Best of Food & Drink 2017

STARTERS & SIDESMEALSPIZZABREAKFASTCOFFEEBOOZE & PUBSRESTAURANTSINTERNATIONALSOCIALIZINGPEOPLESHOPPING & SERVICESNEIGHBOURHOODS

Hallo there, friends! Step right up to the counter and grab yourself a stool. Can I get you a pop? Maybe a milkshake? Ours brings all the blurbs to the yard. That’s a joke! Speaking of blurbs, you’re holding in your mitts the 2017 Best Of Food And Drink, a comprehensively compiled compendium of quips about the winners in this year’s Prairie Dog’s reader’s poll. Some blurbs are funny, some are weird, a few of them are accidentally factual and all are worth a couple minutes of your time (but no refunds). So swivel on your seat, take a slurp o’ your soda and read about the excellent Regina restaurants, menu items, food people and shops that make this town’s dining scene tops!


STARTERS & SIDES

Best Bacon Creations

Leopold’s Tavern
2330 Albert St. 306-525-5367 / 3735 East Quance St. 306-559-5367 / 5650 Rochdale Blvd. 306-545-5367

2nd Sinfully Sweet Cathedral Bakery
3rd The Knotted Thistle

My favourite “Bacon Creation” is Study after Veláquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X which the Irish artist Francis Bacon painted in 1953. As you can see, it didn’t even make the short-list in our annual poll. Nonetheless, there are undoubtedly some true bacon masterpieces to be found at the above establishments topped by Leopold’s Tavern with its infamous “Bacon Night” on Monday where you get a bucket of bacon in different styles and flavours for $6. So yummy eating everyone! /GB

Best Calamari

Earls Kitchen + Bar
2606 28th Ave. 306-584-7733 / 1875 Victoria Ave. E. 306-949-4955

2nd Table 10
3rd Copper Kettle
4th Original Joe’s

In 2003, a Kyoto accountant of my acquaintance almost died after eating giant squid. Ika Nigiri learned the hard way that deep-sea squid practically ooze ammonia, which they use to maintain neutral buoyancy.

Fortunately, many squid are edible and quite delicious. On that point, Earls is this year’s Queen City calamari champ. Earls’ squidlets are so scrumptious you might think they’re freshly netted (they’re not: the only “ocean” here is an overconfident pond whose name starts with “W” and ends with “ascana”. But I digress).

If you haven’t tried these battered, fried, tzatziki-dipped tentacle-treats, make sure you do — I promise you’ll like them. Unless you’re weird about seafood. Are you weird about seafood? That’s too bad. I blame Ika. /Stephen Whitworth

Best Salad

The Chopped Leaf
1834 Scarth St.  306-525-2467

2nd Earls Kitchen + Bar
3rd Houston Pizza
4th Bushwakker

I just grabbed a Southwest salad at The Chopped Leaf and it was good. This “chef designed” leafer is made of romaine lettuce with beans, cheddar, tomatoes, corn, a toasted tortilla and zesty lime dressing. I added smoked tofu to mine which was yummers. The Southwest is one of eight Chopped Leaf specialty salads but they’ll build you anything — you pick from a roster of ingredients including four types of leaves, four cheeses, a bunch of meats (plus tofu), more than 20 “choppings” (tomatoes, onions, nuts, olives etc.), and your choice of 11 dressings including ranch, Caesar, Greek, tzatziki and “evil peanut”, which could stand to be a lot more evil, IMHO.

Most importantly: I’m typing this at my desk in an office on the second floor of the same building the downtown Chopped Leaf is in. LOL Chopped Leaf, I’m on your ceiling. /Stephen Whitworth

Best Soup

Beer Bros. Gastropub & Deli 
1821 Scarth St. 306-586-2337

2nd Victoria’s Tavern
3rd Bushwakker
4th fix. Coffee

I had one of my all-time favourite soups at Beer Bros. — a spectacular cream-based something-or-other garnished with tempura-battered red peppers. That was a daily special and I’m not sure how often it comes around (or even if it still does) but regardless, BB has a mighty soup game. I’ve never had a bad bowl whatever the daily special, and the bistro’s cheddar ale soup, a menu fixture since forever, is fantastic. There’s a lot of great food to go with your soup, too.  Beer Bros. has been one of Regina’s consistently best restaurants for a long time. Also, did someone say beer? /Stephen Whitworth

Best Shrimp

Red Lobster
890 Albert St. 306-522-2224

2nd Chop Steakhouse & Bar
3rd Rock Creek
4th Tamarind Restaurant

My friend Lois and I have a psychic connection over Red Lobster commercials. Whenever one airs, we think of each other and sometimes even pick up the phone and say “Let’s go to Red Lobster!” It’s those drooly close-ups of glistening shrimp. Whether it’s dripping in garlic butter, fried, or (my favourite) in one of those yummy, cheesy pastas, we can’t stop thinking about it. The place is packed on weekends, so be prepared to line up. But you’ll be glad you did. And don’t even get me started about the All-You-Can-Eat. /Chris Scott

Best Spring Rolls

Viet-Thai 
2080 Albert St. 306-569-3833

2nd Lang’s
3rd Saigon By Night
4th Peking House
5th Siam Authentic Thai Restaurant
6th Little Saigon
7th Vietnam Mekong Restaurant

I’ve lived in Regina for almost 19 years. I’ve met some amazing people and had some incredible experiences. I’ve also eaten a lot of food. Like, a LOT. Some of that food has been Viet Thai’s vegetarian spring rolls. During my spring-roll-inhaling-peak (2005-2007), I estimate these magical fried sticks made up two per cent of my total annual food intake. Viet Thai’s tofu coconut curry vermicelli made up another point, point and a half, but that’s another story. /Stephen Whitworth

Best Fries (Chain)

Five Guys Burgers & Fries
2531 Quance St. 306-569-5555 / 4666 Gordon Rd. 306-352-5545

2nd McDonald’s
3rd New York Fries
4th Earls Kitchen + Bar
5th Fuddruckers

There’s nothing better than good ol’ sliced potatoes deep fried in oil. And while there’s debate over which country actually created french fries, France or Belgium, one fact remains clear: the best fries in town belong to Five Guys Burgers & Fries. Whether you eat in at Five Guys or order take-out, you don’t just get little container of fries. You get a whole pile. I’ve noticed, too, that Five Guys tends to post where they get their potatoes come from. Often, it’s Alberta, so the potatoes are fresh. If you wanted, I suppose, you could try tracking down the potato farmer and thanking him — although that would probably be weird. But if you love Five Guys french fries like our voters do, it would certainly be appropriate. /Shane Hnetka

Best Fries (Local)

Bushwakker
2206 Dewdney Ave. 306-359-7276

2nd Coney Island Cafe
3rd Leopold’s Tavern
4th Hunter Gatherer Vegetarian Diner
5th Bonzzini’s Brew Pub
6th Malt City

Bushwakker wins in this category for the bazillionth time BECAUSE: their fries are plentiful, done to perfection, nicely seasoned and unlike prefab fries also taste as good cold. They even taste good plain — although they taste even better with salt and ketchup (or malt vinegar if you prefer). The fact is, they don’t need tarting up and anything else with them is just gravy.  Did I mention they taste good with gravy too? /Chris Scott

Best Poutine

Coney Island Café
4908 Dewdney Ave. 306-206-1711 / 681 Albert St. 306-559-0818

2nd Leopold’s Tavern
3rd Mr Spudds Poutinerie
4th Flip Eatery & Drink

It seems like poutine is being added to the menu of just about any place that deems itself a restaurant these days. Unfortunately, that can be a hit or miss affair. Coney Island Café, on the other hand, is a veteran poutine purveyor and a multiple winner in this category. It has at least a million varieties of poutine to tantalize your taste buds — okay, maybe I’m exaggerating, but only slightly. Their offerings range from the traditional to the outrageous and each one has its fans. My favourite is butter chicken poutine, and there’s even an Elvis poutine with peanut butter and bacon. The poutine comes in regular or mini servings, each providing a good-sized portion and great value. The menu also includes other food options such as burgers and hot dogs, as well as refreshing beverages to go with your meal. /Carolyn Rebeyka


MEALS

Best Sandwich

Italian Star Deli
1611 Victoria Ave. 306-757-6733

2nd Fresh & Sweet
3rd The Fat Badger
4th Gilmour’s Corner

There is only one sandwich in Regina. It is the Platonic ideal of a sandwich, an ur-sandwich, a sandwich to which all other sandwiches aspire. It’s Italian Star Deli’s spicy sandwich on focaccia, with feta. Maybe it could be made without feta, or layers of provolone and deli meat, and maybe there’s a version that isn’t stuffed with banana peppers or hot chili paste, but I don’t want to know about a world where that’s possible. This is the sandwich you wait in line for as the staff assemble it behind the counter, slice by slice. Carlo may have stepped back from his day-to-day duties as the face (and mullet) of Italian Star, but the sandwich lives on. /Aidan Morgan

Best Pita/Wrap

ZamZam Wraps
Cornwall Centre 306-525-1301 / 3618 Eastgate Dr. 306-525-2255

2nd Pita Pit
3rd Prairie Donair
4th Extreme Pita
5th Opa!

ZamZam’s friendly Zammers load pita wraps with heaps of meat or falafal, vegetables, cheese (if you want) and sauces. Then they put the magical bulging food-tubes in a sandwich squasher (because otherwise they wouldn’t fit into your mouth). Then you eat them. And then you’re happy. Want to be happier? Order a side of tabouli, the parsley-based wonder-salad that makes you stronger, smarter, younger and, if you consume enough, telepathic. That’s just a theory, but I bet it’s true. How else do ZamZam’s staff always know what I want before I order? /Stephen Whitworth

Best Burger

Five Guys Burgers & Fries
2531 Quance St. 306-569-5555 / 4666 Gordon Rd. 306-352-5545

2nd Fuddruckers
3rd Bushwakker
4th Birmingham’s Vodka & Ale House
5th Bonzzini’s Brew Pub

This makes a couple of years that Five Guys Burgers & Fries has won Best Burger, which just goes to show that they’ve mastered the art of the burger. You can order whatever you want, and they will make it to perfection. Double cheese burger? Perfect. Single loaded? Perfect. Whatever your heart desires they can make it. Plus, their fries are best in town. /Shane Hnetka

Best Veggie Burger

Hunter Gatherer Vegetarian Diner
1221 15th Ave.

