Is Winnipeg really a Wasteland? (moved from Canada board)
- Schaf Jun 19, 2006 06:08 PM
I posted a few weeks ago asking for suggestions in Winnipeg-ONLY ONE response! (for which I'm grateful)
I find it hard to believe that it's that bad in the capital of Manitoba. Please help me select some chowish spots for food in Winnipeg.
thanks for your help
Winnipeg is not truly a wasteland. I think the problem lies in that there do not seem to be many Winnipeggers who post on Chowhound.
There are many great choices out there. Osborne Village is a very trendy location and if heading there I would recommend Basils(Greek/eclectic/tapas), Wasabi for sushi, and Fude for fusion style food.
A bit further up Osborne is Mise (my favourite restaurant) which features amazing local/seasonal food.
If I had to make a top 10 list for Winnipeg right now this would be it (hope it helps):
Ivory: Indian, nice atmosphere
Tre Visi: amazing Italian
Stella's Cafe & Bakery: amazing breakfasts, garden burgers.
Wasabi (Broadway & Osborne locations) : sushi
Fusion Grill: eclectic/fusion/local
Cafe 22: personal pizza's, cheap but good wine, nice atmosphere
La Fiesta: El Salvadorian, don't go hungry as it is a slow process but worth it!
Hope this helps!
Besides the restaurants already mentioned I would add EdoHei - japanese/sushi. The owner, Mr. Ono, was the first sushi restaurant in Winnipeg and he has trained the majority of sushi chefs in Winnipeg. Try the "chef's special", you pick the $ amount and he will create magic. I have a chowhound brother that lives in New York City and he claims EdoHei is THE BEST sushi restaurant he has ever eaten at. Gluttons chef is Mac Ono, Mr. Ono's son, also a great chef and very creative. I too vote for Fusion Grill, Inferno's Bistro, Bombolini is consistent and always excellent try their specials. Step'n Out is great too. There is a new restaurant on Osbourne called 7 1/4 that is supposed to be good. I haven't tried it yet. There are excellent restaurants in Winnipeg! Enjoy!
I live in Toronto but my parents live in Winnipeg. I got this from my mother. She's passed on the message to a more her more chowish sister, I'll follow up when I hear more.
My personal experience with Winnipeg tends to be more from my childhood or early adult years. More burgers and such. I wouldn't miss the Bridge Drive Inn on Jubilee in the summer for a milkshake.
hope it helps.
"We like Bombolini. It is very good but I don't think you can call it authentic. Inferno's Bistro in St. B. is also good. Belissimo on Waverley-Italian. Decanters-eclectic, Mirlycourtois-French in the Exchange District."
Nope. Not a wasteland.
I second the recommendations for Ivory and Fude. Also for authentic Ukrainian--Alycia's. It's not anywhere near the city centre so you'll need access to a vehicle.
It's fricking cold in the winter if that's what you mean by wasteland. Other than that, a great city -- seriously, move the entire place (and the people) to any other warmer part of the world and it would be amazing. I grew up there, but live in Boston now.... a few other places I go to when I go back:
1) VJs -- hands down the best burger place in North America. My ususal rituat is to get off the plane at about midnight and head straight there. Little shack on the corner of Main and Broadway. You want a "special" (or double special) and fries, in a box.
2) Stella's: in osbourne village, just about anything is good there, great for breakfast or lunch
3) BDI - ice cream
4) Alycia's - John Candy's favorite perogi place, I was there around after he died and they appeared to have a bit of a shrine for him. Yum.
5) Hy's - high end steakhouse -- it recently moved to a new more swanky location near portage and main (richardson building i think) -- I have to say i was disappointed with the new place. Trying to hard to be cool, I miss the old interior and the old waitors.
Enyoy the city -- a great place in the summer, I'm headed there this friday -- will be at VJ's at about 12:30 PM. Cheers.
I'm not sure which of these may have been mentioned already but there so many fabulous restaurants and food joints in Winnipeg.
Here are my favourites:
1) Confusion Corner Bar and Grill (At confusion corner) Average price $11-30 a plate depending what you're in the mood for. ****
2) Spuntinos Cafe 926 Grosvenor Avenue - Fabulous Italian with the famous yummy little buns. (A little more expensive but worth it $20-40) ****
3) Nikos on Corydon - Wonderful Greek. My fave is the chicken souvlaki. ($10-20 a plate) ****
4) Nucci's Gelati on Corydon - Best Italian Ice Cream in the world. (About $5) *****
5) The Current in The Inn at The Forks is amazing! Their entrees are decadent, beautiful and very reasonable. If you have a lower budget but still want the high class $250 dinner experience DEFINATELY check it out. ($16-$35 a plate) *****
6) If you're in the mood for pizza Chicago Phil's on Donald is great. They make that world famous Chicago Stuffed Deep Dish Pizza. $11 for a two topping extra large on pick up and I think $23 for the Chicago Stuffed. ****
7) Sweet Palace at 1425 Pembina in Fort Garry. Really yummy Indian Food. $14 all-you can eat dinner buffet. Don't forget to pick up a pound of sweet meats. ****
8) If you're in the downtown area looking for a Cafeteria - The Convention Centre has excellent food! (Around $8-10) ****
9) Palatal Restaurant on South Pembina (2790 Pembina) - Tasty Mongolian BBQ (About $20) ****
10) Last but not least - Ichi Ban Japanese Steak House at 189 Carlton. Pricey but always delicious. ($30-$60) *****
There are so many more but I decided to limit to 10. If you would like more then send a reply :)
I concur with the above people--as a born and raised winnipegger (though now transplanted to alberta for work)--winnipeg has lots to offer culinary-wise.
I agree with many of the above suggestions. My particular favorites when I get into town are:
However, other suggestions that haven't been mentioned:
Tavern in the Park --in Assiniboine park --lovely pavilion, great food.
Vietnamese: Viva, on Sargent I think.
Chinese: Oceania's at Pembina and Bishop Grandin used to be good. haven't been in years.
Sushi: I'd add Masa sushi on Pembina (close to bishop grandin, same strip mall as nicolino's)
Deen's (if it's still open) on Marion, I believe --Caribbean food -- great "doubles"
Falafels -- The Falafel Palace --it's on Corydon (west) close to Kenaston intersection. Yummy yam fries and falafel. Never had breakfast there but apparently makes a good greasy hangover breaky.
There's my two cents.
Enjoy the peg. believe it or not it's warmer there than in alberta right now!
Wiinipeg is absolutely not a wasteland. Its culinary scene is not as expansive as Toronto however, there are many choices to be had in the Peg, (many already mentioned).
I second Basils, and MirlyCourtois.
I adore Sukothai in Osborne Village - friendly staff, relaxing atmosphere, great food and reasonable prices. I'm utterly addicted to their Kaeng Kai Wan soup. In general I'd say their soup is definitely their forte, and you can order everything from spice level 1-spice level 10.
Yes, Winnipeg is a wasteland. We moved here 7 years ago and are consistently disappointed by the quality and expense of the food. True, if you want a fine hamburger joint, V.J's is the place... All "ethnic" retaurants are B flat relative to Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa or Montreal. Ask anyone from a one of those cities how Winnipeg compares and they'll give you the real scoop.
