2016 Restaurant Reviews

Blind Tiger

From the first step down the flight of stairs that leads to Clementine’s subterranean Exchange District space, an excitement begins to take hold. Over the buzz of chatter from filled tables, anticipation sets in. A look at the menu reveals something conspicuously absent from the city’s dining scene, until now.

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Clementine

From the first step down the flight of stairs that leads to Clementine’s subterranean Exchange District space, an excitement begins to take hold. Over the buzz of chatter from filled tables, anticipation sets in. A look at the menu reveals something conspicuously absent from the city’s dining scene, until now.

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Chosabi

The fast casual trend hit in full force this year. Fresh, healthy, and adventurous food delivered at sleek order-at-the-counter spots has flipped the script on fast food and proven as versatile as convenient, with countless variations of quick eats spanning global cuisines and dietary styles.

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Feast

Food is many things, from basic sustenance and nourishment to an exercise in creativity. In many ways, the food we eat is tied to identity. When Ciao! pioneered Manitoba Regional Cuisine as a dining category in 1997, seeking to highlight the food of this land and its people, pushes for the simple addition of bison, lakefish, or wild rice to a menu were completely novel.

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Máquè

In a city as culturally diverse as Winnipeg, there is no lack of inspiration for chefs seeking to explore flavours from across the globe. The resulting fusion across cultures has birthed new diverse dining categories. It is into one such novel genre that Máquè, the new open for Deseo and Enoteca chef Scott Bagshaw, steps.

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Beaujena’s French Table

Beaujena’s French Table is the definition of a passion project.
The cozy St Boniface restaurant helmed by husband and wife duo Beaujena and Randy Reynolds clearly operates out of a love for food and an enjoyment of cooking. They serve what they want to serve—in a 7-course surprise tasting menu—open two nights a week, and even take to the streets in a food truck during the summer.

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Black Rabbit

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

Some of the city’s best restaurants satisfy on a basic level, with creativity, consistency and accessibility. Places where inventive cocktails, a hip crowd, and live music explain, just as much as the menu, why it’s packed every night. One such spot is Black Rabbit Bistro, a new addition to the Village’s foodscape, which has found instant success in its long vacant space. The restaurant upgrades well-loved dishes with sophisticated flavours pulled from cuisines around the world.

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Blaze Bistro & Lounge

More than a decade ago, Blaze Bistro opened its doors on the forefront of Winnipeg’s push for regional cuisine. With a recent facelift and some menu tweaks, this chic restaurant is still roaring strong, with contemporary applications of local product.

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Buffalo Stone Cafe

Surrounded by towering trees, grassy fields and a serene lake, the view from Buffalo Stone Café in FortWhyte Alive is easy on the eyes.
A 30-minute drive from downtown Winnipeg leads adventurers to a breakfast and lunch only spot housed in 600-acre nature preserve and recreation centre FortWhyte Alive. Prairie wilderness, trails, nature exhibits and activities like canoeing and kayaking await.

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Café Ce Soir

Those who think that a tiny room on Portage Avenue could have nothing in common with the south of France are in dire need of a trip to Café Ce Soir.

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Café La Scala

Recent renovations have transformed Café La Scala into a hybrid of urban cool and fine dining. This new incarnation of one of Corydon Avenue’s long-time gems melds sleek nightlife elements with elegant style, catering to the after dark crowd without sacrificing quality.

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Cafe 22

A combination of pizzeria, hip bistro, and cocktail bar, Café 22 fulfils a variety of culinary yearnings on the vibrant Corydon Ave drag. This revamped resto serves fast-casual fare, while upping the ante on atmosphere.

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Colosseo Ristorante

Nothing holds a candle to the basic comfort of a red sauce joint: those classic paragons of Italian cooking which actively encourage eating your weight in veal parmigiana. Of these precious old-school gems that remain in Winnipeg, Colosseo Ristorante reigns supreme.

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Da Da Asian Cuisine

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

While the popularity of Korean food has been slowly building for years, few places in Winnipeg serve exclusively Korean specialties. One such spot is Da Da Asian Cuisine, where a compelling argument is made for this cuisine becoming the next big thing.

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Ducky’s Fish & Chips

Though far from any body of water, Ducky’s has the feel of seaside dining. This English style fish and chip shop has perfected the art of fish frying.

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The Grove

Pub grub—from gourmet burgers to truffle fries—has enjoyed ongoing popularity since The Grove opened its doors. In 2011, this publication praised the casual spot as one of the year’s best new restaurants for its elevated menu; since then, it has continued to impress by giving eager diners ample opportunity to pair fine dining panache with a pint.

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Gus & Tony’s

It’s easy to feel at home at Gus & Tony’s. At any time of day, the restaurant is buzzing with diners who chat with staff as if at a family function, and while Aegean-blue walls inject some whimsy and wanderlust, the chili-smothered burgers speak to home sweet home.

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Kimchi Sushi

Kimchi Sushi is not the spot for sushi purists, with rolls baked, fried, doused in sauce and spiked with decidedly untraditional flavours. But what arrives at the table is a love song to multiculturalism, a unique fusion of Asian and Canadian ingredients that happily blur culinary borders.

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Pho Hoang

It’s clear upon entering Pho Hoang that this buzzing West End eatery is all about the broth.
The savoury scent that hangs in the air is courtesy of a beef bone and oxtail stock that has been simmering for 24 to 48 hours. The result, a clear broth of intense depth and meaty flavour, makes the basis for the menu at this noodle house.

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Ristorante Dona Onesta

Italian cooking is inherently at odds with the current hashtag heavy chef culture, with individual flourishes and ideas submissive to the overarching rules of the cuisine. Talent comes to bear by perfectly creating dishes that have been eaten for generations, consistently replicating what are deceptively simple foods.
There is a right way to make Italian food. And Dona Onesta knows how, with everything from perfectly al dente pasta to portion sizes that Nonna would heartily approve.

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Red Top Diner

Not many restaurants hold the magic of a time machine, but one step inside this St. Boniface gem and the spell is cast. Red Top Diner has been serving scratch-made diner classics to Winnipeggers since the 1960s. One can’t help but feel a sense of nostalgia when eating at this neighbourhood nook, which harkens back to an era when red pleather seats and home style cooking reigned.

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Sana Souphouse

Between the warmth of the room and the compelling simplicity of the menu, there is something especially comforting about Sana Souphouse. A peaceful respite from the downtown hustle, this Graham Ave spot welcomes with luscious soups simmering behind a shiny red counter.

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Siam Thai

Those of us who travel with our tastebuds are always searching for those dishes that come direct from the homeland—what the chef would serve to family and friends, or cook at home. We scour the city for hole-in-the-wall spots; we peer inconspicuously at other tables, to see what those in the know are ordering. Every so often, the dishes we have been searching for are right there on the menu before us.

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Sydney’s At The Forks

At this point in the fine dining landscape it seems the white tablecloth may be going the way of the dodo bird. The opulent dining out fashions of yesteryear have been upended by a new wave of rabblerousing chefs swapping tableside flames for open kitchens, candlelit tables for communal benches, white china for rough-hewn wooden platters.

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