The sun’s out, the flowers are blooming and Winnipeg is about to kick-off its busy summer season with athletes and sports fans arriving from all over the world for FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015! Winnipeg is like your grandma who keeps piling food on your plate. She never stops serving! And neither does our vibrant food scene. So whether you’re in town for a short stay or you’re a life-long resident, here are some of the best places to score a bite to eat or stay hydrated with a good sip.
Grab a gourmet cup of joe
Mmm, can you smell those fresh-roasted aromas? Perk up your day at one of the city’s gourmet coffee shops. Sure, there’s a Tim’s or Starbucks on almost every corner, but it’s those small, locally-owned cafés where you’re going to find the ultimate brew for you. These places take coffee-making to a whole new level.
Sip on an Epic Espresso at Parlour Coffee, where every cup is ground to order. Thom Bargen is a friendly neighbourhood spot that offers a “strong like bull” Americano. If it’s hot out, try a Vanilla Iced Latté at Café Postal or a Rouge Cape Town (rooibos iced tea) at our sweet Little Sister Coffee Maker.
Sit outside and watch the world go by
There’s nothing like basking in the sun with a frosty beverage and a darn tasty meal. Patios are the perfect place to chill with your buds, spark up a lively conversation with the locals or just sit back and do some people watching.
The Tavern rooftop, Peasant Cookery and Earls on Main all have fantastic downtown patios, whereas The Beachcomber is wonderfully located riverside at The Forks. In Ferno’s Bistro serves up fabulous fare on their quaint patio in the heart of St. Boniface. You could also try and snag a table at one of the many patios in Little Italy (also referred to as Corydon Ave.).
Find the flavours of the world at The Forks
Multiculturalism runs deep where our two rivers meet. The Forks has a rich history of settlement and immigration and to this day remains a public space where people from all walks of life gather for celebration and recreation. So it makes sense that The Forks Market is full of flavors that will entice any palate.
Order a plate of Baba’s perogies at Baba’s Tall Grass Pantry or a couple of home-cooked Empanadas at Chilean Corner. The Roti at Taste of Sri Lanka will have you rolling your eyes in delight, while Zorba’s Chicken Fingers with Homemade Honey Dill Sauce will have you trying a local favourite (Zorba’s created honey dill sauce and for most Manitobans it is THE dip for chicken fingers). Another Manitoba must is the tastiest white fish around: pickerel (walleye), which you can find at Fergies Fish ‘n’ Chips.
Grab a burger
Honestly, there’s just too many good burger joints around to fit into one tiny paragraph, but here are a few to take note of:
Pick the meat, pick the bun, pick the fixin’s! At Market Burger you can create your burger any which way you like (they also make a mean shake and have a lovely rooftop patio). NuBurger has locally sourced, gourmet burgers like the Blueberry Yum Yum or the Misohappi. Add a side of Yam Fries to round off your meal, they’re delish! V.Js Drive-in and Mrs. Mike’s are a couple of old-school joints famous for their Chilli Burgers. Or you can forego the meat altogether with a Grilled Buddha Patty at Boon Burger — Canada’s first all-vegan burger joint.
Stuff yourself on a serious sandwich
Maybe a stacked and packed hand-crafted sandwich is more your style. Just don’t forget to bring your appetite because these sandwiches are no joke!
Sherbrook Street Deli’s kosher-style cooking is just like a traditional New York delicatessen. The River City Brisket is a slow-roasted thing of beauty by King + Bannatyne. The Smoked Pork hot-pressed sandwich at Miss Browns is drool inducing. If you like a classic meatball sandwich (and honestly, who doesn’t?), you have to try the gut-busting el porko at Little Maria’s. On the slight chance you aren’t totally stuffed to the gills after doing some deli dining, maybe you have room to…
Go get some frosty treats
It’s hot out, you’ve been outside all day having fun, but something’s missing. You want to crank the day up to 11, and that means it’s time for the proverbial scream for ice cream. Of course you can get your chocolate dip at the usual ice cream franchises, but that’s so boring. What you really want is a GOOG from the Bridge Drive-In, or Key Lime Frozen Yogurt from Sargent Sundae, or a cup of Dulce de Leche from Eva’s Gelato, or maybe a Banana Split from…wait for it…the Banana Boat.
