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saskatoon?

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  • sampson Feb 19, 2005 03:33 PM
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any good recommendations for restaurants in saskatoon? not looking for your typical meat and potatoes joint

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  1. It has been a few years but the spot that we enjoyed the most was Calories in the Broadway area of Saskatoon. Limited menu. May have formerly been restricted to desserts but theirs' was the best food we had.

    Close by was the Black Duck Freehouse which although we did not get to it is supposed to be good.

    The phrases "family restaurant" and "Greek ribs" spring to mind whenever I think of eating in Saskatoon.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Bob Mac

      Since the SAD demise of Fude, Saskatoon is best summed up by "family style" and "Greek ribs". Calories has great desserts but I've been unimpressed by their mains.
      We had a v. good experience recently with Truffles Bistro on Early Drive. A little out of the way, and no liquor license at last visit, but the food was creative and good. We had dimsum at Sun Sui Wah in Richmond last weekend and decided that the dimsum at Mandarin in S'toon is BETTER!

      1. re: Bob Mac

        The Black Duck??? You must be joking.

        I won't even tell the story.

        GROSS.

      2. Check out Aroma in the Radisson Hotel. It takes local ingredidents but with a Mediterranean twist. Keo's on 33rd street has amazing thai and there is a new african restaurant called Baba's on 22nd Street.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Tricia

          That would be Saba's, not Baba's. Saba is the lady who runs the restaurant; she often comes to greet the diners.

          Great food in very friendly environment. One thing I really like about them is that when I order the vegetarian combination, they bring me enough for when I am moderately hungry, and bring more (quite a bit more) of what I like if I'm not full yet. Great way to avoid wastage. Their service is slow, which can be good if you have company, because it gives you time to chat. Though sometimes it can be frustrating. But they're a new place and they are learning how to run it. Being that they are the only African restaurant I know of in town (and a damn good one at that), I'd go there just to encourage them and make sure they stay in business.

          1. re: Tricia

            Baba's is actually the name of a nice little eatery on 51st, a ukrainian place that serves handmade perogies and cabbage rolls. You can even take frozen product home.

          2. What about Weczeria?

            Their web-site and what I have read elsewhere makes it seem quite interesting and a marked departure from what we experienced during our one trip to Saskatoon some years ago.

            http://www.espressolab.ca/weczeria/

            9 Replies
            1. re: Bob Mac

              We ate at Weczeria last fall. Their menu is written on a blackboard and consists of a few choices of appetiser and main dishes, and changes every few days depending on what local items are in season for the chef to choose from. I found the food well prepared and very tasty. The atmosphere turned my hubbie off. The place is very small, with only a half-dozen tables or so. There appeared to be no ventilation as the place was extremely "hazy" with smoke and when we left, we found that we really smelled! I would go back and would recommend giving the place a try.

              Lately, Saskatoon has witnessed the emergence of several new places (not described as "family" or "greek ribs"!!!!) . The Black Duck is now The Barking Fish. It changed hands and has been totally re-done inside, kinda a Toronto-like vibe happening. It's a tapas bar and the few times we've been, we've enjoyed our plates.

              The Ivy opened in the fall (where the old Keg use to be), redone inside and I've heard mixed reviews. Other new places that I haven't yet tried are The Outside, at the corner of 8th and Broadway which serves vegan and fondu (for the non-vegan folk!). Pestos, also on Broadway and Simon's British Flavours on the corner of 22nd St and 3rd Ave.

              So ... on your next visit to ToonTown there are few more places to try out instead of the ol' stand-bys of Calories, Truffles and St. Tropez Bistro.

              1. re: Lam

                Thank you for the update Lam.

                Sorry about the "shot" regarding "Greek ribs and Family Restaurant" but the latter still almost reduces my wife and I to tears thinking about that week in "'toon town".

                I am not sure that telling an Edmontonian who was born and raised in Montreal and then Halifax that The Barking Fish has,"...kinda a Toronto-like vibe happening..." is that a good thing? [smile].....do they all wear black? [grin]. Does sound interesting.

                I had forgotten about St Tropez...it was recommended by one of the servers at the hotel we stayed at out near the airport with the comment..."oh yeah, the St Tropez, it is really gourmet food...they serve pasta and everything..." [smile]

                The folks in Saskatoon were wonderful. They made a bad week as good as it could get since the reason we were there was to bring one of our goldens for cancer surgery at the Western Canadian Veterinary Hospital. I certainly would eat more than my fill of oregano and lemon juiced "Greek ribs" if it could have brought more runs with my Merlin, "da Merlinator".

                1. re: Bob Mac

                  We love Poverino's Italian Restaraunt, they have opened a new spot on Idlewild.

