Looking for intimate eating in a hushed dining rooms? Keep looking.
Sure, Winnipeg has many quiet and refined restaurants that serve noteworthy food, but if action's what you're after, there's plenty of that to go around too. Winnipeg isn't short of raucous restaurants perfect for being seen (and heard). Boisterous conversation, hubbub and din come standard with dinner.
There's nothing precious about these places. They're loud and proud. They also serve fantastic food.
In that spirit, here are a few of Winnipeg's most buzz-worthy and buzzing restaurants.
In Ferno's Bistro
Both locations of this fine French fusion eatery will knock your socks off with their outstanding eats and a metropolitan-chic sensibility. In Ferno’s menu strikes a nice balance between traditional and modern French cuisine with Manitoba regional ingredients thrown into the mix. Think of it as French food with a sense of adventure. The St. Boniface location inside a converted two-storey home on Des Meurons Street is particularly boisterous and bustling. Insider's tip: Try any one of the daily specials. Chefs at both locations stretch their culinary muscles every day and deliver superb plates.
Voted one of Canada's top-50 restaurants of 2012, Academy Road's Pizzeria Gusto serves top-drawer dishes and some of the city's most terrific and ingenuous pizzas. An imposing Naples-style wood fired oven and chef's table/bar are the pulse of this 60-seat establishment. (Capacity doubles to 120 in the summer months with the addition of patio seating.) Until late 2012, Gusto didn't take reservations. That didn't deter the crowds, who regularly packed the place. That's still the case today. This spot is a great date destination, especially if you're concerned about uncomfortable silences. There won't be any.
Bistro 7 1/4
An open-kitchen and chef's table/bar situated in the centre of the dining room lends itself to a touch of hurley-burley in this South Osborne eatery. Insider's tip: Check out School Nights, every Sunday night from about 7 p.m. onward. Convivial bon vivants, foodies, artsy types, professionals and couples crowd into the lounge for themed food and cocktail evenings like opera night, fall harvest, and a how-to DJ night, for example. Chef/owner Alexander Svenne typically serves little bites to the crowd and themed cocktails add to the mix.
This east Exchange District restaurant is hub-bub central. A slick and sophisticated Buenos Aires vibe permeates this popular spot. Weekend evenings invite a party-loving crowd who come for South American style steaks with a dash of farofa and a dollop of house-made chimichurri. A large, centrally located bar dominates the dining room and lounge, which all blend into one big room. Live music spices up Hermanos on the weekends. Insider's tip: Canadian crooner Michael Buble fell in love with Hermanos while performing in Winnipeg a few years ago. He has officially lent his name and face to advertising.