I suggest you move back to Van if you have not found good food in 7 years. Winnipeg has some fantastic dining and I have dined in many different cities. Granted there are plenty of "how the hell do they stay in business" restaurants that you do have to weed through like anywhere else, but I will say you can't go wrong with 529, Sydney's or the Current for a fabulous fine dining experience. Middle of the road, pricewise but good quality food lunch/dinner Nicolinos or Inferno's offers incredible tasting food and nice atmosphere. Casual fun, beautiful atmosphere and very good food & drinks...Earl's is a safe bet. There are many, many more but rather than take a risk with your money, ask around.
re: Hope D
Sadly, I don’t have the luxury of choosing the city in which I live based on restaurants. Nor have I lived in Vancouver. Earl’s is a tacky chain with a vulgar component (waitresses are selected for their anatomy). Inferno’s is overpriced and you have to make a reservation. Places like Nikos are not in the realm of “authentic”. FYI: Greek salad doesn’t have lettuce in it. Anyway, to each their own – my impression is that Winnipeger’s are very content with their food. People from more diverse/cosmopolitan cities are not.
Oh please, get over yourself. I think we all know that an authentic Greek salad doesn't have lettuce in it, we just like it better that way. Nikos is definitly authentic and will make your salad without lettuce if you ask nicely. I do agree with you about Earl's; however, it comes from Calgary so we can't be blamed for that.
If you take your bitter hat off for a while and really experience Winnipeg, you will find out that it is very diverse and has everything other cities have to offer. Take a tour around the rest of Manitoba while your at it. If you don't find what you are looking for in Winnipeg/Manitoba, you can take some of the money you save by living here, as compared to other, more "cosmopolitan" cities, and go visit.
I know I'm replying to a very old post, but I just wanted to mention one thing about the "ethnic" restaurants in Winnipeg.
While I won't argue about Winnipeg restaurants vs. Vancouver or Toronto ones, there's not a chance Ottawa and Montreal have better "ethnic" restaurants, at least in the Asian category. The exception would be Middle Eastern food, which is an area sorely underrepresented in Winnipeg (Montreal has excellent ME food, and yes, ME is considered part of Asia). But for Cantonese Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Filipino, etc., Winnipeg has far better options. People from the Thai Embassy in Ottawa come to Winnipeg every year, and even they have said Siam Thai is better than any of the Thai places in Ottawa. And have you ever had dim sum in Montreal? We went to the "best" place, recommended by HK students studying at McGill, and it was far and below even the 3rd best dim sum place in Winnipeg.
A few years ago, I would have agreed with you (about east Asian ethnic food, at least), but lately there have been a ton of really authentic Chinese places springing up in Montreal that have filled that gap and more. Next time you visit, try Cuisine Schezuan... Best Chinese food I have had anywhere. At the same time, many of the Asian places that i have enjoyed in Winnipeg before seemed to have slipped.
In terms of Thai and Vietnamese though, I still agree with you. Every time I go to Thang Huong, I try to convince the owner to pick up shop and move to Montreal.
You must have gone to the wrong Dim Sum place then or they had a really off day. I have found really superb dim sum, especially compared to those two places in Winnipeg's china town (one being kum koon garden). The best in on the south shore if you want to every try your luck again.
Having been touring around this country's major cities and using this wonderful website to find the best food, I'm afraid the nail may have been squarely hit concerning the other ethnicities, especially in the belle provence.
Cosmopolitan describes discerning or multi-ethnic, I wasn't talking fancy. My favorite chow is the cheap, good quality, truffles are out. Been to Tropikis, La Fiesta etc.. These, in my expireance, are not good. My position in this province has taken me from Churchill to Emerson and Lac du Bonnet to Flin Flon. One or two have restos have been semi-OK. I live in a part of Winnipeg that has these restos that you're describing -- don't live in the suburbs. One thing I must correct is that Inferno is not expensive, I was there last week, the price was reasonable, food was passable and the service was good.
Winnipeg isn't a wasteland exactly but if you come in expecting the equivalent of Mtl, TO, Van you're obviously going to be disappointed; if you compare to say Calgary there are more highs and lows, as Winnipeg doesn't have the fire hose of money leading to the new blingy restos opening all the time in Cowtown, with varying results. Generally the most consistent high end restos are steakhouses - 529 is as good as any Ruths Chris or Mortons and comes with a better setting, really cool old mansion.
Other than that to enjoy dining in winnipeg you need to enjoy OLD SCHOOL CHARACTER .. and eccentricity (both qualities Calgary's seriously short on). Basically the place is a total timewarp with cheapo rents and a surprisingly diverse ethnic mix, and this can have good results if you seek out the good stuff in true chow hound style (and avoid Earls! sorry whoever wrote that but you deserve a smackdown for even mentioning that name.)
1) Rae & Jerry's - actually this is hardly obscure but it's the go-to place for steak with character. Total Vegas Rat Pack decor, red vinyl seats, pickled herring appetisers, liver.. some of the fellow diners are awesome too, old wasps in checked jackets, 70 year old jewish lawyers with their families.. keyword is Time Warp. I go every time I'm in town. Now that the equally old school Hy's Steak Loft has been destroyed in favor of a generic high end corporate space in the Richardson Building (very sad) this makes Rae & Jerry's even more of a gem.
2) Alycia's - place looks like a soviet worker canteen and is some of the most unhealthy cuisine ever. It's awesome. Order the North End Special with borscht to shorten your lifespan. 2 kinds of perogies and fried sausage
3) Kum Koon Garden - this place has expanded and renovated a few times and the dim sum's as good as anything in Toronto chinatown. I always go when in town.
4) Sum Hay - across the street from Kum Koon - go here at 2 am after the bar, awesome scene with cops and massive $3 bowls of hot and sour
Actually the Chinese food scene in town is pretty good. there are enough Chinese kids studying at the U of M that you can get away from the nightmare `Chinese & Canadian Cuisine' and even find stuff similar to Richmond Hill/Vancouver hardcore. I like
5) Ho Tay on pembina
6) Victoria Seafood on St Mary. (I hope both of them are still open, it's been a while since i got to either) Both these places are the real deal like Markham joints, strip mall places serving stuff that doesnt' compromise to white people's palate.. chicken feet and congee.
7) New Hong Kong Snack House on notre dame. This is a terrifying looking shack in a semi sketchy area. You'd think there'd be biker gangs inside. It's actually fine, though very spartan/ rough interior. Quirky dim sum lunch on weekdays.
Basically, avoid anywhere shiny and new unless you get serious and repeated recommendations from trusted sources.. there's a few serial entrepreneurs trying to open new concept places to convince Winnipeggers they live somewhere with as much economic dynamism as Calgary, and they generally suck.. Earls in pantyhose with a bit of coriander thrown on the food.. every so often someone tries something ambitious but there just arent enough people with money to support those kinds of restos over the long term so usually menus end up getting dumbed down so the businesses can survive.
I found this looking up something else and I know that it is very out date but I had respond! I grew up in Winnipeg and now live just outside of Whistler, BC. Before moving here I had lived in Vancouver and Toronto as well as spending a great deal of time in Halifax. Although I have experienced incredible food in each of these cities there are still places and food from Winnipeg that I haven't found anywhere else! Amici's off Broadway is one of my all-time favorites as well as Deen's and Alycias. There is also only one place in Vancouver to get a knish... lots of asian but no where near the variety of Eastern European that you get in Winnipeg!
If you want something sweet try the gelati at Mercato at Confusion Corner. There are 72 flavours of gelati, sorbetto and tofulati at any one time.
I used to be a Nucci's devotee, but I have been converted! Bridge Drive Inn (BDI) is overrated. Instead look for Sub Zero in Elmwood - you'll need a car.
