Address: 484 McPhillips St
Loft 180, the hot new second-floor lounge at McPhillips Station Casino, is raising the stakes for casino dining. While a quality spot to grab a drink and take a break from gaming, this restaurant also draws diners with Chef Jamie Briones’ exciting, and somewhat twisted, takes on multi-culti dishes.
Sleek décor and fun neon lighting juxtapose against this casino’s turn-of-the-last-century train station theme. Tables and couches are spread out next to a small collection of game tables and flashing slot machines. A glowing bar spotlights bottles of Winnipeg’s own Capital K Tall Grass gin and vodka, used in spicy Caesars.
Manitoba’s locally-grown bounty is presented in a menu of easy shareables. Beet salad is a stand out, this popular root veg’s earthy flavour heightened with sweet watermelon and sour grapefruit segments.
Thick chunks of braised pork belly amp up a plate of Quebecois poutine, another local favourite. Taters are sliced and fried crispy in rich duck fat, then covered lavishly in thick smoky gravy and Bothwell cheese curds.
Quinoa risotto packs nutritious and hearty flavour into a traditional Italian meal. Break open a soft-cooked egg and swirl yolk into the fluffy bed for a protein-enriched mouthful. Large mushrooms add meaty bite, while tangy tomato broth cuts through the richness.
Argentinean empanadas receive a rustic makeover. Traditionally braided into neat pockets, these packages appear more like oversized spring rolls and are served on a cast iron skillet. Moist and tender bison bursts from flaky, buttery crust, and raisins and olives surprise with sweetness and brine. Spoon on some pebre (chilean salsa) for extra zip.
Daily house-made creations like freshly baked cookies, tortes and ice cream are winners. Head out on Thursday, Friday or Saturday night to be treated to live entertainment from weekly featured DJs and musicians.
Loft 180 is open Mon-Fri 10 am-3 am, and Sat-Sun 9 am-3 am.