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Foodies Coming to Winnipeg

  • j

Hi there

We're coming to Winnipeg in a few weeks for a visit - we'll be in the city for about 4 days prior to heading out to visit with family outside of Brandon. We're be staying in the Forks area but have a car.

What food and drink hi-lights should we try and seek out while we're there?

We're not too concerned about price.

We're generally open to most food and drink experiences.

We like it all from street food/ to diners/dives to high end dining.

When we travel we like to try local experiences as much as possible and steer clear of chains.

We'll be going to the Elton john concert at the MTS centre - any great spots near there for a pre-concernt dinner or post conference drinks and dessert.

I am coffee obsessed - any great coffee shops/roasters in the city that make a good fill-bodied dark roast?

We also love markets and gourmet food shops and would welcome any suggestions there.

I've searched this board but haven't found much. There must be SOMETHING! *smile*

Thanks!

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  1. Did you already read these threads?

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/696661

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/109507

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/722840

    I'd recommend (and some of these will be repeats from the above three threads):

    Segovia--tapas in Osborne Village. Get there early (like whenever they open--5, I think), or be prepared to wait a couple of hours.

    Kum Koon Garden--for dim sum--I think they have dim sum during the week, too, but Sat. and Sun. have the greatest variety of dishes

    Sun Fortune--excellent Cantonese food. Closed Mondays, I think. It's about 20-30 minutes from the Forks area (near U of M).

    White Top--if it's open, get a fat boy burger and fries. So far, they're number 1 in my Winnipeg-style burger taste test

    Gunn's--it's near White Top. Bagels are good, so is their fergasa bread. Their apple jacks used to be really really good, but now they're just OK. Still worth a try, I think. And I like their knishes, too.

    Tall Grass Prairie--at the Forks. Good home-style breads and whole wheat cinnamon buns (when they're fresh). Their savoury bread pudding is usually good, too.

    Asia City--for bubble tea and bahn mi. The fresh fruit bubble teas are excellent (especially young coconut!).

    Samosa Crown--excellent indian food; even their lunch buffet is good

    Siam--the Thai restaurant Thai people actually go to, but it's best if the owner is cooking (if you can handle spicy food, order Nipon's Fish; if you can handle spicy, order it but ask for just a little chile

    )

    Eva's Gelato--halvah is my favourite! Peanut butter is good, too.

    Provence Bistro--probably the closest to "fine dining" you'll get.

    Mise--I like their appetizers; mains, not so much, but it's very popular

    Tallest Poppy--looks divey, but the food is like well-prepared homemade food. And they have interesting specials

    Tre Visi--haven't been there in a few years (my last experience there was not so good), but it still gets good reviews. More similar to "real" Italian food

    Deseo--I've only been once, and what I had was well prepared. Cash only, at least it was when I went. It's reasonably close to MTS Centre.

    Prairie Ink--for Sunday buffet brunch if you're here on a Sunday

    O Tacho--excellent Portuguese food. Not cheap, but delicious! Very large servings, though, so be prepared for leftovers

    I'm sure there's more, but that's all I can think of right now.

    Give up the coffee idea. I've not had really good coffee in Winnipeg.

    Oh, Baked Expectations for coffee and dessert. In Osborne Village, so not too far from the Forks.

    1 Reply
    1. re: prasantrin

      I just noticed a typo, for Siam I wrote, "if you can handle spicy food, order Nipon's Fish; if you can handle spicy, order it but ask for just a little chile", but what I meant to write was

      "if you *can't* hand spicy, order it but ask for just a little chile."

      Coffee. . . I'm sort of picky about my coffee, and I still haven't found anywhere I'd recommend, in part because a lot of the places like to promote locally roasted coffee (which is a great idea), but I don't think those local roasters do a particularly good job of roasting coffee.

      But you could try Fyxx (just up the road from Deseo and also on Broadway, neither is too far from where you're staying--if you're into cappuccino or the like, I find they tend to oversteam the milk, so buyer beware) or Joe Black (farther west on Portage, but it would sort of be on the way to Brandon). Joe Black serves desserts and other baked goods from Chocolate Zen, my favourite for French-style baked goods (but I find their homemade-style baked goods to be so-so).

      One more thing. . .

