Best List, What To Eat & Where To Eat It

Eat Local at These Regional Rockstar Restaurants

To pull off truly impeccable regional cuisine, two elements must be at play—a commitment to local ingredients and the creativity to transform these specialties into culinary masterpieces. These Winnipeg spots draw inspiration from prairie product, with menus packed full of fresh takes on local staples.

Chew

Elegant River Heights restaurant Chew is a small space (21 seats!) that packs big flavour. Owners and chefs Kyle Lew and Kristen Chemerika have built a vision centered around nose-to-tail butchery, reviving old fashioned preservation techniques and seasonal eating. The result is a menu that is ever-changing and carefully crafted to highlight the best of our province’s produce at any given time of year. House-made desserts are sublime, with beautiful baking available for take-away at the attached Store Next Door.

Location: 532 Waterloo St, 204-667-2439

Era Bistro

At the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the vision for a just world extends even to the dining room tables of on-site Era Bistro. That’s why here you’ll find Manitoba’s bounty transformed into gorgeous, palate-pleasing and creative dishes that are locally sourced and lovingly made. Anything that can’t be sourced locally (like coffee and chocolate) is Fair Trade. Dig into crunchy, beer-battered carrot fries, a perennial favourite.

Location: 85 Israel Asper Way, 204-289-2190

Feast Café Bistro

One of Canada’s first Indigenous-owned eateries, Feast Café Bistro is a glorious homage to First Nations heritage, with a menu packed with traditional foods and hyper-local ingredients. Christa Bruneau-Guenther’s cozy West End space is both a restaurant serving homey yet elevated fare and a community hub. Settle into one of the sleek banquettes with a roasted butternut squash pizza or bowl of bison chili. Fried bannock “tacos” topped impressively with mounds of bison, veggies and lashings of chipotle cream are the can’t-miss signature dishes.

Location: 587 Ellice Ave, 204-691-5979

Fusion Grill

Fusion Grill has been cutting the path for the Manitoba Regional Cuisine movement since opening in 1996. More than 20 years later, this Academy restaurant is still pushing the envelope. In a time when “local” is a buzzword and beets are as common as French fries on restaurant menus, it remains on the leading edge of pioneering prairie cooking, picking up underused ingredients, sourcing seasonally and partnering with small farms and suppliers based within Manitoba. Expect delightful twists of global mash-ups like samosas stuffed with Manitoba wild rice and beluga lentils, and panko-crusted pickerel cheeks.

Location: 550 Academy Rd, 204-489‑6963

The Gates on Roblin

Housed inside a century-old colonial-style building just outside the city’s perimeter, The Gates on Roblin has served elegant regional cuisine since 2006. Beets, wild rice and pickerel are some of the local ingredients to be found on the menu. A generous portion of braised bison short ribs, saucy and glistening, is a menu highlight. Those lucky enough to snag a seat in the atrium (the sprawling property boasts more than 300 seats in its various dining rooms) are treated to a breathtaking view of the country estate to accompany their meal.

Location: 6945 Roblin Blvd, 204-224-2837

Nuburger

A genuine passion for patties and local eating has given us the burger shack of our dreams: Nuburger. Since opening its first location in Osborne Village, this restaurant has redefined fast food for Winnipeg. Not only does it deliver on health and flavour, it is one of the province’s most environmentally responsible eateries, dedicated to promoting local suppliers and tastes. Unique creations make use of regional flavours, like bison burgers topped with blueberry barbeque sauce.

Location: 472 Stradbrook Ave, 204‑888‑1001; 1-1650 Kenaston Blvd, 204-615‑2009; The Forks Market, 1 Forks Market Rd; 2-1596 Regent Ave W, 204-219-5134.

The Oxbow

Farm-to-table is more than a buzzword at this South Osborne spot. One of The Oxbow’s owners also runs a small farm, and its bounty makes it to the kitchen. A seasonally-changing menu of small plates stays true to the heart and soul of regional cuisine: the belief that even ingredients with the most humble reputation can be transcendent. Manitoba beets smoked and whipped into a light and airy dip, or turnips charred and bathed in brown butter and miso are just that. Meatier dishes are also rewarding, playing with proteins like pork belly and Arctic char. A selection of natural wines is the perfect complement to down-to-earth cuisine.

Location: 557 Osborne St, 204-691-5373

Pineridge Hollow

At Pineridge Hollow, ingredients come not only from within the province but from the garden mere steps away (eat your heart out, 100 mile diet). Regional specialties are crafted into homey food with big flavour, taking familiar dishes into fresh territory. The mushroom perogies combine earthy mushrooms, sugary onions and mayo-laden sour cream to push palates to experience the unexpected in this traditional Mennonite potato dish.

Location: Off of Hwy 59, east on Garven Rd [PR #213] to Pineridge Rd, follow signs to Heatherdale, 204‑777‑3881

Prairie 360

Regional specialties are served with a side of the best view in the city at Prairie 360, the 30-storey revolving restaurant situated at the city’s heart. Proteins from Manitoba’s lakes, marshes and prairies are represented well on a menu that balances classic steakhouse preparations with multi-culti offerings like paella, Thai noodles and elote corn. With a love for prairie cooking, and more than a spoonful of savvy, this fine dining restaurant uses spectacular flair to bring humble tastes to new heights.

Location: 83 Garry St, 204-505-2681

Prairie's Edge

Nestled in Kildonan Park, Prairie’s Edge reflects its natural setting with a menu full of regional flavour. Chef Gurdeep Singh transforms Manitoba favourites into tasty dishes with a twist. Manitoba specialties like pickerel cheeks, beets, wild rice and smoked char shine in unique applications incorporating comforting home cooking. The city’s favourite root vegetable is deliciously crisp in these brightly coloured beet fritters served atop an orange fennel slaw.

Location: 2015 Main St, 204-284-7275

Smith

Inn at the Forks’ restaurant Smith commits to Canada not only in its nostalgic woodsman decor but by sourcing local ingredients for the kind of food that makes one want to burst into the national anthem. Every meal of the day is served here, and menus are rife with regional flair. Mild ‘n fatty northern lake fish Arctic char takes a seriously sexy turn topped with Manitoba’s own caviar and baba ganoush. Whether it’s a breakfast sandwich topped with a Nature’s Farm egg and maple bacon, an open-faced tomato sandwich of local heirlooms or ravioli stuffed with Manitoba rabbit, you’ll taste the land in every bite.

Location: 75 Forks Market Rd, 204-944-2445

The VG Restaurant

The Velvet Glove, once the paragon of white-glove, white-tablecloth service inside the Fairmont Hotel, is now styled as The VG Restaurant. Its menu carries on the theme: an exacting balance of haute decadence and modern flair. The kitchen is tightly focused on showing off all Manitoba has to offer, and incorporates every manner of local ingredient, from tomatoes and beets sourced from farms outside Winnipeg to honey and pea shoots harvested from its own rooftop garden. Regional proteins like bison and lakefish are expertly prepared.

Location: 2 Lombard Place, 204-957-1350