Regina's best restaurants of 2017

To put a wrap on this year's food scene, we've put together a list of must-try restaurants with the help of a local foodie who has tried them all.

Local foodie gives CBC her top picks of the year

Aleana Young said one of her top picks this year was Caraway Grill. (Facebook/Caraway Grill)

It was a year of ups and downs for Regina's restaurant scene, with the closures of both Flip and Malt City in the downtown core.

There were some exciting restaurant openings and new local food trucks, with unique and authentic flavours. 

To put a wrap on this year's food scene, we've put together a list of must-try restaurants for those visiting town or residents looking for a delicious night out. 

The judge and Regina's resident foodie is Aleana Young, owner of the Takeaway Gourmet food store in Regina.

Where she ate most this year

I ate a ton at Caraway Grill and at Enso Sushi in the east end. Both of them use real ingredients and really care about the quality. Enso I know flies in all of their own fish fresh a couple times a week. It's not coming off the back of a truck somewhere, they fly it directly in from the Pacific and you can really taste the difference. The owner's mom, who's from Japan, makes all their dressings and sauces by hand and I think you can really taste care and commitment to quality that goes into it.
Enso Sushi was another one of Young's top picks. (Facebook/Enso Sushi)

Best new restaurant

Wann Izakaya. It's kind of a take on Izakaya, which is essentially a take on Japanese bar food, so a focus on sushi and lots of deep fried things. They make, I think the best ramen in Regina.

Some surprises

One of the things that I've consistently been impressed with is food trucks. For the trucks in Regina, in such a small market, to do consistently such a good job, with really limited kitchen space and really limited time to sell, I think is just amazing.

Honourable mention: Malinche.
The Malinche crew on one of their first days open in Regina. (Alec Salloum/CBC News)

Best breakfast

I love me a greasy spoon breakfast so I like the classics. I like Nicky's Cafe, Mr. Breakfast and The Mercury. With all due respect to places that are doing some awesome brunches, I think there is a gap in the market for a breakfast-specific restaurant in town. If somebody wants to open one, I will give them all of my money.

Quick lunch

Milu Fresh Rolls & Subs.
Young said Milu is a great place to grab a sub, especially when you don't have much time. (Facebook/Milu Fresh Rolls & Subs)

Best dinner out

For a fancy meal, especially now that we've lost Flip and Malt City, I love Crave. I think Crave has the best cheese and charcuterie program. I think they have a nice and accessible wine list and, it's underrated but out of every single fish dish that I've had there — they do a nightly fish special — I have not had a piece of badly cooked fish.

Best local bargain

I think Victoria's Tavern does a fabulous job at consistency and affordability. They've really hit their stride and found a great niche in terms of pub food that's a little bit upscale but still within that pricing. 

What to expect in 2018

The opening of the Grassroots Restaurant Group's new location in Regina (they own Ayden Kitchen and Bar, Little Grouse on the Prairie, and Sticks and Stones in Saskatoon).

I'm also interested to see how the downtown food scene continues to evolve. I think it's really doing some great things. I know a great little Chinese place that just opened up on Hamilton called The Rice Guy which is doing really good handmade Chinese food.

Dale McKay, the co-owner of three restaurants in Saskatoon, was the first winner of Top Chef Canada. He plans to open a restaurant in Regina by next spring. (Facebook/Ayden Kitchen & Bar)

I think there is a lot of vacant restaurant space...and I'm interested to see what fills that void.

One of the things that I think is so special and magnificent about this place is how supportive people are of their local establishments and their local businesses so I'm really hopeful for the nest year. While it is obviously heartbreaking to see closures, because they're people's businesses and people's lives, it is an opportunity for somebody else to try and do new things. I am optimistic for the year to come.