10 tastes of: Winnipeg

10 tastes of: Winnipeg

Author: Canadian Living


10 tastes of: Winnipeg

What Winnipeg lacks in size compared to some other Canadian cities, it makes up for in matters of the appetite. Boasting the highest number of restaurants per capita, Winnipeggers have worldly taste and a passionate loyalty to their favourite family-owned institutions, opting daily for independent restaurants over chains. Here is a sampling of some of the ‘not-to-be-missed’ food experiences of the little big city of the prairies.

1 – The Forks Market: The forks of the river, where the Assiniboine meets the Red has been a meeting place for centuries. In a spot where fur-trading was once all the rage, now locals and visitors alike flock to the market to tempt and treat their tastebuds. From Sri Lankan curries to hashbrown poutine, fine cognacs to bottled water and homemade fudge to mini doughnuts, the Forks Market has it all… and then some. The variety of foods available is astonishing and highlights the truly multicultural aspect of this fair city. Open daily throughout the year. www.theforks.com

2 – Nucci’s Gelati: Located on Corydon Avenue in the heart of Little Italy, Nucci’s is a classic family-owned Winnipeg institution. Claiming they were the first to introduce gelato to the city, Mamma and Papa (or another family member) Nucci are still there to scoop your gelato and guide you through the myriad of flavours made fresh in the back. Classics, like pistachio and hazelnut are right at home alongside new offerings like mango and passionfruit as well as dairy- or sugar-free options. A gelato to go while you stroll the streets of Little Italy is a summertime must.

3 – Mordens’ of Winnipeg: The Morden family is celebrating 50 years as Winnipeg’s revered chocolate maker. Famous for their signature chocolate, the Russian Mint, (of which they produce 1 ton every three days from October to December) Mordens’ is like the Willy Wonka of Winnipeg. The chocolate plant is located behind and above their temptingly delicious storefront on Sargent Avenue. And while chocolate doesn’t run through the pipes, the end results are still melt-in-your-mouth magic.

4 – East India Company’s Buffet: Over 30 years ago the Mehra family began what would become Winnipeg’s first upscale East Indian Restaurant, and Winnipeg is a better place for it! Using traditional family recipes from the Northern Indian regions, the East India Company has something for everyone, and a buffet to delight all the senses. Offerings change with the seasons, no small task when a buffet has over 30 choices, not including the pickle bar, the chutney bar, naan baked right before your eyes in a tandoor oven and about a dozen traditional sweets, including a rich rice pudding with pistachios to die for. www.eastindiaco.com

5 – Cinnamon Buns at Tall Grass Prairie Bread Company: This sticky-sweet cinnamon bun is a sinful treat with humble and virtuous beginnings. Made with 60 per cent whole wheat sourced from farmers across Manitoba, the grains are purchased whole and shipped to the bakery where they are stone-milled daily on site. A fresher, tastier, more cinnamony cinnamon bun is hard to find. Tray upon tray are baked daily to satisfy the line-up of customers at both bakery locations. www.tallgrassbakery.ca

Page 1 of 2 -- Discover smoked Goldeye fish, homemade perogies and more Winnipeg culinary treats on page 2
6 – Smoked Winnipeg Goldeye at the Gimli Fish Market: The in-house smoker can barely keep up with demand for this delectable treat. Goldeye, so named for its gold-coloured scales is a freshwater fish native to Manitoba waters and is especially delicious smoked. The folks at Gimli do it best: a subtle smoke using oak chips yields Goldeye perfection, great on crackers or whipped into a creamy spread.

7 – The Perogie Platter at Alycia’s Restaurant: Eating at Alycia’s Restaurant on Cathedral Avenue is like eating at grandma’s house. A comfortable dining room, kind service and the guarantee of good homemade food is what brings locals to this Ukranian restaurant in droves. Perogies are handmade in the back and served fried or boiled alongside grilled kielbasa, coleslaw, heaps of fried onions and sour cream to make this platter the ultimate in comfort food. Frozen perogies are available to take home if you didn’t get your fill at the table.

8 – Fat Boy burgers from the drive-in: Winnipeggers love their burgers, but more importantly, they love their drive-ins. Scattered across the city, on every street, in every neighbourhood, each unique burger joint comes with their own loyal following and their own take on the nostalgia of the drive-in. Look for variations of a Winnipeg classic, the Fat Boy, a hamburger of one or more patties, topped with chili, tomatoes, lettuce and mayonnaise with fresh-cut fries on the side, of course!

9 – Bulldog Amber Ale by Half Pints Brewery: Half Pints is a small-batch craft brewery in the heart of Winnipeg committed to flavour. The brewery neither pasteurizes nor filters their beer, giving each hand-filled, hand-labeled bottle a richer, more complex flavour than others. Their Bulldog Amber Ale is a deep red and hearty ale in the traditional British style with a fantastic caramel-malt flavour. They also make a mean India pale ale and a hearty stout. Look for their brews at local Winnipeg bars, or at the MLCC.

10 – Rae and Jerry’s: Entering the Cocktail Lounge at Rae and Jerry’s is like stepping back in time to Las Vegas during the days of the Rat Pack - one can imagine Frank Sinatra crooning away in the corner. Complete with red leather seats, dark wood paneling, smokey glass mirrors and amber lighting this is the perfect spot to sip martinis and contemplate the world. Bartenders offer a range of gins and vodkas to choose from and will make a solid drink exactly to your preference. And if all that martini drinking has you feeling hungry, step on over to the restaurant side of Rae and Jerry's for a classic steakhouse experience. www.raeandjerrys.com

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10 tastes of: Winnipeg