As far as Niko's Greek salad containing lettuce, there is a second Greek salad on the menu called the Village Greek which I believe is lettuce-free. They have recently renovated - a very wise move IMO - new table and chairs and a fresh coat of paint (and I think probably a new ventilation system) have done wonders. The hot Greek salad is a fave, as well as the chicken souvlaki in a pita, served with Greek salad and normally your choice of fries or rice, although I ask for the roasted potatoes instead. Very affordable, satisfying stuff.
Stay away from 529 Wellington at all costs. If you want to check out the location, have a quick drink in the very small lounge or maybe go for lunch. We tried sending a steak back when we were there for our anniversary and the waiter brought it back to us saying, "The chef says it's fine." And the plate got plunked back down on the table. We were dumbstruck and will never go back.
If you like German food try Gasthaus Gutenberger on Portage AVE. It is a bit of a drive from downtown, but on Saturday nights they usually have an accordion player strolling through the dining room - complete with lederhosen.
Real home-cooked Italian food doesn't get any better than Paradise Restaurant on Portage AVE near the intersection with Broadway. Another terrific Italian place is Mona Lisa on Corydon.
Another Winnipeg institution is Baked Expectations in Osborne Village. The trifle and strawberry pie are standouts.
Kum Koon Garden for dim sum is a must.
Orlando's on Corydon is super delish. Amici on Broadway is reliable. Step'n'Out on Provencher has amazing crab cakes at lunch but I have not been there for dinner.
Alycia's for perogies can't be beat.
I posted a very long review of a lot of places I recently visited on family visit. Since this thread seems to be the one everyone is focusing on, I wanted to highlight my recent posting, which may be found here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/435122.
And by the way, while I agree that Winnipeg is far from a culinary wasteland, part of the problem is that no-one talks about the place. If you want people to understand the place, get a dialogue going. Post some reviews. Don't let folks from Toronto and Vancouver put you down!
So this is probably way late but I wanted to mention La Vielle Gare which doesn't seem to have a review. It is one of my favourite Winnipeg restaurants. We had absolutely delicious food and very nice, attentive service.
Already mentioned is the Fusion Grill, which was a great hit with my group. The other place we went to during our stay was Ivory and it was surprisingly good East Indian food in a buffet format.
I also had a wonderful lunch at the restaurant in Assinniboine Park. I can't remember the name of the place but I really went there to see the WJ Phillips prints in their art gallery and there is a very good restaurant in the same building. I think they had a dinner menu too.
Old topic, but worth replying to. There are a lot of great restaurants in Winnipeg, but they tend to be scattered in the sprawl of the city. You won't find a stretch of several contiguous blocks that are packed with great dining, because the city just isn't structured that way. Even the more classic "hip" areas (Osborne, Corydon, Academy, Exchange) can't compare with what you'd find in a truly major center.
This topic has already covered a lot, but it's left out some relatively significant places:
- Bistro 7 1/4 (South Osborne): Excellent bistro-style food, and really cheap for what you get. The staff actually knows something about cheese, so you don't have to worry about getting a cheese board with Kraft Cracker Barrel and string cheese. The desserts are hit and miss - avoid the chocolate pot de creme, but try the lemon tart - it's the best in Winnipeg. Oh, and they have the best beef short ribs ever.
- Lux Sole (South Osborne): This is actually right across the street from Bistro 7 1/4. It's a pretty generic fusion joint, and the quality seems to have dropped slightly in recent years, but it's still a good place to grab some tapas. Their bruschetta is very worthwhile, as are the ginger bison and the dry pork ribs. A lot of people swear by their pizza, which is admittedly pretty good.
- Right There! (Osborne Village): A Korean restaurant in the Osborne Village. You won't get Korean-style BBQ beef this good anywhere in Winnipeg. Everything is delicious, and every meal comes with a complementary series of Korean salads and roasted barley tea. However, be aware that the owner may not let you order exactly what you want to...
- The Toad in the Hole (Osborne Village): A pub, but has the best breakfast in Winnipeg. Unfortunately, you can only get it on the weekend, starting at 11 a.m. The corned beef hash is really damn good.
Bistro 7 1/4
725 Osborne St, Winnipeg, MB R3L, CA
726 Osborne St, Winnipeg, MB R3L, CA
Korean Museum Restaurant Right There
472 Stradbrook Ave, Winnipeg, MB R3L, CA
It's not really a wasteland even though I can't find any Indonesian restaurant in town which is easily to find some Indonesian restaurants in Vancouver ^_^.
Here are some of my favorite restaurants
One Night in Bangkok
207 Edmonton Street
It's pretty much authentic Thai cuisine, friendly servers
Tropikis, a small Caribbean restaurant, 878 Ellice Avenue. It's also the closest one for Caribbean taste. My friend who is from Caribbean, was admitted it.
Papa George's, 93 Osborne Street.
a Greek restaurant
VJ's, the best burger in town, the corner between Broadway ave. and Main street
BDI, the creamiest ice cream in town,
Dim Sum Garden for dim sum, 277 Rupert Ave
A Taste of Laos, 840 Erin Street
A Taste of Srilanka
Winnipeg is definitely NOT a wasteland however if you were to believe all those folks from TO, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary etc (many of whom have never set foot here) it is the belly button (or worse!) of Canada.
We moved here 20 years ago and have always found great dining, whether ethnic or more upscale. In the past two to three years, the eating scene has really taken off. One of the things that you need to keep in mind is that for many Winnipegers, food is about nostalgia and so they will list the places they went to as kids as being exemplars of great dining. Not necessarily so.
As a widely travelled eater who has recently eaten at Alinea in Chicago, The Kitchen at Chambers in Minneapolis, Canoe and Susur and Lee and Thuet in Toronto, Feenies and Vij's and Chambar in Vancouver, Joel Rubichon and Nobu in Tokyo (are you getting the picture here?) I would recommend the following in the Peg:
Gluttons - great food, good service
Bistro 71/4- great food, reasonable prices, great service, lots of buzz
Sydneys - food can be iffy (apps better than mains) but the location is nice
Wasabi - upscale Japanese
Yujiro's - really good sushi and daily specials
Clay Oven - great Indian in a coffee shop atmosphere
Frankly, I think Winnipeg (and its restaurants) is one of the best kept secrets in Canada and I like it that way. We are smallish, friendly, lack attitude and accessible. If that keeps away visitors, well there is just more for me!
There are many great spots. I've listed some of the more formal spots we've had luck with. Not listed are the many cheap, ethnic spots that are just terrific.
529 Wellington Cres, Winnipeg MB
390 Assiniboine Ave., Winnipeg MB
Tre Visi Restaurant
173 McDermot Avenue, Winnipeg MB
Amici Restaurant And Bombolini / Wine Bar
326 Broadway, Winnipeg, MB
550 Academy Road, Winnipeg MB
Bistro 7 1/4
725 Osborne Winnipeg Mb.
22-222 Osborne, Winnipeg MB
In Ferno's Bistro
312 Des Meurons, Winnipeg MB
La Vieille Gare
630 DesMeurons, Winnipeg MB
635 Corydon, Winnipeg MB
Gluttons Specialty Foods & Bistro
842 Corydon, Winnipeg MB
215-1 Forks Market, Winnipeg MB
3-433 River, Winnipeg MB
Wasabi On Broadway
588 Broadway, Winnipeg MB
Can't say enough good things about MISE -- we went there for a special occasion and were greeted with a personalized 'Welcome' sign and menus. The ribs with wild rice fries are CRAZY good, and they focus on Canadian produce.
