When you think of innovative cuisine and fine dining in Canada, Manitoba’s city of Winnipeg probably doesn’t spring straight to mind as the place for some of the best restaurants in the country. However, the destination has been enjoying a food transformation over the past few years and has more to offer than ever to fussy eaters and culinary connoisseurs alike.
Winnipeg restaurants are nothing to look down upon, with the city of Manitoba hiding some top-notch eateries. Whether your favourite dishes are vegan, Middle Eastern, Spanish, or international fare, there’s something to suit all taste buds in this Manitoba capital. Read on for just a selection of the some of the top restaurants and cafes in the city which are getting tongues wagging for all the right reasons.
Boon Burger Cafe
If you love a good burger, get ready to impress your palate. Boon Burger Cafe opened in 2010 in a city that at the time was extremely focused on (and proud of) its meaty culture. However, this pioneering cafe — the first vegan burger restaurant in the area and in Canada — has won over customers in droves since it opened. The restaurant has become so popular with both vegetarian and vegan customers, as well as those who also enjoy meat dishes, that the owners have opened a second site in Winnipeg, plus a new restaurant in Ontario.
Whether locals or tourists, meat eaters or not, diners are loving the creative topping combinations and secret-recipe patties that Boon whips up. If you also enjoy a refreshing glass of lemonade on a hot summer’s day, you’re sure to enjoy Boon Burger’s own Boon Tangy Lemonade. Children’s menus are available for the littlies at each location too.
At Boon, the menu is 100 percent animal-free and plant-based. The goal of the business is to only use sustainable ingredients, and currently a large part of the items utilised to create the meals is organic, Fair Trade, and/or local. In addition, all the waste produced by the restaurant is either recycled or composted. The business also has a focus on treating staff members well and making the venue a healthy and happy place to work.
Segovia Tapas Bar
If modern Spanish cuisine is more your thing, make sure you pay a visit to Segovia Tapas Bar for a dinner full of flavour. The small restaurant is tucked away but is big on quality, and is the perfect place to while away an enjoyable evening with a group of friends or a loved one. Note though that this tapas bar is one of the busiest dining spots in Winnipeg and doesn’t take reservations, so make sure you arrive early enough to grab a table.
Segovia, operating since 2009, serves up Spanish-influenced small plates that are best shared, with highlights including dishes such as baba ganoush and pomegranate dressing, feta mousse, patatas brava, chorizo and peppers, and fried Brussel sprouts. The venue also has an impressive sherry list for anyone who likes to finish off a good meal with a tipple.
Another small-plates restaurant that’s perfect for a group of people on a night out, Deseo Bistro opened in 2010 and has become a go-to venue for a variety of ages in Winnipeg. The meat-centric restaurant focuses on international flavours with an inventive, creative edge. Think comfort food with a twist.
Menu items include chorizo paired with softened figs; lamb meatballs with feta, orange and pine nut accents; and lobster-stuffed guinea hen served with hazelnuts and figs. There’s even the ultimate comfort food on the list: Mac & Cheese, made from hand-rolled pasta, with a smoked Spanish paprika sauce and chorizo crumble. In addition, Deseo has a comprehensive list of cocktails, spirits and wines for diners to enjoy with their meals.
Deer + Almond
If you’re a local to Winnipeg you’d already be familiar with the name Mandel Hitzer, the chef-owner of city institution Deer + Almond, a venue he opened in 2012. Hitzer is a popular personality in Winnipeg and is also the chef behind many different foodie events in the city, including festivals and pop-up restaurants.
At Deer + Almond you’ll find home-style cooking with a twist. Think playful and creative meals that cherry pick from culinary traditions from around the globe, from the Middle East to the Deep South. Enjoy small, eclectic plates for lunch or dinner, alongside beers or cocktails with fun names such as the Rye ‘n’ Goslings (made from rum rye, Benedictine, orange juice, and black walnut bitters).
Some of the fun previous or current dishes at Deer + Almond include stinging nettle linguini, humble pie with bison and bone marrow, beets in tahina, fried chicken, vodka tempura crudités, and filthy dirty good ol’ dirt pie for dessert.