Throughout the country, restaurants and cafes are using local ingredients to showcase tasty Indigenous cuisine. Here’s where to get a taste.
Chef and owner Christa Bruneau-Guenther opened Feast after noticing a lack of affordable food options for Indigenous people looking to explore their culinary roots. Her menu is packed with simple, accessible dishes like salads, bannock burgers and Powwow Tacos made with native Manitoban ingredients. Try the Feast House Salad with sunflower seeds and a Saskatoon berry vinaigrette. —E.C.B.
“Don’t panic, we have bannock” boasts this Interior B.C. cafe whose breakfast and lunch menus include options such bannock breakfast sandwiches, a venison bannock taco and chile served with classic fry-bread. To finish your meal, try a maple latte or Saskatoon berry tea lemonade. —K.T.
Less than 30 minutes from the core of Quebec City, the Indigenous community of Wendake is a year-round tourist destination in its own right, with attractions including historical and cultural sites, walking and biking trails and canoeing or kayaking. Housed in the boutique Hôtel-Musée des Premières Nations, this cozy upscale hotel restaurant creates seasonal dishes with ingredients from the northern forests it’s surrounded by: a venison terrine with fiddleheads and wild mushroom tapenade, for instance, or brook trout with a cattail and corn crisp and warm sea buckthorn jam.—K.T.
This chic spot is located at the Grey Eagle Resort & Casino on Calgary’s Tsuu T’ina Nation. Executive chef Bill Alexander uses locally sourced and foraged ingredients such as bison, rabbit, rhubarb and sage to create modern dishes with Indigenous influence. Try the smoked venison carpaccio, which comes with saskatoon berry bannock crisps, black garlic aioli, candied lemon peel and fresh pomegranate. —E.C.B.
Founded as an Indigenous-owned co-operative, this north-end complex houses a supermarket, an arts store (with artisans often working on-site) and a casual lunch and brunch space featuring Indigenous ingredients such as wild blueberries, Manitoba-caught fish and wild rice. Menu items include bannock pizza, pickerel or bison burgers, and a vegetarian “three sisters” soup with squash, beans and corn.—K.T.
Voted best dining experience during the 2015 Dine Out Vancouver Festival, this welcoming bistro focuses its lunch and dinner menus around wild fish, free-range game meat and fresh-baked bannock. Try the sockeye salmon cured in beetroot and citrus, or the elk burger with sautéed mushrooms and alder-smoked bacon. —K.T.
Billing itself as “a taste of aboriginal Canada,” this friendly cafe in Toronto’s east end offers a dine-in or take-out menu packed with Indigenous ingredients including salmon, buffalo, elk, blueberries and wild rice. The salmon or trout on fry-bread bun comes with a side of coleslaw and dill pickles, while the 10-ounce bison steak is served with a bannock appetizer, sautéed wild rice and mushrooms, and mashed potatoes. —K.T.
Community-owned and operated by the All RISE Project, The Bannock House is both a workplace training site and a restaurant open to the public. The focus is on traditional Indigenous comfort foods like soup and, naturally, lots of bannock. Try one of the restaurant’s popular desserts such as the Bear Paws, fry bread dusted with cinnamon and sugar and drizzled with caramel. —E.C.B.
Wanuskewin’s onsite restaurant (no admission fee required) specializes in contemporary cuisine that utilizes the same ingredients the Indigenous people of the Northern Plains would have used thousands of years ago. Seasonal menus include both contemporary dishes, like a bison burger with house-cured bison bacon and Saskatoon berry barbecue sauce on a bannock bun, and more traditional dishes like rabbit pot pie with muskeg tea. —E.C.B.
Calgary Chef Insider: Teatro’s Matthew Batey
A fixture of fine dining in Calgary, Teatro Ristorante has been a go-to for locals since it first opened 25 years ago. But, in recent years, the Italian restaurant began to feel more like an institution than a must-try hot spot in a city with a burgeoning dining scene.