Crème de la crème of 2018: The best restaurants in Regina
MasterChef finalist and local foodie Deanna Brown gives CBC her top picks of the year
Looking back at Regina's restaurant scene in 2018, there were some new spaces, some re-vamped places and some consistently clever culinary creations.
To put a wrap on this year's food scene, we've put together a list of must-try restaurants for those visiting Regina or people who want to step away from their usual haunts.
Helping us narrow it down is local foodie and MasterChef Canada season two finalist Deanna Brown.
What she was most excited about this year
Avenue -- 100 - 2201 11th Avenue
Brown says this was the biggest food story of 2018 in Regina.
"It was polished on day three," she said. "You wouldn't have known it was day three."
Avenue is owned by Grassroots Restaurant Group. They own Ayden Kitchen and Bar, Little Grouse on the Prairie, and Sticks and Stones in Saskatoon.
"In all of the city, it's probably the one I've been to the most," Brown said.
Beautiful food, welcoming atmosphere, and family friendly, Brown says she's never felt like she couldn't bring her kids there.
Things you must try: roasted and raw cauliflower salad, beef tenderloin Wellington, any of their creative cocktails, and creme caramel for dessert.
Where she's most likely to have a lunch meeting
Roots Kitchen and Bar -- 4000 James Hill Road
Brown calls this one a hidden gem.
"It's not something you're going to drive by, by accident—you kind of need to follow your Google maps to get there," she said. "But it's definitely worth checking out."
Roots is the most casual and economical restaurant of Brown's picks.
"It's well-priced, it's a really nice atmosphere and the concept of that whole building is really interesting," Brown said.
The restaurant is located inside Harbour Landing Village, which is an intergenerational apartment building that caters to children, teens, adults and seniors.
Before you find Roots inside the building, you'll pass by a salon, the front desk, a lounge area and some elevators.
"The menu isn't huge here, but it has everything you need," Brown said, adding there's a big meeting space, so it makes it a great space for staff luncheons.
What's neat is they host date nights where you make a supper reservation and leave your kids in their childcare centre.
Things you must try: their Mexican Magico night, tacos.
Best brunch or lunch
Skye Bistro & Café -- 2903 Powerhouse Dr.
Located inside the Saskatchewan Science Centre in Wascana Park, Brown says this is by far the most beautiful restaurant on her list. But it's not just for the view.
"The artistry of those plates is incredible," Brown said. "There can't be a carrot on a plate without being carved into a rose. Everything is beautiful."
The restaurant has been open just over two years and is managed by the husband-and-wife team of chefs Milton Rebello and Louise Lu.
Brown says reservations are key here, because Skye is always full.
Everything is fresh," she said, adding that you'll find fresh herbs alongside you in the restaurant and out on their patio in summertime.
Things you must try: chicken and waffles, any of their soups.
The one that's old faithful
Crave Kitchen + Wine Bar -- 1925 Victoria Ave
Of her favourite restaurants, Crave has been around the longest and Brown says that's for good reason.
"Great location downtown, good for date night, always consistent, Chef Jonathan [Thauberger] is super creative and their charcuterie board is their top thing you'd go for sharing," she said.
Crave opened in June 2006. It locally sources ingredients and Brown says the restaurant's community-minded focus makes it really special to her.
"They're really impressive and I hope they never leave us," she said.
Things you must try: Brown says this is impossible, because they change the menu so much that there is always something new.
What she's watching in 2019
"I want to see what is going to happen with Skye in 2019," she said.
Brown says she's learned Chef Milton will be devoting more time to Skye as he leaves the role of executive chef at the Wascana Country Club.
"They're the one I foresee getting better," she said.