2009 Reviews

Billabong Bar and Bistro

(Editor’s Note – This business is no longer open.)

Just inside the front entrance of the recently renovated Billabong Bar & Bistro, guests are greeted with a choice of two doors.

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Black Sheep Diner

(Editor’s Note – This business is no longer open.)

Since opening in 2008, healthy, homestyle food served inside the sunny yellow walls of Black Sheep Diner has become a favourite of breakfast aficionados around the city.

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Champa Bistro

(Editor’s Note – This business is no longer open.)

Osborne South’s latest newcomer, Champa Bistro dares to be a one-stop spot for Far East flavours—Thai, Laotian, Chinese, Vietnamese and Japanese all mingle on the menu. Classic Asian plates like Thai green curry and Vietnamese beef pho are taken up a notch with local ingredients and smart presentation, but what sets Champa apart are playful fusion creations that can’t be found in any other Asian kitchens.

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Confusion Corner Bar and Grill

With every change of season, the setting of Confusion Corner Bar & Grill always remains befitting. The distinctive brick eatery sits at the gateway of Corydon Avenue, a hopping destination in the summer. Its second-story patio is a major draw because of its aerial view and high-tech retractable awning. During winter, the brick, slate and wood decor of the dining room, coupled with a sleek wood-burning fireplace in the middle of the room, evokes the feeling of a ski chalet deep in the mountains.

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East India Company

Indian food has become increasingly familiar in the past decade. Its rich sauces and fragrant spices have easily won over the palates of even the most conservative diners with words like samosa, tandoori and naan tripping off tongues.

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Ellice Café and Theatre

(Editor’s Note – This business is no longer open.)

It’s a bustling neighbourhood cafe where tables of 20-something hipsters discuss the world’s problems and locals always find a friendly face. Conceived by the late Reverend Harry Lehotsky, Ellice Cafe provides generously portioned and affordable food for the residents of the West End and its visitors—many of who live below the poverty line.

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Falafel Place

For more than 20 years Winnipeggers have flocked to Falafel Place, where fresh bacon, eggs, pancakes and falafels are served up with chutzpa. Last July, owners Ami Hassan and Dean Desrochers bought a building on Corydon (formerly home to the Belgian Bakery) after moving twice since 1986.

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Gausthaus Gutenburger

(Editor’s Note – This business is no longer open.)

Gasthaus Gutenberger is a lively German gathering place that encourages unabashed gorging on Chef/owner Kurt Wagner’s rich and robust recipes. Mounds of food are not the only things in excess: steins overflow with liquid gold and a feeling of willkommen fills the room (mostly at the hand of a lederhosen-clad accordion player who seamlessly segues from Bach to beer chants).

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Hermanos Restaurant and Wine Bar

Winnipeg’s culturally diverse dining scene continues to broaden. In recent years, high-end Japanese and Indian establishments have hit the mainstream, and now, first-time restaurant owner Noel Bernier and partner Leonard Wong want to make the same transition with the exciting flavours and unique dining style of South America.

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In Ferno’s Bistro

Five years ago, Ciao! editors named In Ferno’s Bistro one of Winnipeg’s best new restaurants. In an industry where establishments can quickly go from sizzling to fizzling, the always packed dining room (and hopping summer patio) at this St. Boniface French-Mediterranean eatery leaves no doubt it is here to stay.

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Les Jasmins De La Tunisie

Just over the Provencher Bridge at the entrance to Old St. Boniface lies a unique culinary experience. From the outside it looks like a typical cafe, but inside is the city’s first and only Tunisian restaurant, Les Jasmins de la Tunisie.

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Lobby On York Restaurant and Bar

Forget the recession—Winnipeggers are buzzing over the new high-end dining establishment Lobby on York Restaurant & Bar, which opened in May. With the talented veteran crew from Tavern in the Park (Barb & Dale Yuel and Chef Joe Dokuchie) at the helm and a super chic six-figured interior renovation, Lobby on York is the kind of place locals are excited to brag about.

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Monviso

The once predominantly-Italian Corydon strip has shifted over the years to reflect Winnipeg’s growing multicultural population. However, outstanding Italian cuisine still reigns supreme.

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Resto Gare

The venerable La Vieille Gare received a facelift this past year when owner Linda Love peeled away 30 years of white tablecloth dining to reveal Resto Gare, a fresh bistro. If La Vieille Gare was like a distinguished grandmère, then Resto Gare is a hip mama. With renovations, the space remains one of Winnipeg’s most stunning dining rooms.

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Sabai Thai Eatery

In a city filled with numerous ethnic restaurants, choosing where to eat can become a game of discernment. The opening of Sabai Thai Eatery last October, helps make the decision easier. Chef Kham Vilay, son of Noy Vilay of long-standing Magic Thailand, brings his own brand of alchemy to the kitchen.

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The Tallest Poppy

Built in 1886, the Occidental Hotel has stood watch during most of Winnipeg’s history. Originally called the White Rose, it has undergone several reincarnations, even earning itself a notorious reputation along the way. Two years ago, it was renamed the Red Road Lodge and was turned into a halfway house for those wanting to rebuild their lives.

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Wasabi Sabi

It’s hard to believe sushi was once considered uncharted territory, suitable only for the most adventurous foodie. But finding quality sushi nowadays is a simple enough endeavour with restaurants popping up everywhere from shopping malls to strip malls.

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World Food: Korean
(Right There Museum Restaurant, Momo, Nou Eul Tor)

(Editor’s Note – Right There Museum is no longer open.)

Flashy presentation and edgy flavours of Japanese and Thai cuisines penetrate deep into Winnipeg’s global food market, while Korean  fare quietly attracts diners with deep devotion. It’s of particular note that the majority of customers in local Korean restaurants are either native Koreans or Winnipeggers who have spent time in the country.

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