The momentum of Saskatoon’s culinary scene is taking off like a mom to a back to school sale. There are many new restaurants and revitalised neighbourhoods offering a unique perspective for the culinary scene. They’ve gone beyond being the world’s largest exporter of mustard seed and flat prairie lands; there’s no flat about it, Saskatoon is changing the way we eat, how we eat it, and why we should use fresh local ingredients whenever we can.
It’s the only Canadian city named on the New York Times list of 52 places to visit in 2018 and its eateries are a mega draw. Here’s a list of restaurants that will have you texting your babysitter with a 911 emergency, my taste buds must be fulfilled!
Being the only perogies drive-thru in the world justifies a stop all on its own. With 33 years under their belt, Baba’s knows a good perogie, so you can try many different varieties including mushroom sauce, boiled and fried, or my favourite potato and cheddar fried perogies Wednesday! Paired with a delectable sausage and cabbage roll, you’ll be sure to be satisfied on all fronts.
To locals, the space was known as the Crazy Cactus, but as of June 2018, it is Hearth Restaurant. Featuring everything from fish wings, which you literally eat like chicken wings, to sausage with peas gnocchi, and peanut butter and jam ice cream bars, owners Beth Rogers and Thayne Robstad couldn’t be happier to cook for their guests.
Everyone has that one spot that no matter what, you always remember. Since the ’60s, Park Café has been a staple in the Saskatoon community. Co-Owner Patrick Hearn recounts old stories while he showcases the diner’s unique items like the small ceramic heads he keeps behind the counter, old-school bathroom posters and old-time menus that feature pricing like $0.60 for steak and eggs.
The menu features every brunch item (and then some) that you could possibly imagine.
Owner Christie Peters forages around the neighbourhood as her way to offer you the freshest ingredients possible. She searches for everything from herbs to dandelions that she’ll use for your dinner. Even the feature drinks are made from forged flowers! Once housing an old Chinese restaurant, still featuring some of the décor, she’s taken on a whole new meaning from farm to table. With the fried dandelions, to the herbs she serves tea with and the incredibly fresh peas she liquifies into sheer gold and places inside a melt-in-your-mouth ravioli shell, there is a plethora of options to choose from. Make sure you order different things to try and share…if you dare.
Andy and Rachel are the owners behind Odd Couple and have named themselves that after Andy’s relationship with his family. Their food can only be described as plates you never want to stop coming. The Asian inspired cuisine features everything from mushrooms to dumplings, to jasmine rice to Maple Thai Basil Pork Ribs, to…let me make this easy, just bring an appetite.
Their collaboration with 9 Mile Legacy Brewing, which you’ll find directly across the street, pairs Odd Couple dishes with a great Gold Ale made with lemongrass, ginger and Szechwan pepper. 9 Mile Legacy is a great place to go and sample a flight once you’re done dinner.
Part of the Grassroots Restaurant Group, winner of Top Chef Canada, Dale McKay, opened Little Grouse on The Prairie, which is run by one of his partners and Head Chef, Jesse Zuber (also featured on Top Chef Canada). Jesse studied in Italy and his masterpieces are seen on the plates he creates. The style is alla famiglia, the way Italians have always eaten. I should know. I am one. And it’s always hard to try food outside of your home as you’re crucial in judgement when dining out. However, this full-blooded Italian will tell you that you can’t go wrong with any order here. With an open kitchen concept, you’ll delight in the dishes delivered including risotto with seasonal flower blossoms, sardines with the scales fried to eat, the lamb chops will have you salivating after every bite and the tortellini are magnifico!
The newest addition to Saskatoon’s art scene is the Remai Modern, not to be confused with the Remy Martin. The installations are unique and eccentric and of course, you’ll find a collection of Picasso’s being housed in this architectural beauty.
After exploring this magnificent building, grab a bite at Shift, part of the Oliver and Bonacini restaurant group. Might I suggest trying their brunch menu or for a richer experience the three-cheese mac and cheese.
Fancy a pre or post-date cocktail? Here are some recommendations to add to your special night:
This distillery began selling in 2012, but it was quite the process to get there as you can imagine with a name like Lucky Bastard; and that story, even more interesting. Co-owner, Cary Bowman explains that his partner, and former doctor, Michael Goldney, won the lottery and was standing in line at the liquor store purchasing bottles of Dom Perignon. When the cashier returned with more bottles of celebration he’d requested from the back, she asked him what he was celebrating. When Goldney responded with, I won the lottery, the lady standing behind him said congratulations…you lucky bastard. And hence, the name was born.
My suggestion whilst sitting in their stunning dark furniture oaked room would be the maple rosemary rum sour. What a way to kick off date night!
A young three years old, Black Fox Farm & Distillery uses local grains from Saskatchewan and are also the featured winners of the Nuffield Scholar award based out of London. With 5 different gins to choose from and a large acre farm to walk hand and hand in while sampling gin and exploring the quiet beauty of nature is just what date nights are made of.