Surprising Saskatoon: A City of Great Restaurants
Saskatoon took me aback. I figured since it was a prairie city, seemingly in the middle of nowhere – that there would be a backwoods feel to the whole food scene.
But was I ever wrong.
Saskatoon is a city of great restaurants.
Within an hour of landing I was enjoying a fantastic lunch at Souleio’s on 3rd Avenue South in downtown Saskatoon. It’s open from 8 am until 5 pm daily so it’s a great place to go for breakfast and lunch. The restaurant is bright and sunny with high ceilings – a reflection of the fact that souleio means sun. I enjoyed a falafel in a fresh pita with a delicious lemony tahini sauce on my first visit. I stopped for lunch on another day and swooned over the chicken salad sandwich with harissa and pickled carrots on homemade multigrain bread. If I lived in Saskatoon I would be hanging out at this place a lot!
Dinner on the first night was supposed to have been at The Hollows - a locally owned and operated restaurant in the Riversdale neighbourhood – an area with a long history that’s undergoing renewal. Unfortunately The Hollows is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays but by all reports this is one of Saskatoon’s top restaurants to visit. The chefs/owners – Christie Peters and Kyle Michael – have kept the original signage and much of the original decor – so it’s an easy place to mistake for a Chinese food restaurant. Christie and Kyle have embraced the farm to fork way of eating and look for as many ingredients as they can find in the Saskatoon area. On the menu you might see plants grown from heirloom seeds, flowers, saps, roots, local fish and sustainably raised meat, poultry and eggs.
Calories Restaurant and Bakery on Broadway is another restaurant I wish I could clone and take to Calgary. It was our back-up choice when we couldn’t get into The Hollows. My dinner was an outstanding dish – roasted garlic stuffed organic chicken breast with organic quinoa on an amazing sweet potato and squash puree.
The owners Rémi Cousyn and Janis Cousyn are obviously great believers in showcasing Saskatchewan. Also on the menu you’ll find Saskatchewan pickerel, elk and roast beef . On their website they detail all the local gardens and farms they support. Lunch and brunch menus look mouthwatering and some effort has been put into offering an interesting assortment of wines.
Roasted garlic stuffed chicken breast with quinoa
In the mornings I went on the search for non-Starbucks coffee places. One I found was The Two Twenty - a building for community and a co-working space. Part of it is a cafe – and the coffee is excellent – but they don’t have much to offer in the way of muffins, scones etc. The day I was there one type of scone and assorted cookies were the only things available. Still I like their philosophy and would return again just for the coffee and interesting background conversation.
The Two Twenty
Another excellent breakfast restaurant is Poached Breakfast Bistro on Second Avenue South. The breakfast menu is heavy on eggs – no big surprise there considering the name. The breakfasts are first rate and if you’re not a vegetarian you have to try a side order of the pecan and maple bacon roll-ups – a little taste of fat and calorie heaven.
This restaurant is very unique. Beginning at 4 pm every day – and lasting until 2 am the place becomes Flint Bistro Saloon - a cocktail house with an urban, edgy martini bar. Need food in the evening. Make a selection from their charcuterie menu. And come back to Poached at 8 am. I love the feel of the place – and the concept.
Inside Poached Breakfast Bistro
Pecan and maple bacon roll-ups
I didn’t have a chance to eat at the Two Gun Quiche House (on 20th Street West) – named after Morris Abraham Cohen – a tough guy with a colourful career including that of bodyguard for China’s first President – Sun Yat-sen. But I did try their soup at the WinterShines Soup cook off. And it was my favourite. I’ve heard loads of good things about the place in talking with the locals and I wouldn’t miss a meal on my next trip through Saskatoon.
Two Gun Quiche House
Roasted tomato soup with goat cheese dumplings and fresh basil whipped cream – at WinterShines
I never made it to the Park Cafe and Diner on 20th Street West either. But it’s the winner of six Best of Saskatoon awards – Best Basic Breakfast, Best Eggs, Best Lunch, Friendliest Staff, Best Hash Browns …so if you want the classic diner experience this is the place to go.
Park Cafe and Diner
In the mood for a beer and pub food??
Winston’s English Pub, located in the historic Hotel Senator in downtown Saskatoon is the place to go for a beer. There are over 100 international beers offered and 60 beers on tap. Corbin – a fellow travel blogger who lived in Saskatoon as a kid recommends the Paddock Wood microbrew. And since I’m not a beer drinker I would definitely take his advice. The pub also offers free WiFi.
I was only in Saskatoon for three days so I’ve obviously eaten at only a handful of restaurants. But the ones I sampled rival any in a big city. So should you happen to be driving through Saskatoon or there on a visit, take the time to try out some of my suggestions. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
Do you have any other suggestions for great restaurants in Saskatoon?
Please note – I was a guest of Tourism Saskatoon BUT all opinions are my own. No one is telling me what to say!
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