The fun part of a visit to a new city is discovering its local food and dining scene. Saskatoon isn’t the largest of Canadian cities, but it provides a decent variety of eateries in and around its downtown core, along and off Broadway, and Riversdale (currently being redeveloped while its heritage buildings are preserved).
I dined one evening at Truffles Bistro, one of the city’s favourite gourmet spots. Chef de Cuisine Lee Helman sources high quality Saskatchewan and Canadian products for his French dishes. The restaurant is located on the street level of Birks jewelers in the heart of Saskatoon. The atmosphere is warm and casual, with antiques, heritage-era photos, and soft lighting to complement its warm white walls.
Although not pictured here, I started with a local tomato salad ($13) featuring fresh basil granite, baked herb goat cheese, greens, Saskatchewan flax oil, and 18 year old balsamic vinegar. The basil granite was sublime and needed to be eaten quickly to keep its icy texture. Together with the goat cheese, this dish hit the spot!
Local Diefenbaker Steelhead Trout ($28) was the first entrée that caught my eye, served pan-seared with shoestring potatoes, lemon, dill crème fraîche, and asparagus. Divine, along with an Angels Gate Pinot noir, its bouquet rich with spices and white pepper. I also tasted black plum and dried fruit on the palate with this Niagara-area red.
A simple dessert of maple ice cream with berries and dark chocolate completed this wonderful first night in town dining experience.
Truffles Bistro is located at 230 21st East in Saskatoon and is open for lunch on Monday to Friday, dinner from 5 pm to closing, and weekend brunch from 10 to 2:30 on Saturday and until 2 pm on Sunday.
Las Palapas Resort Grill makes the most delicious quesadillas I’ve tasted so far in Canada. I chose citrus chicken, with spinach, mozzarella and salsa fresca ($12). There’s a wealth of speciality plates, mole dishes, tacos, tortas, enchiladas, and burritos available. I wish they’d bring their creations to Vancouver. The atmosphere is lively with colourful walls, tile, and a build-you-own pozole condiments bar (pozole is a traditional soup served daily in Mexico).
Las Palapas is located at 910 Victoria Avenue (off Broadway) in Saskatoon.
Being a craft beer fan, I had to visit the spanking new Woods Ale House, open for just under a week when I arrived for dinner. They’re located on the busy 2nd Avenue North corridor at 148 2nd. The taps have just been installed and are awaiting their official decorative handles.
I tasted two of the IPAs – the 606 IPA and the heartier Loki Double IPA – as well as the Cherry Barrel Full of Monkeys, aged in bourbon barrels and containing a ton of cherries in the mix!
Paddock Wood Brewing is the province’s first microbrewery. I’d unfortunately missed meeting brewmaster Stephen Cavan, but his team is dedicated to making some pretty amazing beers. The Woods Ale House features nightly live entertainment and a full dinner menu.
My two IPAs were kept company by a serving of duck confit mac ‘n’ cheese, plus side greens $22). I plan to return to Saskatoon to try the beer brûlée made with Paddock Wood’s London Porter or a seasonal beer. By then, this friendly pub/resto should be on the ground and running.
On my final day in town, a small group of us headed to Souleio Foods for their famous locally-sourced dishes. Souleio stands for “soul food for modern times”. The grilled cheese has a great reputation, so I made sure to order it.
I wasn’t disappointed with the thick toasted bread and melty white cheese served with an organic green salad. A Saskatoon berry lemonade made the meal that much nicer.
Located in the historic McLean Building, Souleio is the product of a large restoration in order to bring the early 1900′s charm to its shop, following the original layout while modernizing the basement. Embossed ceilings, original mezzanine windows as well as recycled woodwork and floors make for a lovely dining or shopping experience in the city’s heart.
Aside from a charming, woodsy restaurant, Souleio contains an onsite bakery, deli, and small gourmet grocery section. They also infuse their own spirits and sell a good selection of wines chosen by wine director Mike Stiles.
Souleio Foods is located at 265 3rd Avenue South in Saskatoon. It’s open from 7 am to 6 pm Monday to Friday, 8 am to 6 pm on Saturday, and is closed on Sundays and stat holidays.
My meals at both Truffles Bistro and Souleio Foods were compliments of Tourism Saskatoon.