Sonya's: Home sweet home cooking
Address: 190 Henderson Highway
Phone number: 204-661-3643
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If you're looking for a slick, polished dining experience, take a pass on Sonya's.
If, however, you're looking for a neighbourhood joint that puts on absolutely no airs, well Sonya's is the place. This Elmwood-area diner is the kind of place you'd easily pass every day in your car and never give it a second thought. But once you sup at this corner diner, you'll never forget it, for many reasons.
Here's what you're in for: • Wood-panelling and green stucco walls; • Carpeted floors; • A wall of laminated pictures of Czechoslovakia; • Hand-written specials written on paper and chalkboards and posted on walls; and • Two gently humming window air conditioners.
But you're also in for: • A feeling that you've entered a time warp and landed yourself back 30 years; • A friendly and charming, yet no nonsense encounter with the owner who also serves tables; AND • Outstanding homestyle food that you'll be recommending to friends.
Indeed, Sonya's came to PCG's attention via another local food and travel blogger Shel Zolkevich. She raved about the food. I'm always on the hunt for great hole-in-the-wall neighbourhood gems and Sonya's definitely fills that bill.
Boiled perogies with grilled onions and crispy bacons bits were the order of the day. (Perogies can be either boiled or deep fried.)
The pockets of cheddar and potato were just what this Prairie girl craved. And, slathered in sour cream, they totally hit the bullseye. Look, we all know that perogies aren't haute cuisine, but they sure exude comfort and homestyle eats.
Next up, we dug into a hot pork sandwich loaded with real beef gravy. It was served with a side of oven-baked potatoes with butter and a ramekin of coleslaw. (French fries or dumplings are also an option.) Save up a serious appetite if you hope to clear this plate. This king-sized sandwich is not for pea-sized stomachs. It was hefty, heavy and delicious. An afternoon nap should be next up on the menu.
One quick note about soup: Soup is one of the bases on which all restaurants can be judged. If you can't make a decent soup, there are serious problems. Sonya's white bean soup, which we inexplicably ordered on a 28˚C day, was dense and rich with a hint of curry. In a word: fantastic.
Entrée sized meals include Sonya's hamburger steak dinner, pork medallions, pickerel, sole and bass fillets are also served. Typical deli favourites like Denver, fried egg, ham and cheese and grilled cheese sandwiches also make appearances.
Sonya's hamburgers and cheeseburgers are also legendary, the crowds say. (Next visit, a cheeseburger with bacon is a must try.)
Insider's tip: Take cash. Sonya's doesn't accept credit cards and doesn't have a debit machine. There's an ATM just around the corner inside a Cash Store but it charges $2.95 (plus bank fees) to withdraw lunch money. Insider's tip #2: Sonya's is open Monday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.