Culinary Adventure - Fall / Winter
YOU HAD ME AT BRUNCH
The rest of Canada found out what Winnipeggers already knew in 2018 when Clementine was listed in Air Canada’s enRoute magazine as one of Canada’s top new restaurants, while also garnering a rave review in The Globe and Mail which read, “Can a brunch restaurant also be considered one of the country’s best restaurants? Judging by Clementine’s impeccable consistency and continually ingenious creations, it certainly could.”
Clementine was already one of the busiest restaurants in the city, as Winnipeggers cannot get enough of dishes like smoked Arctic char with crispy potato cakes, Turkish eggs, and fried chicken toast, so that added hype may have added to wait times for tables during peak hours. But, we assure you, this place is certainly worth the wait.
Another can’t-miss brunch that is just down the street from Clementine is Miss Browns, a casual cafe that specializes in smoked meat sandwiches which really has a knock-out all-day brunch menu that includes divine breakfast sandwiches, moan-inducing smoked brisket hash, and a shakshuka that really shines.
In St. Boniface (Winnipeg’s French Quarter, more on that next page), you also can’t beat the prix fixe brunches at Chaise Café (where you get sweet and savoury courses for just $20) and Promenade Café and Wine, whose dining room offers expansive views of the city skyline.
Other great brunch options come courtesy of Winnipeg’s local gem Jewish restaurants, which include Bernstein’s Deli, The Tallest Poppy (whose menu mixes Jewish cuisine with food from the southern U.S.), and the always zesty Falafel Place — whose no-nonsense hospitality would fit right in Manhattan.
AROUND THE WORLD IN ONE NEIGHBOURHOOD
Winnipeg’s West End has the highest density of restaurants in the city (with approximately 110 restaurants all within walking distance of one another) and is a great area to find hidden gem holes in the walls.
Countless Vietnamese restaurants line the streets of Ellice and Sargent, with standouts including Pho Hoang and Thanh Huong, while the numerous Latin American eateries include Sargent Taco — where Mexico City’s Carlos Bosque serves up classics like tacos al pastor, dishes featuring huitlacoche and flautas, along with Mercadito Latino, which specializes in El Salvadorian fare like pupusas and other Central American dishes.
The West End is also the top neighbourhood for Ethiopian cuisine, while other countries represented throughout its blocks include Korean, Chinese, Middle Eastern, Italian, and the Philippines (Winnipeg has one of the largest per-capita Filipino populations found outside the Philippines). Of course, no guide to the West End is complete without mentioning Feast Café — one of Canada’s very few Indigenous-owned and operated restaurants — where chef/owner Christa Bruneau- Guenther’s takes on First Nations cuisine has seen her celebrated in outlets including Chatelaine, Canadian Living, WestJet Magazine and the CBC.
Winnipeg’s French cuisine is also of note, and to discover some mighty fine options you just have to cross the Red River into St. Boniface, the city’s historic French Quarter. Here you’ll find incredible pastries from La Belle Baguette (whose café smells like heaven) and Le Croissant (whose owners are from Alsace and Brittany), and enticing edible works of art from Chocolatier Constance Popp.
ALL UNDER ONE ROOF
Right in the middle of downtown within the Alt Hotel is The Merchant Kitchen, whose menu features upscale adaptations of global street food. This is a lively room ripe for cocktails, Korean fried chicken, dan dan noodles and other large dishes meant for sharing before you head to an event across the street at Bell MTS Place.
Then there is The Forks Market, which has become a must for groups looking to try a little bit of everything. Inside you’ll find food kiosks from some of Winnipeg’s busiest restaurants and food trucks, including Japanese from Fusian Sushi (get the takoyaki); some of Canada’s best pizza from The Red Ember (serious; we don’t lie about pie); free range, ethically raised burgers from NuBurger; authentic Argentinian from Empanadas and Company (whose owner moved here from Tucumán, Argentina); izakaya and robatayaki-style dishes from KYU Grill; and outstanding fried fish (including local walleye) from Fergie’s Fish ‘n Chips.
Also within the Forks Market is Tall Grass Prairie — where the grains are milled onsite before being turned into delightful French pastries, pies, and breads. Plus, there’s Corto and Passero — the former is a takeout counter, the latter is a five-star Italian restaurant — by nationally acclaimed chef/restauranteur Scott Bagshaw. Above the Market you’ll also spy Jenna Rae Cakes — whose 170,000-strong Instagram fans include Martha Stewart.
And the best part of all about The Forks Market? Well, it’s The Common, which is located right amidst all the food kiosks. This wine and beer bar serves pints, glasses of wine, and flights, all curated by Véronique Rivest, one of the world’s most acclaimed sommeliers.
BREWERIES, BARS AND GREAT LOUNGES FOR WARDING OFF WINTER.
Speaking of getting cozy in winter, there’s no better place to do so than in some of the city’s handsomest rooms. One that always immediately comes to mind is SMITH at Inn at the Forks, where Canadiana décor (check out the Hudson Bay blanket banquets and antler chandeliers) complements an excellent drink program. It’s a great spot to hit up after a skate for a farm-to-table dinner, or to enjoy perhaps the finest selection of local beer on tap in the city.
As to that local beer, Winnipeg’s brewery scene is now one to boast about, with quite a number of tap rooms and brew pubs on offer. For strictly beer, you really can’t beat Little Brown Jug and Barn Hammer — both of which have stylish tap rooms; Half Pints — Winnipeg’s original microbrewery; Torque — which has won numerous awards; and Nonsuch — the city’s newest brewery. For brewpubs, a popular choice is Brazen Hall, while in the big box store shopping area of Kenaston you’ll find Trans Canada, where up to 24 varieties of beer are brewed onsite along with really good pizza.
For cool cocktail bars look no further than Langside Grocery — a hip haunt in a heritage building in Winnipeg’s West Broadway neighbourhood; Forth — arguably the city’s best cocktail bar, which is also a super chic café during the day; The Roost — which is #adorbs; while side-by-side-by-side in the Exchange District you’ll find Amsterdam Tea Room — whose Scottish co-owner Mark Turner is incredibly knowledgeable when it comes to tea and tea cocktails, and Cordova Tapas & Wine — whose young European owners Gael Winandy (Belgium) and Grégoire Stevenard (France) have created one gorgeous room that harkens back to traditional tapas bars you’d find in Spain.