Winnipeg. Or perhaps you know it as Winterpeg. It’s home of the coldest corner in Canada and certainly gets its fair share of winter weary jokes. But dive a little deeper and you’ll quickly discover that this Prairie city is becoming a much-loved destination for those in search of culinary awakenings. When the icy winds of the Hudson Bay swoop down, Winnipeggers know how to warm up with deliciously diverse dishes.
The spicy peanut ramen at Kyu Bistro. It’s all about the broth, according to owner Calvin Troung. “It takes up to 17 hours of simmering to make that broth,” he says. “I made adjustments over the course of an entire year to get it just right.” And right it is. Diners come from far and wide for steaming bowls of spicy peanut ramen, piled high with beansprouts, cabbage, corn and bamboo, topped with shoestring carrots and green onions, a perfectly boiled egg, sesame seeds, and garlic oil. The first slurp is heaven sent, chasing away the scratchy throats of a Winnipeg winter.
The cardamom date latte at Forth. A latte always seems like a treat but at this Exchange District café, it shatters all expectations. The cardamom date latte starts with a purée of honey, dates, and cardamom. A double shot of espresso gets swirled in, then a fill of steamed milk. The cup is garnished with a dehydrated lemon with a hint of cinnamon. “It has just the right amount of lemon smell as you sip,” says Pamela Kirkpatrick, who created the concoction. Sit by the window and watch the bustle of the riverside neighbourhood from the coziness of the space that houses a café, cocktail bar, and coffee roaster.
The homestyle bison chili at Feast Café Bistro. Chili brings everyone to the table. And Winnipeg eaters can do no better than the Manitoba grass-fed bison version at Feast. It’s loaded with tender bison, beans, veggies, and sweet corn, topped with locally made Bothwell cheddar, and served with toasted bannock. Owner Christa Bruneau-Guenther is dedicated to preserving the culinary history of her First Nations culture by introducing diners to menu items like the Indian tacos, bannock pizza, and tender barbecue bison ribs. The city’s premiere Indigenous restaurant also makes a mean Saskatoon berry pie, so leave some room, if you can.
The cinnamon bun at Pineridge Hollow. A hot-out-of-the-oven swirl of tender dough and wafting cinnamon, this cinnamon bun arrives in its own sweet little cocotte. With a steaming latte riding side saddle, there’s no better way to start a day in the country than with the cinnamon bun at Pineridge. It’s a scenic 20-minute drive north of Winnipeg to this gem at the edge of Birds Hill Provincial Park, where the deer and wild turkeys play. Post brekkie, head for the Hollow’s curated gift shop for pretty dishes, art, and clothing.
The boeuf bourguignon at Promenade Café. Nestled in the heart of Winnipeg’s St. Boniface neighbourhood, Promenade welcomes diners into a French-bistro inspired space, with stunning vistas of the Esplanade Riel pedestrian bridge, the Forks, and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Top picks include confit de canard, a duck leg with a berry sauce, and the agneau, a slow roasted lamb shank with truffle oil, chickpeas, mushrooms and bleu cheese. However, the classic bourguignon leads the pack: slow-braised beef, onions, and mushrooms in a rich red wine sauce served with creamy mashed potatoes and vegetables.
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