2011 Restaurant Reviews

4 Play Sports Bar

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

If you’re into swigging beer and chowing down five-alarm hot wings while watching the game on TV, your average neighbourhood sports bar will suffice. But why be average? Enter 4Play Sports Bar where ‘go big or go home’ is the rallying cry.

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Bailey’s

After 40 years in business, Bailey’s restaurant, with its traditional, continental cuisine may not exactly have the buzz currently being cooked up by a cadre of competitive chefs in Winnipeg.

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Brooklynn’s Bistro

With Italian restaurants seemingly on every corner in Winnipeg, it can be hard to separate prime pasta from ‘past their prime.’ Brooklynn’s Bistro is firmly entrenched in the former category.

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Café 22

Winnipeggers know the jingle well: “Two, two, two, twenty-two, twenty-two.” Pizza Hotline dominates the speed dial in many Winnipeg homes. The take-out/delivery chain is one of the city’s most recognized franchises with 11 locations in the city. The pies’ appeal pushes past the perimeter and provincial lines: Pizza Hotline also has three locations outside city limits in Manitoba and one in Calgary.

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Charisma of India

A big bouquet of exotic spices perfumes the air inside Charisma of India, teasing diners with the dishes  soon to come. With few exceptions, Indian cuisine is a dance of spices. A dash of cumin, cardamom and cinnamon are expertly combined into remarkably delectable yet undissectible concoctions that confound and delight diners.

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Deadfish Cafe

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

The menu at Deadfish Cafe is Chef/owner Robin Maharaj’s culinary biography, he says. If that’s true, then he’s lived a very exciting, adventurous and daring life. Born in Winnipeg into a Trinidadian family, Maharaj’s food at the 50-seat Osborne Village restaurant spans the globe.

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Deseo Bistro

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

There are big ideas on small plates at Deseo Bistro. Ordinary ingredients are elevated and extraordinary ingredients are delectably accessible inside this Latin-influenced bistro.

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Dessert Sinsations Cafe

Chef Barbara O’Hara’s sweet cakes, tortes, tarts and treats are not sinful. The real sin is being forced to order just one. Since opening 5 years ago, Dessert Sinsations Cafe has broken countless wills and destroyed diets a plenty.

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Elements

At Elements, food is smart, well executed and environmentally conscious just like its home, the new Richardson College for the Environment and Science complex. Ingredients are, wherever possible, locally grown and organic. Presentations aren’t pretentious.

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Fude

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

“If I won the lottery, I swear I’d eat at fude every day.” When one overhears such a bold declaration—made by one diner at a nearby table during a busy Friday night—your expectations are high. The talk was true.

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Galo Louco

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

A new West End eatery rules the roost when it comes to preparing chicken. Owner George Dasilva opened Galo Louco (‘crazy rooster’ in Portuguese) in February, offering succulent, flavourful chicken cooked European-style on a flame grill.

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The Ground Floor

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

The Ground Floor isn’t your typical greasy spoon. It’s not everyday that a diner is so dedicated to using local ingredients. Creative uses are found for Manitoba beef steaks, wild rice and Bothwell cheese, among many other regional foods punctuating Chef Sam Sar’s menu.

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The Grove

While tradition breeds comfort, the tried and true can become staid and boring. At The Grove Restaurant & Pub, owner Miles Gould has found a fine balance of old and new.

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JC’s Tacos and More

For a taste of fresh-off-the-grill Mexican food,  JC’s Tacos and More delivers authentic flavour. But it’s more than just tacos and quesadillas at this casual eatery. Opening in July 2010, JC’s is one of a handful of restaurants in the city serving Salvadorian food,  including that nation’s signature dish, pupusas.

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Kay’s Deli

The wooden bar and the embossed tin walls may be vintage, but inside Kay’s Deli, lunch-counter fare has been given a modern makeover. Opening at the end of 2008, this Exchange District eatery infused life into the neighbourhood’s breakfast and lunch scene.

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Kenko Niwa

In Winnipeg’s ‘Little Italy’, chopsticks, wasabi and soy sauce have quickly become as ubiquitous as piping hot pizza and pasta. On the Corydon strip from Stafford to Osborne, seven sushi eateries have popped up in the past decade, mirroring the city’s affinity for Japanese cuisine.Of the Corydon sushi spots, Kenko Niwa (‘healthy garden’ in Japanese) is the biggest fish in the koi pond.

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Kristina’s on Corydon

The first face that greets you upon entering the heritage home of Wasabi on Broadway, is that of master Cho Venevongsa, or one of his disciples, working fastidiously behind the sushi bar.  This firsthand friendly sets up every visit and has undoubtedly contributed to Wasabi’s wild success.

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Maxime’s Restaurant

In Winnipeg, dining trends ebb and flow. Restaurants like Maxime’s Restaurant and Lounge that grow stronger over time become institutions bathed in nostalgia and validated by continued excellence. This St. Vital landmark represents an important link to tradition in Manitoba’s culinary landscape.

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Peasant Cookery

The luxurious yet honest dishes at Peasant Cookery satiate palates of princes and paupers alike. Chef/part owner Tristan Foucault’s menu features ingredients that range from upscale escargots and oysters to humble potatoes and pork. Everything is made in-house, including pickled peppers, cucumbers, beans and carrots packed in jewel-toned mason jars that decorate the window ledges of this rustic chic 75-seat eatery.

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Santa Ana Pizzeria & Bistro

Darek Wozny is doing something very right. Without a days-in-advance reservation or last-minute dumb luck, getting a table inside the chef/owner’s Santa Ana Pizzeria & Bistro is a tall order.

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Sawatdee Thai
(St Boniface, South Osborne)

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

For a dozen years, Sawatdee’s beaming pink and blue neon sign has been a beacon in the hip South Osborne area attracting Thai food aficionados. In October 2008, the beloved restaurant’s second sign lit up—this time, on Provencher Blvd in a new St. Boniface location. New owner Linh Vo took over the Osborne eatery in 2007 and along with it, introduced a range of authentic Vietnamese dishes, a reflection of Vo’s roots.

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Steve’s Bistro

The old adage, ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ could have been written after a trip to Steve’s Bistro. As one of hundreds of storefronts in a sea of Portage Avenue strip malls, the restaurant’s plain exterior cloaks a stylish and charming 71-seat dining room.

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Tomato Food & Wine Bar

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

The sweet scent of cooked garlic inside Tomato Food & Wine Bar welcomes diners and signals the start of the olfactory wild ride.

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Unburger

With gourmet toppings; fresh, locally sourced ingredients; healthy twists and a stylized interior, Unburger pushes the all-American cuisine to 21st-century heights.

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Yougot

Chinese ex-pats flock to Yougot Chinese Restaurant for comforting, familiar flavours. The restaurant works directly with suppliers in China to bring in impossible-to-find spices to make sure food tastes just like home. Talented chef Yang Song’s mastery of sauces makes it well worth the visit to this unassuming, suburban eatery on Pembina Highway.

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