When you imagine Canada’s top culinary cities Toronto, Montréal, and Vancouver immediately come to mind. However, Winnipeg has an abundance of local ingredients and plenty of talented young chefs who are willing to experiment with new flavors, Winnipeg’s restaurant scene continues to thrive as we revisit our list of Winnipeg’s top ten restaurants.
Named the husband and wife team that owns it, Kristen Chemerika and Kyle Lew, Chew achieves a delicate balance between simplicity and refinement. The cosy 21-seat interior and the house-made preserves arranged along the walls give the restaurant a homey feeling, yet the dishes have the complexity of a fine-dining experience. Meals begin with warm slices of homemade focaccia seasoned with herbs and sea salt. Menu highlights include the foie gras with vanilla rhubarb, challah and chicken liver mousse, and the pan-seared pickerel with orzo, caper berries, tomatoes, preserved lemon, and chive. Diners are even given complimentary treats, such as muffins or cookies, to take home after their meals.
Chew, 532 Waterloo St, Winnipeg, MB, Canada, +1 204 667 2439
Rae and Jerry’s Steakhouse has been serving simple, well-prepared steaks and prime rib to Winnipeg for more than 60 years. The interior has changed very little since the restaurant first opened in 1957, still featuring eye-catching red carpeting and dark woods with seating at comfortable leatherette banquettes. Mains are served with chilled tomato juice or house-made soup along with a choice of two sides. In addition to T-bones and striploin, the restaurant offers burgers, chicken, and fish dishes, along with a great selection of house-made desserts including a few gluten-free options.
Rae and Jerry’s Steakhouse, 1405 Portage Ave, Winnipeg, MB, Canada, +1 204 783 6155
Winnipeg Free Press News Cafe is an innovative meeting place-cum-cafe aimed at encouraging Winnipeggers to become more involved in their community. Actors, politicians, sports heroes and other prominent figures are interviewed live at the cafe by Winnipeg Free Press journalists with the customers as the audience. In addition to offering the chance to meet local journalists and newsmakers, the cafe also presents regular lectures, book readings, and other educational events. The menu offers a selection of breakfast dishes, salads, soups, and sandwiches. For breakfast, try the vegetable frittata with toast and hashbrowns while the ‘Manitoba Club’ with chicken breast, Winkler bacon, Bothwell aged cheddar, lettuce, and vine-ripened tomato is perfect for lunch.
A favorite of locals and critics, 529 Wellington offers one of the city’s top dining experiences. The menu features an outstanding selection of Canada Prime beef and seafood, including live lobster imported weekly from the east coast. An excellent selection of sides is available to pair with the main dishes including sautéed sugar snap peas and the ‘Chef’s Pontalba Potatoes,’ made with garlic, onions, mushrooms, scallions, and peppercorn sauce. The restaurant is also known for its extensive wine cellar, with an on-staff sommelier available to provide recommendations. The restaurant is set in a early 20th century mansion, with the interior featuring elaborate staircase and graceful chandeliers.
529 Wellington, 529 Wellington Crescent, Winnipeg, MB, Canada, +1 204 487 8325
Open for breakfast and lunch, Come ‘n Eat is part of a worker-owned cooperative that provides employment and collective business ownership within the community. The menu at this friendly cafe changes regularly, but typical dishes include burgers, sandwiches, salads, as well as dishes that draw on the cuisine of the neighborhood’s Aboriginal community. The ‘North End Breakfast’ is a particular favorite, consisting of two eggs, bannock toast and a choice of bacon, ham or kielbasa. For lunch, there’s ‘Le Boule’ which is a traditional Métis dish consisting of beef meatballs and gravy served over mashed potatoes. The restaurant’s unfussy interior is illuminated with natural light from full-length windows.
Locals were extremely pleased with the opening the La Belle Baguette, Winnipeg’s newest cafe and bakery located in the city’s French quarter. As well as freshly baked bread, the bakery offers delicious tarts, pastries, cookies, and pets-de-seour (nun’s farts) – a traditional French dessert made from puff pastry pinwheel with cinnamon and sugar. La Belle Baguette pride themselves on making everything from scratch and creating pastries that are not only taste amazing but look beautiful too. The cafe has a cozy atmosphere, and there are only three small tables inside. Whether you eat in or take their tasty treasures home with you, La Bell Baguette is certainly worth repeat visits as the bread and pastry selections change daily.
248 Cathedrale Ave, Winnipeg, MB R2H 0H8, Canada, +204-219-2123
Peasant Cookery serves a menu of seasonal, homemade dishes in a casual French bistro setting. The restaurant’s 75-seat interior features rustic wood tables and mason jars filled with pickled vegetables resting along the window ledges. The menu reflects a similar countryside inspiration, with dishes like tourtière and poutine, while Mediterranean influences can be seen in some of the pasta and meat dishes. The charcuterie platter is a particular highlight, featuring an ever-changing combination of dry cured sausages, terrines and pâtés, served with pickled vegetables.
Peasant Cookery, 283 Bannatyne Ave, Winnipeg, MB, Canada, +1 204-989-7700
One of the city’s most interesting dining settings, Resto Gare is located in a restored 100-year-old train station. The restaurant aims to serve healthier interpretation of traditional French dishes that incorporate seasonal and local produce. The menu offers a variety of cheese and charcuterie platters along with a great selection of soups, salads, and mains. Recommended dishes include the ‘steak et frites,’ New York steak and house fries with caramelized onions, cambozola cheese and grilled garlic baguette. For a lighter meal the quiche du jour is always a safe bet. The restaurant’s interior maintains elements that reflect the station’s history, with opulent lighting fixtures and dark wood framing which are complemented by more contemporary touches.
Resto Gare, 630 Des Meurons St, Winnipeg, MB, Canada, +1 204 237 7072
One of the city’s most popular restaurants, Segovia Tapas Bar and Restaurant offers a menu of traditional and contemporary Spanish tapas. The menu is divided into classic dishes called ‘tradicionales’ and more innovative creations called ‘nueva cocina.’ The jamon iberico de bellota is the highlight of the classic menu, consisting of thinly sliced pork served alongside grilled bread drizzled with oil. From the nueva cocina section, go for the Albacore tuna tartare, served with bean and corn salsa, mole vinaigrette, and tortilla chips. The restaurant’s interior continues to blend old and new Spain: the lounge area features exposed brick walls and wooden tables while the more modern dining room is decorated with stark black walls and white tables.