madeleines-ayden-saskatoon-small

4 great prairie food spots to try

madeleines-ayden-saskatoon-small

Madeleines at Ayden Kitchen and Bar are served with a divine chocolate sauce. (Adrian Brijbassi/Vacay.ca)

Vacay.ca has teamed with Hotels.com to create a series of articles highlighting fantastic travel experiences in Canada. In this installment, Managing Editor Adrian Brijbassi looks at great dining options in the prairie provinces and hotel choices that fit the sophisticated palate of foodies.

Story by Adrian Brijbassi
Vacay.ca Managing Editor

Canada’s big cities and small resort towns dominate the nation’s dining scene, but some of the most exciting food offerings are found in the middle of the country. From Winnipeg to Calgary, foodies can find outstanding cuisine to satiate their hunger and then retreat to a high-quality hotel to cap off their luxurious evening.

From east to west, here are five of the best prairie food experiences you can enjoy in Canada.

1. RAW:almond at the Warming Huts Festival, Winnipeg

One of the most unique dining experiences in the world takes place each winter on the frozen banks of the Red and Assiniboine rivers, aka the Forks. The confluence of these waterways is where Winnipeg was born and it’s also where one of its most exciting annual festivals occurs. The Warming Huts is an architectural and contemporary arts event that features installations on the frozen rivers and ice skaters make their way through the displays. In recent years, a pop-up restaurant called RAW:almond — a collaboration between local gallery RAW and stellar restaurant deer + almond — serves fine cuisine beneath a heated tent on the side of the iced-over waters.

Discover More About the Warming Huts

Vacay.ca Tip: Don’t forget to pack your skates!
Vacay.ca Top 50 Restaurants in Canada Suggestion: In 2014, deer + almond ranked No. 18 in Canada and its chef, Mandel Hitzer, is one of the organizers of the RAW:almond events.
Hotel Suggestion: Inn at the Forks
Hotels.com Guest Rating: 4.4/5.0
Location: 75 Forks Market Road, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Phone: 866-299-2910
Hotels.com Room Rates: As low as $168* per night. Click here.

wes-cocktails-ayden-prairie-feast-saskatoon-small

Prairie Feast in Saskatoon features cocktails mixed by bartenders from Ayden, adding to the event’s party atmosphere. (Adrian Brijbassi/Vacay.ca)

2. Prairie Feast, Saskatoon

Supremely talented chef Dale MacKay wanted to launch a celebration of Saskatchewan’s flavour and culture, and he’s done just that with Prairie Feast, which debuted in 2015. The festival includes culinary stars from across the country cooking up incredible dishes while MacKay’s colleagues at Ayden Kitchen + Bar serve up sensational cocktails and even more delectable food.

Discover More About the Emergence of Prairie Feast

Vacay.ca Tip: Bring a hat — it can be very hot on the streets of Saskatoon in summer.
Vacay.ca Top 50 Restaurants in Canada Suggestion: Ayden Kitchen + Bar has ranked among the 20 best restaurants in the country since opening in 2014.
Hotel Suggestion: The James
Hotels.com Guest Rating: 4.8/5.0
Location: 620 Spadina Crescent East, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Phone: 866-299-2910
Hotels.com Room Rates: As low as $204* per night. Click here.

banff-springs-banquet-hall

The banquet hall at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel typifies the property’s opulence. (Adrian Brijbassi/Vacay.ca)

3. Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Banff

A dozen restaurants operate year-round at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, one of the nation’s landmark properties. You can dine on stellar Japanese cuisine at Samurai, enjoy house-made charcuterie and artisanal cheeses along with a favourite bottle of vino at Grapes Wine Bar, indulge in an epic steak dinner at the 1888 Chop House, or satiate your cravings for spicy flavours at Indian Summer, which serves a variety of curries as well as biryanis and samosas. It’s an incredible feast — and you never have to leave the grounds of the hotel to enjoy it.

Discover More About the Mountain of Food at Banff Springs Hotel

Vacay.ca Tip: Be sure to hang out in the Rundle Lounge, the centre of a lot of activity, including live music, at the hotel. You’ll also find casual, reasonably priced, family-friendly fare on the menu.
Vacay.ca Top 50 Restaurants in Canada Suggestion: If you still haven’t had your fill of great restaurant food while you’re in southern Alberta, head to Calgary and enjoy Korean flavours at Anju, which ranked among the 2015 Top Restaurants in Canada. http://anju.ca/
Hotels.com Genuine Guest Reviews of Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel: 4.4/5.0
Location: 405 Spray Avenue, Banff, Alberta
Phone: 866-299-2910
Hotels.com Room Rates: As low as $439* per night. Click here.

calgary-stampede-carousel

At the Calgary Stampede, midway rides tickle your stomach while the bounty of food is sure to fill it. (Julia Pelish file photo/Vacay.ca)

4. The Calgary Stampede

Known for its rodeo, musical headliners and cultural offerings, the annual Calgary Stampede is also a delight for foodies. It annually features food that’s exotic, weird and anything but boring. You might find Bacon Sundae Funnel Cake, a pizza topped with scorpions, or Deep-Fried Kool-Aid. Every year there’s a bunch of new findings and they tend to get stranger and stranger as the calendar turns.

Vacay.ca Tip: Don’t miss the free pancake breakfasts served each morning of the Stampede. They can be found at numerous places throughout the city.
Vacay.ca Top 50 Restaurants in Canada Suggestion: Rouge has ranked among the best restaurants in the country numerous times and is also in the former residence of one of the Calgary Stampede’s founders. http://rougecalgary.com/
Hotel Suggestion: Hotel Arts
Hotels.com Guest Rating:  4.0/5.0
Location: 119 12th Avenue SW, Calgary, Alberta
Phone: 866-299-2910
Hotels.com Room Rates: As low as $139* per night.

Note: All of these stunning, hotels, plus hundreds of thousands more, can be booked online via Hotels.com or through the mobile app available for IOS, Android, Windows and Amazon Kindle devices, where customers will also have access to special Secret Prices** to help them save even more.

*Pricing accurate as of October 25, 2016 date on Hotels.com.

** Secret Prices are available to Hotels.com app users, Hotels.com™ Rewards members and individuals who unlock Secret Prices on the website by subscribing to Hotels.com by email. Secret Prices will be shown where the “Your Secret Price” banner is displayed on your search results. Available on selected hotels and selected dates only. Subject to full terms and conditions.

avatar

Adrian is the editor of Vacay.ca and VacayNetwork.com. He also edited "Inspired Cooking", a nutrition-focused cookbook featuring 20 of Canada's leading chefs and in support of the cancer-fighting charity, InspireHealth. "Inspired Cooking" was created in honour of Adrian's late wife and Vacay.ca co-founder, Julia Pelish, who passed away of brain cancer in 2016. Adrian has won numerous awards for his travel writing, travel photography, and fiction, and has visited more than 55 countries. He is a former editor at the Toronto Star and New York Newsday, and was the social media and advocacy manager for Destination Canada. His articles have frequently appeared in the Huffington Post, Globe & Mail, and other major publications. He has appeared on national and local broadcasts, talking about travel, sports, creative writing and journalism. In 2019, he launched Trippzy, a travel-trivia app developed to educate consumers about destinations around the world.