By CAROLINE GREEN
You might already know of these places as some of the must-see spots in Calgary, but did you know they also have some of the must-eat restaurants? Here are some dining hot spots within attractions you won’t want to miss.
Get a dose of the wild or a picturesque view of outdoor scenery at these spots that blend sit down dining with outdoor fun.
The patio at Prairie’s Edge overlooks a serene pond surrounded by the greenery of Kildonan Park. Start the evening with crispy fried beet fritters before taking in a show at outdoor theatre Rainbow Stage. 2015 Main St, 204‑284‑7275
Hearty breakfast and lunch options make Buffalo Stone Cafe inside FortWhyte Alive nature preserve a go-to pick for a sweet nature setting inside city limits. The signature bison burger and a breeze off the shimmering lake are a perfect pair. 1961 McCreary Rd, 204‑989‑8355
Tundra Grill (pictured), inside the Assiniboine Park Zoo’s Journey to Churchill exhibit, boasts a 9 by 150 foot wall of windows looking out onto a polar bear habitat. Snack on kid-friendly foods like hamburgers and pizza while observing the animals roam and play. 2595 Roblin Blvd, 204‑927‑8060, Map 2: D-2
The elegant country cottage setting at Pineridge Hollow is the perfect backdrop to scratch-made fare that highlights prairie products. After sampling wild mushroom-stuffed perogies, wander the on-site garden and hand feed the goats outside. 67086 Heatherdale Rd 25E, Oakbank, MB
A century old country estate is the setting for fine dining at The Gates on Roblin. Seats in the Atrium deliver breathtaking views with your tender duck confit. Take a stroll around the grounds and visit horses grazing in the paddock. 6945 Roblin Blvd, 204‑224‑2837
This tiny west-end spot offers addictive Japanese comfort food like dyno wings: deep-fried, boneless chicken wings that are stuffed with pork, bacon and ginger,slathered in kewpie mayo sauce and served in a takeout box. 2 Lakeview Ave.
The appropriately named chef Michael Hunter serves up wild and foraged cuisine—including boar, venison and bison. 1454 Dundas St. W.
Dig into Alo’s inventive six-course tasting menu to find out why chef Patrick Kriss’s French-dining destination is one of the finest restaurants in Canada. 163 Spadina Ave.,
Everything on the menu, from the kaffir broccoli tempura to the Hainanese chicken to the rich, schmaltzy rice, is full of exciting flavours, both traditional and new.
318 Spadina Ave.
Chef Victor Barry’s chic Italian restaurant is great for kids and a boon to grown-ups who love perfect Neapolitain pizzas (try the Bitters: scamorza, parmesan, dandelion, kale, garlic, chilies and lemon). 88 Harbord St.
Winnipeg’s craft brewing scene has exploded recently, with new breweries popping up all over the city. Brewpub Brazen Hall is the latest joy for homegrown hopheads. This well-designed Fort Garry spot styled with rustic wood, plush leather, and gleaming geometric fixtures opened to instant approval from pub lovers who now fill the space with lively chatter. A crisp blonde ale and peppery bière de garde are now on tap with more varieties brewing in the tanks on site. Superb suds are complemented by a fun menu of twists on pub favourites, like gussied-up burgers and wings, as well as filling pastas and brawny meat dishes.
Calling all oenophiles: these restaurants are must-visits for wine lovers of all stripes.
At DeLuca’s Cooking School, sip specially paired wines provided by attached DeLuca Fine Wines while chef Anna Paganelli demonstrates how to prepare elaborate Italian dishes. Call for class schedule and to register. 950 Portage Ave, 204‑774‑7617, delucas.ca
529 Wellington, Winnipeg’s most lofty steakhouse, maintains its elevated reputation with an award winning wine list so thick it could have been written by Proust. More than 800 selections pair with anything from porterhouse to prawns. 529 Wellington Cres, 204‑487‑8325, 529wellington.ca
Mona Lisa Restaurant is a top pick for comforting red sauce Italian fare in a sleek yet casual atmosphere. The adjacent cantina is perfect for variety-loving imbibers, with 20 featured wines offered by the glass. 1697 Corydon Ave, 204‑488‑3684, monalisarestaurant.ca
Fusion Grill stokes Canadian pride with its sophisticated use of regional ingredients, and local love doesn’t stop there. Owner Scot McTaggart (pictured) built an extensive wine list that is exclusively Canadian, and sure to win over even old-world enthusiasts to the Canuck terroir. 550 Academy Rd, 204‑489‑6963, fusiongrill.mb.ca
Forget hot cocoa—cap off a day of outdoor activities with a glass of vino at The Common at The Forks. Pours by the glass or in tasting flights are perfect to sip while relaxing in the food hall or even browsing the market’s upper level shops. The Forks Market, 204‑942‑6216, theforks.com
Popular board game cafe Across the Board outgrew its small space on Albert St and has moved into a bright location on the corner of Main St and Bannatyne Ave. The spacious new room, boasting high ceilings and picture windows, sees its game selection upped to more than 1000 offerings, and an expanded menu of snacks, appies, and entrées for hungry players to eat between turns. 211 Bannatyne Ave, 204‑691‑3422, acrosstheboardcafe.com
Tastes of the Mediterranean are the specialty at Agora Fine Foods. The spot, named after the ancient Greek market and gathering place, has plenty of reason to gather, from the shelves stocked with local and imported specialty foods to the sleek Indulge Bistro and Wine Bar that serves up Spanish, Greek, and Italian dishes in a smartly designed space. 1765 Kenaston Blvd, 204‑285‑4068, agorafinefoods.ca
Soup’s on! In a city famous for winter, its no wonder Winnipeggers love to huddle up around steaming bowls of broth. These are the city’s most slurp-able.
