There are 10 Winnipeg restaurants that should be on Canada’s Top 100 Restaurants list, eh? Yes really! And there is no verenki and farmer sausage on this list, I promise!
While I do enjoy my schmaunt fat and formavorscht, sometimes it’s nice to explore outside my Mennonite comfort zone a little. When we travel, Andrew always consults the World or Canada’s Top Restaurant lists, and so we’ve discovered a lot of great dining experiences. Some highlights from our trip to Quebec and the Maritimes this summer include Toqué in Montreal, Rossmount Inn in New Brunswick, Bar Kismet in Halifax, and chef Michael Smith’s Inn at Bay Fortune on PEI. But what about closer to home?
Winnipeg punches above its weight in a lot of ways, especially in churning out great writers, artists, and musicians. What about great chefs? I think Manitoba produces a lot of those, too, but sometimes they fly under the radar, probably because Winnipeg isn’t a major travel destination like Vancouver or Montreal or Toronto. (Side note: Did you know that Gus Stieffenhofer-Brandson, of Published on Main in Vancouver — recently named the #1 restaurant in Canada — is from Winnipeg? Hopefully he opens a restaurant in Winnipeg, too. Published on Portage and Main, perhaps?)
So, Winnipeg restaurants already on this year’s list are Close Company, which sadly just closed its doors, and Maque, which definitely deserves its spot on the list. Additionally, Emily Butcher’s Nola was just featured in Maclean’s Best New Restaurants list.
But here are a few others in no particular order that I hope the voters will consider in the near future. I’ve also linked to the restaurant’s websites so you can check out their menus (and maybe make a reservation) yourself!
Passero – It’s hard for me to choose which of Scott Bagshaw’s three Winnipeg restaurants is the best, but this small plates restaurant at the Forks is definitely in the top 3! 😀 If you come to Winnipeg, you really should visit all three as the menus are different.
Nola – As mentioned already, this Emily Butcher restaurant in St. Boniface is already getting national attention. I could easily see it joining the Top 100 list in the near future. Despite the restaurant name, the cuisine is not taken from New Orleans, but is inspired by the Pacific Northwest. Delicious and creative!
Enoteca – Together with Passero and the already-listed Maque, Enoteca is another great Scott Bagshaw restaurant, this one on Corydon. I think we’ve dined here more often than any other restaurant in Winnipeg. I’m a big fan!
Two Hands at one sixteen – Sharing a space on Sherbrooke with the delightful Good Neighbour brewing and taproom, this is a popular and must-visit new restaurant in Winnipeg. A trip to Good Neighbour, with its long shared tables and separate menu, is also worth a visit (or five).
Langside Grocery – The folks who make Canada’s best restaurant list also have a top 100 bars list, which has featured Langside Grocery in the past. The atmosphere is very cool, like travelling back in time a century. Thinking it’s mostly a bar, we visited for cocktails — but it actually features a fantastic small plates menu! Google pictures of this place.
Clementine – This a popular brunch spot in the Exchange District from the folks that brought you the former (now closed) Canada top 100 restaurant Segovia. We took our young niece here and I was impressed how much she appreciated the “fancy” breakfast food!
Oxbow – A lovely wine bar and restaurant on Osborne. Oxbow originally opened with a prix fixe menu, but soon switched to small plates, which as you can probably tell, is my favourite. I need to make a return visit soon!
Nonsuch – The craft brewing scene has exploded in Manitoba in the last 5 years or so, since the legalization of taprooms. Nonsuch offers a very different feel than most breweries, with an elegant mid-century atmosphere and food to match.
Deer + Almond – This is probably the place that started it all for us. One of the first small plates restaurants in Winnipeg, deer+almond is a must-visit in the Exchange District. At the height of the pandemic, when they were only offering takeout, Andrew and I put in an order and enjoyed it at home in Steinbach. This restaurant is brought to you by Mandel Hitzer, the same chef who created the world-famous RAW:Almond on the frozen Red and Assiniboine rivers. (I hope he brings RAW:Almond back this year!)
Petit Socco – This place is new. I mean brand new. Taking over the space vacated by the top 100-listed Close Company and featuring Adam Donnelly, the former chef of Segovia, Petit Socco opened earlier this month (August 2022). We just visited this spot on our anniversary this week and the food is fantastic. When they say “petit,” though, this place is definitely petit, with just 3 to 5 tables. Among Winnipeg’s best already!
So, what do you think of this list? Am I missing any?