Neighbourhood: South Osborne
Address: 660 Osborne St
Winnipeg’s first cafés were small and modest facilities, influenced by Italian coffeehouses, serving a variety of coffee and light foods. Modern-day cafés have leveraged this tradition and now cater to every meal of the day. They reflect the neighbourhood. A good café quickly becomes a community hotspot, providing coffee drinkers the comfort of familiar surroundings, casual atmosphere, and the lure of being a regular.
The Oakwood, where friendly staff and cozy atmosphere are the backdrop to a menu with surprises in store since opening in 1992 – has been providing guests with fresh and scratch-made food, down to the soup broths and salad dressings. Beet latkes, meatless meat loafs and creative renditions on eggs Benedict, demonstrate this joint’s talent for giving classic dishes a modern flair.
Seven Benny varieties make choosing difficult. Roasted turkey, bacon and cheddar cheese accompany the traditional egg and hollandaise sauce in one version. A favourite with a side of gravy, turkey turns out to be just as perfect for soaking up creamy hollandaise and egg yolk. Savoury hits of bacon add crunch to this brunch.
Soups and sandwiches often become menu afterthoughts, but here they retain their rightful place as the comforting stars of a café lunch. Borscht arrives at the table with its classic companion – a dollop of sour cream. Colourful broth fills every spoonful with a perfect balance of sweet and sour. And while there’s a wide selection of sandwiches to fulfill any craving, the California Burger satisfies with a robust range of flavours. The house made patty is packed between layers of guacamole, goat cheese and hummus. Tomato, lettuce, roasted red peppers and sautéed leeks top things off.
Every so often, a diner will come across a dish that really makes an impression. For this particular café, their house-named salad is a strong contender. The crunch of fresh lettuce combines with the tenderness of grilled chicken, while sweet candied pecans complement smooth and salty goat cheese. House made honey balsamic vinaigrette marries sweet, savoury, and tangy .
Owner Wendy May’s desserts are renowned for Oakwood frequenters. A staple treat is the warm ‘n gooey dark chocolate brownie, served warm with a side of vanilla ice cream to cool it off. Its texture so moist that each bite oozes onto the spoon, leaving behind a lingering taste of cocoa.