Let your stomach lead you: The best places to eat in Saskatoon in 2019
Local foodie gives CBC her restaurant picks for the year ahead
Looking ahead into the coming year, there are so many things going on in Saskatoon's culinary world that navigating your way through what's new, what's good and what's in your price point can be a challenge.
To help potential foodies map out a culinary journey for in 2019, Saskatoon food judge and critic Noelle Chorney offers some suggestions.
One of the restaurants Chorney is most excited about is called Hearth. It started as a catering company and grew into much more, now located in the newly renovated old Crazy Cactus space in the Avalon neighbourhood of Saskatoon.
"They do a really small menu with all handmade, locally sourced," she said, adding it's a great date night location.
Chorney describes it as locally inspired Canadian comfort food — they make all their own sausage and pasta with a big focus on using vegetables in interesting ways.
Also making Chorney`s list is Bar Gusto: a small menu, small plate, Italian-focused restaurant space.
Chorney was impressed by their egg-yolk raviolo —a big ravioli filled with egg yolk that spills over when you cut into it.
When it comes to bang for buck, Sal Pita is at the top of her list.
Chorney says the value is obvious: you can get pastries or a pita flatbread and mini flatbread pizzas for $2 to $4.
"I bought literally eight of them for $40 and took them home and we had them for supper, for a night snack, for breakfast the next day," she said with a laugh. "They kept going and going."
You can dine in for lunch, but Chorney said Sal Pita's appeal is that you can easily take the food to go.
And oldie but a goodie
Taverna Italian Kitchen has been in Saskatoon since 1969.
Nine years ago it was purchased from the original owners by Anastasios Kangles. In 2017, the restaurant underwent a renovation. And while the menu is new, there are many old favourites that still remain.
"It's old-school Italian, but they're really working at being as authentically Italian as possible," Chorney said, adding that they do encourage ordering and sharing family style.
"You can tell them, "Just make us a classic Italian dinner,' and they'll look after you," she said.
For the vegan in your life
Güd Eats started as a vegan/vegetarian food truck and now has a physical location.
"It's all the things you could ever have at a fried chicken and hamburgers place … except vegan versions," Chorney said.
She insists you must try their version of chicken and waffles called "chickn and waffles" or their caesar salad that does have bacon (called "bacun") flavouring.
Watch for food trucks
They may only appear in the warmer months, but Chorney says there are a couple of food trucks that are really worth the wait.
"SoomSoom and Rebel Melt have both won a ton of awards," she said, adding that they are two of her favourites.
"Rebel Melt has the best grilled cheese I've ever had. And SoomSoom, everything I had from there," was recommended, said Chorney.
SoomSoom is Mediterranean fusion street food, and she said that you absolutely have to try their shakshuka — eggs cooked in a tomato sauce with all kinds of spices.
"I was sitting on a park bench thinking, 'This is the best breakfast I've ever had,'" she said with a laugh. "It's amazing what they can do in that little truck."
Use social media to find other gems
Chorney says that pop-ups and shared spaces are becoming increasingly popular. Diners are finding new favourites through social media.
"People are following their favourite purveyor and they don't have a place that they are going to specifically be — they're going to be a different locations and they'll let you know, and you can go there if you want to see them," she said.
Canoe Oysters is one that Chorney follows closely through social media.
"He brings in fresh oysters, and he's the only person, I think, in Saskatoon who is bringing in oysters. And then he does lots of seafood-based catering as well," she said.
- The original version of this story stated that Taverna Kitchen was purchased by employees from the original owner. In fact, the restaurant was purchased by Anastasios Kangles. He was not an employee.Jan 03, 2019 9:27 AM CT