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Mar 23, 2010 12:50 PM

old school distinctly Manitoban or Winnipegian foods

So far, I'm planning to visit Tall Grass Bread Company, and I might try a Fat Boy at some point during my stay. What else should I add to my list?

Noticed Yudyta’s had a negative review recently. Has anyone been to Alycia's recently? Are there any other Ukrainian restaurants in Winnipeg?

Not interested in recs for Asian food, pizza, Greek, etc.

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  1. I have been in Winnipeg , since Aug/09 , I am from Toronto. I havent found any good restaurants. I think here the Keg is as good as it gets.

    5 Replies
    1. re: maxxyp

      Thanks for the reply, maxxyp ;-) Sorry to hear you haven't found any good restaurants.

      Have you tried Hy's yet ? ;-) Hy's was founded in Winnipeg, and the Keg was a downmarket offshoot of Hy's, created by the son of the owner of Hy's.

      Maybe Hy's is as good as it gets ;-) Might be better than the Keg!

      Hy's Steakhouse - Winnipeg
      One Lombard Place, Main Floor Richardson Bldg, Winnipeg, MB R3B 0X3, CA

      1. re: phoenikia

        I have been to the Toronto location , on Yorkville , many times . As good as Hys , is there are much better , places in Toronto to eat. I do still follow the boards of Toronto , I am just here on temp. basis , for work. However there doesnt seem to be many places , in Winnipeg that have the ambience , we find in Toronto. Tons of pizza places , fried chicken , and forget the burgers , burnt out top with chili and mayo. I did have some decent deli , at Oscars , loved their roast brisket sandwich , but they close at 3pm , not opened Sun

      2. re: maxxyp

        I think you're still looking for the wrong things in the wrong place.

        You've been given advice as to what Winnipeg does well--why not explore those options rather than stick to foods you've been warned are difficult to find?

        On the same note, if you're in a new place, why stick to your old routine? Would you go to Paris or Tokyo and insist on looking for the perfect deli?

        "If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home." James Michener

        1. re: maxxyp

          You couldn't have tried too hard! lot's of great restaurants in Winnipeg.
          You obviously haven't been to Tre Visi or Amici or Bellisimo or Velvet Glove, Fude, etc. etc. etc.
          (forget Hy's's definately not what it used to be.)

          1. re: nostalgia foods

            I agree that there are good places, but the ones that you mentioned are very tired and seem to want to try to emulate the experience of more inspired places from elsewhere.

            The only places in this city which I think can stand toe to toe with anywhere in the country are Thanh Huong and Yujiro.

        2. For the life of me I can't figure out why nobody from The Peg ever mentions Rae and Jerry's. It's right out of the fifties, you think you'd run into Sinatra and the Rat Pack there. They probably had to slaughter a herd of naugas to cover the furniture. And the steaks are fantastic with the rest of the menu probably not changed since they opened, very trad.
          Go there!

          4 Replies
          1. re: Scary Bill

            well i got take out from the Whitehouse , many raved, however , i nearly broke teeth ?
            Best in the Peg

            1. re: maxxyp

              How about Silver Heights , Scary any good?, know they been in bizz for ages

              1. re: maxxyp

                Maxy, I'm not a Pegger, so I really don't know too many places in town. Silver Heights is is not one I know, but looking at the menu it seems to be caught in the same time warp as R & J, so it would certainly meet the "old school" criterion.

            2. re: Scary Bill

              Thanks, Scary Bill. Rae & Jerry's is on the list.



              At least one aspect of the menu has changed since they opened- they serve Ben & Jerry's ice cream with their apple crisp ;-)

            3. i was at alycias not to long ago,i have an aunt that lives 4 doors down and they go there for take out borsch all the time (she makes her own pyroghy and cabbage rolls tho,old school ya know)but when i was there i had 2 bowls of the stuff ,it was good (mom makes better).had the pyroghies and rolls as well, to try them out,they were pretty good .id def go back.there is another Ukrainian place east of st boniface by cloverdale paints that should be avoided at all costs.

              1. I have been going to Winnipeg regularily for business and have posted a few reviews. Wpg has at least a few really good places (mind you I was sad to hear that Mirlycurtois is closed). Fusion Grill is fantastic, Rae and Jerry's is hilarious and decent. Hy's is boring boring boring. Mise is great. 71/4 has potential. There are good restos almost anywhere (not just TO) and Winnipeg seems to have it's fair share. I even had a great burger at Kelekis which really disappointed my last trip. My spouse and I - we travel to eat - plan on a trip to Wpg in the next few months JUST to eat and food shop. Look at the Prairie Board and you will find my detailed reviews of the above restos.