                  1. re: chermarpa

                    Somebody mentioned Simon's British Flavours in a previous post. It is AMAZING! It took a bit of convincing to get my English husband to agree to try it out but it was well worth my efforts. It's now our favourite place in Saskatoon; we actually have to make an effort not to go too often! I'm a vegetarian so I've had the butternut squash risotto, the goat's cheese, spinach and warm potato salad and several of the desserts on the menu. My husband is not veggie and has always raved about his meals. The desserts are amazing! Okay, I'll stop gushing. Simon is not paying me, I swear. Just try it!

                    1. re: Mrs. MacLeod

                      Totally agreed. I just went there for supper and their food is excellent. Everything was fresh and delicious, and the taste was superb. The atmosphere is also really lovely, and they have great taste in music. The location isn't the best but I hope everyone tries this place out as it is worth it. With all the new restaurants opening, I think this is the best one I've been to out of all of them (Pestos - meh - cheap ingredients, The Ivy - weird flavors, Barking Fish - just hype, Weczeria - great service, flavors not great).

                      1. re: freelancer

                        I forgot to mention the music! We were hoping to go to Simon's for our first anniversary on the 27th but, alas, they're not open Sundays. We're going to Aroma instead. I've only ever been there once for lunch. Is it a good spot for dinner?

                        1. re: Mrs. MacLeod

                          The two of us have eaten at Aroma once, for dinner, about a year ago. We had several of their 'appetisers'. I found them average, nothing to rave about. We were put off by the extremely noisy family that was dining (but perhaps 'dining' is not the correct word for it!) in the one corner. Their behaviour was visibly disruptive to many of the other patrons however the staff appeared to be oblivious to it all. The place almost appeared to be understaffed. We were shown to a table in the middle of the seating area, even though there were many other perimeter tables available and which remained available (which in my opinion, were much better suited for a couple dining out). Perhaps things have changed. I guess I really can't comment on their entrees however Aroma wouldn't be my first choice for a first anniversary dinner for two. Perhaps others have had better experiences since mine and would disagree.

                          1. re: Mrs. MacLeod

                            I know, their music rocks at Simon's! I would highly advise against going to Aroma for your Anniversary. I had a steak there once and it was served with a line of blue ink in the meat. They could have cut it off to make it more attractive but they didn't. It was unappetizing, the food wasn't all that tasty and it's overpriced. I've heard the quality has plummeted since the head chef and manager left a year or two ago. Definitely not worth going to - you'll be disappointed!

                            I've heard good things about St. Tropez Bistro - never been but maybe that might be a better bet for you.

                            1. re: freelancer

                              So we went to Aroma for our anniversary. We had the same starter. It was good, but everything else was a bit mediocre. Better luck next year.

              2. My 2 bits' about dinners in Saskatoon:
                --Weczeria is one of my favourites, largely because the chef (Dan) is *really good* at adapting the menu to cope with food allergy requirements and the menu is very innovative. I like the emphasis he and his wife (co-chef!) place on local ingredients. The service tries hard but is very inexpert. I dislike having my plate removed when my companions are still eating their course. Dan apparently has a new 'front end' manager on tap for after he moves (he is staying on Broadway, AFAIK and hoping to expand a bit to have more tables.) I wish he'd get better air conditioning. It's been a brutal summer!
                --Calories just doesn't do it for me anymore. Even their desserts seem ho-hum and at $6 to 8, undersized if you just go for dessert and coffee. I go there for lunch with out of town visitors, though, because the lunch menu seems better.
                --Truffles Bistro was great but their ambience was non-existent, and the seating area largely featured a hallway to the toilets. They're closed this summer as they move downtown, near 21st and 2nd Ave, or thereabouts. Good for the hotel crowd.
                --Pesto's lost their star cook (the sous chef from Truffles) and is terrible. Don't bother.
                --Chewan is a newer Chinese food place, the north end of Idylwyld. I liked it but only went once, so far. Yip Hong's (Cumberland Square on 8th St) is good, too, but seems to depend who is the cook that day. They are the best place for dim sum, which they do daily, before 5 pm. You can get a lot of the dim sum dishes at dinner though.
                --We haven't tried some of the other recommended places on the Saskatoon board but I would generally avoid the hotel restaurants. They've always been very pedestrian.

                5 Replies
                1. re: Bull

                  Agree completely about Saskatoon Asian on 2nd Avenue - if you're looking for really delicious food, awesome service, and bang for your buck, this is the place to go.

                  1. re: Paphos.SK

                    Amendment: I don't know why it happened but I was really disappointed with our last trip to Weczeria. No attention to providing a meal without ingredients that I can't have despite asking specifically for a wine-free sauce. And the same problem as BobMac reported: "...no ventilation as the place was extremely "hazy" with smoke ". This has got to be resolved before we go back. Well, assuming the chef cares whether he wants to cater to food allergies.

