Culinary Adventure - Fall / Winter
To say Winnipeg’s food scene is incredibly diverse would be a bit of an understatement. We are a multicultural city where over 100 languages are spoken, with so many nationalities bringing their cuisine to Winnipeg’s restaurant scene.
To provide a complete picture of all the worldly deliciousness to be had, we’d have to write a novel, so for this fall/winter guide we are going to focus on some recent trends and the best food that will bring your belly joy as the temperature begins to chill.
(And on that first note, please check out our culinary website, pegcitygrub.com, where you can browse through reviews, news, and stories about the restaurants, chefs, and events that make this city so tasty, along with the EAT section of our Tourism Winnipeg website.)
FANTASTIC NEW BREWERIES AND WHERE TO FIND THEM
Surely one the biggest stories of the last year would be the continued growth of Winnipeg’s craft beer scene. Joining the local brewpub brigade were Brazen Hall (800 Pembina Highway) and One Great City Brewing Co. (1596 Ness Avenue) – both of which have been very busy since they opened, while Peg Beer Co., which opened back in 2016, continues to serve up interesting beers along with a locally focused menu.
On the strictly beer side of things, Torque Brewing Co. (830 King Edward Street, also the largest new brewery in the city) and Barn Hammer Brewing (595 Wall Street) have made waves with their diverse range of beers, while Little Brown Jug (336 William Avenue) has found itself on seemingly every tap in the city (including their own gorgeous tap room) with their lone, simply delicious traditional 1919 Belgian Pale Ale.
Coming soon – and most likely now open at the time of this reading – is Nonsuch Brewing Co. (location TBA), Stone Angel Brewing Co. (1875 Pembina Highway), Oxus Brewing Company (1180 Sanford Street), and Trans Canada Brewing Co. (1290 Kenaston Boulevard) – making it the perfect time to organize a craft beer crawl – which you can do through Winnipeg Tasting Tours, who host up to four tours a week throughout the fall/winter.
If a brewery crawl is not on your agenda, then be sure to visit The Common inside The Forks Market, which most likely will have at least one offering from each Winnipeg brewery on tap. If this isn’t reason enough to visit the newly revamped market, its food kiosks now provide easily the most-diverse (and delicious) range of culinary offerings in the city under one roof.
Grab a wine or beer flight from the bar then take your taste buds on a tour that can include sushi and izakaya plates from Fusian Sushi, authentic Argentinian dishes from Empanadas and Company by Simon’s Cuisine, farm-to-table fare from Nuburger, awesome Asian creations from KYU Grill, outstanding coffees (including boozy ones) from Fools + Horses, and so much more.
Two new spots will also be open (as of the time of this reading) in The Forks Market, including wood fired pizzas from The Red Ember – the city’s most-popular and highest rated food truck, along with a casual Italian osteria called Passero by chef Scott Bagshaw, whose other restaurants Enoteca and Máquè have both been lavished with national acclaim.
If the regular lineups and positively brilliant food are any indication, Winnipeg’s hottest new restaurant in the past year has been Clementine (123 Princess Street). This breakfast/brunch/lunch outpost defies genres and simply serves up amazing dishes like a delightfully sauced fried chicken toast (our staff favourite), smoked Arctic char atop the most brilliant crispy potato cakes, and arguably the best little burger in the city.
It should not come as a surprise, Clementine is owned/ operated by the same people behind Segovia (484 Stradbrook Avenue), which, since it opened in 2009, has been a perennial favourite in the city and easily one of the best Spanish restaurants in Canada (it currently stands at #62 on the Canada’s 100 best restaurant list).
The small 43-seat room is known for its outstanding tapas, laid back-yet-knowledgeable and friendly staff, and seasonal menus.
The aforementioned Enoteca and Máquè are also can’t misses – especially when it comes to exquisite plating and assertive flavours, while a current favourite of our culinary writer is Yujiro (1822 Grant Avenue), Winnipeg’s best Japanese restaurant where the ramen served during lunch (which is so perfect for winter) makes for lineups outside the door (so make a reservation, then be sure to order the dan dan ramen, which is so luscious). Of particular note from Yujiro is chef Ed Lam’s omakase dinners, which happen several times a season.
Of course, you can’t mention Winnipeg dining without talking about chef Mandel Hitzer, the man behind deer + almond (85 Princess Street) – one of the city’s best eclectic small plates restaurants – and the co-mastermind (along with architect Joe Kalturnyk) of RAW:almond, the internationally praised (with coverage including The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times) winter pop-up restaurant that is staged every year for several weeks on the frozen Assiniboine River featuring chefs from across North America.
Deer + almond is located in the Exchange District, which has once again become the go-to neighbourhood for great culinary experiences. Other spots in the area of note are Peasant Cookery (283 Bannatyne Avenue) – where housemade charcuterie, a farm-to-table menu and a classy cocktail lounge have made it a local staple for years, The Mitchell Block (173 McDermot Avenue) – whose lounge and fresh pastas are all the rage with the pre-theatre crowds, and its next-door neighbour Forth (171 McDermot Avenue) – a café, cocktail bar, and hangout that is super popular with the cool kids.
One other Winnipeg room that is a must – for both the food and a room that is unlike anything anywhere – is Sous Sol (222 Osborne Street). This basement situated restaurant at the tail end of Osborne Village has arguably the best drinks menu in the city (including a rum punch served in a tiki glass lit on fire that comes with a house made coconut marshmallow for roasting) along with some near pitch perfect French dishes courtesy of chef Michael Robins.
This may be the only food guide in the world where Filipino, Jewish food and pizza will share a category, but that just shows you how Winnipeg rolls.
One of our favourite new(ish) spots in the city is Bisita (637 Corydon Avenue), a Filipino restaurant where family style dishes like kare kare and lechon kawali are so good you may find yourself high-fiving your server.
On the kosher-style side of things you really can’t beat the smoked meat, mish mash soup, and knishes of Sherbrook Street Delicatessen (102 Sherbrook Street) and the bustling brunches at Bernstein’s Deli (1700 Corydon Avenue).
For pizza, almost every neighbourhood in Winnipeg has you covered (with mainstays including Pizzeria Gusto, Santa Ana, and A Little Pizza Heaven), while these days we are really singing the praises of the dough at Super Deluxe, the second eatery by the folks who brought us Vera Pizzeria E Bevande. The chewy-yet-charred crust serves as the ultimate vessel for some wondrous pies, including our new favourite, the grape and blue cheese, which is so good that we give you full permission to moan and do a happy dance while you are eating it.