New & notable openings to try this holiday season in Winnipeg
The flavours of Iran, Syria and Manitoba are all represented by the city's newest restaurants
While opening a restaurant during this phase of the pandemic surely isn't what they had in mind, these four new spots are making a most-successful go of it.
They are joining what has been an impressive roster of Winnipeg eateries that opened in summer and we are #hereforit, celebrating their moxie with as much takeout as we can afford.
Below, you’ll find four new picks to pick through this holiday season including authentic Syrian cuisine, Manitoba-style comfort food and a knockout brunch/lunch spot.
Modern Electric Lunch (232 Main Street)
This brand new downtown spot would be notable for the savoury waffle alone, which comes with a rich, zippy and Dijon-forward smoked gouda sauce that will have you moaning. Plus, at $5 it is one of the best bangs for your bucks in the city.
Everything here is so balanced – there’s soft textures, creamy sauces, plenty of peppery greens – with taste explosions in every bite. We hit the Reuben – the rye has just the right amount of caraway and the housemade pastrami rocks, coming thinly sliced and both meaty and briny; the egg salad – so much welcome acidity, crunchy pickled onions and a bun that does wonders at absorbing all its saucy excellence; the breakfast sandwich – again, brilliant with that pillowy bun, those roasted cherry tomatoes, the choice of your yolk setting in the online system, perfection(!); and the soup, which was a citrusy, creamy squash coconut curry.
Leave room for the cake. Ours was a raspberry plum jalapeño honey cake with lime and blueberries and it was like eating the best-ever birthday cake. We have to use the word moist (sorry), while the sponge cake brought layers of flavour that, when combined with the ethereal icing, had us dancing in our seats like children. And don’t even get us started on this place’s brilliant aesthetic. Not to sound desperate, but we just want to be their friends. Modern Electric Lunch is shockingly good.
Takeout every day from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Next Stop Café (333 Pembina Highway)
This quaint café originally started in Karaj city in Iran in 2003, promises a cozy environment to get away with a cup of coffee. Since immigrating to Winnipeg, the Next Stop crew hoped to bring its community-oriented experience as it opened up on Pembina Hwy.
This café covers all cravings while serving everything from breakfasts to salads, to freshly squeezed juices and even specialty ice cream. The menu offers a wide range of dishes, including Persian classics like kookoo sabzi sandwiches, Persian-style omelettes and soups, plus sholezard for dessert – full of bright floral flavours and lots of saffron.
Next Stop has added flair to western favourites, including over a dozen big burger combinations, many enhanced with its secret ‘Next Sauce.’ The gyros and wraps are filling, brimming with fresh vegetables and plenty of spices.
Aesthetically, everything at Next Stop Café is top-notch too. The branded buns are great for the ‘gram, everything is neatly wrapped to stay warm, while the milkshakes come in big cups with fittingly thick straws. On that note, the pistachio milkshake is a must-try with its ground nuts throughout and sweet vanilla notes. It’s a game changer.
Takeout every day from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Daanook Restaurant (58 Albert Street)
Authentic Syrian cuisine comes courtesy of Daanook Restaurant, which just opened on November 10, in The Exchange District. Kurdish owners Karwan Kahil, Shler Ali and Riwas Kahil have created a real family affair (Shler and Karwan are married, Riwas is Karwan’s sister, while more relatives work in the restaurant) after facing a heartbreaking tragedy this past summer (not to mention first moving to the city after fleeing the conflict in Syria in 2012).
Locals have been raving over the Arabi shawarma, the falafel and the baklava, while you’ll love the prices too as meal plates (which get you shawarma, a falafel wrap, or five falafels along with a fries, salad and sauce) are just $12.99. Both the fatoush and tabbouleh are available gluten-free, while you can pickup at the shop or order delivery via Skip, Doordash and Uber Eats.
Open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Thursday, Friday-Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Bistro on Notre Dame (784 Notre Dame Avenue)
Locally sourced, seasonal ingredients make up the dishes at Bistro on Notre Dame, which serves updated versions of comfort food, totally Manitoba-style.
Owner Dean Herkert, originally from Thompson, opened the eatery (formerly home to Notre Dame Burgers) after more than 20 years in the hotel and restaurant industry.
On the bistro’s dinner menu you’ll find a bison burger topped with Manitoba berry aioli in a bannock bun, creamy walleye mac n’ cheese and crispy Half Pints’ Little Scrapper IPA-battered northern pike.
The stand-out side dish is the coleslaw, a tangy mixture of shaved brussels sprouts, carrots, apples and a light berry dressing. Try the smoked nuts for a unique starter — maple ginger pecans, honey turmeric almonds and cinnamon agave walnuts are all smoked in-house and full of flavour.
If we can convince you of one thing, it’s not to skip on the chess pie for dessert. The Southern-style custard dessert is in six amazing flavours including orange pecan, lemon coconut and liquorice. Baked in a shortbread crust and served with whipped cream, caramel sauce and berries, this is one pie you simply must try.
BoND is also open for breakfast with a selection of frittatas and waffles including one with bacon, lemon and jalapeños mixed right into the batter before being topped with orange blossom cinnamon whipped cream. We are intrigued and will be ordering breakfast from here A.S.A.P.
Take out Tuesday to Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.