2nd 13th Avenue Coffee House
3rd Flip Eatery & Drink
4th Bushwakker
5th Table 10

Don’t let the name fool you. Hunter Gatherer has nothing to do with hunting and everything to do with gathering. Regina’s newest vegetarian diner is already gathering a following of regulars with its quirky decor, interesting staff, excellent playlists, and great food. The vegetarian burger has a black bean base and can be ordered “the usual” or with the daily special toppings. Whether you get the burger, melt, or other awesome meal, be sure to order fries. Even friends who don’t normally eat meals without meat have been known to take a special trip to Hunter Gatherer for the fries. /Tamara Harder

Best Fish and Chips

Bobby’s Place Olde World Tavern
2044 Dewdney Ave. 306-585-3058

2nd Bushwakker
3rd Joey’s Seafood Restaurants
4th Bonzzini’s Brew Pub

I live and work in the Warehouse District, where our main exports are backsass, beer and fried things. Okay, the backsass is just me. But we have a number of restaurants that fry things to perfection and Bobby’s is one of them. The fish not only melts in your mouth, the chips are perfectly done: a nice dark hue with a great texture. They’re served in a basket with slaw and the portion size is perfect. Add friendly service, and you’ve got a great spot for comfort food. /Chris Scott

Best Pasta

Luiggi’s Pasta House 
470 Albert St. 306-949-7427

2nd Fireside Bistro
3rd East Side Mario’s
4th Malt City

Luiggi’s Pasta House has won this category before. So their W here is no surprise. Not that the runners-up don’t all make good pasta. But Luiggi’s has been in business since 1984, and have mastered the art of pasta. Whatever pasta dish you crave Luiggi’s makes it to perfection. Lasagna, cannelloni, manicotti, fettuccine, linguine, tortellini and more. There are so many choices on the menu that I don’t even know what half the dishes are. But that’s okay because their friendly staff will gladly answer any questions you have. And most importantly, it’s damn tasty. /Shane Hnetka

Best Barbecue

Jack Keaton’s BBQ & Grill 
720-2410 Dewdney Ave. 306-522-7227

2nd Smokin’ Okies
3rd Montana’s BBQ & Bar

There are tons of fast food, pizza and chain restaurants in Regina. But good barbecue is hard to come by. Jack Keaton’s BBQ & Grill is dedicated solely to barbecue. The owner is a red seal chef. The menu is a feast of tasty barbecue eats. Chicken, pulled pork, steak, ribs, brisket, burgers and salmon all get cooked to perfection. They also have salad, although I don’t believe it gets the barbecue treatment. But maybe it should… hmm. No, that’s dumb and would taste terrible. Still, for the best barbecued food that should be barbecued it’s Jack Keaton’s. /Shane Hnetka

Best Ribs

Jack Keaton’s BBQ & Grill 
720-2410 Dewdney Ave. 306-522-7227

2nd Tony Roma’s
3rd Montana’s BBQ & Bar
4th Table 10

Just because you have the Best Barbecue in town, it doesn’t automatically mean you have the Best Ribs. But in the minds of our voters, Jack Keaton’s BBQ & Grill deserves both titles. They have baby back ribs, side ribs, and if you’re looking for a starter they also have rib tips. You can get a full slab or half slab, and the ribs are cooked expertly and smoked over apple wood. This creates the best tasting ribs in town. /Shane Hnetka

Best Steak

The Keg Steakhouse & Bar
4625 Albert St. 306-585-1717 / 2515 Dewdney Ave. 306-352-9691

2nd Chop Steakhouse & Bar
3rd Golf’s Steak House
4th The Diplomat
5th Table 10

Steak can be done wrong so easily, but the good folks at The Keg know how to do steak right. The Keg has been perfecting steak since 1971, and are masters at it. Whether it’s a top sirloin or New York cut, The Keg cooks an awesome steak. They also have teriyaki steak which gets soaked in a teriyaki sauce and then cooked to awesomeness. Truly, The Keg has the Best Steak in Regina. /Shane Hnetka

Best Smoothie

Booster Juice
Four Locations

2nd Sprout Café
3rd Nature’s Best

Google “what is a smoothie?” and you get this: “a man with a smooth, suave manner.” If Booster Juice was a man, he’d be such a fellow. Why, he’d make everyone blended yogurt beverages with ingredients like bananas, strawberries, coconut, oranges, guava and blueberries, and they’d be sooo tasty. He’d give these smoothies fun names like “Mango Hurricane”, “Lemon Lime Licious” and “UnBEETable”, and, if you wanted, he’d add “boosters” like ginseng, Echinacea and soy protein powder. And he’d make a legendary smoothie called a “Funky Monkey” with bananas, chocolate almond milk and vanilla frozen yogurt. Smoothie’s world sounds like a great place to live. /Stephen Whitworth

Best Dessert

Le Macaron 
2705 Quance St. 306-779-CAKE (2253)

2nd Sinfully Sweet Cathedral Bakery
3rd Bushwakker
4th Table 10
5th Earls Kitchen + Bar

Le Macaron is a dangerous place. Sinfully, and deliciously dangerous. You’re not safe living in the same city as Le Macaron. Run, people, run! And, when I say run, I mean run right over to this little slice of heaven and order yourself a treat. Heck, order two (or more), because you’ll likely have trouble trying to decide which decadent dessert you want. If you’re trying to impress someone, take them out for a bite at Le Macaron, or surprise them with a decorative box of the specialty item the store is named for. Yes, the macarons are absolutely fabulous. But everything else, from the cheesecakes, cakes, tortes and fresh daily pastries, is bound to please as well. /Carolyn Rebeyka


PIZZA

Best Basic Pizza

Sparky’s Family Restaurant 
3926 Gordon Rd. 306-586-8338

2nd Sparky’s Family Restaurant
3rd Western Pizza
4th Houston Pizza
5th Pizza Hut

One of the problems about living in one corner the city is that you tend not to get food from places that are in other corners of the city. Not that you can’t get their food, it’s just that you’re more likely to order from places close to you. But in doing that, you sometimes miss out things, like your pick for Best Basic Pizza. Sparky’s has been in business since 2001, and they have perfected the basic pizza. While I don’t live anywhere near the south end, I have several friends who do, and they all have Sparky’s on their pizza speed dial. /Shane Hnetka

Best Gourmet Pizza

Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria 
1881 Scarth St. 306-789-0011 / 1A-2005 Prince of Wales Dr. 306-347-4992 / 8-4400 Rochdale Blvd. 306-789-3131

2nd Copper Kettle
3rd Bushwakker
4th Artixen

During a famous 1964 U.S. Supreme Court case Justice Potter Stewart adopted “I know it when I see it” as a test for whether something was obscene. We’re that way at Prairie Dog when it comes to gourmet pizza. We don’t have a hard and fast definition, or a master list of toppings that need to be used for a pizza to qualify as gourmet. Instead, we take a gander at the pizzas a place prepares, and make a judgment call on whether they meet the gourmet threshold. Sometimes, it’s a tough call. That’s not the case with Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria, though. Just check out some of the ingredients that go into their pies: baked prosciutto, fennel seeds, artichoke hearts, Kalamata olives, extra virgin olive oil and roasted mushrooms. So congrats to Famoso. /GB

Best Thin Crust Pizza

Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria 
1881 Scarth St. 306-789-0011 / 1A-2005 Prince of Wales Dr. 306-347-4992 / 8-4400 Rochdale Blvd. 306-789-3131

2nd The Artful Dodger
3rd Panago
4th Pizza Hut

Unlike our gourmet category, which has no guidelines outside of “we know it when we see it”, we have strict rules for thin crust pizza. To qualify, the crust must be between 1.1 and 1.6 cm thick in the centre part of the pizza, while the outside crust cannot exceed 2.8 cm when averaged across the total circumference as calculated by the formula πd — okay, I’m just messing with you. We don’t go around measuring pizza crusts to see if they’re thin or not. Although if we did, considering that Famoso’s original inspiration was the Neapolitan tradition of pizza making, it would obviously meet the test. Throw in a specially-trained team of Pizzaiolos and fresh and authentic ingredients, and you’re guaranteed a good dining experience. /GB

Best National Chain Pizza

Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria 
1881 Scarth St. 306-789-0011 / 1A-2005 Prince of Wales Dr. 306-347-4992 / 8-4400 Rochdale Blvd. 306-789-3131

2nd Boston Pizza
3rd Panago
4th Pizza Hut

Famoso is Regina’s 2017 chain pizza champ. The company, which besides Saskatchewan has restaurants in Ontario, B.C. and Alberta, specializes in thin-crust, Neapolitan style pizza. My favourite is Margherita — a classic basil and cheese pie that can be enhanced with cherry tomatoes, olives and other delights. Famoso’s website has the full menu, so you can ponder pizzas like the Verde (onions, garlic, goat cheese, olives and kale), Siciliana (Italian sausage, Italian ham and prosciutto for you meat-heads) and many more from the comfort of your home (or phone). There’s also seasonal specials like the Prawn Pesto, which looks great. /Stephen Whitworth

Best Delivery Pizza

Western Pizza 
Ten Locations

2nd Houston Pizza
3rd Domino’s Pizza
4th 2-4-1

With its many locations throughout the city, Western Pizza is this year’s Best Delivery Pizza. Not only do they make a damn fine pizza, overloaded with toppings, but they can deliver it to your home in decent time. Piping hot and ready to eat. And not just pizza, but ribs, wings, salad, lasagna and more garlic toast than you can handle. After 40 years in business, Western Pizza has delivery pizza down to a science. /Shane Hnetka


BREAKFAST

Best Basic Breakfast

Fresh & Sweet
2500 Victoria Ave. 306-751-2233

2nd Nicky’s Café
3rd Mr. Breakfast
4th Smitty’s
5th Casino Regina
6th O’Hanlon’s Irish Pub

Fresh & Sweet has been one of this town’s top breakfast places for a while. They’ve won this poll for four years straight. That’s amazing. The last NHL team to win four straight Stanley Cups was the New York Islanders, who captured it every season from 1980–1983. Any restaurant that can compare its popularity to an NHL team that had Mike Bossy, Denis Potvin and Bryan Trottier is doing something right. In this case, that thing is breakfast. Also: the baking. Fresh & Sweet’s cupcakes are fantastic. /Stephen Whitworth

Best Fancy Breakfast

Hotel Saskatchewan
2125 Victoria Ave. 306-522-0275

2nd Cora
3rd Fresh & Sweet
4th Breakfast Bistro
5th Fireside Bistro
6th Skye Café & Bistro

Hotel Saskatchewan has won this category every year we’ve had it: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, and it won again this year. I can only surmise that the Hotel Sask’s fancy breakfast is pretty good.

(And yes, I’m sure the legendary brunch buffet — with its omelette station, infinite food and special place in certain Regina circles — torques the results, but that’s allowed. I mean, it’s a Regina bucket list experience, right? A bucket buffet.)

