2013 Restaurant Reviews

Beaujena’s French Table

Once exclusively a fine-dining gem tucked away in residential St. Boniface, Beaujena’s French Table, a passion project run by Chef Randy Reynolds and his wife Beaujena, is expanding its palate, so to speak.

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Blüfish

Since spring 2006 Blüfish has been servicing the Exchange District and beyond with fresh and fun Japanese fare. In a market saturated with strip-mall sushi joints this romantic retreat prevails thanks to a not-so-secret industry secret: consistency. From a diner’s perspective this is superlative.

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Cafe Savour

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

In 2010, husband and wife team Faïz de Beer and Chef Louise Briskie-de Beer closed their restaurant (then called Lulu’s), packed their bags and did some travelling — and eating. Lots of eating..

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Carnaval Brazilian BBQ

Clear your schedule and add a notch to the old belt, because it’s time for a meeting with meat. Or a carnivore festival, if you take this new Waterfront spot’s name literally.

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Chew

In an industry marked by lavish trends and costly overheads, the small 21-seat dining room at chew seems a deliberate act of rebellion. In fact, everything from its strip mall spot located off the quiet end of Corydon, to the appearance of off-cuts peppered throughout the menu is, in its own way, quietly radical.

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Confusion Corner

Confusion Corner Bar & Grill is a catchall where Corydon Avenue’s stroll meets Osborne Village’s strip. What’s striking about this restaurant is its diner diversity. A quick scan of clientele reveals sports fans, multi-generation families, sangria-sipping sun worshippers and date-night duos; all content customers.

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Diana’s Gourmet Pizzeria

Pizza enthusiasts are such that they will travel to the ends of the earth in search of the perfect pie. This is good news for Diana’s Gourmet Pizzeria, which is unassumingly nestled in a strip mall deep in the suburbs.

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Ethnic Eats
(Coconut Garden, Kyu Bistro, La Rica Vicky, Noodle Express, Purple Hibiscus)

(Editor’s Note – Coconut Garden La Rica Vicky & Purple Hibiscus,  is no longer open.)

Winnipeg’s restaurant scene is populated by diverse ethnic spots, no-frills family-run restaurants that inject the city with flavour. Take your tastebuds on a world tour at five Ciao! favourites and see why some newbies have already gained a faithful following.

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Fitzroy

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

The seedy motels and rooming houses of Sherbrook Street, which once served as the epitome of the neighbourhood, have now become just another casual observation, like the bakeries, yoga studios, and hipster joints that have become as commonplace. The latter best describes Fitzroy restaurant, which set up shop four months ago in what has arguably become Winnipeg’s most interesting neighbourhood.

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Gaffer’s

Gaffer’s Restaurant, the stately eatery/banquet hall located at the foot of the Lockport Bridge,  is one more reason to make the scenic drive to Lockport, a veritable day trippers’ paradise. The warm, welcoming riverside resto offers resort escapism and small-town hospitality while turning out a menu of consistent, classic favourites.

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Jolly Friar Café

Change to The Norwood Hotel’s Jolly Friar Café began last March when Chef Brian Rolloff, formerly of Inn at The Forks, stepped in to lead the kitchen.  The days of buffets are done,  Rolloff has quietly launched a revised and deliberately elevated menu, the first prong in a plan that includes a name change and full dining room and kitchen renovation slated for later this year.

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Mano A Mano

Sometimes dining is like dating. It can take a few encounters to sort deal-breaking habits out from endearing quirks and determine compatibility, particularly if the restaurant you’re courting is still finding itself.

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Market Burger

In a banner burger year Market Burger opened, taking on the challenge of a popular dish that had already been reimagined countless times over. To venture into burgerland, particularly in a town weaned on chili-smothered fat boys, is brave. To emerge, with a unique offering that adds a new dimension to this city’s flush and storied burger scene, is remarkable.

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The Melting Pot

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

Since 1982, long before the tabletop grills of Korean barbeque popped up in the city, Winnipeg’s fondue-only restaurant The Melting Pot (formerly Fork and Cork Bistro) has been showing local diners that sharing in the cooking can add a special zest to a meal.

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Nicolino’s

Nestled in a South Winnipeg strip-mall, Nicolino’s glimmers like a beacon among a row of fast-food chains. Owner Nick Zifarelli has created a hip neighbourhood hangout; the weekly Wednesday jazz nights, hosted in the adjacent Orbit Room lounge, are often standing room only. Over in the dining room, Nicolino’s executes exceptional Italian classics while offering new flavour combinations that excite.

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Osborne Village Café

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

The Osborne Village Inn is best known for its dive-bar live music haunt, The Zoo, and its sister basement club Ozzy’s. It’s the kind of place where the smell of stale beer hangs in the permanently hazy air, where the paint is flaky and the floor is scarred. As it turns out, it’s also the kind of place where you can get a breakfast that surpasses greasy spoon standard.

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Rakumi

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

In 2012, South Korean rapper PSY released a little tune called Gangnam Style. The corresponding music video became YouTube’s most-watched clip ever and the Korean-language single went on to become a runaway North American Top 40 hit. It was official: K-pop (Korean pop) had arrived in the West.

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Red Top Drive-Inn

Time stands still at Red Top Drive-Inn, where iceberg lettuce, meat-only chili sauce and big, fat, Greek portions have reigned supreme for half a century. At the family-owned and operated diner smiles are genuine and the grub is consistently good. This down home essence has kept diners returning for generations, created the nostalgia imbued cult following that’s secured the spot’s landmark status.

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Tapastry

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

Luxe, exclusive spaces and impressive dining go hand-in-hand, so it’s little wonder that a city’s culinary gems are often found within its finest country clubs, hotels and resorts. Tapastry by Amici, nestled in Niakwa Country Club, is no exception.

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Terrace In The Park

A landlocked restaurant with an evolving name has found its sea legs, so to speak, with a captivating parity of land and aquatic proteins.

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The Velvet Glove

With upwards of 70 properties worldwide, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts is a seasoned host. At The Velvet Glove diners feel illustrious and at ease. A mere furlong separates  cold and chaotic Portage and Main from the quiet and cavernous wood panelled restaurant, a true bastion of dining civility.

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Tre Visi Café

After months of anticipation the prayers of Italian food enthusiasts have been answered, Tre Visi Café is now accepting reservations.

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Winnipeg Food Trucks

Winnipeg’s food truck scene is thriving. Weekday lunch hours see Broadway transform into an impromptu street food festival. Remember when it comes to street eats, cash is king.

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