“It’s simple: We want to feed people and make them happy.”
That’s Shawn and Connie McKane-Brandson’s vision behind Promenade Café and Wine—the cozy St. Boniface eatery where, since 2011, they’ve been pairing an impressive selection of wines with delicious, from-scratch French comfort food made with local and consciously sourced ingredients.
Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the menu is a carefully curated selection of prairie-grown grub. Whether you're tempted by the smoked trout Benedict for breakfast, choosing the croissant au prosciutto, poire, et brie for lunch, or trying the truite arc-en-ciel (seared trout with lemon, caper, and white wine sauce) for dinner, you can be sure that Shawn and Connie know exactly how far the ingredients have travelled to make it onto your plate.
The lamb shank from the dinner menu at Promenade Café and Wine. (Pegcity Grub)
Gravy, hollandaise, and soups are all made in-house, simmering in stockpots on the stove. Desserts are no different, with creme brûlée, île flottante, and chocolate cake in the bakery display case next to a few seasonal sweets (get ready for pumpkin cheesecakes over the next couple of weeks).
Eggs, vegetables, prairie fruit jams, bread, honey, and loose-leaf teas come from local farms, bakeries, and markets. French press coffee—so fresh it’s brought to your table for you to finish brewing it yourself—is sourced ethically from a co-op in Colombia. The bison comes from a Manitoba farm and is processed low and slow to develop deep, delicious flavours for burgers and the bison tourtière—a dish that’s a nod to the strong Métis and French-Canadian connection of St. Boniface.
More recently, the restaurant made a switch from salmon to smoked trout for its Benedict, crepes, and croissant sandwiches, supplied from Watersong Farms in Warren, Manitoba. The indoor filtered recirculating system for raising steelhead trout is incredibly innovative and offers a sustainable option for the freshwater aquaculture industry in Canada (plus it’s a great, firm fish for smoking and makes for an unbelievably delicious breakfast when smothered in creamy homemade hollandaise). You can catch Promenade’s trout smoking process and check out Watersong Farms in this episode of Shaw TV’s D'la Bonne Grub.
The mediterranean baked eggs with Nature's Farm eggs and Manitoba potatoes is on the breakfast menu. (Riley Chervinski)
If you aren’t familiar with Shawn and Connie themselves (pop by the café on any given weekday and you’ll find Shawn behind the counter, chatting with a customer), chances are you’re familiar with some of their community events—they’re the masterminds behind the incredibly popular Poutine Cup (read our recap of last year’s gluttonous gravy battle here), and the Winnipeg Beer Festival at Fort Gibraltar. To them, building and fostering community is incredibly important, which is part of what they love about Promenade’s location in Winnipeg’s French Quarter. Most servers and staff hail from the area, and it's not unusual to hear more French than English being exchanged at tables some days. Wooden tables and booths are filled with regulars, downtown business folks, and tourists wandering over the pedestrian bridge from The Forks and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR).
The restaurant, located at 130 Provencher Blvd, boasts amazing view of downtown Winnipeg and the CMHR. (Riley Chervinski)
Promenade Café and Wine is open for breakfast and lunch seven days a week, as well as dinner Tuesday to Saturday (pro tip: they stay open all day long, making it the perfect place to stop in for a quick croissant and coffee between meals). Choose the patio for a generous view of downtown and take in the stunning architecture of the CMHR.
Breakfast: Smoked Trout Benedict ($14)
Toasted English muffin topped with two poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. Served with breakfast potatoes.
Lunch: Boeuf Bourguignon ($15)
Slow braised beef with onions, bacon, and local Loveday mushrooms in a rich red wine sauce. Served with creamy mashed potatoes and a side salad.
Dinner: Agneau ($29)
Slow roasted lamb shank with truffled chick peas, local Loveday mushrooms and blue cheese.