There are so many good things to eat right now in the city that we could surely make this list a full 2020, if only we had the time (and you had the patience).
In fact, we are so excited about eating in Winnipeg in 2020 that we’ve decided it best to break this up into two parts (plus, “10 things to try in 2020” and “10 more things to try in 2020” just doesn’t sound as sexy).
Anyway, here’s just a few of our picks of new things to try, along with some old favourites that you simply can’t miss when in Winnipeg.
1. Clementine’s pork pastrami on toast – You never need an excuse to go to Clementine, Canada’s best brunch spot, but in case you do the new pastrami toast is totally out of control. The meat is the epitome of lusciousness, the pickles are their usual perfect selves, plus there’s Dijonaise, kraut and melted Gruyere too. It might just ruin Ruebens for you, but that’s okay. (But if you are craving a classic Rueben, The Grove Pub and Restaurant has you covered when it comes to housemade corned beef, while King + Bannatyne’s River City Rueben is pretty lovely too).
2. All the inventive things from S2 Pâtisserie – Chef/owner/former pharmacist Sophon Chhin (aka Soapy) makes the most beautiful creations at this gem of a spot in Charleswood. He has trained at the Ecole Gastronomique Bellouet Conseil in Paris, France, and his pastries – as you’ll see on his Instagram account – taste as good as they look, which is saying a lot as these are edible works of art.
3. Omakase nights at Yujiro – Be sure to follow Yujiro on Insta to see when they are hosting the next omakase experience. There’s always something fun about not knowing what dish is coming out next, while the Yujiro omakase experience always involves a ridiculous amount of courses, ones which often highlight both the excellent fish along with izakaya-style dishes too (some of which you can now find at Saburo in Hargrave St. Market).
4. Morning buns at The Pennyloaf Bakery – One of my favourite images from 2019 was seeing a guy leave Pennyloaf with a morning bun in hand and a gigantic smile on his face. He then proceeded to walk in front of my car and take a bite of this big flaky ball of wonder and his smile became even wider. It was one of those guilty smiles of pure pleasure, and I looked at him with more than a tinge of jealousy as I waited at the red light on Corydon at Lilac. That’s just how good a warm morning bun is from Pennyloaf; if you get a hot one in the morning you will make a face that probably doesn’t need to be seen in public. (Actually, who are we kidding, everything at Pennyloaf is ethereal, as Suzanne and her team just knock it out of the park every time).
5. Pesce Asiago linguini (sub for fresh pappardelle if available) from Bellissimo – Laurie McDougall, our YES! Winnipeg investor relations coordinator/resident food enthusiast says, “The butter-basted scallops alone make the dish worthwhile – spoon-tender with a beautiful crust – but the complement of tender shrimp, sweet clams and plump mussels make this creamy, garlicky plate a true experience.”
6. Ramen from Ramen Takeuma – Throughout the later half of 2019 Kyoto, Japan’s Atsushi Kawazu has been staging some wonderful ramen pop-ups. We were at his last one in December at Chaise Café and it was a marvellous experience. His main ramen made with pork and chicken stock, super toothy noodles, crunchy shiitakes, a huge slab of charred bamboo, runny egg, daikon smatterings and pork belly chashu was quite lovely, being much more subtle in its flavour notes than many other ramen in the city. Anyway, you can expect Kawazu to open up a dedicated ramen shop in Winnipeg in 2020, so keep an eye on his Instagram account for details.
7. Cansi from Batchoy House – Cansi (sometimes spelled kansi, from the province Bacolod) is a famous beef soup dish which is a combination of two well-known Filipino dishes, beef bulalo (beef shank with marrow soup) and beef sinigang (beef in sour broth). At Batchoy House, a tiny spot on Keewatin Street with a tight menu that specializes in authentic Ilonggo cuisine, this bowl will bring you plenty of warmth on a cold winter’s day and comes highly recommended by Danica Dantes, Tourism Winnipeg’s visitor service inventory coordinator, who moved to Winnipeg from Manila. (And take note: Danica also answers our Facebook and Tourism Winnipeg website inquiries, so should you have a question about Filipino food in the city she has you covered at the links above).
8. Spicy hot chocolate from Chocolatier Constance Popp coupled with crêpes from Ker Breizh Creperie – There’s hot chocolate and then there is Constance Popp’s thick, cayenne-infused version that is so good you have no choice but to close your eyes while drinking it. While you are at the shop, you may as well have a seat in the new bistro-like setup from Ker Breizh, then order a buckwheat (#glutenfree) crêpe that will bring you right to Brittany, France, where owners Yvonnick le Lorec and Ketty Pichaud are from.
9. A Sentruhl Project experience – While RAW:almond isn’t happening this winter, Winnipeg still has you covered with plenty of pop-up experiences. One central one over the years has been Sentrul, where Gord and Traci Bailey and Sean Audit have been dazzling diners with thematic dinners that often combine molecular gastronomy with all manner of retro whimsy. For instance, coming up this weekend (Saturday, Jan. 11) they’ll be staging an Après Ski-themed dinner. 2019 saw all manner of awesomeness, including a Murder Mystery menu, a meal dedicated to all foodstuffs that are stuffed and seven courses of food on a stick. Oh, and we must add that the dishes themselves are always so flavourful, while you can’t beat seven courses for $75. Learn more here.
10 . Ben Kramer’s Push Project – chefs Ben Kramer and Harold Mitchell are always doing cool things for Winnipeg’s culinary scene, and 2020 will be no different. To start off the year they will be staging The Push Project (Feb. 14-23) “an intimate, interactive and collaborative dinner at Cloakroom in the Exchange” featuring some great chefs including Renée Girard (Harth), RJ Urbano (of the now sadly closed Crème De L’Essence), Jess Young (chef de cuisine at U of W), Lindsay Platt (Modern Plate Catering), Pamela Kirkpatrick (Forth), Tara Podaima (Little Sister Coffee, former chef de cuisine at Segovia for six years), Talia Syrie (Tallest Poppy) and Thomas Stuart (Thermëa). Tickets are available here.
.... stay tuned for Part 2 on Friday!