The atmosphere is typically Winnipeg -- cozy, classy, but never snotty.
Apparently they are open uber-late on the weekends.
VJ's - amazing burgers, best in N. America - get the special
Gluttons - won best chef in Canada in a Whistler competition in 2006 or 07
Rae & Jerry's - Winnipeg Institution - great atmosphere steak house - sit in the lounge for more casual experience
Oui - recently getting good write-ups (newer place)
Infernos - good - attempt to be Mtl style
Edo-hai - good sushi
Wasabi - good sushi
Mondragon - good vegan place, cool location
Kilekis - Winnipeg institution
Baked Expectations - their old fashioned chocolate cake is very good
Tavern in the Park - has the worst decor - in desperate need of an good interior decorator
529 - nice lounge - Bread pudding dessert is very good
Amici's - used to be good, but I haven't been there is a while
Stella's - good
Toad in the Hole - a pub; good chicken fingers
Ivory - good indian
East Coast Indian Company - good Indian
Viva - good Vietnamse
Martini's - good Italian
Breads and Circuses - good bread and soup (across from Gluttons)
Cafe Carlos - cute street - across from Breads and Circuses
Winnipeg has some outstanding restaurants.
A friend of mine who currently retired to France after living in Toronto and travelling all over the world was absolutely blown away by Gluttons as was his company.
Rae and Jerry's is a must- you can't beat their martinis with a Prime Rib sandwich.
Edohei sushi bar has some of the best sushi I have encountered - I travel a lot and eat a lot of sushi (sashimi mostly).
Bombolini is great for italian and reasonably priced.
Let's not forget the endless number of great little ethnic restaurants. I love exploring new finds.
I find most people who knock Winnipeg are pleasantly surprised when they do visit.
Next door to the delta is a great pub with equally great food (elephant and castle),
across the street is pasta la vista which has decent pasta dishes.
Just down a couple of blocks (less than 10 mins walking) is the East India Company (next to the convention centre), one of the best (if not THE best) Indian food in town, they have a phenomenal buffet for lunch and dinner, the owners are extremely professional and courteous and the restauraunt itself is beautiful.
if you are able to go a bit south of broadway to osborne village (running perpendicular to st. mary's ave (where the delta is)) then you can have your choice of ethiopian (massawa), fusion (Fude), sushi (meiji's), mexican (carlos and murphy's), desserty (baked expectations), italian (buccacino's) cafe/breakfast (stellas), or asian (spicy noodle house), to name a few.
if you are able to get a couple blocks north (on the other side of Portage Ave), to Sargent or Ellice streets (running parallel to portage) the area is a bit more run down but has great little mom and pop ethnic retauraunts there, (Homer's Greek food next to the university of wpg on Ellice close to balmoral), a shwarma place farther down the street (ellice and sherbrook), an ethiopian place (on sargent and balmoral), which all serve great dishes and highly inexpensive prices.
Winnipeg has great food! I used to live there and as someone said it doesn't have the firehose of money opening up new and trendy places but the established places or the artsy small independent places are amazing, people put a lot of care into small things there and food is one of them. I think that culturally Winnipeg is still ahead of a lot of bigger cities and there is a lot of historical and even French influence in Winnipeg compared to anywhere else west of Toronto.
there are plenty of good restaurants in the city, have had some great meals there, both in fine dining establishments and everyday holes in the wall.
current faves: great pho at KG Saigon on Sargent, and Sun Fortune, way down Pembina at Bishop Grandin. the place is packed with large groups of Asian diners for good reason. best to take a large group so you can sample several dishes.
Winnipeg is the only Canadian city outside Toronto where you can find many (versus one or two in Calgary as an example, and none whatsoever in "cosmopolitan" Vancouver) real Trinidadian places with food made by real Trinis. Deen's Doubles of Santa Cruz, TT has had a second location in the Peg for decades. For this reason, and this alone, I would insist that the Peg is NOT a wasteland.
re: John Manzo
There is a Roti place in Port Moody (a long drive from Downtown Vancouver) called Rehana's Roti and Trinidadian that is run by Trinis. I hear it is good. But you are right - Vancouver could use more food from the Caribbean. We have a number of Jamaican places - none of them are in the league of the TO restaurants.
I didn't have time to chow down in Winnipeg the last few times I was there. I went to Glutton's - I thought it was very good.
Sorry for the delay... here is a list of what I think is good.
Fusion Grill 550 Academy Rd. 204 489 6963, talented young female chef and fresh local as possible ingredients. Complete VQA wine list, well chosen.
529 Wellington, 529 Wellington Cres. 4878325, one of the best steaks available in Canada, traditional upscale steak house, try the Rib Steak with the marrow sauce its big and they have never complained about splitting it. Wine list is over the top, some excellent selections.
Bistro 71/4, 725 Orborne St, 777 2525, Cozy local bistro, great value for the dollar. Chef and his wife own and operate the place and the service has always been great. Moules et Frites are to die for. Good place to share many plates.
Oui Bistro, 238 bannatyne Ave. 989 7000, Up-scale French Bistro, a little pricy but the food is good. Here they have selected a French only wine list.
Tre Visi, 173 McDermot Ave 949 9032, Italian, the owner comes from Bari, train with his uncles before settling in Winnipeg. Pastas are exceptional, entrees are just the right size and the food seems very reasonable every time I have gone. Small room but very cozy, they fill up quickly.
Lots of ethnic bargains, here a link to our one and only food critic that has clout.
Hope that helps.
I thought I'd wiped out all memories of the 'peg, but a few restaurant names remain:
Orlando's on Corydon, always had great seafood there...
Pyramid Falafel (sargent somewhere) & Massawa (osborne village), both Ethiopian, were fine establishments, if a bit slow
the chili-soaked burger at Daly Burger on corydon
Sydney's for a nice night out (forks)
Rae&Jerry's for the true 'peg steakmosphere
G-martinis and meiji sushi after work (osborne)
Magic Thai (in a super-iffy looking neighbourhood, on logan I think, but fantastic food)
I know there were several excellent Chinese and Vietnamese places as well, but I can't quite remember their names now... if you fish it's well worth it to bring your fresh catch to some of the Chinese places to get it done up right (call ahead to verify, not all of the Chinese restaurants would do this for a reasonable fee).
As non-manitoban, what I found in winnipeg was that it tended to be best not to take the advice of most of the people I worked with when it came to dining, and to just experiment on my own, looking for good spots under the radar. There's quite a bit of diversity in the city, but there's quite a lot of folks either fresh off the farm (or just feeling insecure) that are simply not going to be comfortable with anything the slightest bit different - that was my experience, I don't say this to be mean. My favourite illustration of this: when I first moved there, there was a "Taste of Winnipeg" type of festival taking place near the legislature... I was happy to see stalls for all sorts of local restaurants of many nationalities and ethnicities, but the lineup for the Red Lobster stall was easily 100x longer than all the rest combined! That was sort of Winnipeg in a nutshell for me.
I understand what you're saying--I grew up in Winnipeg, and the city is full of people with average tastes. That being said, most people in Canada (and the US, for that matter), have average tastes and that would explain the proliferation of places like Red Lobster, Olive Garden, and The Cheesecake Factory.
Bringing it back to good restaurants in Winnipeg, most are in the "cheap ethnic eats" category, but there are some very good places in the mid-priced range, too.