      I can't believe I didn't recommend Bistro Dansk! It's my favourite "regular" restaurant in the city. I love their schnitzel and their pate (not an appetizer pate, but a slab worth about 2 meals--not for people with cholesterol/triglyceride problems, for sure!). And I never leave without a slice of hazelnut pie. If you like nuts, you really really have to try their hazelnut pie.

      Near BD is Boon Burger. 100% vegetarian burgers. I thought it was overrated, but if you're looking for something uniquely Winnipeg, it's definitely that. And it's quite popular.

    2. Welcome to Winnipeg!

      Prasantrin has already listed a number of the great spots to eat around the city, but let me contribute a few answers to your queries:

      Coffee: There are some good local roasters (Green Bean Coffee Co., Black Pearl Coffee) so you can head to Organza eatery to pick some up to make at home.

      Markets/Gourmet Food Shops: Not sure where you are coming from, but if it's not from a city with a big Asian population, check out SunWah grocery, Lucky Supermarket, or Young's Market. For Italian, my recommendation would be DeLuca's grocery. Also: within a small radius near St. Vital mall you can stop at Marcello's to get local meat/perogies or at Local Meats and Frozen Treats for the same. (But you have to cook those somewhere...). Organza and Vic's are also good for local pantry items.

      Near MTS Centre: Try Hermanos for steak or Deseo for something a little different. (It's not really walking distance though.)

      Higher end: My favorites are Mise, Segovia, and Bistro 7 1/4.

      In the Forks itself: the offerings there are quite spotty, I'm sorry to say. There are good dosas at Taste of Sri Lanks though, and try the Sauerkraut perogies at Ludya's. The fruit stand is embarrassing, sorry, but you can stop at Fenton's for cheese or wine. Skip any of the actual restaurants in the except Sydney's.

      For some more ideas, you can check out my blog at www.zollipop.com

      Cheers and happy eats,
      Zolli

      -----
      Bistro 7 1/4
      725 Osborne St, Winnipeg, MB R3L, CA

      Mise
      222 Osborne St, Winnipeg, MB R3L, CA

      1. Forgot to ask. . . where are you coming from and what, in your area, restaurants, cafes, etc. do you like?

        I ask because if, for example, you're from Chicago and you're used to Intelligentsia, there's really no point in recommending any coffee place in Winnipeg. But if you're happy with Starbucks, then places that brew Black Pearl will do you just fine.

        (Hermano's is only about a 10-15-minute walk from MTS Centre, while Deseo's is about a 5-10 minute walk, so whether they're close or not depends on what you consider far.)

        7 Replies
        1. re: prasantrin

          Thanks for these great suggestions - this should keep us busy before we head out to Carberry.

          We're coming from just west of TO. We travel widely though and are used to all sorts of things.

          Like I said - we're looking for thinsg that are unique to Winnipeg and you'ce given us some great ideas.

          Re coffee -s urely there is something better than Tim Hortons? ARGH

          1. re: JDeQ

            I lived in Toronto for a while and I am being totally honest in saying that you aren't going to find a ton here that you won't find in Toronto. It's not that there aren't great eats in Winnipeg, it's just that Toronto has such a larger population that of course there is going to be a greater variety of food options. Since you are from Toronto I would totally skip my suggestions for Asian markets because you will be severely underwhelmed as compared to Spadina or North York.

            Let me direct you instead to some quintessential Winnipeg experiences:

            - get a Goog special at the Bridge Drive In (on Jubilee) and walk across the bridge and along Kingston Row
            - drive out to Lockport and get a hotdog at The Half Moon
            - get a Greek style burger at any of the places prasantrin mentioned - I also like George's
            - pergogies and kielbasa
            - smoked goldeye
            - if you are here during the summer check out some of the festivals
            - if you are headed towards Carberry make sure to check out the Carberry Sands Park (not food-related but still worth a mention)
            - grab a Filipino breakfast (reviews at http://www.breakfastwinnipeg.com/Brea...
            )- Mise/Fude/Fusion Grill are probably the best at highlighting local ingredients
            - don't miss the Old Dutch chips!

            Z

            1. re: Zollipop

              Filipino breakfast!! My favourite is the tocino breakfast at Juvian's (as far as I know, it's still at the back of Van Loy supermarket on McPhillips). And when you're ordering at the counter, get a bag of the fried chicken skins with the vinegar dip to eat with your breakfast. Mmmm. . .