                    BTW, the word on Truffles new spot: it isn't very good: poor service and massively over-priced food. I gotta say Weczeria has over-priced itself, too. $9 for 3 shrimp? $12 for 3 gnocchi and a tablespoon of quinoa? This ain't Susur Lee's place, folks!

                    1. re: Paphos.SK

                      I've only been to Weczeria once but didn't enjoy it at all. The bison was overdone and tough as rubber. The flourless chocolate cake was way too dense and needed to be cut with a steak knife. It was a disappointing experience. And the room was so hazy, I could barely see the food.

                      Haven't been to Truffles' new spot yet but I also hear the service sucks. I heard that they screwed up someone's meal (i.e. gave them the wrong meal) and then asked "Are you sure you don't want this instead?". $100 per person later, not a thing was done to fix the errors of the night on the bill, nor was an apology offered. With that kind of poor service, Truffles' owners really need to re-evaluate their customer service.

                    2. re: Paphos.SK

                      Update:
                      We have been to Calories 3 times in the last few months. I have to say it has vastly improved. Even their desserts! The choice for those with food allergies was a lot better, too.
                      Sadly, our last visit to Weczeria was not impressive. Other people have posted about the cooking haze and that seems to still be a problem. The food seemed overpriced as mentioned elsewhere. I hope the management can address these concerns because it was originally a fun place for foodie-types..

                      1. re: Paphos.SK

                        I know these are older posts, but Truffles likely had growing pains moving to a new place and I believe Weczeria experienced the same problem last year that so much of the service industry suffered from, namely a lack of skilled labour.

                        I hope you'll give these restaurants another try and see what improvements there probably are. I haven't been back to either place in the past year and half, as a lot of travel has intervened. (I had kind of an overload on restaurant food with being away so much.)

                        I hoped to reserve at Weczeria for a dinner before Christmas or before the New Year but they were fully booked. So they must be satisfying a great many diners.

                        I have enjoyed some delicious meals at both these places as well as Calories quite awhile ago, but I am relatively new to Chowhound as one to post comments. So I haven't said much on the local scene.

                        The thing is, while your comments are valid, I did kind of wonder if you ever asked to talk to the chef at a different time, like the next day when the staff isn't overwhelmed trying to get the food out to the customers?

                        In my experience, chefs are very concerned that the customer have an opportunity to discuss their problems. Saskatoon has only a few restaurants that serve local food using innovative menus and being willing to accommodate food allergies. I'd like to see them thrive.

                    3. So what about this "King Konga" place that I stumbled across whilst surfing?! Planet S did an article on them at the beginning of the month. Anyone know anything about it? Is it any good? (It's supposed to be a Jamaican place on Ave H and 23rd or somewhere thereabouts?)

                      1. Is the "Greek ribs" phenomenon limited to Saskatoon? I've never heard of this before. Can anybody explain?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: egon61

                          Greek ribs and Caesar salad. Seems to be a bit of a staple. Occasionally the ribs are the dry variety. I'm not sure if it extends to other parts of the province. North Battleford was big on its chicken fingers when I was there in the 80s but that may have changed.

                          As far as the Planet S reviews go, I do sometimes enjoy reading them but when I pick up the paper my husband always asks, "Which restaurant got 4 out of 5 stars this week?"

                        2. Went to Truffles in its new location. Extremely POOR and RUDE service. Came in for dessert, was seated and then told by a rude server that we were "taking up space" at the restaurant because they do not serve dessert tables until 8:30 p.m. I was so disgusted by the service. The owners should be ashamed at themselves for encouraging and training their staff to treat customers like crap.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: dixon

                            The last time we were in Saskatoon we went to a dinner theatre and it was excellent. I'm not sure of the name as it was a year ago. We also go to a great Greek restaurant in Sutherland that has beach volley ball courts across from it. Wow. I am bad for names but plan on doing both again this fall.
                            Dean in Red Deer

                            1. re: carlitguy

                              Athena Restaurant is a Greek restaurant on Central Avenue in Sutherland and is directly across the street from the beach volleyball courts at the Sutherland Hotel.

                          2. Greek in Saskatoon is so very wrong, don't do it. Unless you want icky dry ribs and sloppy caesar salad. It's embarrasing, I don't think people in Saskatoon know what Greek food is. Although, I have been hearing rumors that Koutouki Taverna is more authentic? I make no promises though.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: dixon

                              bliss will be open for business with a soft opening planned for monday the 25th of august with a grand opening planned later

                              1. re: brh973

                                I have to disagree. There is good and bad Greek in Saskatoon. But the good is very good. Sadly, there is not longer a gourmet or high end Greek -- sigh for the passing of Cousin Nik's. But I do like Mano's and the Cave for good, family meals and both have great frajalaki and souvlaki.

