This November won't be balmy, but at least we have warm mochi doughnuts, butter tarts and Icelandic baked goods; a sleek new spot for Indigenous cuisine; and a hotly anticipated Filipino joint to look forward to.
Here’s the scoop on what’s new and notable on Winnipeg’s culinary scene to bring us into winter.
Manoomin Restaurant – 460 Madison Street
Winnipeg’s Indigenous culinary offerings are growing with a regional-ingredient focused menu at Manoomin Restaurant (translates from Ojibway to wild rice) on the Long Plain Madison Reserve (Winnipeg’s first urban reserve) located on Treaty 1 Territory.
With a soothing colour palette of earth tones, this welcoming eatery is located inside the gorgeous new Wyndham Garden Winnipeg Airport hotel, owned by Long Plain First Nation and operated by Sparrow Hotels.
You’ll find numerous dishes highlighting bison, berries, grains, granola, seeds and pickerel on the earth-inspired menu, with Executive and Red Seal Chef Jennifer Ballantyne, a member of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation, at the helm. We sampled the bison tacos featuring fluffy fried Bannock made in-house daily and toppings like wild rice for an Indigenous twist on the traditional Mexican dish. Diners can choose to eat in the cozy dining room or outside on the patio in warmer months.
Also on-site is Onishkaan Café (translates to get up or wake up), which is open daily at 6:30 am and serves up tea, coffee, pastries, bannock and jam, where you can fuel up before hitting nearby shopping at Polo Park/St. James and sights like Assiniboine Park & Zoo.
Manoomin Restaurant hours are 6:30-10 a.m. for breakfast; 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for lunch; 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. for dinner. Onishkaan Café hours are 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Both open seven days a week.
Tito Boy - 730 St. Anne’s Road
This new daughter-father run Philippine joint has already received quite a bit of media attention as it will be the first spot of its kind in St. Vital. Plus, who doesn’t love a family restaurant with a great little story? The kitchen will be run by Agustin "Tito Boy" Doming, who went to culinary school back in the 90s after moving to Winnipeg from the Philippines in the 80s. Since then, he’d been working as a health care aid for the Winnipeg Regional Health Association, but is now retired and ready to live his dreams of opening a restaurant.
Agustin’s daughter Jackie Wild is the owner and founder of the forthcoming space, which has already hosted a few soft openings featuring a kamayan spread (a cultural tradition that pre-dates Spanish colonial times where you eat with your hands from a vast selection of dishes that are laid out on a table covered with banana leaves). Our friend Joyce Bruneau attended one of these soft openings, and said this about her first kamayan experience there, "Do yourself a "flavour" and visit Tito Boy Restaurant! The service is unmatched and the staff truly care about your experience. It was an amazing journey through the delights of Filipino cuisine."
These kamayan experiences can be booked for groups at dinner in advance, while some of the fusion offerings from the brunch menu will include sisig eggs Benedict and ube mochi Belgian waffles with ube whipped cream, alongside traditional Philippine breakfast platters with your choice of tocino, tapa, longganisa, tortang talong (grilled eggplant omelette) or bangus (boneless fried milkfish). As you can see in the above photos, there are also several types of pancit, pork belly sinigang and a number of other tantalizing dinner options too.
"Tito Boy’s has been a labour of love for our family, built from the ground up by and for community," said Jackie Wild. "Our mission is not only to serve delicious Philippine cuisine, but to also create a safe intergenerational space for our kababayan (fellow country people) to share stories and create cultural connections that explore what it means to be Philippine Canadians."
The official opening date is October 29. Hours will be Wednesday to Sunday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. for brunch, and Wednesday to Saturday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. for dinner (closed on Monday and Tuesday).
The Butter Tart Lady - 1850 Ness Avenue
Here’s a literal sweet one we missed back in the summer. Entering the great “raisins or no-raisins” butter tart debate comes salted caramel pecan, coconut white chocolate, espresso and maple walnut. In fact, at The Butter Tart Lady, you can find up to nine flavours of tarts, along with sweet Icelandic rye bread, Imperial and lemon poppy seed sandwich cookies and vínarterta (Icelandic celebration cake).
Owner/baker Michelle Wierda is (you guessed it), of Icelandic stock and this is the third shop she’s opened, with the other two–the original Butter Tart Lady and Sugar Me Cookie Boutique–spots located in Gimli, MB. (aka, New Iceland). The location, formerly the second location of La Belle Baguette, is also stocked with pies on Fridays (pie day), along with scones, pastries, frozen soups, cakes and sandwiches served on that aforementioned Icelandic bread.
Open seven days a week, Monday to Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Here's the website.
Umaido - 6-555 Balmoral Street
Umaido translates to yummy (or delicious) and what sets apart Winnipeg’s newest mochi doughnuts is these ones are made to order and fried right in front of you, so they are so warm and luscious when you tuck into them. If you haven’t tried mochi doughnuts, you’re in for a treat because these goodies have this amazing chewy-yet-fluffy texture that is even better when they are hot. In fact, if you are bringing them home or saving for later, Umaido encourages you to reheat so you get that authentic steamy experience.
As you can see in the above video, they are almost as delightful to watch being made as they are to eat (how cool is that batter gun?) Current toppings/flavours include original glaze, cookies ‘n cream, mango passionfruit, maple bacon, strawberry crema and several others. The drink menu features Vietnamese coffee and their own specialty drinks, with flavours like matcha latte, milk tea and mango slush on a panna cotta base served in these super groovy bottles.
Mondays, Wednesday to Sunday, from noon to 6 p.m. (unless they sellout, in which case they will close earlier). Closed on Tuesdays. Here’s the website.
Thom Bargen Coffee Roasters (new full-service location) – 743 Corydon
While we are personally sad to learn that Thom Bargen’s satellite location right below us in the Portage and Main circus won’t reopen (totally would be hitting a fresh Americano while writing this), we’re happy to see they’ve opened a gorgeous new full-service space on Corydon Avenue.
In this new spot (the former home of a Starbucks), co-owners Thom Hiebert and Graham Bargen continue to push their brand further with a breakfast menu that includes dishes like fancy overnight oats and chia pudding, burritos (sausage or vegan), and avocado toast featuring local Greenland Garden tomatoes, micro greens and balsamic reduction. There are also fancy sandwiches for lunch and more goodies to complement the excellent coffee program. Soon, you can expect a selection of natural wines too.
Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.; weekends 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Follow them on Insta for updates as the come.