Sana Souphouse is a haven for nearby office workers, with a comfortable interior and selection of soups both classic and novel. Try a bowl of the creamy cinnamon-scented red pepper bisque, or sample a flight of three varieties. 387 Graham Ave, sanasouphouse.com
Recent renovations have given Corydon Avenue mainstay Cafe La Scala fresh new digs, and the kitchen is equally skilled at updating the classics. Stellar cioppino piles tender seafood beneath a shimmery red stock, with a hit of Sambuca imparting modern edge. 725 Corydon Ave, facebook
Sherbrook Street Delicatessen has indecisive diners covered. A heaping bowl of mis mash soup has a little of everything–corned beef, matzah balls, veggies–thrown in. 102 Sherbrook St, sherbrookstreetdeli.com
A family-owned gem tucked into a St Boniface strip mall, Boun’s Restaurant serves a mix of Laotian, Chinese, and Thai cuisine. With hits of lime, roasted garlic, and cilantro, Laotian chicken noodle soup packs more punch than Granny’s and is equally sure to cure what ails you. 208 Marion St, facebook
Newcomer to the East Exchange District, Saddlery on Market, is paying tribute to the historic ‘hood with a gorgeous renovated room and a welcoming menu of comfort food. Modern-meets-heritage touches like barn board, brick, and pendant lighting decorate the space, with placards explaining the locations history as the site of the Great West Saddlery Company. Chef Michael Day does wonders with protein preparations, like delectable hunter chicken. 114 Market Ave, saddleryonmarket.com
Nose-to-tail eating finds a home at new St Boniface spot Bouchee Boucher. The cozy window-wrapped dining room is a backdrop to chef Alex Svenne’s concise small plates menu, which makes excellent use of prime cuts from the attached butcher shop. Items like braised lamb casserole with pomegranate and tahini show global inspiration. 101-300 Tache Ave, boucheeboucher.ca
The RBC Convention Centre relies on organized efficiency. With a recent expansion having almost doubled the building in size, the food service team behind the scenes is busier than ever. For Executive Chef Quentin Harty, this means menu prep, purchasing, building relationships with suppliers, quality control, meeting with clients, and managing 85-90 staff. With hundreds, even thousands, of plates leaving the kitchen under his supervision, Harty must be sure his crack team is operating at full capacity. The seasoned chef enjoys the impact of cooking for a crowd: “whatever you can serve one person, you can deliver to hundreds.” 375 York Ave, 204‑956‑1720, wcc.mb.ca
New charming West Broadway spot Khao House is making waves with crave-able Laotian comfort foods, like steamed buns, fried chicken and naem khao (pictured). 126 Sherbrook St, 204‑783‑3642, khaohouse.com.
Gourmet burger joint Nuburger, a local favourite for creative toppings and healthy ingredients, is joining the ranks of stellar dining options at The Forks Market, with a shortened menu of signatures. The Forks Market, 1 Forks Market Rd, theforks.ca
Newly renovated and revamped, Carne Italian Chophouse delivers impressive eats in a slick downtown atmosphere. Chef Michael Dacquisto’s menu incorporates classic Italian dishes from grilled octopus to veal marsala, along with a collection of creative sides. 295 York Ave, 204‑896‑7275, 295york.ca
The team behind slick spot Nuburger has given fast food a gourmet makeover, with dressed-up beef, chicken, bison, and veggie patties boasting wild toppings like house made boursin cheese and blueberry barbeque sauce. Committing to local sourcing, choosing to make everything in house, and ensuring all napkins and take out containers are compostable has set this burger joint apart. By working towards a greener, healthier, tastier world, Nuburger proves that the humble hamburger just might be the ultimate superfood. 472 Stradbrook Ave, 204-888-1001; 1-1650 Kenaston Blvd, 204‑615-2009, ilovenuburger.com
The eagerly awaited renovations to the Forks Market Food Hall have transformed the space into a sleek and modern dining hall complete with communal tables, attention-grabbing light fixtures, and black accents. Anchoring the room is The Common, a craft beer and wine station offering local pours in flights presented on a board shaped like our province. Other new venues include Fusian Sushi and Argentinean spot Simon’s Cuisine, as well as a new rotating food stall, NEXT, which acts as a permanent pop-up, showcasing a different local chef or restaurant every month. A few remaining expectant stalls guarantee that more good eats are in the works. 1 Forks Market Rd, theforks.com