                                1. re: pengcast

                                  "There is good and bad Greek in Saskatoon. But the good is very good." <quote>
                                  If you thought Cousin Nik's was good and that Mano's has any resemblance to food in Greece or the Levant, you better get a passport and go and eat in the Greek Islands, Northern Greece or Cyprus. *Then* you will know what "good" is. Assuming you can find the better places. I haven't been for so long, I can't give any recs.

                                  I have been promoting Koutouki Taverna (119 - 3rd Avenue S.) but I confess I have only had lunch and snacks there. It reminded me of good meze I had a really long time ago in Kyrenia (Cyprus).

                                  1. re: Paphos.SK

                                    Has anyone been to Mykonos since it has moved into Simon's?

                                    1. re: Paphos.SK

                                      Koutouki is part of a chain that started in Edmonton. I used to go to their original location all the time for celebration dinners and have the feast. Good food!!

                                      Love the fried cheese and their spanakopita.

                                2. There is good and bad Greek in Saskatoon. I lived in Saskatoon for seven years, and have been to Greece. Some of the food offered in Saskatoon over the years may not be authentic Greek, but it can still be very good. My wife somehow has the recipe for Greek ribs that they served at Cousin Niks. She makes it often for guests. Everyone raves. Authentic? Maybe not. But oh so good. I miss my days in Saskatoon, when every restaurant had frajolaki on the menu, even if it was Italian.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: sackman

                                    I worked at Cousin Niks while going to university. Truly miss Nik's (actually they were Gus') ribs. Would you be willing to share the recipe? Many thanks.

                                  2. The Ivy's new executive chef is now Marty Peters, who headed up Prairie Ink for years, and owned Fresh Bistro (which closed unfortunately, at least temporarily).

                                    1. I know this is an old post and I know it originally did not want a meat and potatoes place but as a chowhound who is often looking for good places to eat, I had to contribute somewhere.

                                      Our favorite restaurant in Saskatoon is Mr. Rizo's on Idlewyld. It does have a pretty predictable menu but we have gone there many times and it never disappoints. On our last visit we had to make a late reservation and ended up closing the place down. Never did we feel rushed in the least and in fact our waiter Lee made us feel like part of the family and even turned down the lights for our pear flambe dessert. It has become a little pricey lately but it's worth every penny because everything from the vegetables to the coffee is so flavourful and just great and so consistently well prepared. The service is a bit "different" but I think fun and I wouldn't trade it away for anything. Also the location is downright strange but don't let the fact that is in a sort of old motel scare you off. Make a reservation for sure and expect straight forward food perfectly done, cramped but cozy tables, unique service, and a terrific time.

                                      1. Went to Calories the other day and have to say I was very impressed! Had the Ling Cod and others had the elk stew and the steak. Cod and stew was very good, steak wasn't great, but have had many worse. Desserts were wonderful and wine list impressive. Service was fantastic and found out they have just opened a speciality foods store downtown that offers wine that we can't get at our local government regulated liquor outlets. All in all a very nice evening!

                                        1. I was in Saskatoon last week for a conference. While there I managed to have a couple decent meals. The best was Weczeria at 616 10th St., just off of Broadway (located by Amigos). The room is intimate with seating for 35 diners. A chalkboard sets out the day's mains and appetizers, and there is a short but decent all-Canadian wine list. The food is well prepared, nicely presented bistro-ish fare. Reservations are likely required - and the restro highly recommended.

                                          On the other end of the spectrum was the Park Cafe - located at 20th St, by Avenue F. It is an old-school diner. While the interior and exterior may leave you wondering if you've come to the right place, the food was excellent. A great brunch or lunch spot.

                                          My final comment is on the BarKingFish, 154 2nd Avenue, (where the Black Duck used to be) a tapas bar. The BKF has a beautiful modern room which looks like a modern urban restaurant, and later in the evening has a dj pumping up the noise. We had a pleasant enough visit, but this is not a tapas restaurant. I guess Saskatonians have not caught on to the concept of little plates (some of the tapas come with side salads) and the menu was more asian fusion than tapas. However, if you weren't actually looking for a tapas restaurant, the food was decent and the room comfortable.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: ParkdaleEater

                                            Saskatoon did the small plates thing about 5 years ago, Aroma started it, BKF continued it, but like everywhere else it has evolved. For true tapas-a requirement of being a spanish restaurant would need to be met. Saskatoon has a fun dining scene with a mixture of hipster inspired hangouts to old school steak houses.

                                            Where are you from Parkdale Eater?

                                            1. re: ingloriouseater

                                              I'm from Toronto. i was just in Saskatoon to do some visiting. I hadn't been there since 1991. It was nice to be back.

                                              1. re: ParkdaleEater

                                                i only ask because i currently (for the last 3 years) live and eat in parkdale...prior to that i lived and worked in saskatoon....

                                          2. OK, so just give me the straight goods! Where should I eat when I go into S'toon for the May long weekend? I would like one 'fancy' meal and I like casual dining.