Manitoba's capital is a reflection of the resource-rich prairies region that stretches from Alberta to Manitoba (encompassing Saskatchewan in between). While the romance of the region is often associated with the wide open fields, urbanisation has fostered an innovative food scene with momentum no more visible than in Winnipeg. Make your next Canada adventure one to remember by adding these must-visit restaurants, bars and breakfast spots to your itinerary.
deer + almond
A stark contrast to its stripped-back interiors, Exchange District eatery deer + almond serves up boundary-pushing, elegant share plates that fuse local and global: Portobello risotto comes with kewpie, while local pickerel is paired with dashi grits and jalapeno feta. Chef Mandel Hitzer is renowned for challenging the city palette with his unique cuisine mashups. The first to introduce pop-ups to Winnipeg, Hitzer is responsible for RAW:almond, an amazing pop-up restaurant serving dinner on the frozen river for just 21 days of the year (visit Winnipeg in winter for the hottest ticket in town).
"The long winters in Manitoba with minus 50°C temperatures brew creativity," Hitzer says. "People have an opportunity to shine in Manitoba. If you have an idea, and it's fuelled by determination, love and goodwill you can make it happen in Manitoba."
Be sure to check out deer + almond's 'Tipsy List' for masterfully executed cocktails — 'The After Dinner Joke' makes for a punchy nightcap.
85 Princess St, Winnipeg, deerandalmond.com
Breakfast in Winnipeg is now considered serious business thanks to Clementine. Since its opening in 2017, the cafe has become the town's buzziest breakfast haunt, taking the first meal of the day to the next level with its creative takes on classic brunch plates. Continually bending the breakfast rule book, chef Chris Gama sources inspiration from around the globe, ensuring each of his offerings come with a hit of the unexpected. At Clementine, poached eggs come perched upon labs of tender, braised bacon and a buttery black-pepper biscuit topped with cider hollandaise and fresh dill; while the humble morning mimosa is replaced by a Tonka-bean-infused milk, bourbon, Kahlua and espresso cocktail. Consider the new breakfast standard, set.
123 Princess St, Winnipeg, clementinewinnipeg.com
Feast Café Bistro
Winnipeg has Canada's largest population of Indigenous peoples. Sample food with Indigenous flavours by trying a bison burger at Feast Café Bistro. The West End neighbourhood restaurant is one of only a handful of Indigenous-owned and operated restaurants in Canada that is rooted in First Nations cuisine. Chef-owner Christa Bruneau-Guenther serves comfort staples that both celebrate and reclaim the ingredients and techniques that make up First Nations food. A menu favourite, the chef's bannock pizza uses four Indigenous ingredients: squash, pine nuts, a maple syrup-chipotle drizzle, and bannock.
587 Ellice Ave, Winnipeg, www.feastcafebistro.com
The Mitchell Block
If it's Italian you're craving, head to The Mitchell Block in the Exchange District, where homemade pasta plays a starring role on the menu. Housed in the historic Mitchell building, the restaurant is split over two levels: there's a narrow dining space on the main floor and a lounge on the second floor. Chef Sean McKay and his team blend classic cuisine with local ingredients, delivering plates that balance gastronomic innovation with bold, straight-talking flavour. Think classic poutine with an Italian-inspired twist and pappardelle with Manitoba lobster mushrooms.
173 McDermot Ave, Winnipeg, themitchellblock.ca
Nonsuch Brewing Co.
Enjoy a contemplative pint or two of craft beer in The Exchange District where microbrewery Nonsuch Brewing Co. has creative beers on tap. Pull up a seat in the slick, recently opened taproom (which features a beautifully designed ceiling made up of metallic umbrella light fixtures) and choose from a stellar line-up of high ABV European-style brews. Chef Tyrone Welchinski uses seasonal produce to shape his menu of charcuterie-focused share plates, which changes daily. Pair your pint with the cheese plate of the day or the Chambière battered Fogo Island turbot with salt and vinegar crisps.
125 Pacific Ave, Winnipeg, nonsuch.beer
Fergie's Fish 'n' Chips at The Forks
For lunch on the run, visit Fergie's Fish 'n Chips at The Forks where delicate fresh-from-lake Winnipeg pickerel comes battered and fried golden. Other menu highlights include Manitoba-grown russet Burbank potato chips and seafood chowder, which is prepared fresh each morning.
The Forks Market is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and has the best eats in town. Framed by the Red and Assiniboine rivers, The Forks is Winnipeg's cultural mecca. Once the trading hub of Indigenous communities, and later European fur traders, Métis buffalo hunters and Scottish settlers, the site has served as a public meeting place for more than 6000 years. Today, The Forks is home to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and a seasonal display of live gigs and festivals. Its year-round lineup of events has made it a popular hangout spot for both locals and tourists.
1 Forks Market Rd, Winnipeg, theforks.com
Segovia Tapas Bar
Segovia Tapas Bar is the type of place you go for sangria and end up staying the night. The Osborne Village nook is a neighbourhood hit. Opened in 2009, owner and head chef Adam Donnelly has consistently delivered on his offering of ambitious renditions of Spanish tapas. Graze over the Iberico charcuterie (marinated Spanish olives included) or, to truly experience Donnelly's creative applications, order a medley of plates to share. Our pick: chargrilled Spanish octopus with chopped harissa and creamy cattle beans. The best bit (besides the globetrotting wine list)? The menu shifts monthly so you can expect something different with each visit.
484 Stradbrook Ave, Winnipeg, segoviatapasbar.com
Bundle up in the winter with local Winnipeggers for a coffee at Parlour, where ethically sourced and seasonally fresh specialty coffee from several of North America's leading micro coffee roasters is on the menu. Sample the sweet peach tea fritter while taking in the latest local art hanging on the walls.
68 Main St, Winnipeg, parlourcoffee.ca
Presented by Gourmet Traveller and Destination Canada