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Are you heading to the Canadian prairie province of Saskatchewan? Looking for Saskatoon restaurants that offer a true local experience? From hemp bread to aged silver ribeye, here’s where to savour some superb Saskatchewan terroir.
Saskatoon restaurants, Saskatchewan terroir
It’s official. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, a prairie city in Canada’s midwest, has become a culinary destination. BECAUSE THERE IS STUFF HERE TO MAKE FOOD OUT OF. So when it comes to local products, locavore love and all that same old, same old, Saskatoon restaurants are same new, same new because Saskatchewan grows unique things.
Did you know? Up to 80% of the world’s mustard seed exports come from the prairies. That means France imports mustard seeds from Saskatchewan. Take that, Dijon!
So. Next time you eat a bite of a hot dog slathered with mustard, know that you are very likely eating Saskatchewan, because like wine, mustard’s flavour is affected by its terroir – the soil and particular conditions it grows in.
AND SASKATCHEWAN’S TERROIR IS DELICIOUS.
Saskatoon restaurants – Where to find the mustard – Ayden Kitchen & Bar
If there is one eatery that continues to get all the buzz, it’s the award-winning Saskatoon restaurant, Ayden Kitchen & Bar. Helmed by celebrity chef, Dale Mackay, the original Top Chef Canada winner, Ayden is big on local ingredients, rich in quality meat (they grind their own beef) and high on urban chic. Get your fill of homegrown mustard with the in-house-made Charcuterie Platter.
But bring back the asparagus
The first time I went to Ayden I had the Grilled Local Asparagus with Fried Egg, Bacon & Shallot Vinaigrette and Caper Aioli. I’ve been drooling over it ever since. The next time I was in Saskatoon I returned, filled with asparagus dreams, but it wasn’t on the menu. Instead I was forced to eat the 10 oz Aged Silver Ribeye, which (almost) replaced asparagus in my heart.
Ayden Kitchen & Bar Address: 265 3rd Avenue, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Reservations: Telephone: 1-306-954-2590
Let’s talk Saskatoon wheat!
Golden waving fields and grain elevators may be a Saskatchewan cliche, and not the sexy foodie image Saskatoon wants to portray, but I say if you’ve got it, wave it like a Saskatchewan flag. Saskatchewan is still the largest producer of wheat in Canada and one of the largest in the world, supplying 10% of the world’s wheat exports.
So. When Saskatoon says freshly-baked bread, it means fresh.
Saskatoon restaurants to eat bread at
A classic: It may be more of a kiosk than a restaurant but the Doukhobor booth at the Saskatoon EX in August always has the best bread ever. EVER.
Little Bird Patisserie & Cafe
Hip and trendy, yet traditionally French: Little Bird Patisserie makes croissants that will make you cry. Your thighs will grow huge. It’s worth it. Little Bird is located in the revitalized neighbourhood of Riverdale, the area around 20th Street West that’s been written about as the happening new area in Saskatoon for the last 10 years, but now actually is.
Address: 258 Ave B South, just off 20th Street, Saskatoon.
pulse pulses of Saskatchewan. Because it has more than one.
Saskatchewan grows more lentils, beans, peas, and other dried-legume-y type produce than you could possibly stuff into a thousand trendy food trucks. This means that the best Saskatoon restaurants provide locavores (people who are passionate about locally-grown produce) with enough healthy comfort food to sustain them through one thousand and one frosty nights.
Saskatoon restaurants to take your pulses at
The Hollows restaurant offers dishes such as Saskatchewan chickpeas, hummus, kalamata and fried bread; and Saskatchewan quinoa, lentils, tomato, greens, poached farm egg and ricotta – or just opt for some hemp sourdough bread.
FYI: I meant to eat at The Hollows, and would have loved to because they also have bone marrow on the menu, and I would travel across the province for bone marrow, but I didn’t end up eating here (long story) so don’t blame me if your chickpeas aren’t delectable. Next trip I’ll check it out for myself.
The Hollows. Address: 334 Avenue C S, Saskatoon, SK S7M 1N4, Canada
Reservations: 1 306-652-1505
Move over Saskatoon berry. Haskap is all the rage in Saskatchewan (and Japan).
You may have heard of the mighty Saskatoon berry, which looks like a blueberry but is actually more closely related to the apple, but haskap is the new ‘It’ berry – you might even say it’s the Cara Delevingne of berries (and if you don’t know who this bad-girl supermodel is, you really have to start reading In Touch Magazine).