Oh, and Winnipeg hasn’t been named the Slurpee Capital of the World for 15 years in a row for nothing!
Fancy a slice
Pizza aficionados will have no trouble finding the perfect pie here. Any way you slice it, these places strive for pizza greatness.
Pizzeria Gusto sources the best possible ingredients to prepare the best possible pizzas. The Lucia Pizza and the Roasted Brussel Sprouts are eccellente! Corrientes Argentine Pizzeria has a spicy South American vibe, while Carbone Coal Fired Pizza cooks most everything in their smoking-hot coal burning ovens. Bonfire Bistro keeps the heat coming with the Spicy Bonfire Hawaiian Pizza, while the charm of the authentically Italian Casa Grande Ristorante can only be topped by its mouth-watering pizza pies.
Taste the tapas
Sharing is caring and our killer food scene has some of Winnipeg’s best chefs wanting to share their inspired small plate menus with you.
Segovia Tapas Bar and Restaurant’s Adam Donnelly honed his skills in London and travelled through Spain for inspiration before opening Osborne Village’s top tapas spot. In the Exchange District, deer+almond’s Mandel Hitzer is committed to keeping food fun, fantastic and gourmet. Chew’s Red Seal Chefs Kristen Chemerika-Lew and Kyle Lew think local is always best and will welcome you to a place where the style is as comfortable as the food is delicious. At Deseo Bistro, Scott Bagshaw lets his food do the talking as he creates comfort food that is equal parts delicious and inventive.
Dine on a sizzling steak
If you like a good steak, you’ve come to the right place. The agricultural heart of Canada has an abundance of steakhouses pairing prime cuts with exceptional dining experiences.
Taste the bold and feisty flavours of South America at Hermanos, where both the Chivito sandwich and Baby Cabrera steak (a personal fave) will make you say “Oh My!” like the Star Trek guy. At 529 Wellington, you will discover the city’s most elegant dining service. Learn all about their special cuts of meat while savouring the superb Beef Carpaccio or munching on the Onion Ring Tower. You can’t go more old-school than Rae & Jerry’s, it’s like 70’s retro on steroids. The Prime Rib is the prime choice here. The Keg is still a classic choice, which offers their famous Baseball Top Sirloin. Don’t forget to save room for a piece of their Billy Miner Pie, which leads me too…
Satisfy your sweet tooth
Did you save room for dessert? I hope so, because the city is overflowing with special spots to end the night on a sweet note. Try finishing one of the mile-high masterpieces from Baked Expectations or a towering (and terrific) torte from Dessert Sinsations. The cinnamon buns are extremely ooey-gooey at Tall Grass Prairie, while High Tea Bakery’s imperial cookies are quickly becoming royally famous. OMG YUM!
Cheer on your teams at a sports bar
Gooooooooal! If you don’t have tickets to the game, no worries, cheer on your teams at one of our many sports bars and pubs.
The Pint is the newest pub on the scene, while The Shark Club is a popular sports and gaming centre. Both are located downtown. Barley Brothers is close to Investors Group Field and serves up over 150 beers on tap. Also serving over 150 types of brews is Luxalune Gastropub on Osborne Street. There’s also the Fox & Fiddle on Main Street, a Hooters (for the refined folk) near Polo Park, the Upperdeck Sports Bar at the casino, or a good ol’ Boston Pizza in every neighbourhood.
Listen to live music
When you’ve had your fill of football/soccer (I know, I know, impossible!). But if that actually happens, an evening listening to great music might be just the ticket.
If you follow the house rules, you will have an absolute blast at The Good Will social club. Le Garage Café makes a mean Poutine while serving up everything from blues to funk to jazz. The Exchange District has a couple of hot spots in The King’s Head and MAW’s Eatery and Beer Hall. The Park Theatre & Lounge is always hopping and was named “Venue of the Year” at the Western Canadian Music Award’s in 2014.
Bonus! Visit a farmers’ market
“Farm to table” shines bright here. Around every corner is a community market to fill up on fresh food and handmade fare.
Do you have places to add to this list? Tell us in the comments below!