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Fine Dining in the 'Peg


prasantrin
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It used to be something of a contradiction in terms to talk of "fine dining" in Winnipeg. There were very few high-end restaurants and what passed as high-end were mostly mediocre mid-ranged restaurants (at least compared with restaurants in other cities). It seems that in the last few years, however, Winnipeg has finally come into its own!

I'll be home visiting my mother for about 6 weeks this summer. We've been discussing our meals and are making a list of restaurants we are planning to visit. My mother wants to limit our dining experiences to just 10 restaurants. Apparently (according to my mother), our usual haunts are not included in this count since they are givens. Restaurants we've discussed are:

Givens:

Bistro Dansk

Tre Visi

All the cheap ethnic places we usually go to (Siam, Kum Koon, Sun Fortune, North Garden, Asia City, a bunch of Vietnamese places I can't remember the names of, Junior's on St. Mary's, etc.)

Folklorama pavilions (we only go for the take out!)

Places we've been to and will probably not revisit this trip:

Amici's/Bombolini's

And this brings me to my question...

We're searching for fine® dining options for my visit. So far, our list includes

Bernard Mirlycourtois (only open for breakfast/lunch, I think)

Le Provence

Mise

Fusion Grill

We've also discussed

Dubrovnik's. I'm almost (but not quite) ashamed to say I've never been to Winnipeg's oldest "fine dining" establishment. I feel like I should try it, but a friend's brother did an internship there a decade or so ago and at that time, things were pretty bad. Commercially prepared salad dressings and the like were the norm. As I understand it, the original chef had left during that period, and has since returned, so the food should be better. Does anyone have any comments (for or against) this place? I'm thinking the osso bucco at the Croatian (or is it the Serbian?) pavilion might be a tastier option...

Sydney's--I've read both positive and negative comments on this place. I'm wary of trying any place which has about 50% negative reviews (from what I've found so far). But would be willing to try it if I heard a few more positive reviews!

Ivory's--Winnipeg more "upscale" Indian restaurant, though it doesn't really fall in the "finer dining" category. We've heard that it's better than East India Company, but that's not saying much since EIC's food is not so good (in my opinion). They have dosa, and that's what is calling us there, but I'm always very wary of ethnic restaurants which are geared more to the general population. I've not heard any comparisons to places like Taste of India or India Palace. Anyone been to Ivory's?

Does anyone have other suggestions for fine® dining options? We're also willing to drive out of the city for interesting options (fine or otherwise). Not too far, though--maybe an hour outside the perimeter at the most.

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Does anyone have other suggestions for fine® dining options?  We're also willing to drive out of the city for interesting options (fine or otherwise).  Not too far, though--maybe an hour outside the perimeter at the most.

Pine Ridge Hollow is another great place! We were just there for Mother's Day.

www.pineridgehollow

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Does anyone have other suggestions for fine® dining options?  We're also willing to drive out of the city for interesting options (fine or otherwise).  Not too far, though--maybe an hour outside the perimeter at the most.

I seem to recall having a fantastic meal at a restaurant located in a park beside the river. The place was located in an old mansion, and at least some of the tables were located in a big conservatory out back, with a view of the river. Sorry, but I can't recall the name......

Always remember that you are unique. Just like everyone else.

www.leecarney.com

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I seem to recall having a fantastic meal at a restaurant located in a park beside the river.  The place was located in an old mansion, and at least some of the tables were located in a big conservatory out back, with a view of the river.  Sorry, but I can't recall the name......

Tavern in the Park?

This was going to be one of my suggestions. I enjoy the food there and they are very accomodating. It's also beautiful nestled in the middle of Assiniboine Park (City Park).

The couple of places on your list that I have been to, I've never been overwhelmed. I do enjoy Ivory - I've been there a few times. Having said that, I in no way claim to know much about Indian food. It's a lovely space though.

Sydney's - I don't actually now anybody who's been here (which is odd). I've been meaning to go myself - if I get there anytime soon, I'll let you know how I liked it. An interesting fact is that the chef/owner just appeared on FTVC's search for a superstar chef. Didn't win though :huh: .

Folklorama - some of the best dining the city has to offer!! (depending on the pavilion of course). My goal is to try to get out to more this year. Any recommendations?

Gluttons just opened on Corodyn (little italy area). I've not eaten in the restaurant yet, but the menu looks interesting and they got a good review.

