I have travelled to many countries and eaten many meals. I can’t say I’m a terribly fussy eater, and I’ll try most things once! From scorpion in Thailand, to pig tongue in Korea, I’ve tried some interesting stuff!
When you think of Winnipeg, you might not actually think there’s much for food. You can find great barbecue, and burgers are everywhere, but there is certainly more than Poutine to eat in Canada! People have immigrated to this lovely country from all over the world, and lucky for us…they bring along their food with them!
Chinese food isn’t hard to find in Peg City. Chinatown is an obvious place to find it, but if you travel down to the University of Manitoba, on Pembina Highway, you’ll find lots of great stuff too! Our favourite down that way is called Sun Fortune restaurant. You’ll hear more Mandarin than English when you’re there, so you know it’s authentic! If you want to order the Peking Duck though, make sure to call ahead! It’s very popular, and sells out fast!
Corydon Avenue is also a great place for Foodies in Winnipeg. Colosseo is a top notch Italian restaurant, located at the corner of Corydon and Hugo. Whether you love pizza, pasta or tiramisu, you’ll go home with a full belly!
Today I want to talk about a couple of my favourite ‘hole in the wall’ restaurants in Winnipeg. Dave and I rarely eat at chain restaurants, and instead tend to find ourselves at little places, that are always full, but don’t have many tables. Here are a few of my faves!
I’m going to begin with something local and unique. Feast is a great little restaurant on Ellice Avenue. They make traditional Indigenous cuisine, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s the perfect place to go if you want a taste of Manitoba!
Bison Chili, Pickerel Sliders and saskatoon pie…what more could you want from life? They use local ingredients and everything we’ve tried there has been fantastic. I am usually WAY too full for dessert, but this year, I ordered some to go. It turns out that I like bannock donuts better than regular donuts, and it’s easy to see why! They taste as good as they look!
The atmosphere in the restaurant is great too! Service is good, and the restaurant is filled with Indigenous art. It’s the perfect place to stop for breakfast, lunch or dinner. We’ve never been there for breakfast, but since I learned that they do Eggs Banny (using bannock instead of English muffins), I know I’ll be swinging by there to start the day on my next trip home!
Dave and I have always been very fond of Thai food, even before moving to Asia, and our love for this cuisine only deepened once we visited. Bangkok Thai (on Osbourne) is always a favourite, but the one restaurant we simply CANNOT miss when we’re home is a little hole in the wall restaurant on Marion Ave, called Vientiane.
Their food is unreal! If you like spicy, this is the place for you! They say that ‘medium’ is 3/10…and they mean it. We order a 5 or 6, and it’s a bit of heat. If you order a 10, prepare for your eyes to water, because it’s an ASIAN 10!
I LOVE their fish green curry, and their Crab Rangoon is OUT OF THIS WORLD! The Massaman is also always a hit. They also feature Laotian dishes at Vientiane (the restaurant is named after the capital of Laos, actually), and there’s a great variety of food to try.
The restaurant may be small, but the food is great, and the staff have always been wonderful to us! The food also comes out quick, because curries are often prepared in big batches. It’s the perfect place to stop for a quick bite!
We were away for 3 years, unable to visit Canada due to China’s strict travel policies, and I can honestly say, the food I missed most was definitely Ethiopian cuisine. It isn’t available anywhere we’ve travelled in China (trust me…we’ve checked!), but of any food on earth, I think Ethiopian is my favourite!
Winnipeg actually has quite a few Ethiopian Restaurants. There are about 2500 people of Ethiopian descent living in Winnipeg, and are quite a few little restaurants that serve their cuisine around the city. This is great, because Ethiopian food is actually quite difficult to make, and unless you’re willing to spend HOURS in the kitchen, getting the injera and wats ready, restaurants are going to be your best bet.
I was CRUSHED to learn that my favourite place, Massawa, shut down during the pandemic. We were loyal customers for years, visiting several times each summer, and more frequently when we lived in Canada. Alas, it caused us to try out some new restaurants, one of which is in the same location where Massawa was previously located.
The restaurant that really impressed us this year, though, was Gojo, on Sargent. The place was small, but when we walked in, we were hit with all the gorgeous smells of Ethiopia!
The staff were SO kind, and the food was fresh and fantastic! Their bathrooms were clean, and I could see into the kitchen (always a good sign) and everything was spotless in there too! I’m really looking forward to being able to go back to visit Gojo again, the next time we’re in Winnipeg!
Honourable Mention: Sushi Ya
I was lucky enough to live right behind this little gem of a restaurant when I was a poor student. I love this place, not only for their fantastic sweet chili sauce, but also for their prices. You can get a great lunch without breaking the bank! Many of their rolls are quite small, so you can stop in for a snack, or just try a wide variety of sushi! This has been one of my favourite restaurants in Winnipeg for about 15 years, so if you like Sushi, you should definitely give it a try!
Honourable Mention #2: Maggi’s
The last place I want to mention is a great little restaurant owned by a family of refugees. Located in Transcona, Maggi’s makes fantastic wraps, shawarma and other Syrian delicacies! Service was good, and it’s a great place to enjoy a quick bite in nice weather!
I ordered a falafel wrap, and Dave and my mom both ordered the chicken shawarma. The large ones are HUGE and great if you’re really hungry! If you want something a little lighter, go with the the smaller sized wraps.
So there you have it…some of my favourite restaurants in Winnipeg! I wrote this post while still stuck in quarantine, where the food is…less good. Now, I’m hungry and I only have myself to blame!
My next post will be all about the 13 days of quarantine that we faced (and are still facing) upon our return to China! It’s been a bit of a wild ride, so stay tuned!