The menu has buckwheat pancakes, steak and eggs and an egg white frittata among other choices. There are also two Egg Benedicts, including a lox Benedict with house-cured salmon, pan-fried baby potatoes and restaurant-made hollandaise sauce. Hotel Sask minion Dean Shaw, who helpfully ran through the menu with me when I popped in unannounced, told me it’s incredible and he loves it. This jibes with my experience: it’s been awhile, but I remember having really good salmon bennies. Lox me up for a fancy Hotel Sask breakfast! /Stephen Whitworth

Best Fast Food Breakfast

McDonald’s
Nine Locations

2nd A&W
3rd Tim Hortons

People love McDonald’s Egg McMuffins, hash browns and, since they fixed it a few years back, coffee. But then, we all know the Golden Arches is a great morning pit stop. My only quibble is that you can’t order McDonald’s breakfast all day. Too bad. Can you imagine? Sleeping in until noon, then grabbing an Egg McMuffin? Or after a night at the pub? Wow, that would be something! You’d need a designated driver — or, I guess you could take a cab through the drive through. Why not? Bottom line: total game-changer and miracle anti-hangover drug.

I can’t stop thinking about this. If McDonald’s had all-day breakfast it would be amazing. If only such a mad dream could come true in a fallen world like this. /Stephen Whitworth

Best Chain Breakfast

Cora 
4634 Gordon Rd. 306-585-2672

2nd Denny’s
3rd Smitty’s
4th McDonald’s
5th Humpty’s

Cora has hypnotized Saskatchewan with fruit! The beloved breakfast chain’s not-secret weapons are the generous slices/piles/mounds of pineapples, melons, dragon fruit, strawberries, oranges, apples, grapes, blueberries, kiwis and other delicious nature-candies that arrive with your eggs, French toast, crepes, pancakes, omelettes and whatnot. A person could resist Cora’s tasty egg bennies (four flavours!) or waffles, I guess, but the one-two punch of a good breakfast juiced by artfully prepared fruit is too much to resist. That’s my theory behind Cora’s popularity, anyway. The restaurant also has fruit-focussed dishes like Fruit Magic and Samira Wake-Up. It’s good stuff. Fruit! We like it. /Stephen Whitworth

Best Breakfast Buffet Under $20

Casino Regina
1880 Saskatchewan Dr. 1-800-555-3189

2nd Houston Pizza
3rd Theo Bill’s

All great breakfast buffets have one thing in common… the omelette bar! Casino Regina’s brunch, available Sundays 10 a.m.-2 p.m., has a chef to make you an omelette while you wait. Usually, they have six on the go at one time. It’s a sight to see a chef cook, flip, and serve six omelettes while chatting with the customers and keeping everyone entertained.  If eggs aren’t your breakfast food of choice, you can always load up on bacon, sausage, waffles, and pastries.  There is also a selection of “lunch” foods that changes week to week.  With the bright lights, show lounge setting, and live piano music while you eat, Casino Regina offers a Vegas buffet at a Regina price. /Tamara Harder

Best Breakfast Buffet Over $20

Hotel Saskatchewan
2125 Victoria Ave. 306-522-0275

2nd Houston Pizza
3rd Wild Sage

Every year I put my fancy pants on and take my mom to the Hotel Sask. for Mother’s Day. This year they made our lives easier by selling advance tickets so when you show up you can just eat and not worry about flagging down a server on their busiest day of the year. This is a great idea as you really want to focus on ALL THE FOOD in the beautiful hotel setting. Juices, hot entrees, soups, baking, breakfast items, seafood, desserts, are stretched out in a lavish spread. But they’re not too big to lose the local focus: I’ve had wild rice and perogies from their brunch buffet year round. Don’t just wait for a special occasion, try it if you haven’t already! /Chris Scott

Best Brunch

Victoria’s Tavern
1965 Hamilton St. 306-352-8427

2nd Hotel Saskatchewan
3rd Fresh & Sweet
4th Fireside Bistro
5th Table 10

Brunch combines the best of both “breakfast” and “lunch”. It offers you the luxury of being able to rise at a dignified hour, yet still partake of all your breakfast favourites like the 7 a.m. crowd. Or, if you did happen to rise at an ungodly hour, you can enjoy an early lunch to help fuel the rest of your day. Really, what’s not to like? Especially if you’re smart enough to take our voters’ advice and check out Victoria’s Tavern. /GB

Best Eggs Benedict

Breakfast Bistro 
3215 Quance St. 306-206-1811

2nd Fresh & Sweet
3rd Nicky’s Café
4th Skye Café & Bistro
5th Table 10
6th Sprout Café

I don’t think we’ve ever done “Best Eggs Benedict”. We’ve covered bennies under the retired category “Best Eggs”, but this breakfast treasure deserves its own spotlight. Why hasn’t it had that? Who’s got the final say on categories, anyway? Oh, right: me. Well, I’m an idiot.

I’m glad to see Breakfast Bistro win our first-ever “Best Eggs Benedict” prize. The restaurant serves four bennies: the Classic (meat, tomato), the Florentine (spinach and feta, tomato), the Sriracha (sriracha aioli, avocado, arugula and a tomato) and the Vegetarian (roasted vegetables, herb aioli, arulga and tomato). All, of course, are built around poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce. They’re all great. So how do you pick one? That’s your happy problem, bennie fans. /Stephen Whitworth

Best Hash Browns

Nicky’s Café
1005 8th Ave. 306-757-3222

2nd Breakfast Bistro
3rd Fresh & Sweet
4th Smitty’s

Some people might wonder why we have a separate category for hash browns in this contest. Those people obviously don’t know breakfast. Hash browns can make or break a good breakfast. If they’re not done right, you might as well have stayed in bed or had a bowl of soggy cereal to start your day. But when your hash browns are done well, it can elevate a mediocre morning to one where the sun is shining and the birds are singing. And once again this year, our voters have judged Nicky’s as the place where the hash browns are a true winner. /Carolyn Rebeyka

Best Muffins

Brewed Awakening
Six Locations

2nd The Green Spot
3rd Sinfully Sweet Cathedral Bakery
4th Tangerine
5th fix. Coffee

This coffeeshop, with locations sprinkled across Regina, has won a number of categories in this year’s contest including top prize for Best Muffins. That says a lot because our city has its fair share of great muffin shops. But Brewed Awakening takes it up a notch when it comes to muffins. Their muffin menu includes basics such as blueberry, bran and morning glory, but they also offer interesting flavour options such as coffee cake and lemon partridge berry. I’ve taste-tested only a couple of flavours so far, but I’ll be going back to enjoy a few more — along with a delicious beverage from Brewed Awakening.  /Carolyn Rebeyka

Best Cinnamon Bun

The Green Spot
1821 Hamilton St. 306-757-7899

2nd Sinfully Sweet Cathedral Bakery
3rd Brewed Awakening

Wednesday and Saturday. Save the date! And be prepared for an early morning. Get your elbows ready, too, in case the crowd gets a little rowdy and you need to “Gordie Howe” your way to the front of the line. What’s the occasion, you ask? Well, Wednesday and Saturday are cinnamon bun days at The Green Spot. Yes, these delicious creations are available two days a week, and they almost always sell out early. You can also order in advance if you want to guarantee a batch to take home. If you’ve never had a Green Spot cinnamon bun, I’m not sure what planet you live on, or what you’ve been waiting for. Go soon — just be sure to stay out of my way because I’ll probably be wearing my elbow pads. /Carolyn Rebeyka


COFFEE

Best Cup of Plain Old Coffee

McDonald’s
Nine Locations

2nd Tim Hortons
3rd 33 1/3 Coffee Roasters
4th Atlantis Coffee
5th fix. Coffee

McDonald’s serves reliably great coffee. It’s better than any other chain’s, including Tim Hortons (so-verrated) and Starbucks — which I have nothing against (Starbuck’s hatred is lame), but in my experience in different cities Starbucks makes inconsistent and sometimes really bad drip coffee. I’ve had a good pour-over there, but that ain’t basic. ANYWAY, I’m sure there are spots that consistently knock drip coffee out of the park. And there are definitely places that brew with better beans. But for day-in, day-out decent coffee, McClown’s java is tough to beat. /Stephen Whitworth

Best Mocha

Brewed Awakening
Six Locations

2nd Starbucks
3rd Atlantis Coffee
4th fix. Coffee

Mochas are awesome. Brewed Awakening has been voted Regina’s best. So I swung by the Hill Ave. shop on a beautiful Sunday and ordered one for scientific purposes. The mocha, made for me by Brewed Awakener Ben, was straightforward and delicious — frothy, chocolaty and goooood. BA Ben says the drink’s simplicity — just chocolate milk and good coffee — is the key. Sounds like a theory. Great mocha, would inhale again. /Stephen Whitworth

Best Coffee Shop

Brewed Awakening
Six Locations

2nd Atlantis Coffee
3rd Naked Bean
4th fix. Coffee
5th Le Macaron

Brewed Awakenings is a local coffee chain that sets itself apart with a great menu. Sandwiches, salads, wraps, paninis, fresh rolls, quiches and what looks like a killer veggie burger serve as the main course. But the showstoppers are the baked goods: carrot cakes, protein bites, cookies, cupcakes (on the day I was there they had a ludicrously good-looking mini cheesecake), red velvet cake, something called an OMG Bar, and huge cinnamon rolls. Brewed Awakening also serves breakfast, and I like the sound of that Egg-cellent Breakfast Biscuit. Must investigate. A special shout-out to Brewed’s London Fog: the large is made with two tea bags, steeped before the warm milk is added as should be international law. There were raves about this London Fog. Raves, I tell you. /Stephen Whitworth

Best Coffee Shop To Work/Study In

Stone’s Throw Coffee Collective 
1101 Kramer Blvd. 306-949-1404

2nd Brewed Awakening
3rd Naked Bean
4th fix. Coffee
5th Starbucks

When I was a student, we didn’t have all the fancy mobile technology kids do today — so I did most of my studying in the library. As a freelance writer, though, I’ve spent my share of time working at local coffee shops. Everybody’s preferences are probably different, but for me a good work/study spot includes a semi-comfortable chair/table, quirky décor, high-speed wireless connection and a quiet corner where I can hunker down and work. Of course, I’m a keener. Other people might prefer an open area that better lends itself to people watching and other types of creative inspiration. Regardless, for Prairie Dog voters, Stone’s Throw is the work/study spot of choice. /GB

Best Local Coffee Roasters

33 1/3 Coffee Roasters 
1130 15th Ave. 306-525-5001

2nd Brewed Awakening
3rd Caliber Coffee Roasters
4th The Green Spot

33 1/3 started out as a coffee roasting company in 2012. They currently supply coffee beans to seven Regina coffee shops as well as shops in Saskatoon and Lumsden. In 2016, 33 1/3 opened their first storefront coffee shop. Sandwiched between T+A Fashion and Malty National, they are one of the new businesses helping to create a vibrant local business district in the Heritage Community.  33 1/3 Coffee Roasters serves a variety of ethically sourced coffee and specialty drinks including kombucha on tap. They also sell coffee-making equipment to help you enjoy their freshly roasted beans at home. /Tamara Harder