I'm sure I'll think of more :wink:

Oh! I'm hoping a nice dessert (mostly take-out) opens in R.H. sometime in the next month or two :raz::biggrin:

Edited by Pam R (log)
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I seem to recall having a fantastic meal at a restaurant located in a park beside the river.  The place was located in an old mansion, and at least some of the tables were located in a big conservatory out back, with a view of the river.  Sorry, but I can't recall the name......

Tavern in the Park?

This was going to be one of my suggestions. I enjoy the food there and they are very accomodating. It's also beautiful nestled in the middle of Assiniboine Park (City Park).

Yes, that's it.

Tavern In The Park Web Site

Always remember that you are unique. Just like everyone else.

www.leecarney.com

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I forgot all about Tavern in the Park! We've only been there for brunch, so I think it's time for a real meal there!

Pineridge Hollow will be placed on the list, too! My mother had only been there for lunch, and I didn't realize they had such a full menu.

Oh! I'm hoping a nice dessert (mostly take-out) opens in R.H. sometime in the next month or two 

I'm hoping so, too! We've decided to go with Le Provence for brunch, but still need a cake! I may have to resort to Goodies (they have some kind of cake that's high on the nut content--my mother loves nuts!) if that new dessert place doesn't open in the next 6 weeks! :unsure::biggrin:

The usuals on our Folklorama list:

Argentine (great empanadas!)

Slovenian (for the roast pig, but the roast chicken is also good--huge portions--best to share)

Hungarian (the one in the Burton Cummings community centre)--for the cabbage rolls, sausage, and langos. The cakes are very good, too!

Serbian--fabulous food! Osso Bucco is a great deal.

Croatian--also has really great food--we ate there twice during my last folklorama visit.

The Greek one at the church in Tuxedo (or somewhere out there). They have the best food of the two Greek places--made by the ladies of the church. their spanakopita is one of the best I've had. They have a little cookbook, too (which I bought but can't find anymore).

The Nicaraguan one actually had some very good food.

Romanian--the chicken with lots of garlic was quite nice. As were the cakes!

I have to admit, we usually go to the same ones year after year, since we only go for the food. Except we stopped going to the shows, and just get the food to go. Most people don't know that you can do that--just ask at the door and they'll let you in without paying the admissions fee. That being said, we've not tried that at every pavilion, but all the ones we've asked have let us in for take-out! If you're interested in Folkorama food pictures, I have some here.

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I have to admit, we usually go to the same ones year after year, since we only go for the food.

So do we... we need to go to more!!

I also go to the Greek (I think it's on Shaftsbury), and the Greek at Confusion Corner, Israel, one of the Italian, Chinese and a few others. I'm thinking it's time to expand!

As for the dessert place (and prepared foods available for take-out) we're hoping to have the new location in place next week - start moving in a couple of weeks and THEN put the kitchen in.. .. so we'll see what happens! Fingers are crossed.

For brunch, btw, I like the Fort Garry. :wub:

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As for the dessert place (and prepared foods available for  take-out) we're hoping to have the new location in place next week - start moving in a couple of weeks and THEN put the kitchen in.. .. so we'll see what happens!  Fingers are crossed.

All my fingers and toes are crossed for you (and me :biggrin: ), too!

For brunch, btw, I like the Fort Garry.  :wub:

The Fort Garry is actually my favourite brunch in Winnipeg. The last time we were there, we ate all their financier--they were absolutely delicious! (or maybe it was a madeleine--they were in non-traditional shapes) Very few people even knew what they were, so they just passed them by since they looked so plain. Lucky us! We're doing a catered brunch at Le Provence and have the whole restaurant to ourselves. It should be interesting! But I'm thinking of doing one of their wine dinners, too.

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I seem to recall having a fantastic meal at a restaurant located in a park beside the river.  The place was located in an old mansion, and at least some of the tables were located in a big conservatory out back, with a view of the river.  Sorry, but I can't recall the name......

Tavern in the Park?

Oh! I'm hoping a nice dessert (mostly take-out) opens in R.H. sometime in the next month or two :raz::biggrin:

Pam,

You will have to give us the name and address of your new place! Would love to pop by and check out your desserts!

Last year for MIL's birthday, instead of ordering a birthday cake we just picked up some fancy desserts. Everyone really enjoyed!!! Might do that again this year.

Lily

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  • 2 weeks later...
Pam,

You will have to give us the name and address of your new place!  Would love to pop by and check out your desserts! 

Last year for MIL's birthday, instead of ordering a birthday cake we just picked up some fancy desserts.  Everyone really enjoyed!!!  Might do that again this year.

