Header photo: Kyle Schappert

If you love long drives and equally adore dining out, we suggest combining your two loves and make an outing of it. Whether you live in the north, south, east or west, there’s some good grub just a drive away. Here are 14 dinner destinations we think are worth the drive.

Harth Mozza and Wine Bar, St. Vital

It’s hard to know where to begin with Harth. There’s just so much that can be said! From the house-made pastas and seasonal local ingredients, to the perfect wine pairings, to its warm, rustic charm – notwithstanding this is all in an urban setting within city limits. This family-styled restaurant offers a glimpse of what a traditional Italian dining table might look like.

Pineridge Hollow, Birds Hill

Local and seasonal fare are all the rage these days and Pineridge Hollow has been on the bandwagon since inception. There’s something clean, classic and elegant in the simplicity of this dining hotspot. And it’s one of those places where you won’t regret making a reservation with wholesome meals, which emphasize life in the prairies.

Bella’s Castle, Morden

It may be a bed and breakfast, but Bella’s Castle also offers the pleasant surprise of gourmet dinners too. Set within the walls of a century-old stone mansion, Bella’s Castle exudes charm in its small-town setting. With its intimate dining space and popularity among locals, it’s a good idea to make a reservation, although it’s not required. Fridays and Saturdays are the best nights to visit as there’s usually something special happening.

Brazen Hall Kitchen & Brewery, Fort Rouge

Named one of 2017’s best new restaurants by Ciao, Brazen is boldly going where only a few restaurants have gone before. The Viking-inspired brewpub combines comfort food and assorted brews in a modern yet casual dining setting, which lets patrons feel welcome.

Hespeler’s Cookhouse & Tavern, Niverville

Hespeler’s may be somewhat of a newcomer to the dining game, but this small-town cookhouse is already packing a punch, turning first-timers into regulars. The atmosphere here is one that caters to just about everyone: families looking for a place to dine together, ladies who just want to have a night out, or the guys hoping to catch “the game”.

Lady of the Lake, Brandon

Lady of Lake is full of cutesy little knickknacks to give your home that trending shabby chic look, but it’s the Friday night dinner menu that we’re here to discuss. This restaurant creates some of the most satiating gourmet meals, so be sure to leave room for dessert as these are just as decadent and freshly made in house.

Café Dario, Winnipeg

Just when you thought the West End couldn’t possibly bring you anything else worth exploring, in comes Café Dario with its ridiculously refined prix-fixe menus to shatter your preconceived notions. The restaurant creates some of the most unique dishes pairing what may seem to be unlikely ingredients like blackberry and horseradish with duck breast, or pork belly with sweet plantains. If these dishes don’t make you even a little bit curious about why this yellow house on the corner is worth a drive to, then there’s really nothing left for us to discuss.

Martese, Clear Lake

The Martese is set on the marina of Clear Lake in Riding Mountain National Park. This dining experience comes with the added bonus of a cruise on the lake. While the cruises (and sometimes too the dinner) are weather-dependent, if you’re the gambling type, you’ve got nothing to lose and only a wonderful experience to gain.

Good Thymes Restaurant and Bar, The Pas

If you’ve never been to The Pas, now, besides a bucket-list visit to Clearwater Lake, you have another reason to add this small town to your list: Good Thymes Restaurant & Bar. This restaurant is the talk of the town for its service and especially for its food. Much like the lake is a beyond-expectations treat, so too is this restaurant. And the locals and those only passing through equally hold this belief.

Café Carlo, Winnipeg

With three decades under its belt and no signs of slowing down, Café Carlo is one of those places that has made its food service the centre of its business operation. The bistro-style restaurant may be located in the heart of Little Italy, but its menu alone is proof of that international flair it always seeks to bring to its renderings.

Livery Barn, Steinbach

There are many opportunities to indulge in traditional fare in Manitoba, but Livery Barn stands out from the rest with its Russian-Mennonite cuisine. Think smoked sausages, borscht, stone-ground baking and rich gravies. The restaurant is on the grounds of the Mennonite Heritage Village. Of course, Livery Barn closes a little earlier, so you may want to move your dinner plans up just a little bit.

Spicy Radish Café, Whitemouth

This small-town restaurant aims to take things up a notch without complicating the dining experience for its guests. If you’re after that home-away-from-home feel of freshly prepared meals that feature local ingredients, Spicy Radish is where it’s at.

Gull Harbour Marina, Hecla

With its recent renovations, Gull Harbour Marina and its Angry Pelican lounge are fast becoming one of Hecla’s most raved about spots for an amazing dining experience. If you’re looking for ambience served up with your sumptuous meal, this restaurant is it. The stunning screened-in patio lets in lots of natural light and offers views of Lake Winnipeg, while the outdoor patio brings the cool breezes and fresh air.

Sasagui Rapids Lodge, Thompson

Sometimes, the places with the best grub can look rather unassuming. Sasagui is one of those places. While the lodge’s restaurant serves of the typical North American meal, you’re going to want to skip that portion of the menu and dive right into the traditional, made-from-scratch savoury and oh-so-sweet sweet Thai offerings.

We’re pretty sure that these selections aren’t the only ones that should be on this list. Tell us about your favourite drive-to restaurants.