BOOZE & PUBS

Best Happy Hour

Victoria’s Tavern
1965 Hamilton St. 306-352-8427

2nd Earls Kitchen + Bar
3rd O’Hanlon’s Irish Pub
4th Malt City

To quote Drew Carey, “Oh, you hate your job? Why didn’t you say so? There’s a support group for that. It’s called EVERYBODY, and they meet at the bar.” Perhaps it’s the proximity to downtown and all those glass office towers that made Victoria’s Tavern your slam dunk for Best Happy Hour. Built back in 1923, the brick heritage building originally housed Canada Loan and Trust Company. After a retrofit in 2014, Victoria’s Tavern entered the picture. Now, you can get soused with class with 20+ beers on tap, and they promise seven “rotating” ones. Between 5 and 7 p.m., they won’t be the only thing rotating. /Chris Scott

Best Pub To Argue About Politics

Bushwakker
2206 Dewdney Ave. 306-359-7276

2nd The Fat Badger
3rd Leopold’s Tavern
4th O’Hanlon’s Irish Pub
5th Victoria’s Tavern

Because what else are you going to argue about in Saskatchewan? Buskwakker is an ideal place to argue about anything because a) even though the tables are close together, respectful zones are created and b) it’s a collegial atmosphere. Which means someone from the next table may join in if they feel it’s appropriate. And isn’t that half the fun of an argument? Come down to the ’wakker to solve the world’s problems over beer and nachos! /Chris Scott

Best Place for a Wicked Bender

O’Hanlon’s Irish Pub
1947 Scarth St. 306-566-4094

2nd Victoria’s Tavern
3rd The Fat Badger
4th Bonzzini’s Brew Pub

Disclaimer: last time I was at O’Hanlon’s I was in the company of Stephen Whitworth and Aidan Morgan, and they can both confirm I acted like a perfect lady, occasionally blushing and clutching my pearls until I fainted dead away at one of their double entendres. I was revived with a tonic of Guinness/Malty National/Nokomis Brown Ale and sent to my carriage, where I recorded the events in my diary. Because O’Hanlon’s is literally within staggering distance of everywhere. Wanna go sit in Victoria Park after? Sure. Wanna get a cab? Sure. Wanna take a bus? Sure. Wanna go to O’Hanlon’s? Sure. /Chris Scott

Best Beer Menu

Beer Bros. Gastropub & Deli 
1821 Scarth St. 306-586-2337

2nd Bushwakker
3rd Cathedral Social Hall
4th Rebellion Brewing
5th O’Hanlon’s Irish Pub

Look, I’m not just someone who likes my red wine, I occasionally enjoy a beer as well. Just go to Beer Bros.’ website and gaze upon that beer list. They have Singha Beer from Bangkok. They have Tusker Beer from Nairobi. They have my favourite American beer, Sam Adams (don’t judge me). They have stouts, trappist beers, gluten-free beers, lambics, porters, ciders, wheat ales… and all-day beer cuisine, with pairings. PAIRINGS, PEOPLE. /Chris Scott

Best Microbrewery

Rebellion Brewery
1901 Dewdney Ave. 306-522-4666

2nd Malty National Brewing
3rd District Brewing Company
4th Pile O’ Bones Brewing Company

Woo! Another Warehouse District Winner! Their current menu includes yummy Lentil Cream Ale, Strawberry Mead, Rye Chromosome IPA, along with regular SUPAHSTAHS Blonde Ale and Amber Ale — which is actually a deep red color that reminds me of Iron Man’s armour (push up glasses). They have a list available for growler fills, and watch their Facebook page for special events and limited edition brews. For Cinco De Mayo, for instance, they offered five courses with five beers! And ask them about Bring Your Own Vinyl night. /Chris Scott

Best Wine List

The Willow On Wascana
3000 Wascana Dr. 306-585-3663

2nd Crave Kitchen + Wine Bar
3rd La Bodega
4th The Diplomat
5th Table 10
6th 20Ten City Eatery

For better or for worse, Regina is a beer town. Brew pubs and Irish bars spill their dark suds on patios and sidewalks from Harbour Landing to Sherwood Park, and while it isn’t tough to find a good bottle or glass of wine in the city, most restaurants offer the same dozen or so vintages on top of the usual house wine. Nonetheless, Willow on Wascana would stand out even if Regina was drowning in wine bars. The seasonal wine menu reflects the sommelier’s latest obsessions, and the Wascana Wine Club will provide subscribers with bottles you won’t find elsewhere in Saskatchewan — or possibly even Canada. /Aidan Morgan

Best Caesar

Birmingham’s Vodka & Ale House
2635 E. Starlite St. 306-546-3647

2nd Victoria’s Tavern
3rd Flip Eatery & Drink
4th Bonzzini’s Brew Pub

My friend Rae thinks that the Caesar is the perfect cocktail, and it doesn’t need to be improved upon. Salted rim? Check. Vodka and clam? Check. Celery and lots of limes? Check. None of this asparagus spear/extra pickles fooferaw for her. Birmingham’s will not only do it the traditional way, they will also do it with their own PICKLE VODKA for the adventurous. In a mason jar with a handle, and an extra pickle. They are clearly here to make us happy, doing Caesars to OUR specifications, people of Regina! /Chris Scott

Best Nachos

Bushwakker
2206 Dewdney Ave. 306-359-7276

2nd Victoria’s Tavern
3rd The Canadian Brewhouse
4th Bonzzini’s Brew Pub

Bushwakker nachos are a delight. Crisp tortilla chips piled high with toppings that include olives, tomatoes, green peppers, jalapenos, onions and layers of cheese —  in three different serving sizes, depending on your appetite. Topped with chicken or beef, if you please. Always accompanied by salsa and sour cream, or available with a special order of guacamole. It looks like Bushwakker keeps doing things right when it comes to nachos because our voters have chosen them yet again in this category. Congrats, now let’s dig in! /Carolyn Rebeyka

Best Wings

Bonzzini’s Brew Pub
4634 Albert St. 306-586-3553

2nd Leopold’s Tavern
3rd Bushwakker
4th Barley Mill Brew Pub
5th Birmingham’s Vodka & Ale House

Once upon a Tuesday night, when I was young and thought chicken wings came in three flavours only (mild, hot and suicide), I wandered into Bonzzini’s Brew Pub and discovered that wings could be transmuted into dozens of flavours from Sticky Heat to Orange Ginger and beyond. “What divine alchemy is this?” I screamed, holding a half-eaten Gold Fever aloft, my face covered in mustard sauce. Sure, they kicked me out, but I promised to be better behaved on my next visit. Pro tip: if you asked for your wings “tossed on the grill,” they will be magically improved and made less goopy by the power of heat. /Aidan Morgan


RESTAURANTS

Best Restaurant

Caraway Grill 
1625 Broad St. 306-522-4243

2nd Flip Eatery & Drink
3rd Fireside Bistro
4th Skye Cafe & Bistro
5th Table 10
6th Crave Kitchen + Wine Bar
7th Memories Fine Dining

Now I will tell you the story of the first time I went to Caraway Grill not long after it opened in 2013. The location seemed a bit sketchy, the parking was limited and the dining room was claustrophobically small. We ended up stuffed in a corner, flicking our eyes over a menu that looked like a fairly typical Punjabi-inflected Indian restaurant, with North American standbys like butter chicken. I ordered a lamb dish, and the server informed me that my selection was not available. “We can make you a French-style lamb shank, though,” he said. I blinked. “Okay.” The lamb arrived, sliding from the bone into a lake of flavourful gravy. It was some of the most delicious lamb I’d ever tasted. On and on we ordered, eating our way through most of the menu, amazed and delighted and finally exhausted by it all. It was one of the most surprising and enjoyable dining experiences I’ve ever had in Regina. The restaurant has expanded since then, but the food (particularly the lunch specials) remains excellent. A well-deserved result for a great restaurant. /Aidan Morgan

Best New Restaurant

Hunter Gatherer Vegetarian Diner
1221 15th Ave.

2nd Fuddruckers
3rd Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria
4th Skye Cafe & Bistro
5th Tamarind Restaurant
6th Luna Kitchen & Bar

“New” is the operating word for Hunter Gatherer Vegetarian Diner, Neil McDonald’s labour of love in Broder’s Annex. Not only is the establishment new, but the concept of vegetarian diner grub, where pleasure and indulgence predominate, is a new one for Regina. Hunter Gatherer is the sort of vegetarian where you can take your entire clan of meat eaters and they’ll leave stuffed and raving. There’s an intimate and loosey-goosey feel to the place, where you get the sense that everyone in the room knows each other and decided to take a break from an all-night pinochle game to get a slab of fried oatmeal or bowl of corn chowder. And Hallelujah, it’s open seven days a week. /Aidan Morgan

Best Chain Restaurant (National/International)

Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria 
1881 Scarth St. 306-789-0011 / 1A-2005 Prince of Wales Dr. 306-347-4992 / 8-4400 Rochdale Blvd. 306-789-3131

2nd The Keg Steakhouse & Bar
3rd Brown’s Social House
4th Fuddruckers
5th Earls Kitchen + Bar

Famoso has dethroned a certain popular steakhouse to scoop this year’s Best Chain Restaurant prize! After winning the category in 2016 and 2015, the Keg has honorably fallen to Regina’s best-known purveyor of plate-thin pizzas. Besides a great menu made up of, what else, pizzas, along with appies, salads, pastas and desserts (tiramisu!), Famosa is just a comfy place to hang out and have a drink, whether your preference is beer, wine or, say, a classic rye and coke. I’ll see you soon, downtown Famoso! /Stephen Whitworth

Best Family Restaurant

Boston Pizza
Four Locations

2nd Fuddruckers
3rd East Side Marios
4th Montana’s BBQ & Bar

Young children, grandparents, moms and dads, teens and more. It takes a lot to please such a wide ranging variety of appetites, tastes, moods and demands when it comes to eating out. But, Boston Pizza seems to do it all justice, and that’s why our voters chose them as Best Family Restaurant. Boston Pizza has taken this prize in previous years, which is proof that this well-known chain knows what it’s doing when it comes to providing good food at reasonable prices, and creating an atmosphere where all ages will feel welcome and comfortable. /Carolyn Rebeyka

Best Restaurant Nobody Knows About

Hunter Gatherer Vegetarian Diner
1221 15th Ave.

