Ella’s (Tampa)

Ella’s Americana Folk Art Cafe on Urbanspoon

Day of the Week: Thursday, 12/6
Total Bill: $203.14 (before tip)
Breakdown: 9 drinks, 6 appetizers, 2 entrees, 2 pizzas, 2 desserts
Pros: Clever and tasty twists on well-known foods, generous drink sizes, nice outdoor seating area, friendly wait staff.
Cons: Acoustics are not great, so it gets a little loud, especially when they have live music (then it’s WAY too loud and we recommend sitting outside).
Verdict: Excellent, reasonably priced food in a fun and funky atmosphere.

She says:
I had heard about Ella’s for a while before we finally tried it on Sunday, 12/2. (I’m not sure if a full review of that is forthcoming because I can’t find our receipt.) Sundays are a special soul food menu. The rest of the week has broader offerings. We had company in town this particular night and wanted to take him somewhere unique. All three of us were very impressed.

We arrived about 8:00 and were told it was going to be a 30 minute wait but quickly found three seats at the bar. We started with a round of drinks. Our friend always drinks Jack and Coke. I had the Boozy Suzy ($9), which has Rye in it and comes in a tall glass (unfortunately, Ella’s creative cocktail menu is not on their website so I can’t give you more details than that). I pronounced it good but a little too sweet – my dining companions thought it was quite strong. After reviewing the menu, Hubby and I decided we should order all of the appetizers: chef’s hummus ($8), crab stuffed butternut squash ($14), edamame ($5), tuna cracka stacka (“seared, sesame-crusted ahi tuna, topped with Asian slaw & wasabi cream served on fried won ton squares” – $13), viva la chimi (“Chimichanga with roasted garlic mashed potato, fire roasted poblano peppers, and mozzarella served with tamarind soy sauce and chipotle sour cream” – $8.50), and rasta far fries (wedge cut fries with a spicy sriracha sauce – $5). (At this point, I should tell you that Ella’s site is not up-to-date, so some of this info is from memory with the help of what is on the site, and other info is from our receipt.)

For dinner I ordered the wino burger ($14), which isn’t on the menu online but involved onions sautéed in wine and a sweet jam, and is served with sweet potato fries. Definitely one of the best burgers I’ve had, and their sweet potato fries are excellent. I had a pina colada ($9) with dinner, served on the rocks and also in a tall glass. If I recall correctly, instead of being made with rum, this pina colada is made with coconut vodka. However they make it, it was really good and they did not skimp on the alcohol. (When the drink started to separate, as pina coladas do, the booze settled to the bottom and was quite generous.)

Hubby had two pizzas ($15 each, very generously sized), the eggs and bacon (their signature roasted garlic purée topped with cheese, bacon, and four eggs) and the hog (“tomato alfredo sauce, ground angus beef, pancetta, chorizo, mozzarella & parmesan cheeses,” minus the beef since Hubby doesn’t eat that). Both were so amazing I think pizza is ruined for us.

Our friend had the “Henry the Loaf!” ($15), “Angus beef & pork wrapped in bacon with garlic potato cake, seasonal veggies, crispy onions, & demi glaze” (although I feel like his was served with mashed potatoes, no t the potato cake). He took his first bite and looked at me like, O M G, so I immediately tried a bite. WOW. They take an already awesome meatloaf and then wrap it in BACON. Does this need more explanation?!

For dessert, I had an Irish coffee ($7, really well done). We ordered the chocolate rum cake and carrot cake for dessert ($5.50 each). Both were excellent: moist, not too sweet (you know that’s my pet peeve with desserts!), and really great flavors. (By this point in the meal, details are starting to get a little fuzzy. Probably could’ve done without that Irish coffee!)

Needless to say, we had a lot of leftovers. (Although our friend did not – he must’ve really liked Henry the Loaf!)

Bottom line: Ella’s is a great place for a high-quality meal that won’t cost you an arm and a leg (unless you’re gluttons, like we are).

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About twofoodiesinlove

About the couple: We are thirtysomethings. We’ve known each other since 2001 when we were in college together and we got married in 2009. About the wife: She’s been an accountant since 2004 and loves numbers maybe a little too much. She eats and cooks and bakes and drinks and constantly has to watch her weight because of it. About the husband: He’s a government employee… for 9 years… he likes nice people who don’t talk too much and FOOD!!! He’s a fatty who loves beer, wine and clear spirits. He likes to cook, usually stuff that is too hard for him but usually turns out well. he tries to watch his weight as it goes by at the speed of light but can’t seem to see it… oh and he loves the Wifey. she rocks.
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