Neighbourhood: St. James
Address: 1485 Portage Ave
Dining establishments appearing in notable destination stores dates back to the early 1900s, when swanky department stores began using on-site dining as a savvy tactic: offer sustenance to keep energy levels high and customers spending. Today, luxury and lifestyle brands are cashing in on their cache, with Insta-friendly treats like key lime pie martinis at Tommy Bahama or robin’s egg petit fours at Tiffany’s Blue Box Cafe adding to the draw of brick-and-mortar spending in a digital world.
Winnipeg’s new furniture store eatery, d+a at EQ3, follows this timeless tradition. Here, chic cafe fare shares square footage with beautiful furnishings, decor and lighting available for sale in the showroom.
The cafe, subtly separated by a wall of sheer drapes, beckons with its sumptuous designer fabrics and posh seats. A row of oversized dining tables amply distanced in front of a wall-length sofa makes a statement and flexes its spaciousness. Bold abstract art hangs on a white wall and bright natural sunlight washes over everything in a grand room celebrating unforced luxury.
Along with the elevated setting, d+a cafe is a culinary destination in and of itself. The menu is succinct but offers variety, nodding to its notable partnership with Winnipeg chef, Mandel Hitzer of deer + almond. While Hitzer is not doing the actual cooking, his signature playfulness and mastery marks each dish.
Iterations of sandwiches appear familiar yet deliver unexpected delights. A jovial tuna sandwich—far from the sad cafeteria offering the name might conjure up—flaunts vibrant flavours imparted from pesto, peppery arugula, salty olive tapenade and seared ahi-grade fish. Yellowfin tuna is also presented as tartare laced with sesame seeds, green onions and creamy avocado and accompanied by wonton chips.
A selection of salads play on popular favourites, too. A re-interpretation of chicken Caesar pairs radicchio with panko-crusted chicken and tart apple slices. Black garlic dressing and salty Manchego balance the bitter leaves and punctuate each bite. Soba noodle salad offers a hefty medley of fresh leafy greens, veggies and seeds that provide varieties of crunch to the soft soba. Piquant red curry vinaigrette secures this healthful bowl’s novel status.
Dessert and luxe coffees end the experience in proper fashion.Whether visiting early or late in the day, d+a’s café makes a perfect pit stop for design-conscious shoppers—and worth seeking out for anyone loving fun flavours.