2nd The Meating Room
3rd Bomb Tempura & Korean BBQ Bowl
4th London Belle
5th Shynok

Like most small to midsized cities, Regina is in love with chain restaurants and franchises. Fast food joints scoop up drivers on the main roads, while giant retail cul-de-sacs engulf shoppers and slowly filter them down into a Montana’s or Fatburger. Independent restaurants need to shout at the top of their lungs to be heard. Which is a real shame, because some of the best food you’ve never had is being eaten right this second at those places. Case in point: Hunter Gatherer Vegetarian Diner, just a brief stroll from the General Hospital. First-time visitors would be forgiven if they ate an entire meal and didn’t even notice their plates were meat-free. And let’s be honest: in less than a year, they’ve become serious contenders for the best veggie burger and hash browns in town. /Aidan Morgan

Best Lunch Restaurant

Victoria’s Tavern
1965 Hamilton St. 306-352-8427

2nd Bushwakker
3rd Tangerine
4th Fresh & Sweet
5th Beer Bros. Gastropub & Deli
6th Gilmour’s Corner
7th Malt City
8th Table 10

Victoria’s Tavern opens at 11 a.m. By then the lunch line already stretches down Hamilton St., ‘round the 12th Ave. corner and halfway to Broad. The coolest part is that everyone wears fake moustaches and absurd hats. Last week, I saw a woman with a working model railroad on her sombrero. Wait, you think I’m making this up? You’re right, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that Victoria’s menu is loaded with amazing lunch things: burgers, sandwiches and wraps, fancy macaroni and cheeses, awesome grilled cheese sandwiches (including daily GCs like the brie, bacon and strawberry or the shrimp gyoza, ponzu and wasabi). So yeah, okay, Vic’s doesn’t have a fake moustache and fancy-hat lunch line-up — yet. But come on, it has vegetarian lentil sausage hot dogs. That DESERVES a line! /Stephen Whitworth

Best Business Lunch

Beer Bros. Gastropub & Deli 
1821 Scarth St. 306-586-2337

2nd Flip Eatery & Drink
3rd Crave Kitchen + Wine Bar
4th The Diplomat
5th Fireside Bistro

Depending on the line of work you’re in, business lunches can take many different forms. Here at Prairie Dog, we’re fond of potlucks where everyone rustles up their favourite dish the night before and brings it into the office for everyone to enjoy. And if you believe that, I’ve got a subscription I’d like to sell you, as most of us can’t cook worth a darn. Fortunately, there are establishments like Beer Bros. Gastropub & Deli to fill the business lunch niche. No matter who you’re meeting, there’s a dish on the menu that will appeal to them from light and healthy to a full on calorie fest. Throw in convivial surroundings, friendly service, and a mind-blowing beer selection to help spur negotiations and seal the deal and you’ve got no business having your business lunch anywhere else but Beer Bros. /GB

Best Lunch Buffet

Siam Authentic Thai Restaurant
1946 Hamilton St. 306-352-8424

2nd Copper Kettle
3rd China Liang’s Buffet
4th Afghan Cuisine

Siam’s lunch buffet starts with Regina’s best pad Thai (both in our voters’ poll, and, well, objectively), and its other selections — corn cakes, tempura spinach, a meat dish or three, soup — are all gems. Lots of spicy things for us cool people, and accessible, but still very good dishes for you weirdo spice wimps. In other news, Siam has renovated since the last time we did this thing and added a second dining room. That means getting a seat quickly is easier on busy Thursdays and Fridays than it’s ever been. Good news for pad Thai maniacs like me! The buffet is $11, and when you collect 10 stamps on Siam’s lunch card you get a free one. For me, that ought to work out to seven or eight free lunches a year. Nice! Bottom line: if you haven’t had lunch at Siam, you need to fix that nowww. /Stephen Whitworth

Best Fast Food

Five Guys Burgers & Fries
2531 Quance St. 306-569-5555 / 4666 Gordon Rd. 306-352-5545

2nd Fuddruckers
3rd McDonald’s
4th Fatburger
5th Wendy’s

Since Five Guys Burgers and Fries arrived on Saskatchewan’s fast food scene a few years ago they’ve been a force to be reckoned with in our annual poll. That’s given our writers ample opportunity to wax poetic about their handcrafted burgers with your choice of 15+ toppings, seriously delicious (and ample) French fries cooked in peanut oil, the free peanuts themselves which you can eat by the handful while letting the shells fall where they may, and all the other menu items. Seriously, we’ve pretty much run out of things to say about Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Besides, I was taught it isn’t polite to write with my mouth full. So if you’ll excuse me… . /GB

Best Restaurant for Vegetarians

Hunter Gatherer Vegetarian Diner
1221 15th Ave.

2nd 13th Avenue Coffee House
3rd Caraway Grill
4th The Green Spot

Yeah, we’re nothing if not thorough at Prairie Dog. That’s why we have a Best Vegetarian and Best Vegan Restaurant category. For a lot of you, I imagine, it amounts to hair-splitting akin to “Toe-may-toe” versus “Toe-mah-toe”. I might even agree with you, at least for the purposes of this contest. But vegetarian and vegan aren’t the same, as the latter also excludes dairy and eggs. Since those are common ingredients in a lot of dishes, a vegetarian-friendly restaurant won’t necessarily pass muster with a vegan. Fortunately, Hunter Gatherer has got both Vs covered as you’ll see below. /GB

Best Restaurant for Vegans

Hunter Gatherer Vegetarian Diner
1221 15th Ave.

2nd 13th Avenue Coffee House
3rd The Green Spot
4th Skye Café & Bistro

Long-time fans of Regina’s restaurant scene will perhaps remember Heliotrope on the corner of McIntyre and 14th which was the standard-bearer for vegetarian/vegan eating in Regina in the 1990s and early 2000s. When it closed, it definitely left a vacuum in the V/V scene. Well, that vacuum has finally been filled courtesy of Hunter Gatherer Diner which opened in the Heritage Neighbourhood last summer. With quirky décor and friendly service, Hunter Gatherer has been wowing the V/V and non-V/V crowd alike with its innovative mix of breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert options. /GB

Best Takeout/Delivery

Caraway Grill 
1625 Broad St. 306-522-4243

2nd Houston Pizza
3rd Panago
4th SR Kitchen

Sometimes it’s a nice treat to bring restaurant food home instead of dining out. You can take off your shoes and socks, maybe your pants if you’re feeling especially relaxed, and enjoy a civilized meal without having to act like civilized human. Caraway has a large take-out section on its online menu with great dishes like Prawn Masala, Spinach Paneer, Malai Kofta and Baingan Bharta, just to rattle off four of my favourites. You should pick up an order tonight! Just remember, no one wants to know if you’re going to eat it in your underwear. /Stephen Whitworth

Best Meal Presentation

The Willow On Wascana
3000 Wascana Dr. 306-585-3663

2nd Flip Eatery & Drink
3rd Skye Café & Bistro
4th Table 10
5th 20Ten City Eatery
6th Tamarind

Meal presentation involves more than throwing a lemon wedge and sprig of parsley on a plate and sending it out the door. It starts with the atmosphere and decor of a restaurant and carries through to the serving staff. It involves how the colours and textures on your plate go together, along with the taste of the food and any herbs and spices used in its preparation. Careful meal presentation appeals to all the senses, and contributes to the success of a meal. The Willow on Wascana seem to pay particular attention to all of these factors because they beat out a number of talented rivals in this category, and are well-known as a venue for offering a remarkable and memorable feast for the senses. /Carolyn Rebeyka


INTERNATIONAL

Best Chinese Restaurant

Peking House 
1850 Rose St. 306-757-3038

2nd Angkor Southeast Asian Delight
3rd China Liang’s Buffet
4th Mei Wei Bistro
5th SR Kitchen

There are quite a few Chinese restaurants in Regina, ranging in quality from passable to amazing. Whether you’re at Peking House for lunch or dinner or ordering take-out or delivery, it doesn’t disappoint with a wide selection of items on its lunch and dinner menus. The lemon chicken is some of the best I’ve had. Other favourites include the hot and sour soup, mu-shu pork with mandarin pancakes and the deep fried almond prawns. Although I’ve never tried it, the restaurant is known for the flavour and quality of its Peking duck, which must be ordered 24 hours in advance. Great food prepared quickly with fresh ingredients, a comfortable dining room, and attentive and friendly staff add up to a pleasant dining experience. /Carolyn Rebeyka

Best Greek Restaurant

Greko’s Greek Restaurant 
4424 Albert St. 306-584-3646

2nd Copper Kettle
3rd Opa!

A repeat winner in this category, Greko’s Greek Restaurant has been delivering authentic Greek cuisine with professional, yet friendly, service in a warm and welcoming environment since 1979. If you’re in the mood for spanakopita, moussaka, dolmades, lamb, souvlaki, Greek ribs or a horiatiki salad, you know Greko’s won’t let you down. And don’t forget to leave room for a decadent slice of baklava or galakto bouriko for dessert. All menu items are available for take-out and the restaurant offers two private rooms for group gatherings accommodating up to 50 people. Located in a strip mall, the exterior gives few hints at the decor you’ll find inside. Whether it’s an intimate dinner for two or a large gathering, the dedicated owners and experienced staff always seem to hit the ball out of the park. /Carolyn Rebeyka

Best Indian Restaurant

Caraway Grill 
1625 Broad St. 306-522-4243

2nd Flavours of India
3rd Spices of Punjab
4th Tamarind
5th Da India Curry House

I can’t get enough of Caraway Grill, and neither can our voters who chose this locally owned venue as Regina’s Best Indian Restaurant. Whether you dine in or take out, the authentic dishes are always flavourful and freshly made. It’s hard to name a favourite menu item, but I would rate Caraway’s Butter Chicken the best I’ve ever eaten. It’s not uncommon to see diners ask for extra naan bread to ensure they can sop up every last bit of the delicious sauce on their plates. The restaurant owners are warm and friendly, and service is always welcoming and attentive. In addition, Caraway features affordable prices and reasonable portions. That’s a lot of positives to add up in the win column for a restaurant that only opened its doors in 2013. Long may Caraway reign! /Carolyn Rebeyka

Best Korean Restaurant

Orange Izakaya
2136 Robinson St. 306-779-0779

2nd Bomb Tempura & Korea BBQ Bowl
3rd Korea House
4th Life Is Good

The full name of this Cathedral area restaurant is Oranze Izakaya Fusion Café and Bar. In another 30 or so years, fusion (in an energy sense) is projected to be a reality, offering humanity a virtually unlimited supply of power with no environmental downside. Fusion (in a culinary sense) is already here, of course, and it’s been a boon for us too. Orange Izakaya’s W in this category is proof of that. Its mouth-watering menu is grounded in Korean cuisine, but with the odd twist here and there to surprise and delight our palettes. With a range of appetizers, entrees, signature rolls and a vegetarian menu, Orange Izakaya is our voters go-to source for kim chi, bi bim bab, kalbi, bulgogi and more. /GB

