Address: 185 Lombard Ave
Among the delights of living in Winnipeg, the sheer amount of history at our fingertips is high on the list. Relics of the past hide around each corner of this city, presiding over daily commutes and downtown wanderings. On the edge of the Exchange District, an entire neighbourhood that has been declared a National Historic Site, Bailey’s is a gem that represents such history.
From the first moment, pushing open the tall, heavy wooden doors, dining here is all about the experience. Like the visual opulence inside, service has been crafted with every detail carefully considered. The coat check separates apparel by smokers and non-smokers, padded chairs are provided for those waiting for their table, and servers sweep diners up a grand staircase to their seats, being sure to ask if they are intending to catch a show to determine the pace of the meal.
This rare enclave of cloth-bedecked tables and classic cooking seems like one of the last bastions of traditional fine dining. Yet, despite the luxury of the surroundings, a genuine warmth pervades. The space is welcoming and accessible, the service prompt and friendly, and the dining room rings with laughter from nearby tables.
Settling in to cushioned banquettes or a stately armchair is as cozy as can be, and an appetizer of pillowy scallops, swimming in melted garlic butter and resting on a juicy mushroom cap, is pure comfort food.
Fine dining staples like well seared steaks and lobster tails are fine picks, but the star of the menu is the prime rib. An absolutely buttery pink slab of the prime cut lies under a puff Yorkshire pudding that tops it off like the doff of a chef’s hat.
Hinting at the city’s cultural heritage, suggestions of Greek influence are sprinkled throughout the menu, from roasted potatoes perked with lemon to several iterations of lamb.
Lighter eats are on hand as well. A large portion of Cajun-spiced red snapper is fork tender, rubbed with a peppery blend of spices that zings with chile burn.
While Bailey’s bucks trends in favour of the tried and true, what results might just be a novelty in itself: perfectly and consistently prepared classics in a welcoming, opulent setting.