With one of the best patios in the city, a farm-to-table menu that always delivers and a location set within Canada’s most awe-inspiring building, ERA Bistro already has all that jazz.
But just in case you didn’t think it was jazzy enough, they’ve now added live jazz every Wednesday night on the patio to make for one of the most sublime al fresco scenes you can experience this summer in Winnipeg.
ERA’s patio is stunning, surrounded by tall grass prairie and poplar trees that rustle in the wind. To the east your eyes meet the Esplanade Riel pedestrian bridge, while towering overhead to the west is the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, with its incredible glass cloud façade.
On Wednesday nights – which is the only night of the week that ERA is open for dinner during summer (come November, dinner service will be moved to Friday) – they make this setting sparkle even more with the sounds of live music courtesy of some of the city’s chillest performers. This live entertainment pairs even better with your herb-roasted local steelhead trout (served on a bed of fennel, pea shoots and local tomatoes) than a cool glass of House of Mandela Sauvignon Blanc (available in 5 oz, 9 oz, and bottle format – an apropos choice considering the blockbuster exhibition, Mandela: Struggle for Freedom is still on in the museum until August 25).
Other can’t-miss dishes from executive chef Kirk Hanson at ERA include the near-legendary carrot fries, which are beer-battered and served with jalapeño buttermilk dip; the pesto mushroom linguine; and the oh-so-summery spinach salad (the house-made lemon ricotta is terrific), which we hit up while watching a performance from Doug Edmond last Wednesday. ERA also features new dinner, drink and appetizer specials every Wednesday night too to go along with live music.
Outside of jazz night, the restaurant also does an excellent weekend brunch; there are always numerous seasonal vegan and gluten-free options; and the desserts menu is a must – particularly the lemon-blackberry ice cream sandwich.
(Please note: on rainy Wednesdays, jazz is still on, they just move it inside the restaurant.)
Patio season is in full swing at SMITH
The ERA kitchen is overseen by the same team as SMITH at Inn at the Forks (which is just a five-minute walk away), where chef Barry Saunders and his team continue to showcase plenty of local ingredients in an upscale, yet unpretentious fashion.
SMITH also has one the best bar programs in the city, with an incredible selection of ryes and whiskies, and craft cocktails utilizing house-made bitters. Plus, for craft beer fans, SMITH really is the best place to discover Winnipeg’s ever-growing scene, as all eight of their taps are dedicated to local breweries.
The menu has a little bit of something for everyone, whether you are looking to eat shared plates tapas style (we’re fans of the cauliflower fritters served with lime yogurt; the bone marrow served with an herb salad and roasted shallot purée; and the charcuterie boards, where the cured meats are done in house). If you’re looking to do an à la carte dinner, the buttermilk fried chicken and beef dishes all rock, while sides like SMITH fries (topped with grated asiago and lots of fresh thyme) and grilled corn with chipotle mayo are a must.
All of this can be enjoyed on SMITH’s handsome west-facing patio.
Here, you’ll find comfortable seating – both bistro sets and a lounge area – along with plenty of plants and greenery, providing a perfect setting for people watching at the always-bustling Forks.
SMITH, being located within Inn at the Forks, also does amazing work with brunch, and we dare you to find a better setting then this glorious patio to get your local, Nature’s Farm egg on. The SMITH brunch menu has it all, from savoury to sweet, while in the beverage department coffee drinkers must start the day with a French press of fair-trade Peruvian beans, along with a fresh-squeezed number from the juice bar.
Should you be looking to book Inn at the Forks, check out our latest article on this highly rated property, which features links to their spa packages and deals, here.