In the heart of Canada’s expansive prairies, Manitoba’s capital, Winnipeg, is a pleasant surprise, and far more than a mere stopover point on the route across Canada. This multicultural city is well known for its art scene, historical architecture, shopping, museums, and diverse restaurants. Here are some of the best restaurants to check out while in ‘the Peg’.
Set in a beautifully-restored 1912 mansion, 529 Wellington offers an elegant and upscale dining experience, along with some of the city’s –perhaps even the country’s – best food and wine. Winner of Wine Spectator Magazine’s ‘Best of Award of Excellence’, 529 is home to one of Manitoba’s largest wine cellars, as well as one of the province’s 14 certified sommeliers. In addition to offering an extensive seafood menu, which includes live lobster flown in from the coast each week, the restaurant offers one of the country’s best selections of Canadian prime grade beef. Diners can enjoy their meal in the interior, which features dark wood paneling, a grand staircase, antiques and dazzling chandeliers, or head outside to the lovely riverside patio in the summer.
529 Wellington, 529 Wellington Crescent, Winnipeg, MB, Canada, +1 204 487 8325
The cheerful Come ‘n Eat restaurant is found on the second floor of Neechi Commons, a worker-owned cooperative that also includes a grocery store, bakery and art gallery. Providing employment and collective business ownership to local residents, the Neechi Commons building, and Come ‘n Eat, are part of an initiative to revitalize Winnipeg’s struggling North End. Offering all-day breakfast and lunch, the restaurant’s menu is inspired by the neighbourhood’s Aboriginal community. The restaurant is quickly becoming a local favourite for breakfast, offering hearty dishes like blueberry bannock French toast. Full-length windows provide plenty of natural light and a lovely view of Main Street, while the low-key furnishing and chalkboard menu create the feeling of a friendly neighborhood diner.
Set in a 100-year-old train station, Resto Gare offers traditional French cuisine prepared with local produce from Winnipeg. Attached to the former station is an old train car, which is available for private dining. Both the station and coach have been turned into sophisticated dining areas, decorated with comfortable booths, dark wood beams, a large fireplace, and bright red and blue color themes. The menu features classic French dishes like boeuf bourguignon, as well as lighter options, such as pastas, soups, sandwiches and salads. Located in Winnipeg’s French Quarter, Resto Gare’s bilingual service and francophone music complement its French bistro menu.
Resto Gare, 630 Des Meurons St, Winnipeg, MB, Canada, +1 204 237 7072
Winnipeg Free Press News Café
Located in downtown Winnipeg’s historic west exchange district, the Winnipeg Free Press News Café is a unique community meeting place where diners can watch live-streaming of news programs. In addition to offering a chance for diners to meet local journalists and see them at work, the cafe also hosts lectures, book readings and seminars. The cafe’s simple decor features large windows, a high ceiling, a display of photographs, and a quaint little patio outside. The menu consists mainly of sandwiches, salads, and tasty soups du jour, such as lentil and black bean soup. Diners can see Canada’s politicians, sports heroes, actors, musicians, and other prominent figures here – and with voter apathy increasing over the last few years, the News Café also holds the loftier goal of getting Winnipeggers more engaged in their local community.
The Neighborhood Bookstore and Café
Located in Winnipeg’s quaint Wolseley area, one of the most well-preserved pre-1930 residential areas in Canada, the cozy Neighborhood Bookstore and Café offers an eclectic selection of used books and excellent coffee to go with it. The menu features a range of local baked goods and sandwiches, as well as onigiri, a traditional Japanese snack of rice balls with different savory fillings, such as tuna or pickled plum. The cafe is also home to a pleasant year-round patio, which is often the setting for musical performances in the warmer months.
Connie’s Corner Café
The exterior of Connie’s Corner Café looks a little run-down, but step inside and you’ll find yourself transported into a classic family diner. With a sign in the window offering the opportunity to buy second-hand items, it is no surprise that the restaurant’s interior is cluttered with dream catchers, old jukeboxes, a lava lamp, and a re-purposed cigarette machine. The teal-colored walls are lined with photos of local Winnipeg celebrities, as well as a few pictures from Connie’s own collection of family photos. A local long-time favorite for their large portions and good prices, Connie’s serves simple diner fare for breakfast and lunch, including omelets and bannock.
Connie’s Corner Café, 967 Main St, Winnipeg, +1 204 947 3926
Rae and Jerry’s Steakhouse
A Winnipeg icon since 1957, Rae and Jerry’s Steakhouse is a haven for carnivores, serving no-nonsense steaks and prime rib, including T-bone, filet mignon and New York sirloin. One of the restaurant’s most distinct features is its retro decor, with deep red plush carpeting, dark woods, leatherette banquettes and mirrored surfaces. The charming part about this old-school interior is that it’s completely authentic, and it has changed little in the decades since it first opened. With the restaurant continuing to draw crowds almost every night of the week, it’s easy to see why, over the years, they’ve maintained a simple philosophy of providing good beef and good service.
Rae and Jerry’s Steakhouse, 1405 Portage Ave, Winnipeg, MB, Canada, +1 204 783 6155
No restaurant in Winnipeg quite embodies local cuisine like the award-winning Fusion Grill. The lively restaurant uses only fresh, local, organic produce and game, and everything is made on-site from scratch. In addition to regionally-inspired dishes like white-truffle pierogies with duck sausage and walnut cream, and grilled rockwood elk with a caramelized shallot and barley risotto, the restaurant is known for its extensive wine selection, with owner Scot McTaggart happily offering guests his recommendations. The simple dining area features white linens and local art, while music from Winnipeg and other Canadian artists creates the soundtrack for the meal.
Fusion Grill, 550 Academy Rd, Winnipeg, MB, Canada, +1 204 489 6963
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