|Winnipeg, capital of the province of Manitoba, is a city in central Canada. Often referred to in the past as the Chicago of the north, Winnipeg is a place of extreme climate. While during the winter it is often one of the coldest large cities in the world, summers can bring scorching temperatures at the other end of the dial. Winnipeggers show a healthy disdain for those in warmer climates when they arrive shivering or sweating in the city.
Home to a diverse population of immigrants since its earliest days, the city boasts one of the highest restaurant to population ratios in the world. Many of these are small ethnic eateries that can absolutely knock your socks off with cheap fantastic food. In early years these immigrants were mostly ukranian and german, but that flow has slowly changed over the years with many asian (Indian, Vietnamese/Thai, Hong Kong Chinese) and more recently African newcomers arriving. The city also has the largest French Canadian population in western Canada and one area of the city (Saint-Boniface) is full of restaurants that reflect both classic French as well as French Canadian cuisine.
As a result of this abundance of great local cuisine, many large food chains have either abandoned or never expanded their initial forays into the city. Fast food being the exception.
Contributors residing here:
Burgers and Fries
- Winnipeg's version of Original famous rays etc... these are a series of (generally) Greek owned burger and sub joints. Grease is the main ingredient here, but there are also a few greek delicacies on the menu.
- A Winnipeg institution since the early 1900's this tiny eatery is justifiably famous for their shoestring fries as well as the photos of the many celebs that eat there on Winnipeg trips.
- Mrs. Mike's
- Summertime only snackbar style eatery that serves old fashioned dripping hamburgers, crisp fries and great shakes
- The New Hong Kong Snackhouse
- A tiny almost invisible little place open only for lunch, the NHKS is packed every day of the week with hungry office workers. Cheap, shareable dishes make up for the complete lack of atmosphere. (My coworker and I share a large lunch here every two weeks, usually under 15 dollars for both of us) They also recently received a federal grant for development of their chinese/ukranian fusion food "the peking perogi".
- North Garden
- Excellent northern chinese cuisine. Has gone slightly downhill during their recent expansion, much like its nearby neighbour the Oceana. Dishes of note, Crispy Ginger Beef, Shanghai Fat Noodle in Satay Sauce.
- Once a fantastic hole in the wall mall eatery this restaurant has expanded into a massive pastel green cave. Along with their mounting space came mounting prices and a minor decline in the quality of food. However, Oceana Chicken (I prefer the boneless and skinless version) is well worth the trip, and is well worth it if you're only taking out one dish.
- Kum Koon Garden
- Located downtown in Winnipeg's small chinatown area, Kum Koon Garden is quite possibly the largest eatery in the city with several massive dividable rooms and a very popular Dim Sum service. Served from large carts by Waitresses only about 50% likely to speak ANY english, you often have to gamble on what you're getting. Fortunately almost everything is tasty. Unless you go absolutely crazy on the dishes lunch for 3-6 will run you about 8-12 bucks per person. Personal favorites include the pan fried pork dumplings, spring rolls (either the chinese or the vietnamese style) and the elusive coconut shrimp ball. For those who enjoy it, their Sticky Rice is judged to be fantastic by several friends of mine.
- Baked Expectations
- Located in trendy osborne village, B-E has been around forever, offering ubersweet confections in a diner/ice cream shoppe atmosphere. They make delicious tortes, cheese cakes and other ways to increase your waistline within walking distance of some of the city's trendier restaurants and pubs. Always pricey, their prices are now in the stratosphere and most people go in to share a slice of something.
- Leo's Gelati
- Located at the foot of the newly completed Esplanade Riel (Bridge) and at the historic gateway to the french quarter of the city, Leo's opened not long ago without much fanfare. Crowds have steadily increased and it's no surprise. Their Gelati (Gelato) is freshly made almost constantly using fresh fruit and other ingredients and even their smallest serving will give you two scoops of any mix and match flavour you like. For the lactose intolerant out there, 90% of their product is dairy free and they are quick to let you know which to avoid. Specialty coffees and sandwiches are also served, but that's not what you should be going for.
- Tasty greek cuisine, fairly pricey compared to some. Of particular note are the Avgolemono (egg-lemon soup) and Lemon roasted potatoes. Their Patio is open in the summer and offers a great way to get some sun and some good food, hardly scenic though.
- Primarily Vegetarian cuisine, this little place doesn't look like much on the outside, but if you like vegetarian samosas they offer good cheap greasy indian delights.
- King's Head Pub
- Anglo/Indian food is on the menu here with a good selection of Brit beers on tap. Fries with Curry sauce and a Scotch egg is a personal favorite, especially during the city's fringe festival
- Great neo-indian cuisine with a fantastic buffet. Very pricey however and one of the few indian restaurants that will charge you for nan bread (though it is made specially for each customer)
- The Old Spaghetti Factory
- A minor canadian chain, nonetheless a good family restaurant. Cheap generous portions and their new location at the forks overlooking the historic site makes for a pleasant dining experience. Offers free birthday dishes. Dishes of note: Spaghetti with Browned Butter and Mizithra Cheese (Salty and delicious, but not for everyone. If you're a fan of feta, go for this)
- Thida's Thai
- Located in a former "Salisbury House", this restaurant is rather easy to miss. Good thai curry and excellent stuffed chicken wings and dumplings make it worth the trip. Word of warning to the occidental types, if you want spicy, make sure you insist on it, 8 for a caucasian is very different than an 8 for an asian person depending on your waitress. If you're a mee krab fan, you might want to ask for lots of sauce, they often make it very dry. Avoid the matsuman, they chronically undercook the potato. Dishes of Note: Pad Phet, Stuffed Chicken Wings
- Vientiane (Lao-Thai)
- Another Strip-mall style restaurant, I have yet to have anything off their menu that wasn't fantastic. Spicy succulent dishes or the more subtle flavours all come through perfectly. They recently received a glowing recommendation from the local paper's food nazi and have become far busier as a result. Hopefully this causes them to hire more staff, because even before the upturn in business the only knock against them was chronically slow service. Dishes of Note: Everything!
- Magic Thailand
- Located on Logan near Arlington, tiny restaurant in a former bungalow or storefront, it's hard to tell. Great well spiced food at cheap cheap prices. Dishes of Note: Stuffed Chicken Wings, Crab Rangoon, Pad Thai, Mee Krab
- Incongrous decor is a feature of this restaurant located in a former Dunkin' Donuts location. The original owner's wife worked at Boeing in some capacity and for the longest time most of the decor was stock photos of fighter jets. Some of this remains and the cooler by the door is still covered in Pratt and Whitney stickers. The food itself is great, flavours come through with a lot of intensity. It was sold to a new owner several years ago and prices have increased as a result.
Dishes of Note: Cheap flavour packed spring rolls bursting with pork (My favorites in town), Fried Shrimp (Massive plate for $8.95) and Chicken with Lemon Grass and Hot Pepper
- Just down the street from the aforementioned Vietnam, Viva is a much classier looking place, with slightly higher prices to match. The food is tasty, moderate portions of dishes with powerful flavour combined with great service make this place a popular place for dinner for two. Dishes of Note: Chicken or Beef with lemon grass and hot pepper, Beef Satay soup and a lovely noodle soup with a crispy shrimp crepe whose name I can never remember.