2015 Restaurant Reviews

Best New Restaurants 2015

Fusion food is hot right now. In a time of globalization, the borders between culinary cultures have made chefs into pioneers exploring a whole new world of flavour. The Merchant Kitchen is pulling Winnipeg along on its frontier journey, taking downtown’s multicultural core by storm with Asian-Latin mash ups not yet seen in our prairie city.

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Beat Happening

Emblazoned as it is with the mantra, “Good Food is Good”, Beet Happening makes it easy for customers to spot the underlying conceit of this new fast casual spot. Justin Ludwar eagerly brings fresh tastes, gluten free treats, and local ingredients to the morning and midday pit stops of health workers from the nearby Health Sciences Centre and downtown commuters.

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BerMax Caffé & Bistro

While the Corydon strip is lively as ever, businesses are blooming further West. One of the newest additions to the food and retail rich area is BerMax. With a mash-up of certified kosher and authentically Italian eats, this eatery pays tribute to the culinary cultures that populate River Heights.

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The Blue Marble

Despite its location at the airport, a gateway to the globe, The Blue Marble is Manitoba through and through. With a commitment to indigenous ingredients, sustainable dining, and elevating home-grown dishes to modern masterpieces, the restaurant proves itself a destination for weary travellers and locavores alike.

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Bombolini

Nestled between brick buildings, this lower level spot is the casual sibling to fine dining restaurant Amici. The food is just as impeccable, and the attention to traditional Italian fare is just as detailed. For more than 25 years, Bombolini has had a reputation for quality, creative meals.
The room is dark but welcoming, exuding contemporary glamour. Often, diners studiously attempting to choose from the menu’s inviting selection cause the room’s hushed atmosphere.

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Boulevard Pub & Bistro

Two gastropubs have recently opened their doors on Roblin Boulevard, and with the success of both it has become clear that Charleswood is primed and ready for good eating. At Boulevard Pub & Bistro, gaggles of chattering diners eagerly gather for amped up pub fare.

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Chaise Café & Lounge

Past neatly lined hedges on a busy street, this friendly St. Boniface eatery has enough character and charm to fit right into a fairytale. Huddled in the cozy interior surrounded by diners tucking into made-with-love contemporary Italian cuisine,  it’s easy to feel right at home.

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La Cuisson Cafe

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

Beyond a really good cup of coffee or a bite to eat, La Cuisson Café serves unique delicacies with showmanship, flair, and a refreshing lack of pretension.

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Capital Grill & Bar

A bustling crowd chattering over drinks and plates is the surest sign of a restaurant’s status as neighbourhood go-to, and at Capital Grill and Bar, the crowd of locals is enough to necessitate week night reservations. With a sleek interior and smart menu, this new open embodies the new generation of neighbourhood watering holes.

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Deluca’s

Imagine a Mediterranean market with imported Italian specialties where neighbours gleefully chatter amongst rustic, made from scratch cuisine. This is De Luca’s.

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Era

Located in the newly opened Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Era Bistro offers a space to commune and connect. The restaurant reflects the beauty of the space, while taking up the museum’s mandate with a focus on sustainability, equality, and locality.

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Gohe

The mural on the outside of Gohe restaurant – one of the West End’s many al fresco artworks – declares Ethiopia the land of “13 months of sunshine”. Inside, when served with a table-spanning platter of stews and curries, it is easy to agree. Vibrant, acidic, tangy, and hot, the Ethiopian specialties at Gohe provide surpassingly sunny flavour.

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King + Bannatyne

Winnipeg is in the midst of a  sandwich revival, with many eateries turning back to the old standard of meat stacked between two slices of bread. Slow-roasted meaty marvels are the hallmarks of this revolution, and King + Bannatyne is on the leading edge.

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La Fiesta Cafecito

Like many hidden gems in this restaurant city, La Fiesta Cafecito conceals its charm behind a nondescript strip mall front. In reality only a short jaunt down St Anne’s road is required to visit this outpost of El Salvador, but the warm-climate hospitality of this family-owned spot transports diners way south of the border.

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Fusion Experience

Fusian Experience crushes the influx of sushi joints popping up in the city. Artful dishes are executed with quality and creativity by seasoned pros.

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Maxime’s

Winnipeg has a select line-up of far-from-downtown fine dining spots made for a high-level experience. Maxime’s has thrived in this category for more than 30 years. The service is famously mannered, and the room among the city’s most memorable, but the nostalgic dishes are the true heart of Maxime’s Restaurant and Lounge.

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Niko’s

Though a wave of fast casual eateries with global flavours have given Little Italy a multi-culti edge, Niko’s has been holding its own for 23 years as an ambassador from the other side of the Mediterranean.

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Pho No.1

The gospel of comfort food is being preached throughout the city, and steaming bowls of soup make Pho No. 1 a restaurant to be praised. The young, families and suits from downtown frequent this busy corner spot, which draws patrons with wallet-friendly prices.

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Shawarma Khan

Former Blue Bomber Obby Khan opened Shawarma Khan in 2013 to express his passion for scratch-made healthy fare. Overstuffed wraps and a casual atmosphere keep this sunlit room, accented with blue and orange wall decor, a standout amongst most falafel spots. You might call this Middle Eastern soul food; playing on the region’s European, Asian and African influences, piquant tastes create lively and flavourful combinations.

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Table

Floor-to-ceiling windows look out to the Modernist design of the rooftop sculpture garden, creating one of the city’s most picture-perfect views, an idyllic backdrop for a Mediterranean meal. The minimal interior, set with black tables and chairs, lets the food do the talking.

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Tavern United

The tell-tale sign of a Winnipeg local is that their ears perk up at the word ‘patio’. After each long, cold winter of seeking out cozy bistros and hovering over soup bowls, summer brings patio fever, and the city’s neighbourhoods come alive with lounging urbanites hungry for fresh fare with a side of vitamin D. To that end, Tavern United is in prime position, with a quick-and-easy casual menu and an unbeatable rooftop spot.

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Wakoya

Wakoya is not short on restaurant competition in Osborne Village, but it holds its own. A prime location and vast menu make this a top pick for Japanese cuisine, along with a number of Seoul-food options thrown in by the Korean born chef.

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