We’re back with Restaurant Roundup for 2015! This year’s theme: Where To Eat This Weekend. Every other week we’ll be profiling a different city in Canada with a list of great dining recommendations for you to check out – from fancy to hole in the wall and everything in between! Today food writer Renée Kohlman takes us on a tour of Saskatoon restaurants to check out this weekend!
Brunching or Lunch in Saskatoon
This gem of a spot, The Hollows, located in the trendy Riversdale neighbourhood has been a favourite among locals for almost four years. Chef duo Christie Peters and her partner Kyle Michael have become known for stirring up the Saskatoon dining scene with their creative, contemporary cuisine focusing on natural, seasonal ingredients. Brunch is always packed on weekends with folks enjoying the breakfast poutine (do get the truffle mayo), cured trout benedict, pear and lavender oatmeal and - my absolute favourite - the potato rosti. Just imagine a crispy shredded potato nest topped with seasoned lentils, poached eggs, lardons and greens dressed in a warm truffle vinaigrette. It’s to die for. Their dinner menu is also inspired and worth checking out. Open Wednesday to Sunday. Reservations recommended.
Prairie Harvest Café
Prairie Harvest Cafe is one of my favourite places to eat in the city, and they do a knock-out weekend brunch. This small restaurant located in an East side residential neighbourhood fills up faster than you can say house-smoked bacon and for good reason. PH is the tops for using locally-sourced fresh ingredients in creative, rustic home-style dishes.
Chef/Owner Mike McKeown is frequently spotted at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market, and the menu at PH is always changing as seasonal ingredients come and go. Must try: the Breakfast Burger - housemade beef burger, topped with bacon, fried egg, Hollandaise, and dressed greens. Their weekday lunch and dinner menus are also fantastic, just be sure to save room for their signature maple bacon doughnut. Open Tuesday to Sunday. Reservations recommended.
The Park Café
If a greasy spoon diner is what you had in mind for your weekend noshing, than look no further than The Park Café. A fixture in the Riversdale neighbourhood for many years, this family-owned restaurant serves up some of the best Eggs Benedict in the city. I like to relax in a cozy booth with friends, sip bottomless cups of coffee and tuck into my poached eggs and Hollandaise. They offer many breakfast options, but I’m a hard-core fan of the Benny. It’s a busy spot, with lineups out the door, even on a frigid Prairie winter morning. Service is always friendly and prompt, and the people watching is top notch. Doesn’t take reservations. Open daily.
Dinner in Saskatoon
Ayden Kitchen and Bar
Top Chef Canada alumnus Dale MacKay, along with co-chef Nathan Guggenheimer, opened Ayden Kitchen & Bar to rave reviews two years ago and the accolades continue. Globally inspired comfort food using local and seasonal ingredients is their forté and they do it well. Butchering is done in-house and their burger is made from daily ground beef. That’s fresh! The fried chicken is quite lovely and you can never go wrong with their fresh pasta, made in-house of course. Cocktails are exceptional, with master mixologist Christopher Cho at the helm of the bar. With an open kitchen design, you can watch the team of chefs work their magic behind the line. Reservations recommended. Open Monday to Saturday.
It’s always good to have a cheap eats option for dinner and Jin Jin is my go-to. Known for having some of the best Chinese dumplings in the city, it’s also worth noting that there may be a small communication barrier if you don’t speak Mandarin. The owner, God bless her, will do her best not to lead you astray, and there is lots of smiling and pointing at menu items and nodding. All of the most popular dishes on the menu are circled in ballpoint pen. Of these circled items, you’ll want to try the Fried Scallion Pancake - a steal for $2. Spicy Chicken with Chilli Peppers is quite delicious. I’m also a huge fan of Stir Fried Sliced Pancake with Veggies and Egg. And oh, the dumplings! Jin Jin does an assortment of scallion, pork and cabbage, pan-fried just the way I like them. Reservations not required. Open daily.
Right across the street from Jin Jin is Primal, the best restaurant to open in Saskatoon in 2015. Christie and Kyle - the same chef couple who own and cook at The Hollows - also work wonders with their Italian-inspired dishes at Primal. Using Saskatchewan heritage grains to make their pasta and whole animal butchery throughout the menu, they’re creating food that’s simply a pleasure to eat. Starter favourites are the bone marrow and house-fried bread with balsamic. The short rib agnolotti with braised kale and chili breadcrumbs practically brought tears of joy to my eyes. The menu will change with the seasons; Christie has a large garden and a horticulturalist on staff so the produce is always fresh and fabulous. Reservations recommended. Open Wednesday to Saturday.
Other Favourite Places
The Night Oven Bakery
The Night Oven Bakery owner and head baker Bryn Rawlyk grinds his own flour to bake bread in a brick oven he built himself. His passion for local sourced ingredients shines through in all of his bakery items, from the house-made mustard on his sandwiches to the wild blueberries in his tarts. The almond croissant and pain au chocolat have cult followings and sell out quickly. Coffee is delicious, too. Reservations not required. Open Tuesday to Saturday.
Little Bird Patisserie and Café
One can’t leave the Riversdale neighbourhood without enjoying a handcrafted macaron from Little Bird Patisserie. The pastry case is always brimming with delicious works of art that look almost too pretty to eat. Almost. They serve lovely light lunches, impeccable teas and on Sundays they flip crepes for the brunch crowd. Reservations not required. Open Tuesday to Sunday.
Duck Duck Goose Tapas Bar
This cozy little nook of a place is situated just off busy Broadway and is perfect for when the mood is cocktails and nibbles. Pillows of ricotta gnocchi with sage butter and the duck poutine with truffled fries are just two of my favourites at Duck Duck Goose, and I guarantee the churros with chocolate will make those with sweet teeth happy. Cocktails are creative and always tasty, the space eclectic and inviting. Reservations not required. Open Monday to Saturday.
More Great Places to Eat This Weekend
Here are more great places to eat across Canada this weekend! We've got you covered from East to West. Where will you be eating?
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Where to Eat This Weekend: Saskatoon Edition was written by Renée Kohlman. Rénee is a pastry chef and freelance food writer/recipe developer. She writes columns in both the Saskatoon StarPhoenix and Bridges newspapers, where she dishes on the latest places to eat and shares new recipes. Her debut cookbook All the Sweet Things will be published in spring 2017 by Touchwood Editions, and she’s pretty over the moon about that. When not cooking or writing, she loves hiking in the wilderness and binge watching True Detective. She lives in Saskatoon with her four adorable cats.