If you haven’t spent a day at The Forks in awhile, you should probably make a date with this historic site ASAP. The market retains the nostalgic feel that you likely remember – with live street vendor music serenading the halls and plenty of knickknacks to discover – while introducing a gorgeous new dining hall and new food vendors to indulge in. You will, as they say, go for the food and stay for the beer. Here are 5 steps to wine and dine at The Forks Market…
1. Share a plate
Small plates, sharing plates and tapas are gaining traction in Winnipeg’s dining scene. For those who like to try a bit of everything (me), it’s a dream come true. At The Forks, you can have an appetizer, main and dessert from 3 different food vendors, with your only challenge being how to decide what dishes to include on your tour a la Forks. The new harvest tables, made with reclaimed wood by Wood Anchor, make it easy to gather with a large group and share dishes family-style.
2. Venture around the world
Where else in the city can you choose between All-American food, Japanese fare or Caribbean delights? The Forks offers a glimpse into Manitoba’s vibrant cultural mosaic, where guests can take their palette on a worldly adventure of delicious bites.
Fusian Sushi is a newcomer to The Forks, and a welcome one. With a full scale location on Academy (Fusian Experience), Fusian brings a tasty twist on Japanese dishes to The Forks landscape. With a crunchy outside and gooey center, the Spicy Tofu Fries are a must try for vegetarians and carnivores alike, and the sushi comes up to par with some of the best. Having never dived fully into the raw side of Japanese fare, the lettuce wraps were a scrumptious introduction, and left me dreaming about the dish for days. My taster wrapped up with the sushi Hawaiian Shrimp Nachos (yes, that’s a thing), complete with layers of pineapple, avocado and salmon. I can’t stress the sushi nachos enough. Try the sushi nachos.
There were many sad faces when Simon’s Cuisine (originally located on St. Mary’s) announced it was shutting its doors – and many happy ones when it announced its new location at The Forks. This much loved eatery boasts some of the best and most authentic Argentinean food that the city has to offer. Simon’s Provenzal Fries make for a tasty snack or side dish, packed with fresh garlic, parsley and olive oil. The Empanadas are stand-outs on the menu, with four options – Regular Beef, Spicy Beef, Chicken, Spinach and Ricotta Cheese. Don’t forget to get some chimichurri sauce, a traditional accompaniment for Argentinean cuisine.
On your return trip to the Forks, add these Around the World food vendors to your list.
3. Try a Manitoban staple
If you’ve come to The Forks for an authentic Manitoban dining experience – well, you’re in luck. The Forks is a mecca for getting a taste of quintessential Manitoban fare.
Tall Grass Prairie Bakery
It may not be the wisest decision of mine to walk by Tall Grass Prairie Bakery on the way to work everyday, but it is a delicious one. Tall Grass Prairie respects the age-old tradition of the milling of organic flour (with a mill on site) and baking from scratch to create renowned pastries such as the whole wheat cinnamon bun. It’s also a great spot for lunch, with fresh soups and sandwiches daily.
Baba’s Tall Grass Pantry
Owned under the same umbrella as Tall Grass Prairie Bakery, it’s no surprise that Baba’s Tall Grass Pantry takes a similar approach when serving up its traditional Ukrainian fare that has become an essential part of the Manitoba diet. The perogies make for an easy choice, but don’t leave without trying the Manitoba Meatballs dish which uses grass-fed meat from local farms.
4. Get something to sip on
The Common breathes new life into The Forks market, creating a central hang out spot for after-work drinks or celebrations. Pull a stool up to the bar and start with a beer or wine tasting flight to get a sample of what’s to offer. Each flight comes in a custom made Manitoba-shaped plate with a washer beneath each glass, so that you know which beer or wine you are tasting. The craft beers are varied and plenty, but my handy beer connoisseur recommends the Saugatuck Brewing Co Neapolitan Milk Stout, the Uncommon Cider from Northern Spain and the Torque Brewing Co.’s Witty Belgian. You can wander the entire first floor of the market with your beverage, so don’t hesitate to grab a glass before you decide on food.
5. Try something nu
The Forks is getting ready for Phase 2 of renovations, which means you will want to check back for the new and notable vendors that will be added to the market over the next year or so. I squealed when The Forks announced their newest tenant, Le Burger Week winner and gourmet burger connoisseur, NuBurger, slated to join the vendor lineup this November. Happy noshing!