Desserts Plus is the name. We've been on North Main for about 15 years (and salter for about 5 years before that). It looks like our lease is likely to be signed tonight (or tomorrow) and some of our equipemt will be moved over on Monday.... soooooooooo.... the new address will be 1795 Corydon Ave.

We're catering over the next few weeks - and the kitchen at the new location basically has to be gutted and we have to start from scratch - so we're hoping to have the kitchen up and running by September. Plans are to have showcases full of prepped foods for pick-up and take-out and of course baking. There will maybe be some tables where people could sit down, but there will definately not be table service and we are not really thinking of it as a restaurant at all. We'll see how the floor plan works out when we figure out how big the walk-in freezers will be.

NOW, my question is - has anybody eaten at 529 Wellington? I've heard mixed reports on this one, but am thinking it's time to try it.

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Desserts Plus is the name.  We've been on North Main for about 15 years (and salter for about 5 years before that).  It looks like our lease is likely to be signed tonight (or tomorrow) and some of our equipemt will be moved over on Monday.... soooooooooo....  the new address will be 1795 Corydon Ave.

I know where that is! I think...Congratulations on the new space! Just in time, too!

We're catering over the next few weeks - and the kitchen at the new location basically has to be gutted and we have to start from scratch - so we're hoping to have the kitchen up and running by September.  Plans are to have showcases full of prepped foods for pick-up and take-out and of course baking.  There will maybe be some tables where people could sit down, but there will definately not be table service and we are not really thinking of it as a restaurant at all.  We'll see how the floor plan works out when we figure out how big the walk-in freezers will be.

NOW, my question is - has anybody eaten at 529 Wellington?  I've heard mixed reports on this one, but am thinking it's time to try it.

Does this mean no cakes for the end of July? :unsure::sad:

Have you ever been to Asia City? The tables with no table service reminds me of Asia City. They do primarily take out, but they added a few tables (four, I think) several months after they first opened. We usually do pho or their combination plates when we eat there. They have, by the way, the best bubble tea in the city--the young coconut is absolutely decadent, though it's really more of a dessert than a refreshing slurpee-like beverage. The lychee, mango, and avocado rank highly in my family, as well (the fresh fruit ones--never the powdered flavours).

I haven't been to 529 Wellington, yet. It has never been on my list of "must try" places, for some reason. I think it may be because I have very little faith in the WOW Hospitality group. I have never found any of their restaurants to be much better than mediocre. That being said, I think 529 Wellington is associated with the Chaine de Rotisseurs in some way. That group doesn't usually associate itself with mediocre restaurants...I think...so there may be something of value in the place. If you do go, please let us know how it is!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Gluttons got a good review in the Free Press today. 5/5 stars. Very 'fine dining' sounding menu :wink:

Haven't been there myself yet... for a meal... I just went in and got a piece of dessert to go - seemed kind of... manufactured to me...

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  • 3 months later...

I dined there when they first opened( I think it was the second night ) . My wife work with Heinz and Joanna, so we went out to ay hi. It was excellent then and I am glad to see that it still is even after Heinz retired. I will make sure it is on the aganda the next time I am in the 'Peg

Neil Wyles

Hamilton Street Grill

www.hamiltonstreetgrill.com

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Gluttons got a good review in the Free Press today.  5/5 stars.  Very 'fine dining' sounding menu  :wink:

Haven't been there myself yet...  for a meal... I just went in and got a piece of dessert to go - seemed kind of... manufactured to me...

I still haven't finished with all my Winnipeg eating adventures, but my mother and I went to Gluttons one afternoon. It was around 1:00 when we dropped by, sans reservation, and despite there being just one or two occupied tables, we were told they were full. There were no indications that the other tables were reserved. We were not impressed with the way we were handled by the woman we spoke with (with annoyance and a certain lack of grace), and I'm quite certain we will never be eating there, just based on that.

As for their desserts, they looked very pretty. In fact, they looked very much like the desserts served at Hotel Fort Garry's Sunday brunch and it wouldn't surprise me if they were, indeed, from the hotel.

That day we ended up in St. Boniface at Step 'N Out. We had a fine meal, with friendly service, and I would definitely eat there again.

Edited by prasantrin (log)
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I will make sure it is on the aganda the next time I am in the 'Peg

You should. Since you've been there you know that as well as having wonderful food it happens to be one of the most beautiful settings in the city as well. Come by our place for dessert though - we're a good stop on the way to the park :wink:

As for their desserts, they looked very pretty.  In fact, they looked very much like the desserts served at Hotel Fort Garry's Sunday brunch and it wouldn't surprise me if they were, indeed, from the hotel.