Haskap, deep purple berries native to the boreal forest might be ugly, resembling tiny deflated footballs or possibly purple misshapen elf toes, but they’re a tough and hardy berry.
Haskap berries can weather -45 degree Celsius temperatures, so by eating them we will grasp all their inner hardiness and become strong ourselves. What? It’s more scientific than that? Fine. Haskap berries have Vitamin C, antioxidants, anthocyanins, polyphenols and bioflavanoids. Satisfied? No? Okay, they taste good, like a cross between, um, other berries such as blueberry, black current and raspberry.
Note: The maritime province of Nova Scotia may be slightly ahead of Saskatchewan in the Haskap world domination race, but this landlocked prairie province is roaring up behind it like a chuck wagon raising dust.
Where to try haskap berries in the prairies
In liqueur. Lucky Bastard Distillers makes a Haskap Liqueur. (I’m sure Cara Delevingne would approve.) They also make a Saskatoon Berry Liqueur if you’re a traditionalist. Tours and tastings are available onsite, and the website even promises that you can “stick your nose in a bunghole,” which almost makes me not want to go, but the promise of haskap would still lure me on.
Lucky Bastard Distillers Address: 1925 Ave B North, Saskatoon
So there you have it, some of the best Saskatoon restaurants, distilleries and artisanal cafes. Of course there are many more food fantastic places to visit. In fact, according to the Tourism Saskatoon website, Saskatoon has more restaurants per capita than anywhere in Canada. I leave you with a quick list of some favourites.
(Do you have more to add? Leave them in the comments below.)
Other Saskatoon restaurants and delicious destinations of note
Little Grouse on the Prairie
Getting rave reviews for dishes such as Ricotta di Campagna with sage butter and Tagliati di Manzo with balsamic, arugula and pine nuts, Little Grouse on the Prairie is one of the newest restaurants to grace the Saskatoon culinary scene. Address: 167 3rd Avenue South, Saskatoon. Reservations: 306-979-0100. Open for dinner only.
The Remai Modern art museum is the biggest thing to hit the Saskatchewan since the … um, Saskatoon berry. Shift, the Remai’s restaurant is part of the Oliver Bonacini family of restaurants from Ontario but takes its Saskatoon locale seriously, keeping its roots in Canadian cuisine and embracing local staples such as perogies and Deifenbaker trout. (Er, I’ve actually never heard of Deifenbaker trout. I guess it comes from Lake Deifenbaker.) Anyways, the restaurant is light and airy, the surrounding are avant garde and airy and it’s got a nice riverbank setting.
Prairie Harvest Café
It’s not in the downtown core but Prairie Harvest Café is a casual east side neighbourhood with an emphasis on locally-sourced produce. Address: 2917 Early Drive, Saskatoon. Reservations: 1 306 242 2928
The Odd Couple restaurant
My friend Kelly took me to The Odd Couple last time I was in Saskatoon. It’s a casual Riverdale restaurant with stylish Asian food. No artificial M.S.G. or flavour additives. Address: 228 20 St W, Saskatoon, Canada. Reservations: 1 306-668-8889
Saskatoon Farmers’ Market
You can’t mention local produce, Saskatchewan terroir or Saskatoon restaurants without mentioning the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market. Here you can get your rhubarb wine from Living Sky Winery in Perdue; your Stellar Gourmet Mushrooms grown sustainably on organic substrates; and your Golden Prairie wild boar. Open year round (yes, even on those cold frosty days), the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market is a hub of the homegrown – a locavore-lovers locale offering a top taste of terroir. (I know I’m overdoing the alliteration, but Saskatoon cuisine brings out the bad poet in me – maybe it will in you, too!)
Best days to go Wednesday: 10:00 – 3:00; Saturday: 8:00 – 2:00; Sunday: 10:00 – 3:00 Saskatoon Farmers’ Market. Address: 414 Avenue B South Saskatoon.
Travelling to Saskatoon? For more info on Saskatoon restaurants and travel ideas visit the Tourism Saskatoon website.
Where to stay in Saskatoon
I like the classic chateau-style Delta Bessborough, while others rave about The James Hotel Saskatoon. You can check prices and get other options here:
Read more about Canada: My Top Places to Visit in Canada blog post.