If you don't appreciate excellent food on a patio with stunning views of the city, Promenade Café and Wine is not for you.
This is what we thought aloud over lunch yesterday, as we were sipping some Santa Margherita pinot grigio, relishing our lunch of croissant sandwiches, and taking in the views across the Red River of The Forks, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, and the downtown skyline.
It was a civilized lunch that we could have savoured all afternoon (were it not a Wednesday and we needed to get back to work).
The sun was beaming down but there were umbrellas overhead. There was people watching galore as it seemed most of St. Boniface was out for a stroll along the Red River. And, despite us not arriving until 1 p.m., the lunch rush was still going strong with a full patio and dining room inside.
The great thing about Promenade is it walks the line between neighbourhood restaurant and culinary destination. It's where we frequently bring travel writers to eat while we are touring St. Boniface and where locals congregate to talk shop -- usually en français -- over a leisurely lunch.
And why Promenade? Well, aside from the aforementioned city views, this place always delivers with tasty updates on traditional french classics. Yesterday's lunch was all about croissant sandwiches -- because we all know that when you put savoury things in butter pastry you are going to win.
I went with a croissant au saumon fumé ($13, pictured at top of article) which hit all the right notes. The salmon was moist, the fried capers added both texture and a brininess that magnified the flavours of the fish, while the runny hollandaise sauce made me want to high-five my server (and ask for more napkins). I ordered it accompanied by a simple salad loaded with local greens that were perfectly seasoned and dressed in a light raspberry vinaigrette (which was a great departure from those thick, hideous raspberry vinaigrettes that populate grocery shelves).
My coworker went with the croissant au prosciutto, poire et brie ($12) and the thick-cut fries. Anyone in the know knows that brie+pears+prosciutto is one of those holy trinity food combos (much like beets+ balsamic+chevre) so this seemed like a slam dunk -- which our tastebuds verified. The thick-cut fries were on-target too -- crispy on the outside, fluffy in the middle.
You may be reading this saying, "fries are fries" -- but no my friends, a good fry is a real work of art. Between the choosing of the size, the soak, the blanching and the second finishing deep-fry, there are a lot of variables. A good fry must be acknowledged.
I tell you, owners Shawn and Connie McKane-Brandson continue to have a great thing going on at Promenade, and that patio is just begging for your next lunch or dinner visit.
Promenade Café is located at 130 Provencher Blvd and is open 8 a.m to 9 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday-Monday. 204.233.7030