Re: treatment at Gluttons - I haven't eaten in the restaurant, but I had an interesting conversation with the guy behind the meat/take-out counter who was only too happy to help. I haven't been back, but I'll give the restaurant a shot at some point.

The desserts- they do look like the Fort Garry desserts... but I thought the ones I've had at FG were better. Again.. have lunch at Gluttons then take a long stroll down the street for dessert :wink: .

I'm almost done self-promoting for the night... :biggrin:

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  • 8 months later...
Desserts Plus is the name.  We've been on North Main for about 15 years (and salter for about 5 years before that).  It looks like our lease is likely to be signed tonight (or tomorrow) and some of our equipemt will be moved over on Monday.... soooooooooo....  the new address will be 1795 Corydon Ave.

Pam, what are your hours and do you have any tables? I remember you said you might have a few tables, though your new place wouldn't be a sit down restaurant.

Just wondering if I should plan to take out, or if I might be able to eat in--even just a little snack, or dessert, or plus.... :biggrin:

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Pam, what are your hours and do you have any tables?  I remember you said you might have a few tables, though your new place wouldn't be a sit down restaurant.

Just wondering if I should plan to take out, or if I might be able to eat in--even just a little snack, or dessert, or plus....  :biggrin:

Hmmm.. do you want the good news or the bad news? :laugh:

Good news is that we've had a really great reception and are incredibly busy at the new place.

Bad news is that because it's become so busy, in the year we've been there (just had our anniversary) what we do has changed drastically. We started off with a few tables, showcases full of food and a grocery section. The grocery (I prefer specialty food area :wink:) part has become so busy, it's taken over the space and most of our time. Our competitor is closing down this month - so we've just been swamped - as we're now going to be the only Kosher store in the city.

The tables have been gone since before Passover (February?), and we're trying to get rid of our showcases and replace them with more freezers/coolers and shelves. We don't really fill the showcases now. We just have a few specialty items available all the time (knishes, party sandwiches). We bake and cook to order.

On top of that, the catering has really taken off. You know 'out of sight, out of mind'? The move definitely put us in sight. Truth is we have trouble keeping up with all the orders - so filling the showcase with items really became low priority.

Having said all that - when will you be in town? I could probably hook you up ... shmoo? :wink:

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Good news is that we've had a really great reception and are incredibly busy at the new place. 

That's great!

Bad news is that because it's become so busy, in the year we've been there (just had our anniversary) what we do has changed drastically.  We started off with a few tables, showcases full of food and a grocery section.  The grocery (I prefer specialty food area :wink:) part has become so busy, it's taken over the space and most of our time.  Our competitor is closing down this month - so we've just been swamped - as we're now going to be the only Kosher store in the city.

Stewart's? That's kind of sad for me. When we first moved to Winnipeg in '69, my mother used to go there and talk to the original owners about Jewish food. They were quite surprised that my mother knew so much about Jewish food, but her family harboured a Jewish refugee during the war (in the Philippines), and that woman taught my mother a lot.

The current (?) owners are Argentinean, I think, and were former clients of my mother's.

The tables have been gone since before Passover (February?), and we're trying to get rid of our showcases and replace them with more freezers/coolers and shelves.  We don't really fill the showcases now.  We just have a few specialty items available all the time (knishes, party sandwiches). We bake and cook to order.

Oh, no! That is bad news for me!

On top of that, the catering has really taken off.  You know 'out of sight, out of mind'?  The move definitely put us in sight.  Truth is we have trouble keeping up with all the orders - so filling the showcase with items really became low priority.

Having said all that - when will you be in town?  I could probably hook you up  ... shmoo?  :wink:

I arrive on the 11th! Which is today my time, tomorrow your time. :smile: I had thought I might stop by on the way home from the airport to pick up a few things for a late dinner. Alas, I shall have to stop in a peek at your specialty food store offerings. Maybe I can find some interesting things to bring back to Japan.

If you happen to have a bit of dacquoise hanging around one day, let me know! I'll drive anywhere for a dacquoise!

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I was in the 'Peg last week and was taken to a neighbourhood restaurant called the Fusion Grill.

It was nice. I found the entrees priced a little high but the starters a little low.

The wine list was all Canadian and well put together.

All in all, a nice dinner.

The chairs were circa 1972, my Aunt's kitchen. Seemed out of place.

