Celebrating Winnipeg’s diverse food scene with National Food Day around the corner

To celebrate National Food Day and National Greasy Foods Day, respectively on Oct. 24 and 25, the Manitoban staff has put together a list of their favourite Winnipeg restaurants to encourage supporting small businesses during these crucial times. Be sure to hit up these local food joints, safely. Call them directly for pickup or delivery or search them on your favourite food delivery app.

 

Delicious Vegetarian Restaurant — 1467 Pembina Highway

Ursula Chojko-Bolec, copy editor

This restaurant is perfect for vegetarians that are craving Chinese food but don’t have the patience to sift through a non-vegetarian menu. There are a whopping 91 dishes on the menu, and all of them are vegan. The portions are large and the prices very reasonable — no dish is over $15, which makes Delicious Vegetarian a great option for busy students on a budget.

The best example is the Hong Kong style chow mein. The takeout box is packed to the brim, and after two large servings, the dish looks only slightly less full as it did when you received it. The smoky, fresh flavour of the noodles and the generous amount of green onion is my reason for always ordering this dish.

The best and most surprising aspect of the menu is the number of dishes that contain plant-based meats. This offers variety for vegetarians and vegans who typically only have options packed with sad, under-seasoned vegetables. The vegetarian beef with black bean sauce is one of my favourites — the plant-based beef is sliced thin and works well with the not-too-sweet black bean sauce, my favourite sauce on the menu.

If non-vegetarians aren’t fond of the idea of plant-based meats, there are plenty of other options. I strongly recommend the deep-fried mushrooms with spicy salt — the spicy salt is a delicious touch to the large, crispy mushrooms, making this dish unlike deep-fried mushrooms I’ve eaten before.

With a Google review of 4.6/5 and only one dollar sign, you really can’t go wrong with trying this restaurant at least once.

 

BMC Market — 722 Osborne Street

Zoë LeBrun, arts and culture reporter

If you’re looking for delicious, authentic Mexican tacos at an affordable price, BMC Market is the place for you.

BMC Market is a local, family-run business that offers authentic Mexican sodas, candies, salsa, spices and so much more. But above all, BMC Market has the best tacos in Winnipeg.

Each bite of these fresh, soft-shell tacos leaves one with a complete understanding of why BMC Market is one of Winnipeg’s hidden gems. The flavour is incomparable — you won’t find tacos that taste like these anywhere else in the city.

Besides serving some of the most delectable, authentic tacos in town, BMC Market is also one of the most affordable places to eat out on a budget. It is the home of the three for $5 tacos. BMC Market has many times been the saving grace for my friends and I on evenings when we want to treat ourselves without breaking the bank.

My personal recommendation to all first-time BMC Market customers is their three for $5 tacos with chorizo sausage, onion, cilantro and lime. Paired with hot sauce at the intensity of your choice, this menu item is simple but delicious. Cilantro and lime complement the spicy chorizo sausage, adding a freshness to the taco in a way that I never knew could be done. To top it all off, handmade corn tortillas envelope each of these heavenly tacos, and their delicate flavour balances the dish perfectly.

If this love letter to the restaurant doesn’t convince you to try them out, their 4.7/5 rating on Google should.

 

Corrientes Argentine Pizzeria — 137 Bannatyne Avenue

Shaylyn Maharaj-Poliah, arts and culture editor

Named after one of Argentina’s capital cities, Corrientes Argentine Pizzeria is a family-owned restaurant that brings new and exotic South American flavours to Winnipeg’s historic Exchange District.

Any good meal needs to have a stellar starter and Corrientes has this covered with their handmade empanadas. These flavourful eats are stuffed with a filling of your choosing and are served with chimichurri on the side. With over 10 flavours to choose from, you’re sure to find something to please your palate — my go-to is the lamb empanada, which pairs wonderfully with a glass of red.

Now, to get to what the restaurant is really known for.

Corrientes offers unique combinations of toppings that both encompass and challenge everything there is to love about pizza.

Their signature pizza, the Corrientes, is especially notable, topped with succulent chicken, sweet caramelized onions and smoky roasted garlic. The Chivito Canadiense is a whole feast on a pizza, layered with two types of cheese, bacon, shaved ribeye steak, hard-boiled eggs, ham, onions and banana peppers.

If you’re not a meat eater, there is a loaded veggie pizza topped with roasted zucchini, arugula and peppers, a vegan pizza with artichoke hearts, capers and homemade vegan cheese as well as the Valentino, which has spinach and creamy béchamel sauce. Naturally, they also serve the vegetarian pizza staple, the Margarita. Other vegan and gluten-free options are available as well.

If you have room after all of that, their dessert menu is a chocolate lover’s fantasy as the confection is featured in almost every sweet treat. You can even perfectly bookend your meal with a sweet version of their empanada, though my preferred dessert is the crepe coated in decadent dulce de leche.

Corrientes Argentine Pizzeria is perfect for foodies who are looking for a new twist on the classic Italian favourite.

 

Gohe — 595 Notre Dame Avenue

Kaelen Bell, arts and culture reporter

There are few meals as satisfying — both in flavour and tactile eating experience — as a dinner from Gohe. Served with a somehow scientifically perfect quantity of injera, an Ethiopian flatbread, Gohe’s food is stupidly affordable and stupidly delicious. It’s that elusive balance of sweet, spicy, sour and savoury that Ethiopian food manages to hit like no other.

There’s really no wrong way to go with their menu, and vegetarians and meat eaters alike will have no problem finding something. From the misir wot, zilzil tibs, doro wot or gored gored (steer clear of this last one if you’re not down with raw beef), it’s food that has little competition in terms of complex flavour and simple presentation.

It’s a meal best enjoyed with your close bubble, as all meals should be, as part of the joy is in the act of eating itself — it’s strangely comforting, even with the spectre of COVID-19 breathing down our necks, to eat with your hands and share dishes across the table. It’s not a necessity for enjoying what Gohe has to offer, but it adds an extra dimension to an already killer eating experience.

 

Magic Bird Fried Chicken — 61 Sherbrook Street

Cameron Cannon, news reporter

Recently featured on the Food Network Canada’s Big Food Bucket List, Magic Bird is a popular fried chicken joint run out of the Handsome Daughter on Sherbrook Street in West Broadway.

The menu is what one might expect from a typical fried chicken restaurant — fried chicken, wings, tenders and sandwiches with sides ranging from addictive, paprika-spiced curly fries to crunchy and creamy coleslaw — all made in-house. But this isn’t a typical fried chicken restaurant. They put their own twist on every dish, making their menu a masterclass in expressing the strange in the familiar.

Overwhelmingly, the menu has an emphasis on spice, but the spice level can be customized for each order of chicken — I prefer their hot chicken, but if you really want to feel the heat and reach for the transcendence of something akin to a jogger’s high, try the scorcher, which features a dusting of Carolina reapers.

Not to be missed are the variety of in-house sauces — Cold Mike’s hot sauce, which they sell by the bottle and as a dipping sauce has remained my favourite for the better part of the last two years (though at times too hot to eat, it’s made with scotch bonnets and Carolina reapers), and their neon-green honey dill sauce is to die for.

For the more adventurous eater, Magic Bird offers a monthly sandwich feature — this month they’re offering “the Gobbler,” which is a fried chicken sandwich with “crabberry” sauce, sage stuffing, crispy yam and a pumpkin pie aioli. Like the rest of their sandwiches, this option is only available for takeout.

Make no mistake, Magic Bird sets itself apart from the standard fried chicken joint through creativity with excellent execution. It is anything but standard. If you love hot chicken, do yourself a favour and give Magic Bird a try.