Best Thai Restaurant

Viet-Thai 
2080 Albert St. 306-569-3833

2nd Siam Authentic Thai Restaurant
3rd Angkor Southeast Asian Delight
4th Nhu Y Tea Tree

This staple of the Cathedral Area regularly gets the nod for Best Spring Rolls, but don’t stop there. If you like East Indian cuisine you will love Thai curries. Try the green curry shrimp, the braised spareribs (in Thai curry sauce with peppers), the green curry chicken or pork with fresh mint or basil. Oh yeah, Thai cooking also uses a lot of basil, and coconut milk. And remember, Thai isn’t just hot. Try the noodle soups or the pumpkin soup and see! /Chris Scott

Best Vietnamese Restaurant

Viet-Thai 
2080 Albert St. 306-569-3833

2nd Saigon By Night
3rd Milu’s Fresh Rolls & Subs
4th Lang’s Café
5th Nhu Y Tea Tree

And boom, Viet-Thai wins for Best Thai AND Best Vietnamese. What more do you need? And admit it, with Vietnamese, you are there for the noodles. Be it with spring rolls, broiled pork, beef or chicken, Viet-Thai delivers. They also literally deliver — food to your door, that is. On top of that, they’re licensed, so you have no problem going there after work too. Nice vegetarian menu and no MSG on request! If you’ve never had it, try the chicken or seafood in mango sauce. /Chris Scott

Best Ethnic Restaurant

Afghan Cuisine 
832 Albert St. 306-949-0800

2nd Selam

Afghan Cuisine is a friendly little nook tucked in a north Albert strip mall not far from Toys ‘R’ Us. Afghan has fantastic food, with the eggplant dish Borani Bodenjan being a personal favourite (a friend who’s seen me eat suggested this whole blurb could be the word  “EGGPLANT”, followed by as many exclamation points as needed to fill up the space). There are so many great dishes at Afghan Cuisine — like slow roasted Dopiazch Lamb, or the Bulanie, or the various kebobs. Afghan Cuisine has a really good buffet too. Highly recommended! /Stephen Whitworth

Best Indian Buffet

Spices of Punjab
320 Victoria Ave. 306-543-1000 / 1851 Scarth St. 306-501-4871

2nd Flavours Of India
3rd Da India Curry House

I’ve been visiting Spices of Punjab on and off since it opened its original location on Albert St., and I’ve been back frequently in the past year thanks to a second spot popping up across the street from our Scarth St. Mall office. It’s hard to go wrong with an Indian buffet and Spices doesn’t disappoint, with tasty curries, good butter chicken and the usual tandoori chicken and nan bread delivered to your table a couple of times during your meal. I really like the gulab jamun, a deep fried milk dough dessert in a powerfully sweet sauce. Also: good samosas! /Stephen Whitworth

Best Chinese Buffet

China Liang’s Buffet
3217 E. Eastgate Dr. 306-545-8899

2nd Lees Chop Suey
3rd Plum Garden

Located in east Regina, China Liang’s Buffet offers a blend of Chinese, Szechwan and Thai cooking styles. Check out the menu on-line, and you’ll find a special section devoted to their lunch and supper buffet. The former goes from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. daily, while the latter runs between 4:30-8:30 p.m. There’s up to 60 items in the buffet, with no MSG on request and four different price categories: child under 4, child 4-9, adult and senior. Those 60 items, by the way, are from a menu that includes a total of 111 dishes which range from soup and appetizers to chop suey, chow mein, pad Thai, vegetable delights and more. /GB

Best Hot And Sour Soup

Tim’s Kitchen
3641 Sherwood Dr. 306-757-3888

This is a new category for our Food & Drink poll. Fortunately, our voters were up to the challenge. Now, it’s up to me to write the inaugural blurb. First, just to clarify: “hot” doesn’t refer strictly to the soup’s temperature, it also describes the level of spiciness. That’s usually achieved through the use of red or white peppers, while the sour is provided by vinegar. Other typical ingredients include chicken or pork broth, bamboo shoots, cloud ear fungus, day lily buds and more. So congrats to Tim’s Kitchen for bringing both the hot and the sour to Regina soup lovers. /GB

Best Shawarma

ZamZam
Cornwall Centre 306-525-1301 / 3618 Eastgate Dr. 306-525-2255

2nd Prairie Donair
3rd The Meating Room
4th Amado’s Pita

This is a new category in our poll as well. Just to ensure everyone is on the same page as far as what was being voted on, shawarma is a Middle Eastern delicacy that involves the roasting of beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, veal, buffalo and other meats on a vertical spit. When an order comes in meat is shaved off and served on a plate with sides of bread and vegetables or mixed with veggies in a wrap. Then comes one final step. What was it again? Oh right, YOU EAT IT! For Regina shawarma lovers, at least those who voted in our poll, ZamZam is king. /GB

Best Sushi

Enso Sushi & Japanese Cuisine
3243 Quance St. 306-205-9442

2nd Wasabi
3rd Miso Ya

Enso, as a word, is rooted in the tradition of Japanese ink painting. What it involves is the artist creating a hand-drawn circle with one or two bold brushstrokes. As a philosophy, ensō symbolizes concepts such as enlightenment, strength, elegance and tasty eating. Okay, I just threw that last one in. But as a two-time champ in this category, Enso Sushi & Japanese Cuisine obviously delivers on that front. With lunch and dinner specials, appetizers, salads, and a roster of dishes that include nigiri sushi, sashimi, tempura, hoso maki and uri maki, Enso easily lives up to its namesake when it comes to delivering culinary enlightenment to hungry Reginans. /GB

Best Pad Thai

Siam Authentic Thai Restaurant
1946 Hamilton St. 306-352-8424

2nd Angkor Southeast Asian Delight

Pad Thai is a simple, elegant and delicious noodle dish that’s one of the most awesome things on Planet Earth. Rice noodles are fried with eggs, tofu, chili and sauces, and served with ground nuts and a lime wedge to squeeze over everything. Siam’s pad Thai is a staple on the lunch buffet, but it’s even better at night, when it comes with fried shrimp and the aforementioned lime and nuts. Frankly, I’d be surprised if there’s better pad Thai in Western Canada (though Moose Jaw’s famous Nit’s springs to mind as an obvious rival). For any fan of East Asian cuisine, this is a must-try dish at a must-visit restaurant. /Stephen Whitworth

Best Pho (Noodle Bowl)

Pho Milu 
639 Victoria Ave. 306-352-5858

2nd Viet-Thai
3rd Lang’s Cafe

In food folklore, Eggs Benedict have a reputation for providing relief when a person is looking to put a night of over-indulgence behind them. According certain anonymous sources pho, with its delicious blend of broth, sliced beef/chicken/seafood, noodles, beans sprouts, onions and other vegetables, and spices such cilantro and fresh basil, also has restorative powers. Not that you need to be hungover to enjoy it. But if you are, and you want relief, you know where to head and what to order. So congrats to Pho Milu. /GB

Best Tandoori Chicken

Caraway Grill 
1625 Broad St. 306-522-4243

2nd Spices Of Punjab
3rd Tamarind

Since we last convened for these awards in May 2016, there have been some major changes at Caraway Grill. Don’t panic, none of the changes were bad. In fact, through a major renovation that saw a new kitchen installed, Caraway created more space for the cooks and support staff to work their culinary magic. Caraway was already pretty damn good in that regard, and now it promises to be even better. Tandoori chicken is a staple of the menu. You start with a raw chicken leg, marinated in yogurt and tandoori spices, then cooked in a tandoor oven and served with mint chutney, and presto, Caraway’s got another Best of Food & Drink certificate to hang on its wall. /GB


SOCIALIZING

Best Restaurant for a Luxury Date

The Willow on Wascana
3000 Wascana Dr. 306-585-3663

2nd The Keg Steakhouse & Bar
3rd Skye Café & Bistro
4th Flip Eatery & Drink
5th Table 10
6th 20Ten City Eatery

It says a lot about Regina’s fancy pants scene that you, voters, considered SIX lovely places to take your sweetie. But when James Franco comes to town, I’m taking him to The Willow. Not only does it boast a fantastic view of the park, the food is beautiful, the wine list extensive, and the service is great. Plus, you have your choice of sparkling or still water. That may seem like a small thing, but it’s the little touches that make dates memorable (wink). /Chris Scott

Best Restaurant for a First Date

La Bodega Tapas Bar and Grill
2228 Albert Street 306-546-3660

2nd Flip Eatery & Drink
3rd Skye Cafe & Bistro
4th Table 10
5th Twenty Ten

I haven’t gone on a first date for many moons, but if memory serves they can sometimes be nerve-wracking affairs where you’re trying to put your best foot forward while getting an honest assessment of the person sitting across the table from you. The last thing you need is to have something go sideways at the restaurant you’ve chosen for your date. That’s where La Bodega Tapas Bar and Grill comes in. Great food, stylish décor, friendly service, and just the right balance of elegance and casual comfort make La Bodega the first stop on the road to a potential lifetime of domestic bliss with a loving/caring partner. So what are all you singletons out there waiting for? /GB

Best Restaurant for a Party

Victoria’s Tavern
1965 Hamilton St. 306-352-847

2nd Bushwakker
3rd Bonzzini’s Brew Pub
4th Malt City

I’ve been to more than a few celebrations at Victoria’s Tavern, some more raucous than others. Each event was deemed a success because of the atmosphere, superb service and wide selection of food and beverages on the menu. Sometimes, our parties were more intimate with a small group enjoying a lunch out, while other times we’ve been larger in number, but just as excited to toast the occasion into the wee hours of the morning. I’m never surprised when someone suggests Vic’s as the site of our next gathering. You can book the James Room for a private party with up to 35 guests, or take your celebration to the main dining area or patio if you prefer. Judging by the result in this category, our voters have experienced their share of successful events at Victoria’s Tavern too. /Carolyn Rebeyka

Best Patio

The Willow On Wascana
3000 Wascana Dr. 306-585-3663

2nd O’Hanlon’s Irish Pub
3rd Cathedral Social Hall
4th Leopold’s Tavern
5th Fireside Bistro
6th Skye Cafe & Bistro

From after work drinks to weekend brunch, romantic dinners to Canada Day fireworks, Willow on Wascana is a great place to make summer memories. The patio at the Willow offers an amazing view of Wascana Lake and the Saskatchewan Legislature. The Willow focuses on farm-to-table dining and has a menu that changes seasonally to take advantage of local and fresh products. There are many great patios in Regina that are well used during our too short summer. The Willow on Wascana takes the prize of best patio for combining good food, great service, and spectacular sunsets. /Tamara Harder

