, pickle, and its own brand of mayo. I ordered a garden salad with that and it was very good. It was a mix of salad greens with cherry tomatoes, and quartered cucumber slices in a decent grade balsamic vinegar. We didn't sample any of the drinks, just sipped our water and ooh'd and aah'd over our ground bean burgers that tasted so much like the "real thing". If it wasn't for the mushier texture of the beans we would have sworn we were eating beef. Both burgers were served on fresh buns.
The average menu prices for the luncheon meals is between $12.99 and $14.99 with one or two items slightly more expensive. So, the prices are in line with the portion sizes and the variety on the plate.
We are looking forward to returning there in the near future. They also serve breakfasts and dinners, so at least 2 more meals to try very soon!
I forgot to mention our dinner one evening at the Cravings Restaurant, beside Earl's in the shopping area just west of Victoria Square. What we like about Cravings is that it is completely unpretentious, both in atmosphere, attitude and plate pricing. It is a good, solid, old fashioned restaurant. It is not gourmet and it doesn't try or pretend to be. The service is always good and the food simple but tasty.
My husband likes to have the steak sandwich there with some fried mushrooms and garlic toast. I like to have the Chicken de la Grecke, (a nicely grilled small chicken breast stuffed with feta and spinach), with lemon roasted potato and mixed veggies and garlic toast. I can share my toast and potatoes and part of the large mound of veggies with my husband to round out his own meal and leave me less tempted to indulge in too many carbs. Each meal is accompanied by either a huge green salad or a choice of other salads or soup. What I like is that the portions are large, but not daunting, other than the salads, and there is a lot of variety on the plate for the money. I am particularly delighted that there are a couple of specifically Greek style dishes if I am in the mood for such. They are a few good cuts above the quality of OPA's take out and much more reasonably priced (and better quality) than the meals at Greko's. For example, I had that entire meal last night for $4 less than the cost of the one dreadful chicken caesar salad I had at Greko's a few months ago. Yeah....if you are looking for a more old fashioned "meat and potata's" meal, reasonably priced and with a touch of the Greek owner's influence in the entrees, Cravings is a good bet.