Chinese (general)--Sun Fortune and North Garden in the south end of the city are very good, and very highly regarded with the Chinese community.
Chinese (Dim Sum)--Kam Ho in the south end is new, and quite good overall (no cart service, and what service they do have is slow and not very personable), but Kum Koon is still the standard. Dim Sum Garden is good, and may have even improved since the new owners took over. Victoria Seafood has excellent seafood items, but the meat-based items are not so good.
Thai--I have to disagree with gimel on the Magic Thai rec. Magic Thai might have good food (though I would even argue that point), but it sure isn't good *Thai* food (the last time I was there, they put *ketchup* in the choochee!!!). Siam Thai, also in the south end of the city, is the only place I ever recommend, but the quality depends on who is cooking.
Vietnamese--there are a lot of good Vietnamese restaurants. We usually go to Nhu Quynh on Sargent. It's not necessarily the best, but it's very good.
Indian--I usually avoid East Indian Company and Ivory, as I find they're geared more to "average" tastes. India Palace was very good (they used to be co-owners of Bombay Snack House--one of the earlier Indian restaurants in Winnipeg), but I haven't been there in a very long time, so I can't comment on their food now.
European-influenced places (these are my mid-range restaurants):
Bistro Dansk--so often overlooked, but they are always consistent. Their schniztel is excellent, and I can never leave without having the hazelnut pie for dessert!
Bistro 7 1/4--I want to love this place, but so far, I only love their moules and frites. Everything else I've had their has not shined, including their desserts.
Fusion Grill--I've never had anything bad here.
Eva's Gelato--I think this Argentinean gelato place outshines its Italian counterparts, but some of their flavours are somewhat medicinal (like their hazelnut--the last time I was there it had an off-flavour).
Gunn's--pizza bagels, florentine cookies, etc. The applejacks have gotten smaller and less flavourful, though. What's up with that?
Underground Cafe--for the sunburgers!
Places I haven't tried, but want to--Mise (it's always on my shortlist, but I never quite make it there) and Glutton's (but now that Ono is leaving, I may strike it off my list)
Places which used to be good, but are now questionable--Tre Visi (what a disappointment! I used to love the place!),
Places that are over-rated--In Ferno's (at least for lunch), many of the Winnipeg "institutions"--Kelekis, BDI, Alycia's, Skinner's, etc. etc.
FWIW, I love Carlos&Murphy's, but it isn't Mexican, and most of the food is inconsistent. The only thing I've had that is always consistent are the nachos--the plain ones.
Surprised you had a bad experience at Tre Visi. Going there tonight and I've always had luck there.
Agree about In Ferno. Had a bad meal there and their menu was too large and mostly out of date. In addition, it points to a big ego when you have 6 or 7 specials that you make your wait staff memorize and then have that huge menu on top of that. If you want to have that many specials, that should be it for the menu. Concentrate on a smaller number of dishes and do them well.
It could have been the timing--we went for a late lunch, arriving just after 1. BUT, we did have reservations, so it's not like we walked in just when they wanted to relax. It shouldn't matter, though. A good restaurant should be good no matter what time or what day you dine there. And the owner was in-house that day (I saw him), so he should have had more control over what was coming out of his kitchen.
The service was actually the worst part of our meal that day, though. I know I should give them another chance because I used to love them, but there are usually too many restaurants on my list when I visit Winnipeg that I'm not willing to spend my precious time on a place that half-a**es its way through my meal. Maybe I'll give them another try when I move back, but that won't be for a while, yet.
Just returned from a trip to the Peg, to see family. Currently residing in Montreal. I always like going back home. I don't get to eat out as much as I usually like when I go home, partly because our families like to cook and eat at home, and that is good eating, let me tell you!
I don't go back to Winnipeg for high-end dining, but I would agree that there are many gems in Winnipeg, and the QPR can be very high there!
Went skating at the Forks while we were there. For a food court, the choices at the Forks were pretty impressive! Sri Lankan, Caribbean Roti, Polish, Korean, the list goes on. And the prices were very reasonable too. Like I say, lots of gems.
Did you have anything from Tall Grass Prairie? Sundays (maybe other days, too, but definitely Sundays), they have excellent savoury bread pudding (caveat--it's usually excellent, but once they put it out late, and it was kind of crappy that day).
bogie--I think India Curry House closed long ago. I haven't heard anything about the owners opening up shop elsewhere in Winnipeg, so I would guess the owners quit the restaurant business or moved (a lot of owners of "ethnic" restaurants in Winnipeg move to TO or more recently, out west once they've done well enough to do so).
If you drop by India Palace, try asking the owners about ICH. A lot of the old-timers know each other (at least in passing), and so they might know the scoop.
I wonder if anyone remembers Cynthia's--it was a West Indian place across from the Health Sciences Women's Centre. It was very popular, and had the best patties in the city. I know Cynthia went home to take care of her sick mother for a bit (this was at least 10 years ago), but I don't know what happened to her after that. Was she finally lured to BC by that guy who wanted her to make patties for his company? Anyone out there know?
A couple of notes FYI:
Sing moved from Sum Hay a couple of years ago, and is now running a new restaurant called "Fortune Cooking" (not a typo!) on Ellice in front of The Brick.
Also, "Be One" on Portage in St James does the first semi-authentic Korean table BBQ my wife and I have found in Winnipeg. Excellent set of side dishes, too, though you have to ask for kakdugee. Very friendly proprietor.
Oh, and the Bombay Snack House used to be on the corner of Broadway and Spence, not that far from BH. It's been gone a loooong time now. Happily, though, there's a new-ish place at Westminster and Sherbrook called "Charisma" that has decent Indian food--plus belly dancing . . .
Now if I could only source a proper chimichurri sauce I'd be content. (El Izalco doesn't carry it, sadly, and the Superstore stuff is some Argentinian garlic thing)
The Bombay Snack House used to be on Ellice in the same strip mall as Maxim's (the HK-style bakery). It was most definitely there in the early 90s and until the yclosed, but perhaps prior to that it was on Broadway? Charisma is OK, but there are still better out there.
Have you tried Simon's on St. Mary's Rd for chimichurri? My mother didn't really care for their food, but I can't remember what she said about their chimichurri. The Argentinean Pavilion at Folklorama used to have really good chimichurri, but last year it wasn't so great (nor was the rest of their food). They used to have good food at the yearly fund-raising picnic for the Argentiean Association, too, but I don't know if they still have the picnic. A lot changed after one of the leaders of the community passed away a couple of years ago.
They sell a decent/good Chimichuri sauce at Eva's gelatti.. It is made by the Argentine owners and Called "Josee Chimichuri" Sauce- Are you looking for the Argentine or the Mexican version...If it is the Mexican version you can find a recipe in Bon Appetit- if you are up for a treasure hunt you might find all the ingredients in Winnipeg in Winter...Good Luck...
Try The Gelati at Eva's when you are there....
Wow, this is an old post, but I'll chime in anyhow.
Mise is great. They use local ingredients were ever possible, and the menu is diverse and interesting.
Carlos and Murphys, not really Mexican, but tasty. Their fries are amazing, they have a nice taco salad with home made dressing, wings and nachos are good. It's a nice place to go for a drink and some snacks, the patio in summer is great because it's off the main street.
Toad in the Hole has great pub food.
Rae and Jerrys steak sandwiches and martinis are devine.
Sukothai does an amazing yellow curry (Khang Karee), their springrolls are delish
Hus On First is upscale quasi-asian, not authentic, but still enjoyable. The Sake-tini is yum, good spring rolls, nice mushu pork.