Best Scene

Leopold’s Tavern
2330 Albert St. 306-525-5367

2nd Bushwakker
3rd The Fat Badger
4th O’Hanlon’s Irish Pub

Two reasons Leopold’s wins here: 1) the tables are artfully spaced so you can’t help but make friends and b) Monday is bacon night — 4 p.m. to close, bacon is $6 a bucket. Because, as Homer Simpson taught us, “you don’t make friends with salad.” Also, the tavern is named after Duke Leopold, eighth child and fourth son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. And you can also put a fried egg on anything (in Homer whisper: ANYTHING). If you ring the bell, you can even buy $4 shots for everyone in the bar. And don’t playa hate, Dom Perignon is on the menu for $265 if you’re really feeling like a baller. Do you really need more reasons to go there? /Chris Scott


PEOPLE

Best Chef

Parveen Singh
Caraway Grill 
1625 Broad St. 306-522-4243

2nd Milton Rebello: Skye Cafe and Wascana Country Club
3rd Malcolm Craig: Chef Malcolm’s Handmade Pies
4th Mike Monette: Bushwakker
5th Martin Snow: The Creek In Cathedral

Regina’s reputation for creative and high quality restaurants is slowly growing, with chefs like our five nominees here leading the way. Each of these hard-working chefs has their own unique style that helps add variety to the city’s restaurant scene. Parveen Singh, head chef at Caraway Grill, which also snagged Best Indian Restaurant in our contest, worked in the restaurant industry for over a dozen years before opening his own restaurant in 2013. His dedication, wealth of knowledge and experience were immediately evident. Over the years, he’s shown his commitment to high quality, fresh ingredients, and a desire to create an authentic experience while also exploring new and dynamic flavours. Caraway is my favourite restaurant in Regina, and I urge you to check out Parveen Singh’s work. /Carolyn Rebeyka

Best Barista

Nicole Siemens
fix. Coffee
102-2055 Rose St. 306-559-1962

2nd Lindsay Klassen: 33 1/3
3rd Ethan Anderson: 33 1/3

With her impressive showing in this contest, Nicole (and her four co-finalists), will take a major step up in the World Barista rankings. That list is currently topped, of course, by Taipei-based Berg Wu who took home the crown for Best Barista at the 2016 World Barista Championships in Dublin last June. Like Wu, who practices his craft at a shop called Simple Caffe, Nicole and the other Regina finalists obviously have great coffee game. If they want to test themselves against the best, the 2017 World Barista Championships go Nov. 9-12 in Seoul. /GB

Best Bartender

Judd Stachowski
The Capitol Restaurant & Cocktail Bar
1843 Hamilton St. 306-570-2323

2nd Troy Bleich: Bushwakker
3rd Andrew Shanks: O’Hanlon’s Irish Pub
4th Jordan Laraque: Malt City
5th Andrew Zaba: Bonzzini’s Brew Pub

What is the difference between a bartender and a mixologist? There are a range of assumptions buried in those words, from the promise of technical expertise in the latter to the workmanlike, almost sporting notion of “tending” in the former. But the real difference, as far as I’m concerned, is the ability of a good bartender to put customers at ease, to shoot the breeze and, when necessary, to cut them off. Bartending is as much about relationships and judgment as it is about creating the right syrup for the next cocktail creation, and Judd shines on both accounts. /Aidan Morgan

Best Mixologist

Judd Stachowski
The Capitol Restaurant & Cocktail Bar
1843 Hamilton St. 306-570-2323

2nd Dave Waller: The Fat Badger
3rd Jordan Laroque: Malt City
4th Jacob Kereluke: Crave Kitchen + Wine Bar

Some people may go to the Capitol for the live music or the sautéed mushroom toast (both of which I highly recommend), but the cocktails are the main event at that narrow joint on Hamilton. Brambleberry Gin Fizz? An utterly delicious Old-Fashioned? A Sazerac that feels like a Roman candle dropped straight into your brain? Yes, please. And Judd Stachoski will only be too happy to concoct something strange, bitter and delicious for you. Other things I know about Judd: when he was in grade seven, he knew a heck of a lot about football, and planned on retiring with two billion dollars and two servants named Scott and Gary. /Aidan Morgan

Best Server: Pub/Lounge

Cheryl Tovey
Bushwakker
2206 Dewdney Ave. 306-359-7276

2nd Ang Smith: The Fat Badger
3rd Trish Schurman: Bonzzini’s Brew Pub

Quick question: do you have an ale named after you? Another question: have you won Best Server in Prairie Dog’s Best of Food & Drink eight years in a row? No? I’m starting to think you’re not Cheryl Tovey, floor manager and general institution at Bushwakker Brew Pub. In fact, it’s hard to talk about brew pubs or craft beer in Regina without Cheryl’s name popping up. She’s worked at Bushwakker since 1992, and in that time has served, greeted, laughed with and possibly kicked out a generation of beer drinkers. If you find yourself staring up at Bushwakker’s beer menu in confusion, Cheryl will guide you to the right beer. But you know, you should really order a pint of the blonde. /Aidan Morgan


SHOPPING & SERVICES

Best Bakery

Sinfully Sweet Cathedral Bakery
2130 Robinson St. 306-522-3764

2nd Cobs Bread
3rd Brewed Awakening
4th Northgate Bakery

How can you go wrong with a bakery that sells Maple Bacon Cinnamon Buns with the tagline: “Everything’s better with bacon, so why the hell not?” Eryn Smith and Natasha Salter also like to experiment with other bold flavours. Some they’ll be premiering during the Cathedral Village Arts Fest (which is on until May 27) include: Buffalo Ranch and Blue Cheese, Mimosa, Pickles and Cheese, and Mountain Dew Dorrito. If these unique flavours aren’t what you’re looking for, Sinfully Sweet also bakes up some more traditional cupcakes, different styles of breads, cookies, squares, and pastries. They also do special order cakes for weddings and other events. If only there was a Pickles and Ice Cream cake for your next baby shower. /Tamara Harder

Best In-Store Bakery

Safeway
Five Locations

2nd Save-On-Foods
3rd Mike’s Independent
4th Sherwood Co-op

Thank you, voters, for confirming what I have long thought: Safeway bakes yummy stuff. From their croissants, to their black forest cakes (a must for birthdays), and now their new line of butter pastries (Homer Simpson drool), it isn’t just about donuts. Okay, it’s always about donuts. Try their artisanal breads, their scones and I especially recommend the lemon pie. But mmmm….donuts. /Chris Scott

Best Butcher

Ukrainian Co-op 
1805 Winnipeg St. 306-569-9510

2nd Butcher Boy (Park St.)
3rd Butcher Boy (Robinson St.)
4th Butcher’s Best

My friend Kat LOVES the meat selection at Ukrainian Co-op. She’s forever posting photos on Facebook or Instagram with delicious slabs of steak or ribs or coils of sausage or smokies on the grill or at the dinner table. She swears by the butcher shop at Ukrainian Co-op, and it looks like our voters agree. Not only do they sell a variety of fresh and in-store processed meats, the staff is more than happy to offer suggestions and advice on how best to cook the various items once you get them home. The homemade sausage, fresh out of the wood-fired outdoor smoker at 11 a.m. each day, is a huge draw, and deli trays are available for your catering needs. Whether it’s for a single meal, or a larger package of meat for your freezer, Ukrainian Co-op is happy to meet your needs. /Carolyn Rebeyka

Best Specialty Grocery

Italian Star Deli
1611 Victoria Ave. 306-757-6733

2nd Ukrainian Co-op
3rd Dad’s Organic Market
4th Ngoy Hoa Asian Foods

After years of winning in this category and others, it’s tough to come up with something new to say about Italian Star Deli. But maybe that’s the point our voters are trying to make. Italian Star is simply the best, and remains consistent in its efforts to provide a wide variety of high-quality specialty items as well as friendly and helpful service year round. Customers have their specific reasons to visit Italian Star — for many, it’s the legendary sandwiches that bring them back time and again. For others, it’s the unique imported food items that you find on the shelves. And for almost everyone, a trip to the store is a joy simply because it gives you an opportunity to interact with Carlo Giambattista and his fantastic staff. /Carolyn Rebeyka

Best East Asian Grocery

Ngoy Hoa Asian Foods 
1580 Albert St. 306-757-4264

I recently went to Ngoy Hoa for the first time and thought “Why have I never been here before?” With shelves and aisles of world cuisine staples, frozen meat, seafood, yummy noodles, imported snacks and sauces, and really nice produce, you could make anything you wanted. I took home the best shanghai noodles I’ve ever had and a bag of locally made BBQ chicken buns (they arrive Wednesday, I was lucky to get them on Thursday!) I already want to go back and cook with everything there. The end. /Chris Scott

Best Health Food

Old Fashion Foods
Five Locations 1-800-667-3334

2nd Dad’s Organic Market
3rd Nature’s Best Market

Old Fashion Foods was established in 1965, long before health food and supplements became trendy and available online and at many retail outlets in Regina. Old Fashion Foods has five convenient locations, and carries a wide variety of grocery products and supplements including top names of vitamins, herbs and personal care products. They also take pride in their own brand of products which have been available for over 30 years. Many of the staff have been with the store for years, and have a wealth of knowledge to answer your questions and assist you with your needs. The website provides further information on various products. It’s nice to know Regina has a reputable, well-established business to help us live a healthier and happier lifestyle — whether it’s trendy or not. Kudos to Old Fashion Foods for their win here. /Carolyn Rebeyka

Best Bulk Foods

Costco
665 University Park Dr. 306-789-8838

2nd Bulk Barn
3rd Great Canadian Wholesale Club

When I think of bulk food, I think of those bins that all grocery stores have with a lid and scoop and little baggie. But bulk food is much more than that, and the master of bulk is Costco. Lots of places let you buy in larger quantities, but only at Costco can you buy a massive container of pancake mix that you can live off of for two years (true story: my friend did that once). Costco also offers massive quantities of paper tissue, toilet paper, breakfast cereals, cat litter, steaks, canned goods, just about anything you can think of for a great price. And once the new store is up and running, the sky will pretty much be the limit for bulk purchases in Regina. /Shane Hnetka

Best Supermarket

Save-On-Foods
4520 Albert St. 306-546-5739

2nd Superstore
3rd Mike’s Independent
4th Sobeys
5th Sherwood Co-op

Save-On-Foods is fairly new to Regina, but they have already left a pretty big mark. Not only do they have an awesome selection of groceries, they also have a convenient delivery service that allows you to shop online and have everything shipped directly to your home without ever having to go to the store. Or you can order groceries online, and pick them up yourself without the hassle of having to walk around the store. Or if you’re a grocery traditionalist, you can still shop the old fashioned way at Save-On-Foods. The store is clean, easy to navigate, and a damn nice place to shop at. /Shane Hnetka