                Referring to the original post though:...just ate at Fusion Grill last week (fourth time in three trips) and it is predominantly local sourced food, Canadian wines with fun and knowledgable service. The preparations are genius. Add them to your list.

                222 Osborne St, Winnipeg, MB R3L, CA

                5 Replies
                1. re: foodiesnorth

                  Well I travel for bizz , as well., I dont have a huge expense account. I also know there are good restuarants , perhaps in Winnipeg , was just trying to find them
                  thank u

                  1. re: foodiesnorth

                    Mirlycourtois closed? When/how did that happen?

                    Have you tried Provence Bistro? They're the closest to "fine dining" I've had in Winnipeg (including Mise, 7 1/4, and Fusion Grill). I'm having easter brunch there this year. :-)

                    222 Osborne St, Winnipeg, MB R3L, CA

                    1. re: prasantrin

                      I checked on line to get their number and saw the news. That night (last week) I asked the chef where I ws dining what had happened and he said the owner/chef's wife was very ill. That place is a real gem; I hope they reopen.

                      1. re: foodiesnorth

                        Looks like they closed in January (or December). The Winnipeg Free Press implies they closed because of lack of business, but they didn't actually speak to Mirlycourois.

                        Several years ago, I actually had the worst croque monsieur I'd ever had at Mirlycourtois,and I never went back. But I'd heard good things about it from other people, so I always thought I should try it again.

                        Hopefully he'll open again somewhere in Winnipeg.

                        1. re: foodiesnorth

                          More news via Gordon Sinclair's column in the Winnipeg Free Press:

                          "Carole, who worked the front of the fabulous French restaurant while Bernard toiled in the back, says it was a dispute with the landlord that ultimately caused the couple to close their Princess Street premises. And after 49 years in the kitchen, Bernard is taking a break. Bon chance mes amis."

                    2. Are there really any foods in Winnipeg or Manitoba that are exclusive to Winnipeg or Manitoba? I guess I'm not really sure what you're looking for, especially since "etc." could exclude pretty much everything.

                      Tall Grass Prairie is great, but I'm sure you could find similar breads elsewhere. And Ukrainian food--doesn't Edmonton have some Ukrainian restaurants, too? (Not sure, just think they would since they've got an even larger Ukrainian population than Winnipeg.)

                      If a Fat Boy is uniquely Manitoban, then I'd add a Salisbury House Nip to that.

                      Underground Cafe's sunburger. That's the only vegetarian burger I've had that I'd eat again (and I have eaten it again and again ;-) ).

                      Gunn's pizza bagels. Maybe their apple jacks, too, though they're not as good as they used to be.

                      Lemon doughnuts from The Donut House (just down the street from Gunn's).

                      I wonder if the Danish/Czech food at Bistro Dansk would be considered "distinctly Manitoban or Winnipegian"? Their hazelnut pie rocks. Seriously good stuff.

                      I'd also put Eva's Gelato on your list. It's Argentinean-style gelato, which according to the owners is different from Italian gelato (though I haven't figured out how, yet). Whatever, it's really good gelato! Especially the dulce de leche and halvah!

                      ETA: you could also add The Tallest Poppy for Sunday brunch. I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a similar dining experience elsewhere.

                      20 Replies
                      1. re: prasantrin

                        Thanks for your suggstions, prasantrin.

                        I'm not saying there are foods that are exclusive to Winnipeg, but I'm sure there are foods that are more popular, more common or done better in Winnipeg, or done in a Winnipeg-style. Those are the types of foods I'm hoping to try. I don't see the point in going for Indian,Greek,Thai or Chinese food if I'm Winnipeg when I can do that at home. I mentioned the Ukrainian because Ukrainian restaurant food is hard to find where I live in Eastern Canada, and I haven't found much of it on trips to AB or SK.

                        I asked a similar type of question when I visited Edmonton last year:
               Good Ukrainian food isn't that easy to find in Edmonton restaurants these days, and I only know of one Ukrainian restaurant in TO, despite the Ukrainian population.