Nikos is great value, again not authentic, but tasty. Some of it is a bit salty though.
Daly Burger has the best chicken burger I've ever eaten. A real chicken breast, and it's CRISPY. and it STAYS crispy. Their fries, also, are fab.
Inferno Bistro, good stuff.
Massawa, Ethiopian, delicious, but it takes a looooong time.
Agreed, not a wasteland, but less selection than the big cities. What Winnipeg primarily lacks is in high-quality, high price-point options (do not even mention 529, Sydney's, Oui) and in accessible, word-of-mouth popularized small, cheap ethnic restos. There are lots, but the quality is dubious and it's hard to tell that from the outside.
India Palace (palak paneer, vegetable zhal frasi, pakora, naan, I hear the chicken vindaloo is great too).
Than Huong (the pho with tofu! Not vegetarian, but it's so delicious it's hard to care)
Fresh Cafe (the secret is out on this one . . . but their crispy kale is to die for!)
Mondragon (vegan — and that's really not scary, I promise.)
Bread and Circuses (great soups)
Romani's (best pizza! It's super garlicky)
Kokeb (amazing bean-filled samosas, and the coffee service is a taste experience every Winnipegger should have)
Falafel Place (I had no idea blintzes could be good, never mind great)
Civita (other best pizza? Crispy whole-wheat dough with incredibly fresh toppings)
Pizzeria Gusto (yeah, my bf likes pizza. The Sofia with drunken mushrooms, though! The fresh buffalo mozzerella! yowza)
Tomato Pie Co. (you need reservations two weeks in advance, but since I tried it two years ago I've been trying and failing to recreate the perfection of their arrabiata sauce)
Tall Grass Prairie Bakery (best cinnamon buns in the world, beating even my Grandma's)
Black Sheep Diner (breakfasts galore)
Next on my list to try is the newly opened Daquisto's.
If you like India Palace, I would suggest giving Taste of India in the little strip mall at Sargent & Young (kitty corner from Asia City) a try. We used to love India Palace (we've known the owners since they were half-owners of Bombay), but our last visit there left us disappointed. The owners no longer do the cooking, and the food just isn't the same. The food at Taste of India had more depth of flavour, and unusually, every dish at the lunch buffet had a different flavour (unlike East India Company, where everything tastes the same).
Organza at Confusion Corner is probably the best. There are also Organic Planet and Humboldt's Legacy on Westminster. During the summer, the St. Norbert Farmers Market is great for alternative grains (I think the stall is something like Brueggeman's, but I'm not sure of the selling), and also has some stalls selling organic vegetables. Tall Grass Prairie also sells a few organic products, and some stone-ground wheat, etc. I know the original location on Westminster does, but I'm not sure about the one at the Forks.
Mise (which others have raved about) also opened up a specialty grocery store, formerly where Glutton's store was on Corydon. They have a fair number of "healthful" ingredients (though I went the other day for soba noodles and they stopped carrying them!) but do well on the gourmet.
In a pinch, I also shop at the Grant Park mall Safeway — for whatever reason, its organic, Asian and "healthy" sections are much larger.
Sun Wah Supermarket on King Street is great for Asian packaged foods and amazingly fresh produce — lots of it is local, they have a partnership with a local farmer who immigrated from China.
The area around HSC also has lots of Asian and African grocery stores, but I don't have a car so I don't shop frequently enough to recommend. India Spice House on Pembina is the place to stock up before making a curry (Indian or even Thai, in a pinch).
I spent 2 years in Winnipeg, and some of my best memories there took place in amazing restaurants! I was lucky enough to live walking distance from Osbourne Village, and most of the restaurants listed by others are excellent suggestions.
I just wanted to mention East India Company on York Ave -- I still crave Indian food from this wonderful establishment. Others have mentioned "Ivory", which is indeed good, but the flavours (especially the garlic naan) at East India are to die for.
You must not have looked very hard. . . Did you even try Bistro Dansk? They've been around forever (we've been eating there since the '80's), and I don't know anyone who doesn't like it (at least of the people who have eaten there, but surprisingly, not a lot of Winnipegers seem to know it).
I'm surprised not to see Bobbie's (Fine European), River Mandarin or the Wagon Wheel mentioned anywhere here! The latter is true Winnipeg nostalgia and subject of a Reader's Digest article in Oct. 08: "Does WINNIPEG have Canada's best diner?". A number of CFL players rush from the airport for the famous clubhouse and the old-style milkshakes there!
River Mandarin is most definitely not as good as it once was. I was there last summer, and I probably won't be going back. After the wife had a stroke, it seemed the quality of the food declined (some of the food has always been more Canadian-Chinese food, but some was really quite good and even some of their Thai-inspired dishes were on-par with the best Thai food in the city).
I used to love Bobbie's, but I haven't been there in a few years. I saw a year or two ago that they were trying to sell the restaurant. Is it still open?
Wagon Wheel--I think it's over-rated. Really over-rated. But YMMV.
- holy smokes ! you mean to say that the WAGON WHEEL is still around ! i sure hope so !
- i lived in the ' peg for a year plus in the mid- 1980 's ( now in vancouver ) and remember- even then- having no difficulty uncovering the sort of small, interesting, family- run ' ethnic ' places most of us who read this board crave and relish ' finding '. the nauseating cult of detached, ironic, post- post modern ' hipster '- ism was thankfully absent from the urban winnipeg ' scene ' in the mid- 80 's- but an extremely invigorating international culture most certainly WAS in evidence. north end: eastern european. chinatown. little italy. french- canadian st. boniface. sargent / ellice corridor: just about everything you could imagine. i miss the place and really look forward to visiting it again someday. check out the film: ' My Winnipeg '.
Coming from a former Winnipegger-turned Calgarian, the thing I miss most about the Peg is the food!! All I do is eat when I come home! Here's the places I miss most....
Best Fusion: Fude on Osbourne
Best Sushi: Wasabi Broadway & Osbourne, the ambiance is better on Broadway I find
Ice Cream/Gelati: BDI for Ice Cream, Nucci's on Corydon for gelati....oh do I miss Nucci"s
If you take a trip to Assiniboine PArk, cross the bridge and hit up Sargent Sundae
Mexican: The food is so-so but the Nacho's are to die for!
Dessert: Baked Expectations. Might be $11 for a piece of cheesecake, but its as big as your head and delicious
Greek: If you enjoy the tiny hole-in-the-wall family run places, try Santorini on Portage and Parkiview. If you blink you'll miss it but when you find it you'll find huge portions and (very) cheap authentic Greek food. It would be hard to spend more than $20 here for 2 people. ALWAYS my first stop back in the Peg.
Coffee: The Fyxx
Steakhouse: Rae & Jerry's. Can't beat the decor
The only thing I will admit is when it come to fine dining, Calgary has Wpg beat hands down. Like everybody else has said, Winnipeg doesn't have a firehose of $$ pouring into it to open places like Rush, Rouge, Teatro, Muse, Belgo etc.
All I can think of for now.
200 8th Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0K7, CA
Sum Hays on Logan one block west of Main. We have been going here for years and can't go any place else. Food comes as its cooked not how you order it. Menu for success is as follows; Almond shrimp, Sum Hays rice, Beef and Spinach, Mooshu Pork, Panned grilled chow main with assorted meats.
