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Apr 20, 2007 11:28 PM

Voila! Cafe - Reno

I've been driving by this place for several weeks and been intrigued by the look and the "Now Open" today seemed like a good day for lunch. Its on California, in a refurbished house about a half block west of Arlington..almost on the edge of the residential part of that street. Nice atmosphere, and there is a great little front deck with several tables. I'm sure it will be a nice place for an al fresco lunch if spring ever decides to make a re-appearance.....

The restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch, and does catering. I took a peek at the breakfast menu...there are several interesting omelet options at around 7.95 each, as well as baked french toast, pancakes, and waffles.

Lunch is mostly soup, salad and sandwiches, with a few hot dishes and a daily special or two. Side salads are 3.95, main dish salads 9.95. You order at the counter and then take a seat and your food is brought to you....pitchers of water are on the tables. I settled for the "Stacked Chicken Salad" (A main dish salad). I had to laugh...the description would have horified the OP on the recent "fruit and meat" thread on the general topics board: "Grilled chicken, pineapple, grapes and apple chunks layered with napa cabbage and finished with a peanut satay dressing." Well, I have to admit I didn't find any apple chunks, but the pineapple and grapes were there...and the chicken was very tender. But what made the salad was that peanut dressing...spicy and tangy and delicious!

Deli sandwiches are 4.25 for a half, 5.75 for a whole, with a choice of meats, cheese, bread, and spreads. I noted a pastrami sandwich going was huge! There is also a vegetarian option. The soup today was white bean....I was tempted but didn't want to over do it. They also have several specialty sandwiches...Waldorf chicken sounds good!

Anyway, based on that tasty salad, I would definitely recommend checking it out...especially if you are looking for a nice lunch in a quiet place that's a little upscale. Other interesting main salads include a chopped salad (with tomatoes, corn, avocado, pistachios, bacon, blue cheese and chicken breast on baby greens), a Nicoise salad, and an Asian Pasta Salad.

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  1. Good report, Janet. Yes, It's good place. I tried it Wednesday and I was going to post on it.
    I got the chop chop salad and it was quite nice. A good mix of fresh, green vegetables and chopped items. It was about $8. I also got a cup of mushroom barley soup of for $3. The barley was perfect and the soup was flavorful. My only tiny gripe might be that the mushroom stand out a little bit more. I like mushroom.
    They bake their own desserts and I got one of them, I forget which of the bars, and it was excellent for $2.
    It is a little pricey, but this is my biggest gripe with the place: They seem a little more interested with form instead of function. For instance, they give each table cute little salt and pepper shakers that match the theme perfectly. The damn pepper wouldn't come out of my shaker no matter how hard I shaked. I think it has to do with the physics of there not being a lot of volume in the pepper shaker, especially when it's full. You don't have that kind of problem with an ordinary pepper shaker.
    I wanted to go back for breakfast some time. They said it's usually packed on weekends even though it's been open only about a month. I think Voila! hit the ground running for business because they had a lot of clientèle from their years of catering.
    It's also worth commenting on all the restaurants opening along that stretch of California. Blind Onion pizza, which lost a storefront in the Halloween hotel fire and had the block demolished in the last few weeks, is either open there or is opening there. And Blue Moon pizza is operating on California as well. There's another couple of restaurants along with Newman's Deli. And it looks like work crews are working on what was called the Hardy House 25 years ago. It's been called other things recently but I can't remember them.

    2 Replies
    1. re: SteveTimko

      I went there for breakfast this morning and enjoyed it.
      I got a ham, mushruoom and cheese omlette with two kinds aof cheese and it was great. Well prepared with fresh ham and good cheese. I got the biscuit instead of toast and it was soft and fresh. I believe it's a buttermilk biscuit.
      I don't like the potatoes they serve. They cut up whole red potatoes and leave the skins on. They're well prepared. They mix in green and red peppers to give them some spice. I like hash browns.
      I'd like to go back and try their baked French toast.

      1. re: SteveTimko

        Well, since its close to home I'll have to try it some Sunday am...maybe DH and I could even make that our morning walk and reward ourselves with the baked french toast. Thanks for the report back.

        BTW, sounds like they make the potatoes just the way I like each his/her own, right?

    2. We've used Voila! to cater our lunches at work for years, so I was happy to see that they had branched out - I ate there last week. I love their salads and as mentioned, the chicken is very tender. I feel their menu is a little heavy on sandwiches, and I had wished they had a greater selection of specials or hot dishes. They do make amazing dessert bars. Given a choice, tho, I'd probably opt for the Cheeseboard over Voila! I think their menu is a little more interesting.

      4 Replies
      1. re: nancyhudson

        I'm retracting my comment about opting for Cheeseboard over Voila! They've won me over with their warm staff, fabulous salads and daily specials.

        1. re: nancyhudson

          The food has always been great at VoilĂ !. I think they made a huge leap forward in customer friendliness by switching to full table service from their initial system of ordering at the counter, getting your own water and iced tea, but a server bringing your food out to you. Especially given the layout of the place, the old system was a pain to deal with. Our servers have been great the last couple visits.

          1. re: clarence6ybr

            i've never had full table service - i've always ordered at the counter and the servers bring the food to the table...hmmm.

            1. re: nancyhudson

              I assumed they'd completely switched over. The last two times we've been have been on weekends--maybe it's a weekends-only thing.

              The first time of the last two visits, I started trying to order at the counter, and the waitress seemed to think something weird was going on--according to her, they'd been doing full table service since she started there, and had no idea that it had formerly been counter ordering. The most recent time, they just came and took our order. Perhaps they have extra staff on weekends?

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          1. My first visit to this place a couple of weeks ago was so-so. Service was extremely slow but food fairly good. I had an omelet. Our waitress said one girl went home sick and they were short-staffed. We are understanding folks that try to not let one bad experience spoil a place for us so we gave them another try today to see if service was any better. I'm sorry to say it still took about 45 minutes to get our food after we ordered and my waffle was cold and tasted somewhat like rubber. (it took the waitress 10 minutes to come to our table after we were seated). We arrived about 9:15 am on Sat morning, almost 1/2 of the outdoor tables were filled but only 3 or 4 tables indoors were taken. I told the waitress, nicely, my waffle was cold and didn't taste good and she got defensive and said "well, I got it out here as soon as it came up". HELLO! It's cold, I don't care if it's the cook's fault or the waitress, this type of thing is not going to ensure repeat customers. No offer to bring me a warm waffle, no offer to take it off the bill. She did apologize when she brought our check for the poor quality waffle but I still had to pay for it! Another complaint I had is a lady sitting right next to me was smoking. The waitress didn't tell her not to smoke so I guess they permit smoking at the outdoor tables even when others are eating. From now on, will probably go to Stonehouse where I don't have to worry about inhaling smoke while I'm eating and if my breakfast is cold they'll make it right. Too bad as I really wanted to like this place, it's closer and more convenient, but I cannot see myself returning!