                        A helpful reply on another board mentioned I should also try the pickerel and Imperials while I'm in Winnipeg.

                        1. re: phoenikia

                          Thanks for the clarification! I think most of my recs would suit your quest, then.

                          I'd also suggest smoked goldeye. You can get it at Gimli Fish Market (other places, too, but that's the only place I can think of off-hand). I definitely agree with the pickerel suggestion. Most of the "fine" dining places in Winnipeg will have pickerel on the menu. It's very Manitoban!

                          I know you mentioned you weren't looking for Asian, but I would also recommend going to Asia City just for bubble tea--but only get one of the fresh fruit ones. The young coconut one is very rich and creamy. It's more of a dessert than a beverage. I've not had bubble tea like it anywhere else (they make it more like a milk shake).

                          And if your cholesterol and blood pressure aren't too high, how would you feel about fried chicken skin? It's difficult to find anywhere else, but oh so good! There's a Charlie Biggs franchise on Sargent Ave. (Charlie Biggs has really good fried chicken, too--one of the best I've had) that sells just fried chicken skin. Seriously good but artery clogging stuff.

                          What are Imperials?

                          1. re: prasantrin

                            Thanks for the smoked goldeye rec, the fried chicken skin & the young coconut bubble tea;-) These are exactly the type of recs I was hoping to hear about.

                            Imperials aka Diplomats are a shortbread cookie with raspberry jam in the middle, and a white glaze on top:
                            I understand Gunn's on Selkirk sells great Diplomats/Imperials.

                            Another rec on the other board was blueberry bannock slathered in butter at Neechi's on Dufferin. Thanks for the recommendations for Gunn's, Neechi's and pickerel, WinnipegManitoban, if you're reading this thread ;-)

                            1. re: phoenikia

                              Ah, Imperials. I remember them now, but I don't think I've ever had one. Maybe on my next trip to Gunn's! gunn's is also where you'll get the applejacks and pizza bagels! (I also like their florentine cookies, but they're not terribly rare. Theirs are very good, though.)

                              Neechi's is an interesting place. It's a good place to buy wild rice if you're looking for that.

                              Although it's Asian, you might also be interested in Filipino food. Winnipeg is one of the few cities that has a number of Filipino restaurants. The only problem is that the ones we used to frequent have suffered in quality over the last few years. I'm not sure I could recommend any particular one.

                              1. re: prasantrin

                                The Aristicrat on Tyndall is good for take out, the chicken is broasted, very crispy and the Filiopino spring rolls are great.

                                1. re: one_prairie_gal

                                  Aristocrat. I didn't care for it, but perhaps it has improved.

                                  We used to like the Filipino breakfast at Juvian's when it was still at the Balmoral. They had some really good take-out items, as well, but then they moved and expanded, and the quality declined. A lot.

                                  We're still looking for a good all-round Filipino place, but just haven't found it, yet. There are a number we haven't tried, though, so there's still hope.

                              2. re: phoenikia

                                About the chicken skin (in case you really want to try it), I wrote "There's a Charlie Biggs franchise on Sargent Ave. (Charlie Biggs has really good fried chicken, too--one of the best I've had) that sells just fried chicken skin."

                                I was misleading--I mean the Charlie Biggs on Sargent is the only one that sells fried chicken skin (as far as I know), but that branch sells regular fried chicken and other things, too. They may even have chicken-fried perogies. And other Charlie Biggs branches sell fried chicken, etc. but not fried chicken skin.

                              3. re: prasantrin

                                Is smoked goldeye good? I caught some here in Alberta and the texture was not great.

                                1. re: 23skidoo

                                  you have to smoke it .fresh always has that texture.the natives a long time ago discovered the smoking trick.

                                  1. re: 23skidoo

                                    Smoked goldeye is fantastic. Make it with cream cheese, capers, lemon on rye bread or lavash.

                                    1. re: sarah galvin

                                      Another yes to Winnipeg smoked gold eye. It is a very special fish! You can often get it at that Italian market on Taylor, darn I can't remember the name, but it has the Italian wine boutique, and they sell Daniel chocolates from Vancouver ( I love those dark chocolate expresso chocolates), they have a bakery and sell that great cheese bread with green onions (fergassa I think), nice selection of Italian food. But the fish guy there says he often has smoked gold eye. Very good quality when we bought it.