              If you can find Old Dutch in boxes, the Bar-B-Q is my favourite, The new BBQ flavour in the bag is just not as good!

              Another Winnipeg institution (even though people forget about it) is the Donut House down the road from Gunn's. I love their lemon-filled doughnuts (only available in the mornings) and their sausage rolls used to be a big favourite in our house (Donut House used to be the supplier of the bakery at Sears in Polo Park eons ago).

              1. re: prasantrin

                Prasantrin: I think you should start a new thread on Filipino prairie breakfasts in the city - whities like me have no idea where to go....

                1. re: Zollipop

                  A new taste test! I wanted to do a Filipino breakfast taste test, but it's more difficult to eat Filipino breakfasts so close together. Filipino breakfasts are definitely not light!

                  I just know Juvian's bangus (fish--but ask for the stomach portion so you get the fatty part!) is the best, and I like their fried chicken skin! And their tocino is good when it's reasonably fresh.

                  And I remember Myrna's (I think that's the name--on Sargent?) wasn't very good for anything. And I must try Pampanga again. I heard they've improved.

                  1. re: prasantrin

                    Will try...thanks for the heads up...

              2. re: Zollipop

                Can you tell us more about these "Greek style burgers"?

          2. Just a couple comments on Mise and Gunn's, both mentioned by prasantrin and Zollipop already.

            I really liked my meal at Mise. Mostly local ingredients, fairly innovative dishes, and down-to-earth service for a fairly upscale restaurant.

            Also enjoyed trying the oldschool dimplomats and applejacks at Gunn's Bakery. http://gunnsbakery.com/

            Here's where/what I ate in Winnipeg last summer: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6966...

            -----
            Mise
            222 Osborne St, Winnipeg, MB R3L, CA

            3 Replies
            1. re: prima

              Day 1 of winnipeg visit - lunch was good at Inferno's bistro. Dinner at Deseo was brilliant! Following it up with elton at the MTS was a fine thing.

              My early observations - prices are reasonable to cheap and portions are HUGE.

              Still hunting for decent coffeem :-)

              1. re: JDeQ

                Segovia is open Sunday nights. I think it would be a perfect follow-up to Deseo (even though some of the dishes are similar, and the styles of cooking are similar, it's different enough to be a worthwhile visit). :-) Segovia's pork belly. . . mmmmmmm. . .

                1. re: prasantrin

                  The first things we do when we come home (to Winnipeg from BC) is go to Baked Expectations in Osborne Village for Dessert and Coffee. I'm a person who generally goes for savory over sweet but please don't leave Winnipeg without trying the Cinnamon Torte or the Bavarian Apple Cheesecake (or whatever looks good to you).

                  Winnipeg has an ongoing battle of "whose burgers/fries ect...are the best" but the things that is important is just to get to get to one of the establishments. Most of the places (Junior's, George's etc...) have a signature chili sauce or something that sets them apart and other cities do not have the Greek fast food segment that Winnipeg enjoys.

                  Zolli's Half Moon and Kinston Row with Ice Cream endorsements are fun fun fun!

                  Happy Winnipeg travels! I'm jealous :)

            2. We are also foodies, coming to your fair city over the August long weekend and into the week. Like JDeQ, we like to focus on local food experiences. This could mean local ingredients, signature dishes, or places that are Winnipeg classics. We will eat anything from take-out to fine dining. We have a car and will travel across the city if need be.

              Being from Toronto, we have lots of access to many ethnic cuisines, so we are less interested in trying your best Thai, Greek, etc. unless there is something singular about your version. Perhaps the one exception is Eastern European, which is spottily represented in Toronto.

              Reviewing this thread and others on this board, here are my ideas so far. Please help me by separating the wheat from the chaff (and suggest anything else that you think is better).

              For local ingredients done with style, we could try Mise, Fude, and Fusion for dinner. For local foods brunch, I was thinking of either Tallest Poppy or Prairie Ink.

              For a classic experience, Rae and Jerry's seems like the choice.

              If we want a continental dinner, we could go to Dubrovnik or Bistro Dansk.

              For pizza bagels, we could go to Gunn's. For other baked goodies, we could try Tall Grass Prairie.

              For smoked goldeneye, it seems we would need to buy one from Gimli and somehow eat it al fresco. Any other suggestions?

              For ice cream/gelato, we can go to Eva's and BDI.