I tend to agree with the wasteland comment (part of the reason why I moved). That being said, there are some real gems if you know what to look for. For my money, two things CAN be done very right in Winnipeg: Vietnamese and Sushi.
My recs for those are Thanh Huong (534 Sargent Avenue, get he #6 soup) and Yujiro (1822 Grant Avenue, get anything).
Where I currently live, I can find awesome places for pretty much everything except sushi or Vietnamese, so I go to these places immediately when I am back to visit family.
I think that there is (or was at least) a trend to move towards french-ish bistros that feature(d) local ingredients or at least a "local" feel of some sort but these places all went downhill very fast after opening., IMO. Unfortunately, Mise and Infernos would qualify for this category.
There used to be some really good Indian and Ethiopian, but my favorites all closed down (Sweet Palace and Pyramid).
One more suggestion would be to check out the Filipino food around the lower north end. I don't have any place in particular to recommend, but it's something that you don't find everywhere. I have certainly never seen anything like it in Montreal, at least.
222 Osborne St, Winnipeg, MB R3L, CA
Gosh, if people think Winnipeg is a foodie wasteland, they obviously haven't been to a lot of cities in the US... Originally from the "Peg but now in the backyard of Virginia (aka. West Virginia)... talk about wasteland... Anyways, was in Winnipeg last week for a couple of days and gorged myself at North Garden & Masa... *burp*
My past eating experiences are somewhat limited to the south end of the city near the university.
North Garden - my go to place for both dinner AND dim sum. They recently started the dim sum and I definitely give it a thumbs up. Mom says the portions have gotten a bit smaller since they started but it left me rolling outta the place after a few plates. They also used to have "hot pot" nights... dunno if they still do that.
Sun Fortune - Cantonese with a splash of fusion?
Chinada - haven't been here in while. Northern chinese fare but seems to be suffering from chef turnovers. Although, I felt it to be a good bang for my buck.
Hsieh Family Restaurant - Hole-in-the-wall Taiwanese. I haven't personally eaten here but definitely want to. I've heard good things about this place... This is my mom's opinion (she's from taiwan)... Pretty good. Portions can be a bit small but a very decent prices.
Oceiana (spelling?) - I went to this place when it was a hole-in-the-wall... talk about a restaurant that really let it go to its head and lost its mojo. If you like Chinese-Canadian... this is for you. Haven't been there in about 2 decades... maybe it has changed.
Victoria's - good dim sum but never blew me away...
Japanese: (I hear there is over 100 sushi place in winnipeg now!)
Edohei - No doubt about it, Mr. Ono is the best but I find it a tad pricey.
Masa - My goto place. They're currently having a ~$17 dinner specials. Awesome. The original owner, I was told, trained with Mr. Ono. The current owner trained with the original. I find that this place gives me the most bang for my sushi buck.
Meiji Sushi - I was introduced to this little outta the way place by my bro-in-law. Never tried dinner but they have some fantastic lunch deals. Very nice decor but a little on the glitzy side.
Other Places I Have Thoughts On:
Claypot - I'm not an expert on E. Indian cuisine but it had a nice atmosphere and the food tasted good. Seating was a bit tough to get though.
Nicolino's - A really great italian place on the south side. I've never been disappointed here but I found it hard on my student wallet.
BDI - very good ice cream but starting to wonder how much of it is hype...
Baked Expectations - Big prices but big portions.
University of Manitoba Faculty Club - Unfortunately, this place isn't open to the general public. You have to be a member (on univ staff) or know someone who is to get in. I jump at opportunities to go here. Serves mostly contemporary fare but is superbly done imo.
Anyways, read some great suggestions here. Will have to try some of them the next time I'm around.
Chinada was sold within the last year and is now a branch of Dim Sum Garden (which was also sold a couple of years ago, but the new owners kept them name). The cooks are from somewhere near Sichuan (can't remember the province), or so we were told.
North Garden has gone seriously downhill since they expanded. We used to alternate between NG and Sun Fortune, but after our last experience at NG, we'll likely never go back, except maybe to try their dim sum (still haven't, yet). Sun Fortune has a few dim sum-like items, but not many. I don't really see SF as "fusion" as many of the dishes people may think of as strange (like the pork chops and the spaghetti) are very common in typical Hong Kong eateries.
Never understood the hype over Oceana, either. They got very popular after Marion Warhaft gave them an outstanding review (decades ago?), but she's not the most knowledgeable food critic out there. Unfortunately, most Winnipegers aren't all that knowledgeable about Chinese or other "ethnic" foods, so it's still really popular.
I've always thought of BDI as being all hype. They don't serve very good ice cream, that's for sure.
I love food and these are the restaurants that make it in our rotation.
Massawa - delicious, inexpensive but takes forever to prepare.
The Underground Cafe - how I wish it was open on weekends.
In Ferno's - reasonably priced and well-prepared food. I've never had a bad experience there and would eat there more often if I wasn't off trying new places.
Naru sushi - amazing roles and the vegetarian options are delicious.
Water Lilly - I like Clay Oven, Charisma and all the standard Indian restos in Winnipeg but nobody makes yellow dal like they do at Water Lilly. Just don't order the korma (sorry!). I guess they were too busy perfecting the dal.
Every now and then we try a new restaurant but compare them to our favorites and so they fall short. One disappointment worth mentioning is Fude. The food was alright. After winning awards and a fabulous reputation, we were expecting to be blown away. Unfortunately the food was so dressed up that you couldn't taste the delicious local ingredients touted on the menu. Husband couldn't taste the chicken under all the chocolate coffee sauce and my bowl of Indonesian was a mash of I-don't-know-what with a tacky garnish of fruit and shrimp. It just didn't come together. That said, we will go back to try the pickerel before totally ruling it out.
Clay Oven Restaurant
3132 26 St NE, Calgary, AB T1Y, CA
I am sick and tired of being BASHED by BCers, Winnipeg is a wonderful place to live and EAT...You want good Vietnamese go to Pho#1 on Isabel and McDermot, also Binh Ma on the corner of Main and Aberdeen, although our China town is quite small there are some great restaurants like Shanghi, Sum Hi's on Logan has great soups, why don't you open up the Yellow Pages there are tons of restaurants in Winnipeg, go down Sargent Ave, and you will encounter a whole swack of restaurants, there is Thai, Vietnamese, East Indian, Sri Lanka, Caribbean, etc. You want to find about the ethnic culture in Winnipeg go to the Folklarama Festival the first two weeks in August, the best ethnic event in North America. You just can't beat it. Get a Winnipegger to get to take you around the city, and maybe venture out of town, to some of our rural municipalities, you can't beat the hot dogs at Skinners and the Half Moon in Selkirk. Don't tell me about Winnipeg being a Wasteland. Best burgers Klekisis on Main St, their is also Juniors on Main St, they have great fries. There is no excuse why you can't find a good restaurant in Winnipeg.
Jalepeno, I agree. I think those who can't find great food may be on the preentious side of foodie world. It may not be able to compete with other cities in terms of gourmet food, but for Comfort food? Guy Frieri would move there permanently if he visited just once. Blondie's, Michael P's, Red Boot, Mr B's, Colonel Willy's, Deen's, the Haywood Cafe, the King's Head (best British pub food in town) just to name a few.
And it's definitely worth a trip out of town,particularly heading north - Half Moon, Skinner's (Jimmy Skinner was a close family friend), Salty's Drive-In in Winnipeg Beach, this ice cream place in Grand Marais that I can't remember the name of, and Saffie's in Albert Beach may have the best pie in the entire province.
