A woman, shopping bags in tow, stops in to pick up a colourful assortment of macaroons before walking back to her River Heights home. She has picked up fine chocolates, flowers, a new dress for this weekend’s wedding shower, along with wine and charcuterie for this evening’s dinner party. All of these conquests have occurred on one stretch of street – that being Academy Road – where, for a few extra dollars, you can get it done in style.
Where to eat
Fusion Grill was doing farm-to-table dining before it was fashionable, while also being the first Winnipeg restaurant to feature an all-Canadian wine list – which has been curated by owner Scott McTaggart. Chef Lorna Murdoch has some wonderful, can’t-miss dishes like pickerel cheeks topped with crème fraiche and local löjrom caviar, while her truffle perogies with duck sausage in a walnut cream sauce is near moan inducing – which you may want to keep under wraps given the close quarters of this 41-seat room.
The other restaurant on Academy that has been placed on Canada’s culinary spotlight is Pizzeria Gusto. It’s open kitchen and wood fire oven specializes in Neapolitan-style pizza and is very popular with the local River Heights crowd along with visiting celebrities and players from the Winnipeg Jets. Come summer, they have a great patio which is an ideal setting for sipping falanghina while making friends with the fashionable locals.
Just down the street another nice patio and expansive dinning room awaits at In Ferno’s on Academy – the sister restaurant of In Ferno’s Bistro in St. Boniface. While In Ferno’s is known for its entrées, it is famous for its decadent desserts such as chocolate fantasy torte, maple sugar pie and cappuccino crème brulee – all of which are made onsite.
There are now three pretty solid sushi spots on Academy, including Sushi California – a regular for locals; Kudara Sushi – which, despite being located beside a 7-Eleven and hidden behind a Domo gas station has some pretty good rolls along with some great Korean dishes; and Fusian Experience – an inventive, very fresh small spot whose izakaya-inspired dishes have made well-advanced reservations a must.
Fans from all corners of the city flock to Saucers Cafe, a River Heights staple for comfort food with a sophisticated twist. The diverse tea menu boasts creative brews like Raspberry Renegade, Prickly Pear and Tangerine Dream.
Where to shop
A personal favourite of ours for shopping is Moulé. Here, you can spiff up your world with hip men’s and women’s brands, statement-making jewelry and posh housewares, while it’s also a great gift-idea spot for that person who has everything. Plus, you can top off your purchases with the funniest/cruelest cards you’ll find anywhere.
Across the street is Tiber River Naturals, whose Manitoba-made, eco-friendly products are what your body craves – whether you’re a discerning dude looking for a new aftershave, or lovely lady ensuring your skin stays silky. You can also make a grooming appointment if you are looking to lose some hair – and we ain’t talking using scissors.
Indulge your sweet tooth and be wowed at the aesthetic beauty of the sugary creations at Jenna Rae Cakes. Her macaroons, cakes and cookies both create lines on Academy Road – while also getting thousands of hearts on Instagram (including Martha Stewart’s).
Just down the street from these sweets is Mad About Style Boutique, which has become one of the go-to stores for fashion-forward ladies looking for great dresses, handbags, beachwear and jackets. Style savvy pregnant ladies love the clothing at Bump Maternity where you can get everything from cozy, relaxed wear, to high fashion pieces to show off your bump.
If you are on the hunt for that perfect clutch, elegant earrings, outfit making accessory or designer dress, then be sure to check out Chestnut Lane Boutique. Much the same can be said about JOAN’S… accessories & more where fabulous jewellery and every accessory a gal could ever need are waiting.
Luxe European style is centre stage at LVIA Fashion Boutique, which sells only three collections: Bernini, Bernis and Robyn. The racks at Eyelet Dove Lingerie and Swimwear offer up lingerie and swimwear for every shape and size making this often unpleasant task a pleasure.
Woodlands Gallery is all about helping their clients start or build collections of fine art. Established in 1984, this commercial art gallery represents emerging and established Canadian artists and in addition to selling their works, the gallery also showcases hand made jewellery, ceramics, blown glass and professional custom framing..
The experts at specialty food shop G. J. Andrews make it a breeze to pair wine with gourmet cheese and meat from the extensive dairy and deli case. Their shelves are packed with premium oils, relishes, jams, caviar, cookies, curry sauces and much more.
Things to See and Do
Chocolate lovers unite at Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut, known for its exquisite chocolate delicacies. Enjoy a giant chocolate egg… filled with even more chocolates! A giant Yule log… filled with chocolates! A giant chocolate heart… well, you get the picture. There are three locations in Winnipeg, including the one on Academy Road.
Put on a white t-shirt and get your glow on during Academy Lanes Bowling cosmic bowling, complete with black lights, special effects and loud music. This historical building was once the Uptown Theatre and continues to be a social gathering place. Check their website for special vacation bowling specials.
Essentique Spa Salon uses botanical-based Aveda products in its treatments. Hair services, facials, hand and foot care, massages and body wraps are some of the de-stressing services offered in this serene two-storey spa. There are two locations in Winnipeg: 545 Academy Road, 204-489-0100; 1095 St. Mary's Road, 204-255-8144.