              I'm not sure a burger is a priority, but VJ's and George's seem to generate praise (and debate).

              Lastly, it seems that Alicia's has closed. So where do we go for pierogies and other Eastern European treats?

              Thanks for your thoughts and advice.

              -John

              -----
              Mise
              222 Osborne St, Winnipeg, MB R3L, CA

              8 Replies
              1. re: Dr. John

                I'm also from TO, and spent a couple days in Winnipeg last summer.

                I'd recommend the applejacks & imperials/diplomats at Gunn's, in addition to the pizza bagels. I didn't even order a pizza bagel, because the sweets looked more appealing to me.

                As I mentioned a little higher up in the thread, I really liked Mise, and would return again.

                -----
                Mise
                222 Osborne St, Winnipeg, MB R3L, CA

                1. re: Dr. John

                  Just based on your list. . .

                  I'd skip Fude. I've been hearing too many bad things about the food these days, plus they participate in a lot of different coupon sites. I think Mise is probably your best bet.

                  For brunch, I think Tallest Poppy has discontinued their family-style brunch. Talia posted something about that on Twitter, but I have not investigated it further. Just based on food, I'd probably go to Prairie Ink. I like Tallest Poppy as a concept, and the food is fine, but I've never had anything there I couldn't do at home (in terms of the actual dish or the quality).

                  I'd go to Bistro Dansk over Dubrovnik, but Bistro Dansk is much more casual than Dubrovnik. Keep in mind, too, that Dubrovnik has changed a lot since it's "top in Winnipeg" fine-dining days. Consider Provence Bistro at the Niakwa Country Club. Some issues, but much better than Dubrovnik.

                  I love pizza bagels at Gunn's. And their knishes. I like Tall Grass Prairie, but keep in mind that they use margarine in any of their baked goods that require it. If that kind of thing matters to you, then you might not care for it too much. I still like their walnut pecan bar, though. I'd go to Crusty Bun. I love their sour cherry streusel, their Bavarian pretzels, and especially their breads.

                  I prefer Eva's to BDI, but they're different styles, so it's like comparing apples to oranges. I've always though BDI was over-rated, though, and would rather go to Sargent Sundae.

                  Between VJ's and George's, I'd go to VJ's. I'm certain George's either overprocesses their meat, or they use filler. Of all the Winnipeg burgers I've had, it's at the bottom. But if you don't care about that stuff, it's a huge burger. Vj's and George's are, imo, different styles of burgers. VJ's is definitely a dive-like experience. George's is a restaurant (casual, but still a restaurant).

                  But if I can suggest another burger place, I'd go to White Top. Based on my experience, they serve a very good Winnipeg-style burger, plus they have good fries. The only problem is that you'll be eating in your car.

                  I would give seriously consider adding Segovia and/or Deseo to your list. I'd choose either of those over Mise in a second, and it would be a landslide in choosing either of them over Fude or Fusion Grill.

                  I heard Ann's Perogy Place was good, but have not been there yet. There's also Luda's Deli and Mom's Perogy Factory (but I'm not sure if it's just take-out or if you can eat there). If you're willing to travel (relatively far), you can go to Dauphin for the Ukrainian Festival, but I don't think it overlaps with the long weekend this year.

                  -----
                  Mise
                  222 Osborne St, Winnipeg, MB R3L, CA

                  1. re: prasantrin

                    Thanks for the comments and recommendations. Will post after our trip.

                    -John

                    1. re: prasantrin

                      Just got back from Winnipeg. We only had a few days, but managed to fit in at least some of the recommendations:

                      Had dinner at Mise. We really enjoyed the Buffalo styled duck wings, the quail stuffed with bison, and the venison spring rolls with curry sauce. But the top dish for us was the BBQ pork ribs, which were fall-off-the-bone yummy. The accompanying wild rice latke fries were also delicious, if a bit on the heavy side.

                      We also had dinner at Rae & Jerry's. The red leather banquettes and old school cocktails were lots of fun and the beef was fine (not spectacular, but fine). We ate too much to be able to tackle dessert, so we'll never know if the coconut cream pie is worth it.

                      For several breakfasts, we grabbed stuff from Tall Grass Prairie at the Forks Market. The savoury bread pudding was particularly delicious, with lots of veggies and some nice cheese. The whole-wheat cinnamon buns were also excellent. We also enjoyed the walnut pumpkin loaf and the saskatoon berry muffin. We also went out to breakfast at Prairie Ink, which was consistently good but not fantastic. The best dish was the French toast with bananas.

