Neighbourhood: St Boniface
Address: 630 Des Meurons St
Although days of travelling by train and luxuriating in posh dining cars may be nearing extinction, Resto Gare is keeping the grand experience alive at its location inside a restored 1913 St Boniface train station. The beloved family-run restaurant has been preparing authentic French cuisine since 1983.
A maître d’ offers a choice upon arrival between sitting in the dining room or the adjoining retrofitted train car. Stepping into the train car is like stepping back in time. Plush velvet seating and white-clothed tables glow beneath elegant lighting. The dining room has a more modern feel; dark wood floors ground scarlet booth seating, and an industrial-style fireplace centres the large space, ensuring maximum coziness for date night.
Chef Melissa Makarenko puts a fresh spin on familiar French flavours and ingredients. Escargots et champignons veer on the more classic side. Rosemary and garlic jus envelop succulent escargots and the addition of soft charred garlic bread is perfect for sopping up the thick parm-topped jus. Classic bourguignon flavours replace typical gravy in an aptly named poutine. Fries covered in Bothwell cheddar melt under the rich red wine flavours of ultra-tender braised beef, bacon, mushrooms and sweet caramelized onions.
Plats principaux are served with a basket of fluffy warm focaccia and a balsamic-oil mixture for dipping. Serious self-restraint is required in order not to fill up on bread before digging into the seafood ruling risotto royal. Generous portions of lobster flambé, juicy prawns and perfectly seared, bouncy scallops sit on a bed of creamy saffron-tinged parmesan risotto. The fresh flavours of the buttery seafood nicely complement the light risotto. A traditional cassoulet au canard gets the Resto touch with the addition of maple bacon chutney toppling over the glistening, crispy-skinned confit duck leg and slow baked beans.
Soon after final sips of Chardonnay and murmured proclamations of being unable to eat another bite, a dessert trolley rolls up to seduce the table with the day’s selection of tortes, tartes and crème brûlées. Chocolate lovers obsess over flourless chocolate torte, rich and fudgy melt-in-your-mouth sweetness topped with a heap of fresh whipped cream. While this train station is no longer a hub for hurried travellers, it remains a Winnipeg hotspot for divine French food.
Resto Gare is open Mon-Tue 11:30 am-8:30 pm, Wed-Thu 11:30 am- 9 pm, Fri 11:30 am-9:30 pm, Sat 5 pm-9:30 pm, Sun 5 pm-8:30 pm.