Bold pizza pies and little plates have launched two Winnipeg restaurants into Canada's culinary elite.

Winnipeg's Pizzeria Gusto and Spanish tapas restaurant Segovia were named two of Canada's top-50 restaurants by Maclean's magazine in late September 2012.

The list was compiled by Maclean's food editor Jacob Richler who spent many months eating his way across the country.

"Hopefully, they draw attention to some restaurants that have been overlooked," Richler told the Globe and Mail.

The top-50 restaurants were chosen for what was served on the plate. Dining room decor and ambiance were not part of the equation as Maclean's didn't want more casual and less pricy places to be overlooked.

The top-50 restaurants represent a "balance of old and new, cheap and pricey, casual and posh."

In Winnipeg, chef Eric Lee of Pizzeria Gusto had no idea his Academy Row kitchen made the cut and found out when the magazine's special issue landed in stores.

"We are thrilled. And surprised," Lee says.

Lee and his team at Pizzeria Gusto wood-fired pizzas that break the traditional Italian ‘za mode. Lee's pies hit sweet, savoury and spicy notes and include innovative combinations of creative ingredients like pear, rosemary, fig jam, roast potatoes, pistachios, citrus-tossed arugula and crispy capers.

At Segovia, chef Adam Donnelly has earned a rabid following in Winnipeg. Inspired by the Spanish tapas trend of communal eating and shared plates in Europe, Donnelly and his wife Carolina opened their Osborne Village spot in late 2008.

Donnelly built the menu, which changes with the seasons, using Spanish tapas and flavours of the region as his starting point. Menu favourites include tissue-paper thin serano ham, Elk tartare with tandoori hollandaise, Berkshire pork belly with hot mustard aioli. Donnelly is also a master of the daily special. He uses the freshest available ingredients, like Manitoba morel mushrooms, to create simple but memorable bites.

Pizzeria Gusto and Segovia are both busy spots which fill up quickly every night.

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