After running some errands in the west end, Mack and I converged on Cactus Club Cafe for dinner, spurned on somewhat by gift cards we had on hand. Our first trip since being pampered at their VIP opening, we were ready to see what the restaurant offered on a day-to-day basis.
I was happy to see that the patio was open, but as both the dining room and outdoor seating required at least a fifteen minute wait, we elected instead to wander into the half-full lounge. About a half hour later, the lounge was packed, so we were happy to arrive when we did.
The bellini was calling my name that day, and as I found at the opening, it was refreshing yet deceivingly potent. On a more elegant occasion, I would have ordered the sablefish, but I felt like fries and a sandwich that day. I was eager to sample a full-size version of their BBQ duck clubhouse ($17), which had been my favourite item that night in April. Mack decided on their aptly named The Burger ($14), which also seemed fitting for the lounge setting. As Mack was feeling a bit puckish, we also sprung for the smoked cheddar spinach dip ($11.25) to start.
Service was brisk throughout our stay; Cactus Club was rolling like a well-oiled machine. Our appetizer arrived in good time, hot and perfectly cheesy. I typically don’t seek out spinach dips, but this version, packed with grilled chicken, fresh tomatoes, parmesan and mozzarella, took the edge off the sour cream.
Smoked Cheddar Spinach Dip
My duck clubhouse arrived looking rather small, but once I started to devour the sandwich, I realized its richness more than made up for size. It was a bit messy to eat, but the layers of carved duck, pan-fried chicken, and crisped pancetta, sandwiched between pecan fruit bread, were worth it. The fries were hot and crispy, but nothing special.
BBQ Duck Clubhouse
Mack’s burger was even more of a task to eat – the pool of liquid at the bottom of his plate grew to a formidable size by the end. He liked it – a juicy, tender patty, coupled with classic toppings of aged cheddar, sautéed mushrooms, and bacon.
As WEM restaurants go, Cactus Club is my new go-to eatery after a day of shopping. I’m just not sure I’d go out of my way to eat there, knowing that a crowd and a car jam would be waiting for me.
Cactus Club Cafe
1946, 8882 170 Street NW
8 thoughts on “A Well-Oiled Machine: Cactus Club Cafe”
My wife and I were thinking of going to Cactus Club for dinner on a Monday in the near future. Any recommendation on how early we should arrive? Thanks for your continuing great coverage of the Edmonton food scene.
Thanks Jim! They unfortunately only take lunch reservations; We were there on Canada Day, and while the dining room was packed at quarter to 6, there was still space in the lounge. I’m sure it would be somewhat less busy on a random Monday night – I’d hope that a 5:30 arrival would get you a seat in the dining room?
Oh Bellini’s..the evil death of me. So tasty!! Pecan fruit bread you say..hmmm
I have yet to visit this place in Calgary.
The Key Lime pie is my main motivator to check them out.
Hey Sharon, I really enjoy your writeups of everything. I was just wondering whether you had any more stories about DC coming up? Your travel articles are my favourite, and the detail you go into helps put us all in the scene. I hope you keep it up!
I’d highly recommend the sablefish. The butternut squash ravioli is very good too. Covered in butter, sage and crisp cookie. Tasty tasty.
Franks – it’s funny you say that, because my sister just told me yesterday she’s sick of reading about DC. To each their own, I guess, and thanks! I actually really enjoy posting about my travels – it’s for my personal remembrace purposes more than anything else!
Jon – I had the chance to sample the sablefish at the opening, and it was fantastic! I’ve also had the butternut squash ravioli, both at their Bentall 5 location and at the opening – and it’s also a fave.
Love this place! Beef carpacio and butternut squash raviolli with prawns are the best!
The food and service are consistently good, but much much busier in the summer! Almost have to plan ahead as opposed to dropping in!