Since the start of the COVID pandemic, people have been relying on takeout food. Even now, as dining rooms start to reopen at reduced capacity, many food lovers are sticking with this option. Not surprisingly, some of the best takeout food comes from joints that have always done takeout.
A few of the restos listed here operate only for take-away. Sometimes there are a few tables, or maybe a window counter with stools, but basically, these are places that emphasize takeout (and sometimes delivery) and know how to do it well.
If you’re looking for something tasty to pick up, here’s our takeaway on some local takeaways.
● Best Pizza and Donair (1469 Pembina Hwy., 204-275-0444): This tiny Fort Garry spot offers shawarma, donair, falafel, kebabs and Middle Eastern-style flatbread pizzas. Takeout platters are crowded with bountiful sides, and the house garlic sauce is heavenly.
You can order takeout in person or phone ahead for pickup.
● BMC Market and BMC Taqueria (722 Osborne St., 204-415-5192 and 1113 Henderson Hwy., 204-415-1113, bmcmarket.com): The tight menu at these friendly, family-run taquerias (the original south Osborne location and the newer, slightly fancier Henderson Highway venue) concentrates on cheap and cheerful tacos with lots of bright, fresh flavours. Some options, including the tinga, chorizo and bean, are an absolute steal at three for $5, while the barbacoa, al pastor and carnitas are slightly pricier but still a deal at three for $7.99.
In-person service is pretty quick, but you can also phone ahead for pickup. Two-can-dine or larger family packs with tortillas, a choice of fillings, rice and beans are available by online order at the Osborne location, with plans to expand this feature to the Henderson shop. No delivery.
● Fete Ice Cream and Coffee (300 Assiniboine Ave., 204-942-7087, feteicecreamcoffee.com): With such fantabulous flavours in rotation at this new downtown premium ice cream and coffee shop — the delicate London Fog is made with Earl Grey from the Amsterdam Tea Room; the moody Manhattan uses a bourbon-brown sugar base and a touch of citrus bitters — it might take a while to choose.
Walk up for takeaway scoops, or you can pre-order pints and coffee beans for curbside pickup or get delivery through DoorDash. Bonus: While you wait for your ice cream, you can watch the doggos in the Bonnycastle off-leash park.
● Half Moon Drive In (6860 Henderson Hwy., Lockport, 204-757-2517, halfmoondrivein.com): For city folks, this Lockport destination — first the original building and then the modernized version — has been a day-tripping treat since 1938. You reach the Half Moon after a scenic drive along the Red River that’s just the perfect length — long enough to feel like an excursion but not too long.
Specializing in comforting drive-in classics, the menu includes hot dogs, hamburgers, fries and shakes, all served up with retro charm.
Use the drive-thru, and then sit at the outdoor tables or hang out in the parking lot. (Note: Currently debit card payment only.)
● Viena Do Castelo (857 Sargent Ave., 204-415-4615; vienadocastelo.com): This West End business — part grocery, part catering service and part eatery — specializes in scratch-made Portuguese food. Check out their social media for daily specials or just call to speak to the helpful owners. To-go items could include salt cod cakes, chicken basted in piri piri sauce, house-made chouriço sausage, or flakey little custard tarts.
You can pre-order for pickup or try SkipTheDishes or DoorDash for delivery.
● Wako Sushi (875 Corydon Ave., 204-339-7777, wakosushiwpg.com): This tiny Corydon Avenue spot has always been geared to takeout and delivery, serving up an extensive to-go Japanese menu with lots of sashimi and sushi options.
Food is fast and fresh and very good value. (You can’t beat bakudan rolls for $3.50 or a 12-piece sashimi plate for $16.)
You can walk in or order ahead by phone for pickup. Delivery is available via SkipTheDishes.
● Wall Street Slice (753 Wall St., 204-221-7272, wallstreetslice.com): New York-style ‘za — thin, a little crispy and entirely delicious — meets made-in-Manitoba ingredients at this terrific West End spot. Standout pies include the deliciously subtle Whiteout and the flamboyantly spicy-sweet Hot ‘n’ Honey, made with house-cured Berkshire pepperoni and garlic honey.
The smallish venue is currently opened at half-capacity for dine-in, but whole pies can be pre-ordered online for pickup, while individual takeout slices can be requested in person or over the phone. Wall Street also operates its own delivery service.
● White Top Drive In (409 Manitoba Ave., 204-589-4419): This longtime North End destination, with its distinctive red-and-white striped exterior, is best known for gloriously messy fat boy-style burgers. (The White Top won the Free Press’s Munch Madness burger bracket in 2017.) It also serves up fries, poutine and soft ice cream.
You can phone ahead to pre-order or just walk up. No delivery.
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.