Manitoba — Food and Restaurants
Winnipeg may contain the vast majority of Manitoba’s nightclubs and fine dining restaurants, but visitors can sample several of the province’s signature dishes even in the smallest of towns. The flat bread known as bannock, the staple of many of Manitoba’s fur traders, can still be enjoyed over a campfire today. Manitoba is also famous for its pork products, smoked Lake Winnipeg gold eye, and maple syrup. Ukrainian borscht, perogies and layered Icelandic vinarterta desserts are some of the delectable delights which have been imported by Manitoba’s immigrant population over the years.
Bars and Pubbing in Manitoba
Much of Manitoba’s liveliest nightlife is, not surprisingly, found in Winnipeg. The capital’s three main party spots are Osborne Village’s underground scene, the Exchange District’s throbbing dance clubs, and Corydon Avenue, where most bars are accompanied by packed outdoor patios in summer. Winnipeg’s hippest young professionals congregate around the al fresco scene and billiard tables at Bar Italia (737 Corydon Avenue, Winnipeg).
Manitoba’s legal drinking age of 18 may be younger than most other Canadian provinces, but visitors will nonetheless be asked for identification before entering many of the Exchange District’s hottest dance clubs. Those who can’t decide between DJs or live bands can enjoy both at Alive in the District (140 Bannatyne, Winnipeg), while Whisky Dix (436 Main Street, Winnipeg) has no fewer than three bars, two floors, and an outdoor groove space to choose from.
Winnipeg may contain the majority of Manitoba’s nightlife, but the province’s most famous alcoholic beverage, Crown Royal, originated in the much smaller town of Gimli. The best place to sample the popular whisky in the drink’s birthplace is the recently renovated Cronshaw’s Pub (42 Centre Street, Gimli), which frequently has live musical performances with its drinks and relaxing atmosphere. Last call at most Manitoba bars is typically 2:00 a.m., and the government-operated Manitoba Liquor Control Commission marts are the only places in the province where alcohol can be legally purchased outside of licensed bars and restaurants.
Dining and Cuisine in Manitoba
Most of Winnipeg’s finest restaurants can be found on Corydon Avenue, Osborne Village, or the city’s West End, especially famous for its wide variety of ethnic cuisine and food. C. Kelekis Restaurant (1100 Main Street, Winnipeg) is one of the city’s most famous dining institutions, despite its simple fare of hot dogs, hamburgers, and freshly cooked shoestring French fries. Although the frozen treats at Mercato Gelato Café (230 Osborne Street, Winnipeg) are most popular on hot summer days, its Italian market atmosphere remains buzzing throughout the year.
Those able to splurge a bit more during their Winnipeg stay should try one of the city’s renowned sushi restaurants such as funky Wasabi (105-121 Osborne, Winnipeg) or the Ichi Ban Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar (189 Carlton, Winnipeg), where the performances by the chefs are worth nearly as much as the food itself.
Gimil may be home to Canada’s biggest Icelandic population, but its Greek restaurants serve some of Manitoba’s finest cuisine outside of Winnipeg. The beachfront Europa restaurant (81 1st Avenue, Gimli), serves generous portions of the town’s best pizza, while Beach Boy (70 1st Avenue, Gimli) is especially famous for its pickerel dinners.
No matter where diners eat in Manitoba, they can expect to finish each meal with an automatic 10 to 20 percent tip added to their food price. Larger groups may be served with extra gratuity charges.