In the last few years the Indigenous culinary scene has more than doubled here on Treaty 1 Territory.
Representing Ojibway and Cree cuisine there’s a new food truck, a charcuterie business focused on using local sustainable products and the city’s first Indigenous-owned hotel where the regionally focused restaurant menu is available from breakfast until late. Plus, there’s two pizza joints, Métis cafes doing their own unique take on breakfast through dinner and bannock being used as a vessel for almost everything.
Bistro on Notre Dame - 784 Notre Dame Avenue
Owned and operated by chef and Manitoba Métis Federation member Dean Herkert, Bistro on Notre Dame has a robust menu that covers breakfast through late night. For dinner there’s a whole Fresh Water menu featuring walleye and Arctic char, a number of share plates and huge salads, and bison where you’d expect beef. The waffles at breakfast are a can’t-miss, while Herkert–who was featured on the APTN show Chuck and the First Peoples' Kitchen–proudly shares his local sources when it comes to produce, game and suppliers.
Open 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday to Friday; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday; Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; closed on Monday. Here's the website.
Feast – 587 Ellice Avenue
One of the original Indigenous-owned and operated restaurants in Canada rooted in First Nations cuisine, Feast Café has been hugely successful since opening in 2016. Chef/owner Christa Bruneau-Guenther, a born-and-raised Winnipegger and member of the Peguis First Nation, has been featured in countless national publications and has gone on to join Food Network Canada’s Wall of Chefs while making guest judge appearances on Top Chef Canada. Must-try menu items include the butternut squash bannock pizza, house salad with homemade Saskatoon berry vinaigrette, and the Manitoba bison bannock burger. Read our full story behind Feast here.
Open Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Here's the website.
The Indigenous Kitchen – Food Truck
Owner and chef Tara Hall is from the Pinaymootang First Nation and is a Red Seal graduate of Red River College Polytechnic Culinary Arts. The truck was originally called Aboriginal Fusion, running from 2019 to 2022 with its unique take on bannock tacos, bison burgers, taco fries and fish and chips using local walleye (pickerel). For 2023, Hall has rebranded it as The Indigenous Kitchen, with a whole new menu featuring a wide selection of bannock burgers, a bannock taco, and a large selection of burgers.
For hours and locations go to the Facebook page.
Manoomin Restaurant – 460 Madison Street
Manoomin, which means wild rice in Ojibway, is located within the new Wyndham Garden Winnipeg Airport hotel, owned by Long Plain First Nation. The lunch and dinner menu by Red Seal chef Jennifer Ballantyne–a member of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation–features fried walleye cheeks with crispy jalapeño; bison for Bolognese, chili, and bannock tacos; smoked bologna and corn fritters; and fried bannock fritters with wild berry glaze for dessert. The restaurant is also open for breakfast starting at 6:30 a.m.
Open daily from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Website here.
Promenade Brasserie – 130 Provencher Boulevard, Unit C
New to the Winnipeg culinary scene in 2023 (it just opened in April), Promenade Brasserie features a locally sourced menu inspired by chef/owner Jay Lekopoy’s Métis-Francophone heritage that isn’t shy on bringing flavour and spice. A few choice locavore dishes include fry bread with smoked Arctic char, pemmican tartare, and the Three Sisters bowl. Lekopoy’s fish and chips at lunch are outstanding–the beer batter on the walleye stays so crispy, and the deceptively spicy slaw is as good as it gets in the city. A great share plate is the Creton mushroom toast, featuring a nice big punch of horseradish and hot mustard, balanced with pickled mustard seeds and onions that round out the rich, IPA-braised pork. The fries are so crispy too. It’s open from breakfast through dinner and you can't beat the dining room and patio views that overlook the downtown skyline and Red River.
Open Wednesday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Here's the website.
Sharecuterie - 160 Stafford Street
Ojibway-owned and operated, Sharecuterie started as a pandemic-era business, initially doing deliveries and catering services. Owner Cassandra Carreiro came to Winnipeg from Shoal Lake #40, grew up in the North End, and now has a storefront that just opened in March 2023 (there will be a grand-opening party on May 27) in a trendy area of River Heights. From her cute storefront, you can create customizable charcuterie, cheese, and vegetarian boards that flaunt a wide range of local products, including spreads and Smak Dab mustards. Carreiro’s innovative edible bouquets feature cured meat flowers wrapped in butcher paper and her picnic packages are always Instagram-ready. Learn more here in this Winnipeg Free Press profile.
Shop hours are Monday, Wednesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday noon to 4 p.m.; close on Tuesdays. To order direct visit the website.
Shelly’s Indigenous Bistro - 1364 Main Street
Another brand new spot from April 2023, Shelly's Indigenous Bistro is owned and operated by Vince Bignell, a member of Mathias Colomb First Nation. Utilizing the pizza ovens from the former occupants, Bignell and his almost all-Indigenous staff have created a range of hearty, 15-inch bannock crust pizzas that have proved popular in the nieghbourhood, while the rest of the menu consists of crowd-pleasers like fried chicken, poutines, burgers and ‘ricey’ (fried rice) dishes. As you’ll read in this profile in The Free Press, Bignell plans to partner with Ready, Set, Go! Work Program as his catering operation increases and he also works with local charities to ensure there’s no food waste. It’s an all-round great story with great food to match.
Open Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday 11 a.m. to midnight; Saturday 4 p.m. to midnight. For menus and more go to the Facebook page.
T-Town Style Pizza – 308 Fort Street
Representing Thompson, MB – the hometown of Métis brothers Jacky Colombe and Kenny Braun who own and operate this spot – T-Town brings the heavy pies that they love in the north of the province down to its capital. Thompson-style pizzas have as much cheese as you’d expect to see on an Argentinian pizza (which is to say, ‘a lot’), along with a thick crust, no shortage of toppings (including shredded pepperoni), and a tomato sauce that is both sweet and a touch spicy. Come hungry.
Open Monday from 4 to 8 p.m.; Tuesday to Saturday from noon to 10 p.m.; Sundays from noon to 8 p.m. Here's the website.