Culinary Adventure Spring / Summer
In the words of the Toronto Star, Winnipeg’s “bragworthy food scene mixes hipster, local, aboriginal, Jewish and French with assorted multicultural eats,” pretty much nails it.
Although, one thing they left out is our vibrant patio scene, which is surely where you’ll want to spend a lot of your stay this spring-summer.
For the highest concentration of patios in the city, take your taste buds to Corydon Avenue, an area that was once considered the city’s Little Italy. Don’t miss The Roost (651 Corydon Avenue), a second-floor-situated small plates and cocktail bar that features a patio perfectly nestled above the action on the street below.
A few blocks away is where you’ll find a few of the city’s best restaurants, all within a stone’s throw of one another. For starters there is The Grove (164 Stafford) — a popular neighbourhood haunt where the food goes way beyond standard pub fare. Two doors down is Close Company (256 Stafford Street), perhaps Winnipeg’s smallest restaurant where the share plates are divine and the cocktails equally good, and Máquè (909 Dorchester Avenue) is just one more door over. This Asian small plates restaurant by nationally acclaimed chef Scott Bagshaw was long listed by Air Canada’s enRoute magazine as one of Canada’s best new restaurants (2016). All three spots have lovely little patios ideal for people watching below the neighbourhood’s elm canopy.
Osborne Street, Winnipeg’s bohemian-chic neighbourhood, has recently been the scene of a restaurant renaissance, with some great new rooms opening in both Osborne Village proper and further down the road in South Osborne. The benchmark in the area remains to be Segovia Tapas Bar (484 Stradbrook Avenue), a Spanish restaurant with a quaint patio that is a perennial on “Canada’s best restaurant” lists. While just around the corner and hidden in a basement is Sous Sol (22-222 Osborne — go behind the pink pet store), the city’s most eclectic French restaurant and speakeasy featuring a menu of small plates by Gold Medal Plates Winnipeg winning chef Michael Robins.
A few minutes away down South Osborne is where you’ll find The Oxbow (557 Osborne Street) — a new joint venture between some of The Roost’s owners and Bergman Farms, and Chaeban Ice Cream (390 Osborne Street) — a brand new spot owned by a Lebanese/Syrian couple that makes use of unique ingredients in its ice cream like rose water, beets, orchid powder, sour cream and ricotta cheese. Of course, you can’t mention ice cream in Winnipeg — particularly in this neighbourhood — without talking about Bridge Drive-In (766 Jubilee Ave), the city’s busiest ice cream shop where the soft serve creations are mountainous (they also have a food truck that you can regularly find downtown).
Speaking of downtown, that’s where you’ll find the majority of the city’s 50 or so food trucks, which regularly line up along Broadway from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. For a full list of them, go to PegCityGrub.com, our culinary resource that contains chef profiles, culinary news, and categorical restaurant reviews on only the best restaurants in the city.
The Forks Market has also become one of the city’s best destinations for foodies. All under one roof you can now find food kiosks from some of Winnipeg’s best food trucks and restaurants, along with another outstanding new Scott Bagshaw restaurant called Passero, which serves modern Italian small plates along with a fine selection of wines. The Market also contains The Common, where you can grab a flight or glass and then proceed to go shopping almost anywhere on the Market’s first floor. It’s totally brilliant.
St. Boniface, Winnipeg’s French Quarter, also has no shortage of excellent eateries, many of which — including Promenade Café and Wine (130 Provencher Boulevard), Chaise Cafe (271 Provencher Boulevard), and Marion Street Eatery (393 Marion Street) — have patios that will ensure your day goes swimmingly.
If a rooftop patio is on your wish list, we highly recommend Forth (171 McDermot Avenue), a hip multiuse space that has both a basement cocktail bar and a rooftop cocktail bar, along with fabulous snacky food at the main floor café from one of the city’s tiniest kitchens. Another cool cocktail bar for small bites is Langside Grocery (164 Langside Street) which will make you feel like you are in Brooklyn, NY, while Cordova Tapas and Wine (93 Albert Street) is owned by two young Europeans and is a great spot to nibble while sipping from an excellent wine and beer list. All three of these spots are open late too.
Finally, we can’t forget about all of the city’s breweries, which have been popping up regularly in the past two years. In the Exchange District, Little Brown Jug (336 William Avenue) has both delicious beer and a patio with artificial grass at your feet. Barn Hammer Brewing (595 Wall Street) is a personal favourite of our staff; Torque Brewing Co. (330-830 King Edward Street) is one of the city’s largest and has been bestowed with numerous brewing awards; Trans Canada Brewing (1290 Kenaston Boulevard) brews the most beer — offering a little bit for everyone from double IPAs to pilsners; Stone Angel Brewing Co. (1875 Pembina Hwy) crafts a fine selection — with up to eight beers and a few ciders coming up on tap, while Brazen Hall Kitchen & Brewery (800 Pembina Highway) and One Great City (OGC) Brewing Company (1596 Ness Avenue) have great food programs to accompany their beers.
And let this just be a sampling of some of the city’s newer and more acclaimed rooms. Winnipeg is home to more than 1,100 restaurants, and on nearly every street corner you’ll be able to find something to fit your fancy — from ethnic hole in the walls in the West End, to finer dining in the Exchange’s Theatre District, to all manner of pastry shops and third wave coffee shops throughout all our diverse neighbourhoods. Happy eating!