Best Farmers Market Food or Drink Vendor

The Cookie Lady
306-781-4097

2nd The Cake Witch
3rd Beak’s Chicken

If you’ve ever been to the Regina Farmers’ Market you have likely seen the brightly coloured smiley faces adorning The Cookie Lady’s table.  Known for her vibrant colours of both cookie dough and icing, it’s hard to walk by The Cookie Lady booth without smiling at the cookie bacon and eggs or dog and dog bones. Various flavours of brownies and pies as well as seasonal specialty items are also available. If the mini Saskatoon berry pie I ate last week is any indication, you will devour her delicious desserts without letting your partner (or friends/family) try even one bite. /Tamara Harder

Best Food Truck

Baba’s Food Spot  

2nd Mr. Spudd’s Poutinerie
3rd Nacho Fiesta
4th Beak’s Chicken

The brains behind this outfit is Helen Bially (a.k.a. The Baba). A Manitoba resident, she was the one who inspired her son Ed and granddaughter Katie to start this venture through her many years of providing her family with delicious home-cooked Ukrainian delicacies. Perogies and kielbasa form the core of Baba’s Food Spot’s menu, and traditionalists will find plenty of comfort in what they serve. But courtesy of Ed and Katie, there are also modern takes on old favourites, like the breakfast offering Perogy Benny which has perogies, maple kielbasa sausage, egg and hollandaise sauce. Everything’s made with locally sourced ingredients to ensure fresh, nutritious eating. So congrats to the Bially family. /GB

Best Catering

Valley Girls Catering
306-751-2233

2nd Sprout Catering
3rd Skye Cafe & Bistro
4th Wallnuts Expressive Catering
5th Evolution

Considering Valley Girls Catering is a past champ in this category, their W here doesn’t come as a big surprise. Let’s take a moment to acknowledge the runners-up, though, as overall it’s a stellar group. That’s a plus for Regina, as when you’re hosting a big meeting/conference or whatever; or on the personal side a big party/wedding or whatever; it’s great to be able to rustle up some quality grub and grog for your guests to stuff/pour down their gullets. And that’s exactly what Valley Girls Catering do — with the added bonus of no pre- and post-event prep work and clean-up, and the option of on-site servers. Need more convincing? Okay, here’s one item off Valley Girls’ menu: PEACHY BACON Surprisingly — absolutely delicious. Warm peaches, salty bacon and mozza grilled on a bun. Yummm! /GB


NEIGHBOURHOODS

Best Downtown/Central Restaurant

Flip Eatery & Drink
1970 Hamilton St. 306-205-8345

2nd The Capitol Restaurant & Cocktail Bar
3rd Malt City
4th 20Ten City Eatery

Last year Best Downtown Restaurant ended up being a tie between Flip and its blockmate Victoria’s Tavern. This year, there is no question: voters, you chose Flip. Was it the new menu, with that kimchi ramen bowl? The secretly great cocktail menu? Perhaps the bright and open atmosphere, with that wall of windows providing a view of Hamilton Street, was the factor that tipped the vote? Flip has passed from being a downtown upstart to become a core part of the city’s dining experience, so it’s clearly doing something right (I think it’s the ramen, but you may have your own reasons). /Aidan Morgan

Best East End Restaurant

Birmingham’s Vodka & Ale House
2635 E. Starlite St. 306-546-3647

2nd Table 10
3rd Fuddruckers
4th The Canadian Brewhouse
5th Luna Kitchen and Bar
6th East Side Mario’s

As a pedestrian, I rarely get to anywhere in the east end so I was thrilled to be taken here for a birthday party. I want to go back again, not only for the grape vodka. My inner Homer also wants to try the Doh-Nut Burger. Yes, a burger stuffed inside a honey glazed doughnut bun. But literally everything on the menu, and everything being carried past you by servers, looks great. And the appys? Mac and cheese balls! Desserts? Deep fried Oreos! SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY! /Chris Scott

Best South End Restaurant

Lancaster Taphouse
4529 Gordon Rd. 306-570-2323

2nd Chop Steakhouse & Bar
3rd Bonzzini’s Brew Pub
4th The Keg Steakhouse & Bar
5th Greko’s
6th The Canadian Brewhouse

There are a lot of reasons the Lancaster can lay claim to this title, but let’s start with beer, which I decree to be food. The Lancaster has lots of good ones on tap, including two made-in-Saskatchewan pints I’m fond of: Nokomis Pale Ale and Black Bridge Milk Stout. They also have Rebellion’s Lentil Cream Ale, but I’ve yet to try it so can’t report on its awesomeness. As for food, there are burgers, pizzas, salads and mains like Lobster Mac ’N’ Cheese, Beer Battered Northern Pike, a hearty-sounding Beef Stew and Steak Frites (sirloin in a coriander cream sauce with a fried egg plus, yes, fries. Yum). Also, someone let me know what The Ol’ 23 clubhouse sandwich is like. Regina needs more clubhouse sandwiches and Ol’ 23, with old cheddar, smoked turkey, capicola ham and sun-dried tomato and roasted garlic aioli, sounds fine. Finally, the Lancaster has two signature appetizers that deserve attention: Lancaster Ale Pretzels (legendary!) and Lobster Nachos. /Stephen Whitworth

Best Northwest Restaurant

Leopold’s Tavern
5650 Rochdale Blvd. 306-545-5367

2nd Rock Creek
3rd Barley Mill Brew Pub
4th Tamarind
5th Little Saigon 2 (Rochdale Blvd)

If you visit Leopold Tavern’s website and download its Regina menu, you’ll find no shortage of things to check out. That’s good, because I’ve got to do three blurbs on Leo’s before we sign off on this feature and they’re not going to write themselves. I’ll start with the food. The tavern takes its name from the fourth son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, who our fair city was apparently very nearly named after. And there is a smidgen of British flare on the menu in the form of Scotch egg and fish and chips, but beyond that there’s a wide range of offerings from poutine and burgers to sammies and wraps along with wings, perogies, oysters, fried pickles and for dessert — deep fried Mars bars. /GB

Best Downtown/Central Pub

Victoria’s Tavern
1965 Hamilton St. 306-352-8427

2nd Bushwakker
3rd Leopold’s Tavern
4th O’Hanlon’s Irish Pub
5th The Fat Badger

If you want to read my dopey blurb about Victoria’s Tavern’s amazing grilled cheese sandwich, head to “Best Lunch” in the Restaurants section. Here, I’m gonna talk about why Vic’s is the best pub in the city’s centre. No doubt the awesome staff, good booze, fun menu, and “cool U.S. college pub” vibe all play a part. But I think there’s another reason for Vic’s win. As my friend Alysia says: “Tots. It’s all about the tots”. The “Total Tater Mess” section of Vic’s menu lists three dishes built around tater tots. There’s Vic’s Special, with cheddar, queso, sour cream and chives, and bacon; the Huevos with cheese, guacamole, pico de gallo and a fried egg; and the Pollo Diablo which has, yes, blackened chicken. So check out Victoria’s Tavern, a great place whose taters put them over the tot — I mean, top. /Stephen Whitworth

Best East End Pub

Leopold’s Tavern
3735 East Quance St. 306-559-5367

2nd Birmingham’s Vodka & Ale House
3rd The Canadian Brewhouse
4th Rock Creek

I provided a snapshot of Leopold’s food menu two blurbs ago, so now I’m going to tackle the drink menu. If you’re looking for something on tap you’ve got Leo’s Lager, Guinness and other beers on a rotating basis, with a range of domestic and fancy bottled beers. Ciders and coolers are also available. Wine starts at $6.25 a glass/$24 a bottle for Jackson Triggs merlot/chardonnay and tops out at $265 for a bottle of Dom Perignon. There’s scotch, whiskey and bourbon available too, with prices ranging from $6.50 to $25.75 for a “wee dram” of Macallan Ruby. Throw in some Tequila and shooters and you’ve got the makings of a pretty good party. /GB

Best South End Pub

Bonzzini’s Brew Pub
4634 Albert St. 306-586-3553

2nd Lancaster Taphouse
3rd The Canadian Brewhouse

I’m sure many readers voted for Bonzzini’s in this category because of their popular food specials such as the Tuesday half-price wings and $5 house pints, their delicious homemade burgers and tasty fish and chips along with other traditional pub fare. The food is reasonably priced with generous portions, and there are a multitude of ice cold beers available to quench your thirst. In my experience, the staff is extremely friendly and provide efficient service even on busy nights. Bonzzini’s also has pool tables and VLTs, and it’s a great place to watch your favourite sport on TV. The cozy patio is popular in the summer, and the pub’s attached off-sale is an added convenience. The pub hasn’t changed much over the years, and that’s just fine with its customers who keep coming back for more. /Carolyn Rebeyka

Best Northwest Pub

Leopold’s Tavern
5650 Rochdale Blvd. 306-545-5367

2nd Barley Mill Brew Pub
3rd The Tap Brew Pub & Eatery
4th Brewsters

Now that I’ve got Leopold’s food and drink menus out of the way, I’ll turn to some of the special features that make the tavern stand out for our voters. Monday to Friday, you’ve got happy hour between 3:30-5:30 p.m. Monday is also Bacon Night, where $6 gets you a bucket full of different types of bacon. Tuesday night, tacos are on special, and Wednesday you get a deal on wings. There’s also $4 shooters (bartender’s choice) after midnight. For private parties, you can book a room, and Leo’s also sponsors a party zone with lounge seating at ice level at Regina Pat games. Oh yeah, one other thing. There’s a jukebox that overrides the house music at the drop of a coin. So when the party’s in full swing you can provide your own soundtrack. /GB

Best Place To Eat On Campus

Henderson Café
Riddell Centre 306-585-3899

2nd The Owl
3rd Luther Cafeteria

You’re away from home going to university. You have a variety of food, including food from different parts of the world, available to you. Where do you go for breakfast, lunch or dinner?  Henderson Café for a sandwich, wrap, or soup, of course!  It’s that taste of home you’ve been waiting for.  Who doesn’t have fond memories of mom making sandwiches to eat after a summer day full of running through the sprinkler? Or pulling out the same ham sandwich for lunch all four years of high school? Seriously though, Henderson has delicious sandwiches. It was one of my favourite places to eat when I went back to university a few years ago. It’s nice to know I was in good company with Prairie Dog voters. /Tamara Harder


ABOUT THIS ESTABLISHMENT: Best Of Food and Drink 2017 was sizzled to perfection on a vintage griddle by Tamara Harder, Aidan Morgan, Carolyn Rebeyka, Chris Scott, Stephen Whitworth and the enigma we call “GB”. Plating by Paul Klassen, a regular artiste who’s too fancy for a greasy spoon like this. Customer service courtesy of the always smiling Chris “Cranky” McCrank — if you had a good time don’t be shy with the gratuity! Last but not least, Best Of Food and Drink 2017 is managed by Terry Morash, our favourite mug what used to have hair before he picked a career at this joint. We still love you, Terrier! Just maybe don’t stand right under the light.

Thanks for reading!