                                      I also love Icelandic vinertarte, that prune torte they do. It is very hard to find outside Manitoba. Sometimes they will have it in one of the bakeries at the Forks. If you can find some, it is worth trying. We've been ordering some from a mail order source, and it is pretty tasty stuff.

                                      I guess Jeannie's cake is classic Winnipeg, but I have found the quality has gone down a bit, and it isn't as wonderful as I remember.

                                      I ma also fond of Gunn's pizza bagels. Nice and oniony, and I haven't found anything quite like it.

                                      If you are there in the summer, BDI ice cream! GO and get one of their crazy big shakes or sundae specials (like the one in the half cantelope) Sitting by the river, batting away mosquitos, eating BDI ice cream - ahh yes, that is Winnipeg in the summer. Of course, another classic scenario: still spring, but BDI is open so you go and eat anyway, even if it isn't warm enough. But at least the ice cream melts more slowly.

                                      The Peg... I do miss it. I get to go back now and then, I still like going back.

                                      1. re: moh

                                        Vinaterta!!! I forgot about that!

                                        Most places (especially the ones at the farmer's markets) don't do a very good job of it. Their layers are too cake-like and thick.

                                        But Tall Grass Prairie does a pretty good one. I'm not sure how often it's available, though. It's a PITA to make, so it's not a regular item, and it's also comparatively expensive.

                              4. re: prasantrin

                                For you folks in Winnipeg, is there some kind of Mennonite restaurant in Winnipeg? I know that different Manitoba towns are known for their own version of Mennonite farmer sausage - Altona, Winkler, etc. And I think Manitoba has the highest Mennonite population in Canada?

                                1. re: prasantrin

                                  Yup Edmonton has a couple of Ukrainian restos.

                                  Wow, Bistro Dansk is still around? I never even thought to check. That place was my first real ethnic food experience when I went to the University of Manitoba 30 years ago! Thanks for that heads up.

                                  1. re: foodiesnorth

                                    Bistro Dansk is still around, and just last year they started taking Interac! :-) It may have different owners from when you were last there. When it first opened in the early mid/late '70s, it was owned by a couple of Danish couples (I think), but it was soon bought by the owner of Bistro Bohemia. It's now owned?/operated by his son, so they've got some Czech items on the menu rather than being exclusively Danish. The schnitzel is just as good as ever, and their pate is awesome! Served with sauteed mushrooms and thickly sliced bacon--mmmmmm. Heart attack waiting to happen. Finish your meal with a slice of hazelnut pie, and you've got the perfect meal!

                                    @Libertycafe--there used to be a restaurant called d'8 Schtove (or something like that), but it closed many years ago. I don't know of any dedicated Mennonite restaurant that has opened since then, but I think there are some places that serve the occasional Mennonite dish or two.

                                    1. re: prasantrin

                                      Bistro Dansk was originally owned by and fellow from Saskatoon and his Danish wife, they sold it to Paul's father and mother and for years now Paul has run the place. The food is still very authentic.

                                      1. re: one_prairie_gal


                                        The Danish food is still very good. I think Paul did a good job of keeping the traditions (if two years of ownership can be called "tradition") of the original owners, but he did add some Czech items to the menu, too. Birgit and Norman Gladstone and Lise and Morgens Christiansen were the original owners according to the article.

                                        The article also has their recipe for hazelnut pie, by the way! It took me years to find it, but I still haven't made it.

                                  2. re: prasantrin

                                    BTW, prasantin, what exactly is a Salisbury House Nip? Where is a good place to get one in WInnipeg?

                                    1. re: phoenikia

                                      It's just a hamburger. It can be had at any Salisbury House in Winnipeg (there are a lot of them).

                                      In which area will you be staying?

                                      Can't wait to hear your report. If you do drop by Charlie Biggs (which I think is take out only) for the chicken skins, don't forget the garlic/vinegar dipping sauce! It's very important! :-)

                                      About the smoked goldeye, I rarely see it on menus, but you might be able to pick up just a little smidge. I'll look around and see what I can find.

                                      Will you be in town on a Saturday? St. Norbert Farmer's Market is opening this weekend!

                                      If you happen to be coming on a Monday, it's good to keep in mind that many restaurants are closed on Mondays.

                                      1. re: prasantrin

                                        Hi prasantin, thanks for all your help!

                                        I'll be staying near Portage & Main.

                                        I will be in town midweek, so I won't be able to check out the Farmer's Market.