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Hot Dining: Best New Restaurants 2011: Deseo Bistro

From tapas to chic burgers, Winnipeg’s top new restaurants serve the best bites around. Deseo Bistro tops the list. It’s been chosen one of Canada’s Top 10 New Restaurants by the editors of Where Canada.

There are big ideas on small plates at Deseo Bistro.

Ordinary ingredients are elevated and extraordinary ingredients are delectably accessible inside this Latin-influenced bistro.

Deseo elevates Winnipeg’s food scene, pushing diners beyond their comfort zones with exquisitely executed dishes like roasted bone marrow and caramelized pork belly. Deseo’s palate-expanding dining experience makes it a shoo-in for Ciao! magazine‘s best new restaurant of 2011.

All elements on every plate—from smoked paprika in mac & cheese, to sherry and currents in crisp skin duck breast, to saffron and fennel in chick pea cazuella—all come together under Chef/co-owner Scott Bagshaw’s fastidious watch.

This is actually take two for Deseo, which means “desire” in Spanish.

The original Exchange District location in the gritty Royal Albert Arms was closed after a water-main break earlier this year.

Now comfortably ensconced in South Osborne, fervent fans are once again flocking to the Spanish eatery for its splendid tapas and remarkable mains.

The new 81-seat, two-storey restaurant exudes a rough-hewed elegance with its birch tree trunk feature wall, low-strung filament light-bulbs, exposed brick walls and white linens.

The dining room buzzes with boisterous conversation. Urban cool servers answer menu queries with savvy. Their enthusiasm for the food is well placed. Deseo dishes exude confidence.

Served with a brisk spicy mayo and a cool salsa verde, bite-sized garbanzo, black bean and white navy bean fritters explode with a crackling crisp sensation.

Potatas bravas [sic] are a decadent encounter of duck-fat infused fingerling potatoes and tangy chipotle mayo.

For a satisfying meat-fix, try crisp skin duck breast (pictured). The savoury slices of rich meat get sweet relief from a sherry reduction.

Accompanying Brussels sprouts are served with crispy bits of carmelized bacon and take the much-maligned vegetable from feared to revered.

Mac & cheese  gets star treatment with smoked paprika and chunks of hot-tempered chorizo. It’s finished in the oven with a melted canopy of creamy and piquant Manchego.

Deseo’s house-made flourless chocolate and chili cake should be a mandatory meal’s end. Sitting on a smear of mysterious “love oil” and sprinkled with sea salt, the dessert ignites desire. It’s so good you’ll want another piece.

Deseo is open for lunch Mon.–Fri. 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; for dinner Mon.–Wed. 5 p.m.–10 p.m., Thurs.–Sat. 5 p.m.–close.

696 Osborne St., South Osborne
Entrées $11–$22

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