This week’s neighbourhood resto round-up heads to Transcona, home to the vast Regent Avenue strip, a wonderful, walkable old downtown hub, some terrific thrift stores (shout-out to the well-organized book section at Mission Thrift!), and a whole lot of eateries. Here are just a few:
(Keep in mind that restaurant information can change rapidly right now, so check websites or social media for updated info.)
RISE AND SHINE:L’Arche Tova Café (119 Regent Ave. W., 204-421-9388, larchetovacafe.com) is all about good grub, good value and a good feeling. Serving up big breakfasts, lunch platters and light snacks, this neighbourly joint is a social enterprise run by L’Arche Winnipeg, part of a Canadian-founded organization that supports the community life of people with developmental disabilities.
The Blue Collar Special, including two eggs, meat, potatoes and toast, is a steal of a deal at $5.90. Service is warm and chatty, with lots of coffee top-ups.
This modestly sized venue is popular, though, so there might be lineups at peak hours.
STAND-OUT FOOD STAND: Located in a small corner lot in downtown Transcona, Maggi’s (102 Victoria Ave. E., facebook.com/SyrianMaggis/) is a family-owned takeout stand that serves up the usual burgers and dogs, along with such Syrian specials as kebabs, shawarma, falafel and chopped salad. The home-baked baklava, with a layer of green pistachios, is heavenly, as are the rolled date pastries with just a kiss of cinnamon and anise.
A great option for those who prefer doing takeout right now, Maggi’s has several picnic tables — currently covered in easy-to-clean plastic — for outdoor dining. If you know where the Whistle Pig used to be, you know where to find Maggi’s.
LA DOLCE VITA: The indoor seating for patrons wanting to linger over coffee and pastries may be temporarily suspended at Dolce Bake Shop (1565 Regent Ave. W., 204-505-1444, dolcebakeshop.ca), but the baking is going strong.
This small shop is packed with candies, confections, cookies, cakes — basically, all kinds of sweet treats. Along with customized specialties, the bakery offers darling cupcakes with dangerous amounts of airy buttercream and a whole range of cookies, from Argentinian alfajores to imperials, those jam-filled hometown favourites.
LOCAL LANDMARK: The renovated decor is sleek and contemporary at Dal’s Restaurant and Lounge (701 Regent Ave. W., 204-222-4255, dalsrestaurant.ca), but this beloved Transcona establishment has been cooking up burgers, chicken, ribs and pizza for over five decades.
The meaty Fat Boy burger has lots of chili-sauce messiness (anticipated with extra napkins from the get-go), and the robust Greek salad gets a tasty — and secret! — dressing. (Only two people know the recipe, my server tells me.)
Dal’s also does takeout and delivery. One note: the restaurant will be shut for the August long weekend.
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DELI DELICIOUS: Tucked away on a quiet street, Sevala’s Ukrainian Deli (126 Victoria Ave. W., 204-224-4900, sevalas.com) promises favourite dishes "Just Like Baba Makes." We took home the perogies filled with potato and extra (!) cheese and some tender cabbage rolls with a smoky bacon finish, and while we don’t want to get between anyone and their baba when it comes to cooking, everything tasted grandmother-style good.
There’s a variety of fresh packages of perogies, cabbage rolls and pyryshky to take out, but you can also stock up with frozen bulk quantities, as well as prepared foods such as soups, meatballs, chilies and cutlets. And because Baba is up-to-date, there are gluten-free perogies and several vegan options available.
The deli is currently limiting the number of customers inside at one time, but you can arrange for delivery or curbside pickup (and enjoy that crazy mural energy on the parking-lot-side wall while you wait).
Alison Gillmor Writer
Studying at the University of Winnipeg and later Toronto’s York University, Alison Gillmor planned to become an art historian. She ended up catching the journalism bug when she started as visual arts reviewer at the Winnipeg Free Press in 1992.
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