I now live in BC, but get out to as many eateries as possible when home.
Winnipeg has some of the best restaurants...period.
Cafe Carlo- Best Pasta i have ever eaten. Fett Chili
Massawa- Authentic Ethiopian food. A must!!!
Mise- Good food and ran by some great people.
7 1/4- Food is most often great. Good atmosphere. Good Service. Chef is very nice. Sangria's!
Sensi- A must if you are looking for a nice quite tapas meal and a great glass of wine.
Segovia- Tapas being the new craze this place knocks it outta the park.
Fresh- Owners are the nicest girls around. 95% of the products are made in house. Fig Jam!!!
Pizzeria Gusto- Eat everything!!! And don't go without a Caesar salad.
Fude- Great service. Good food. Great owner.
Klekisis- Is famous for burgers and grilled cheese.
Meiji Sushi- Sushi pizza no longer on the menu but you can still ge it..and you should.
Tall Grass Prairie Bakery- WPG staple but i think Breads and Circuses has better buns.
Ivory- Good Indain food...buffet style.
Tallest Poppy- North end jem.
The Black Sheep Dinner- Hole in the wall west end classic.
Stella's Cafe: New bakery. All locations are good. The Caesar salad is a bit strong for my liking.
VJs- For a dirty burger.
Alycia's- Take Baba for some perogies.
The Falafel Palace- I ate there this morning for the 50 time. Soo good.
Pollo Volante- In The Times Change(d) is the best authentic Mexican i have had in WPG.
Breads and Circuses- Best breakfast sandwich i have ever had.
Nhu Quynh- If you want real Viatnames food. 10/10
Kum Koon- Dim Sum is good as most places
Bar Italia- Will make you all the coffe you can drink. Then go down the street to...
Nucci's Gelati- Family run for the past 100,000 years
A Taste of Laos-
One Night in Bangkok-
My mind is naming places faster then i can write em down.I could go on all night.
I have lived and worked in Montreal, Edmonton, Calgary, Banff and Vancouver but still think WPG holds down more great restaurants after all is tallied up.
A wasteland you say!?!?! Far from it!!! You gotta do some digging but once you do you will never leave Winnipeg hungry again.
This is only if you ask a real Winnipegger and someone that has done a tour of some of Canada finest eatery's.
The Good Chef
I'm a "real" Winnipeger who has eaten at some of Canada's (as well as the world's) greatest eateries, and I would dispute about half your list. Ivory? Clay Oven?? Meiji??? One Night in Bangkok?? Bread & Circuses?? Kelekis?? Delicious??
But taste is relative and largely influenced by frame of reference. . .
That being said, Winnipeg has *good* (and a little excellent) food in certain categories (some ethnic foods, for example), but unfortunately, it doesn't have *excellent* food across the board. No great fine dining, no great Mexican, no great Middle Eastern (Baraka, but the menu is very limited), no great delis. . . I think Montreal and Vancouver outclass Winnipeg by miles across the board, but I'd put Winnipeg above Edmonton, Calgary, and Banff in most categories (Banff? Seriously? Should that even be on the list?).
Clay Oven Restaurant
3132 26 St NE, Calgary, AB T1Y, CA
Food is not a matter of excellence and execution all the time, sometime you just need a good satisfying meal. Like a breakfast sandwich from Bread and Circuses or a burger from Kelekis. And that's the point. Not all of us are looking for the same thing. I am trying to satisfy both sides of the field.
To say MTL or any other city is miles above is not accurate. All cities have dives and gems for sure. But to say we in WPG are far behind or a wasteland is a farce.
In MTL behind the old Forum there is a small breakfast spot (Cosmo’s) that serves up great eggs and bacon breakfasts all day. A dirty hole in the ground...literally. I would put that on a must eat list, not because of the food or the service. But when you live in that city that place is like home...and that's what makes a great meal to me. The experience.
When I work, and am surrounded by great quality food all day sometimes all I want is a hot dog from a vending cart. Not a 6 course tasting menu at the finest restaurant I can locate. To me, that is excellence....in that moment.
The posts about Winnipeg being a wasteland are a bit insulting. You gotta truly know your city to find the good spots. I urge you to go to The Times Change(d) and have some authentic Mexican from the couple that cooks outta there. They could not afford a place of their own so they operate from the bar and do one hell of a job.
And the sushi pizza from Meiji!!! As far as sushi grade fish go in a prairie town they have it right.
Fame of reference.... I think is false for most people. I went to Deseo Bistro hoping that Bagshaw could deliver but the food was sub par. I ordered 7 items and only one was a 6/10. The Taco might have been excellent but the hairs in it prevented me from trying it. That place has been praised in most articles but the fact remains the food is not up to snuff. I wouldn't eat bad food if people told me it was great...would you? And on that note food critics in WPG…really?
Winnipeg is not really a fine dinning city. MTL on the other hand is. We try to serve Foie Gras on our menu all the time to no avail but in MTL people eat that for breakfast. They are adventurous, they eat anything. The caliber of cooks is also way higher and more abundant. Lots of ethnicity makes for great ideas. Globe, The W Hotel's, Otto, Cellini, The Mount Stephens Club and on and on are all great places but ask a Montrealer how to eat and they tell you something different.
So yea some of those suggestions were not 10’s but the point in all this is that WPG has some truly fantastic places to dine. That’s just my 2 bites.
The Good Chef
This is Jalapeno from the Peg again, I thought of a couple more restaurants. Pho #1 on Isabel and McDermot, it got 4 out 5 star review from Marion Warhaft the restaurant critic for the Winnipeg Free Press, and also Edohei Japanese Restaurant on Ellice, who got a 5 out 5 star review from Marion, for some of the best Sushi, and Tempura, you can't get better than that. So to all your doubting Thomas's out there, you have plenty of places to go and dine, and besides it is cheaper to live and eat here, than other cities in Canada.
Try Dubrovnik's on Assiniboine, try the Lanterne Rouge in St. Bonifact. Corydon is out little Italy and there are some absolutely fabulous places there.More avant garde out along Osborne, last time I was there. Mona Lisa's way down Corydon makes the best Italian food I've had in Winnipeg so far. the Inn at the Forks is pricey but they serve a rare steak that is melt in your mouth tender. Whatever you're looking for, Winnipeg will have somewhere.
I do agree that Connelly and Bagshaw are two of the best (if not the best) accessible chefs in Winnipeg (Takashi Murakami may be one, too, but unless you are a member of St. Charles, you'll never get to find out), I've not yet been to deer+almond, but Elements is much over-rated, imo.
I think more chefs in Winnipeg need to get out of Winnipeg and cook (and eat) elsewhere in the world, and I'm not talking going on holidays for a week or two in [fill in the country name here]. If some of the more ambitious chefs did a stage or two abroad every year (like Donnelly has), the food scene in Winnipeg would improve 10-fold. Watching the food network and reading cookbooks by this year's trendiest chefs doesn't really cut it. They need to experience food at all levels in order to develop their taste buds and skills.
And I agree with a commenter above that Winnipegers, in general, are not adventurous eaters, but they are slowly (very slowly) broadening their horizons. The last time I was at Segovia, I asked why they took the croquetas of the day off the specials menu, and they said some of the varieties were going to waste because not many people would order them. I'm guessing they were the ones that probably had octopus, bacalao or other "strange" ingredients in them. But at least Winnipegers have embraced Segovia--I can imagine that 10-15 years ago, that restaurant would not have been nearly as successful as it is.