                      We only managed to try the pizza bagels and the apple jacks from Gunn's. Both were really good. We were too full to sample the other options, but wish we could have gone back.

                      We also went to Luda's Deli for borscht and perogies, both of which were yummy. It seemed strange to be charged 75 cents extra for a dollop of sour cream, but we didn't argue give that the overall prices were still very reasonable. In a similar Eastern European vein, we also ate at the restaurant at the Mennonite Heritage Village. The borscht there was of a different style - cabbage and smoky sausage - but also very delicious. The vareniky with cream gravy and the kielke with cream gravy were very rich and satisfying. The rhubarb platz was thicker than what we are used to, but still very good.

                      We went to Eva's Gelato and felt it was so-so. The chocolate coconut version was the best flavour, with plenty of bitter chocolate tones. But pistachio, lemon, and mint were just OK (the lemon was too sweet for my liking). We went to BDI and enjoyed that more, primarily for the over-the-top spectacle of it. The Cantaberry was actually not too overwhelming, being about half fruit.

                      Never got to try smoked goldeye so we'll have to leave this for a return trip.

                      Thanks for all your suggestions and direction.

                      -John

                      -----
                      Mise
                      222 Osborne St, Winnipeg, MB R3L, CA

                      1. re: Dr. John

                        Just a comment on the Mennonite Heritage Village - Mennonite borscht doesn't have beets in it. It's a thick cabbage and tomato soup with a meat stock. Flavoured with dill.

                        The Menno food at the museum is great, but since it's served cafeteria style, it isn't as good as it could be. I never cared for their platz, but then - whose can compare to Oma's?
                        For the best Mennonite food in Steinbach, go to M.J.'s Cafe on Main street. Great, great Mennonite food. Now that I live on the East coast I really miss it.

                      2. re: prasantrin

                        So, I've been trolling this review, and i've decided to pipe up!
                        I'm currently balancing a choice between Fude and Mise for a dinner tomorrow night with about 8 colleagues.
                        Fude's menu looks more interesting, and a friend who ate there abotu 5 years ago remembers it fondly. However, many online reviews of late seem very dissappointed with the service. Mise's menu, on the other hand, says "fusion" a bit too much for my liking-but in the end, I'm looking for flawless service, and a good time. Segovia is out because of the no-reservations policy, and the fact that tapas amongst 8 can be awkward.
                        Another place I've heard good things about is the Peasant Cookery-is that on anyone's radar?
                        Thanks for the recs and the good discussion on food in Winnipeg!

                        -----
                        Mise
                        222 Osborne St, Winnipeg, MB R3L, CA

                        1. re: unturtlesoup

                          Between Fude and Mise, I'd choose Mise. Mise doesn't really do fusion. They may say they do, but nothing I've had there even approaches "fusion" using the typical meaning of the word. That being said, I've heard a couple of recent reviews of Fude's food (one from a very non-descript, boring eater, the other from a more adventurous eater with a larger frame of reference re: food), and they've both been good.

                          What about Deseo? They recently re-opened on Osborne in the former Champa Bistro space. They do take reservations, but afaik, they still only take cash. That may be a problem for many people. And when I went, I had less-than-flawless (much less) service, but ymmv. Things may have changed since the move.

                          I've been to Peasant Cookery, and the food was fine, although not particularly interesting. Very little there that you can't prepare yourself, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes you want simple food without having to prepare it yourself. Service was fine, too. Definitely better than Deseo, but just fine. And you can reserve through Open Table and get points.

                          If you want flawless service, I'd go to Provence Bistro. More expensive than the other places, but the few times I've gone, the service has been excellent. And they have crumb sweepers. I love restaurants with crumb sweepers. Food is usually fine (thought in terms of food, I'd still choose Deseo or Segovia over Provence).

                          -----
                          Mise
                          222 Osborne St, Winnipeg, MB R3L, CA

                          1. re: prasantrin

                            My Uncle that lives in Winnipeg loves Mise, I for sure will go there on my next visit to the Peg so Im intrested on the outcome of your visit if you decide to go.

                            -----
                            Mise
                            222 Osborne St, Winnipeg, MB R3L, CA