Neil Wyles

Hamilton Street Grill

www.hamiltonstreetgrill.com

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Stewart's?  That's kind of sad for me.  When we first moved to Winnipeg in '69, my mother used to go there and talk to the original owners about Jewish food.  They were quite surprised that my mother knew so much about Jewish food, but her family harboured a Jewish refugee during the war (in the Philippines), and that woman taught my mother a lot.

No no... they're still here! A place that was across the street from us on Main St. - they were the only other kosher store (not including the butcher or bakers).

I arrive on the 11th!  Which is today my time, tomorrow your time.  :smile: I had thought I might stop by on the way home from the airport to pick up a few things for a late dinner.  Alas, I shall have to stop in a peek at your specialty food store offerings.  Maybe I can find some interesting things to bring back to Japan.

If you happen to have a bit of dacquoise hanging around one day, let me know!  I'll drive anywhere for a dacquoise!

Yikes! How long you in town for?

I was in the 'Peg last week and was taken to a neighbourhood restaurant called the Fusion Grill.

It was nice. I found the entrees priced a little high but the starters a little low.

The wine list was all Canadian and well put together.

All in all, a nice dinner.

The chairs were circa 1972, my Aunt's kitchen. Seemed out of place.

You were in the neighbourhood! I'm just a couple of blocks from Fusion. I haven't been there since Richard Gere was in town filming a movie. I had lunch there, Richard had dinner. My timing has always sucked.

Anyhow, it's on my list of places to return to this summer (there is an actual, written down list).

Did you make it the Tavern? Anywhere else?

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  • 1 month later...

I'm almost set to leave the 'Peg again. I didn't eat nearly as much as I did when I came home last year, but I'm a bit pre-occupied with finishing my grad. degree writing. Such is my punishment for procrastinating.

The highlight of my trip home was lunch yesterday at Bistro 7 1/4. It was a nice space, reminding me somewhat of an open kitchen in a home. The main cooking space is in the middle of the room with a counter (which has 6 or so stools) separating it from the rest of the space. They also have a small counter near the back of the space which is the bar, and a small room at the back as the prep area.

My mother had chicken livers with a poached egg. We asked for a runny egg, because that's the way poached eggs should be. It was runny in the middle, but the rim of the yolk was a touch too done for my tastes. The livers were served with bacon and onions over thick slices of baguette, with a lot of sauce. The sauce was delicious, but I didn't get much of it because my mother sopped most of it up with her bread. The liver was very tasty, according to my mother. I thought it tasted like liver (go figure!).

I had the moules et frites. I thought the serving was quite generous for the price. I think it was 7.50 for about 3 dozen mussels, and plenty of frites served with homemade mayonnaise. You could select the sauce you wanted for your mussels. I chose the traditional route, and had tomatoes, garlic, with white wine. I can't remember the other options, but one had gorgonzola, and another had Pernod. There was a fourth, but I wasn't really paying attention. The mussels were cooked perfectly, and the sauce was light and flavourful. There was just enough lemon in it to make it fresh, but not overwhelmingly acidic. It would have been nice to have more bread with which to sop up the sauce (there were two slices), but the amount of food in its entirety was more than enough. I only ate 14 mussels (we were counting), most of the frites, and one slice of bread and I was stuffed. I'd have been willing to sacrifice some frites for more bread, though. That sauce was really good!

I loved the frites. They were probably supposed to be like shoestring or very long matchstick fries, but some didn't separate from each other so they were like wide ribbons. Crispy, just the way I like them. The mayonnaise was fine, but I would have liked something a little more flavourful or original. I'd even have settled for aioli.

We each had half servings of dessert--me the lemon tart, my mother the very berry pie. The lemon pie filling was perfect. It was not quite what I expected (I expected something like lemon curd). Their filling was baked, and reminded me of a lemon cheesecake. It wasn't too sweet or too tart, It's only downfall was the crust. Boooooring!

The very berry pie was very verry tart. Neither of us really cared for it, but I'm sure people who like tart berries would have enjoyed it more. The crust, again, was boooooooring. I think their baker needs to experiment a little more with pie crust making. I believe pie crusts can be flavourful, but theirs was flavourless.

I would dine there again, but not for an elegant or romantic dinner. It's just not that kind of space (it could be, but it is a Bistro, afterall). If you're looking for a quiet dinner, stay away, because it gets rather noisy in there. But the food is tasty, the atmosphere is casual, and the prices are reasonable. I'd give it 3 out of 4 stars based on my first visit. Or maybe 2 3/4. Added to their name, it would give them a perfect 10!

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