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April 17-30
VOL.12 ISSUE. 17
HOME / BESTOF

Voting for Best of Food and Drink 2014 has begun!  Click here to vote.

As for Best of Saskatoon 2013 winners....scroll on down!

 

BEST OF 2013 WINNERS

City Arts

 

BEST Actor

Kim Coates

Everybody’s favourite biker gang aside, Coates did two local films last year — Rufus and Ferocious — and in 2014, look for him in Last Days Here, a Minds Eye (Regina) production. Heather Morrison takes another silver, no doubt thanks to her stellar work in the debut season of Saskatoon’s first outdoor theatre company, Sum Theatre. Honourable mentions to Matt Burgess (another star of last year’s Comfort, along with Morrison) and Josh Beaudry, a Shakespeare veteran who just wrapped up the Persephone’s My Chernobyl.

 

BEST Art Exhibit

Sounds Like Festival(AKA Gallery / Paved Arts)

The audio art festival really came into its own in its third year with the likes of “Hit (duo)” and “Music for Lamps”. They also brought in outstanding artists from Ireland, Edmonton, the Netherlands, Toronto and Montréal. Voters also loved Jon Vaughn’s Realms zine launch and exhibition at Gordon Snelgrove, and Sandra Knoss’s colourful oils at Void.

 

BEST Author

Guy Vanderhaeghe

It’s a fitting year for Vanderhaeghe to return to the top of the podium, having been celebrated at this year’s Lieutenant Governor’s Awards for Lifetime Achievement in the arts. Wes Funk holds onto last year’s second-place showing, as voters look forward to his autobiographical release in 2014. Alice Kuipers (whose The Bookworm Book, by Violet and Victor Smallis also bookmarked for 2014)edges out Anthony Bidulka for third spot.

 

BEST Band

The Sheepdogs

The Sheepdogs, (catch them headlining the Riderville North Grey Cup party on the 23rd!) have made it another great year, following up their 2012 release with such epic appearances as a free show from a Red Bull bus on Broadway. The Deep Dark Woods make a return the podium, hot on the heels of the release of their latest album, Jubilee. In third spot, Young Benjamins gains ground, landing just ahead of Shooting Guns.

 

BEST Concert

Red Hot Chili Peppers

They may be in their 50s, but readers were blown away by RHCP’s stadium show in 2012 with opening act Rebirth Brass Band. Not to be outdone, even older oldsters Leonard Cohen and The Eagles traded dusty farts while duking it out for second — a tussle taken by Cohen. Not far behind, the Jazz Festival’s Serena Ryder show takes honourable mention, proving that chicks and young people can rock, too.

 

BEST DJ

Charly Hustle

Charly Hustle makes it two in a row — pretty apt for a guy who made it to the National Red Bull Thre3style DJ championship for the second straight year as well. Check out his new EP, The Super Professionals, or head to Tusq for his monthly Flat Black Plastic event with The Gaff. DJ Sugar Daddy, a favourite at The Deuce and Jax, takes home the silver turntable ahead of new kid Jaguarmeister and Cougarbourbon.

 

BEST Live Music Venue

Amigos

Okay, we know you’re not surprised — Amigos has the killer lineup of great bands, good beer and just enough space to squeeze in your sweaty bod. The Bess Gardens, meanwhile, returns to the podium with idyllic scenery in their hip pocket. The Broadway Theatre, showing off a renewed dedication to live shows, ekes out a bronze just ahead of Bud’s.

 

BEST Live Theatre Company

Persephone Theatre

They’re the big game in town, and it shows. Their latest, The Black Bonspiel of Wullie MacCrimmon, opens on the 27th. The Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan steps up their game, as they move up from last year’s results to take second. Honourable mentions to Broadway improv group Saskatoon Soaps (next show on the 22nd) and Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company, whose Mékiwin: The Gift opens on the 28th.

 

BEST Live Theatre Production

Alice in Wonderland

This was a close race, but it’s newcomer Sum Theatre who’s taken the longest ovation for their production in parks across the city this summer — just ahead of the Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors, which included Best Actor runners-up Matt Burgess and Josh Beaudry. The Saskatoon Summer Players also prove the curtain doesn’t close come summer, as Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat takes third ahead of Atomic Vaudeville’s travelling show Ride the Cyclone.

 

BEST Local Album

The Deep Dark Woods, Jubilee

The Best Band runner-up can rest assured their new album went over well with voters—it’s been out for barely over a month, and it’s taken top spot! Silver medallist Young Benjamins also just finished touring their new album, Less Argue, which won favour with Exclaim! magazine as well as with our readers. Factor’s Woke Up Alone and Close Talker’s Timbers take honourable mentions.

 

BEST Movie Theatre

Galaxy Cinemas

347 2nd Ave. S. (306) 664-5060

cineplex.com

The big, black and blue box takes its 6th straight statuette, ahead of 20th Street’s Roxy Theatre, who’s looking comfortable in its second-straight second-place finish. Broadway Theatre stays in for third, in a perfect screening of the results of our 2012 Readers’ Poll.

 

BEST Poet

Brendan Flaherty

Wow, what a race! Our spoken word scene has been flexing some serious muscle of late — as I write this, the Saskatoon Slam Team is preparing for the finals at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word. And on that team is none other than Brendan Flaherty. Break a leg, Brendan! Hot on his heels are Tonight It’s Poetry organizer Charles Hamilton (cough, he used to write for us, cough) and performance-artist-slash-poet Ryan Bradshaw.

 

BEST Private Art Gallery

Rouge Gallery

200-245 3rd Ave. S. (306) 955-8882

rougegallery.ca

Rouge makes it look easy for their fifth straight win. Catch Katerina Mertikas’s What a Wonderful World there, starting on the 26th. In second spot is The Stall Gallery, whose exhibitions at The Two Twenty, City Perks, The Woods and Area Home + Lifestyle have made a win-win for businesses and artists. Newcomer Void Gallery takes third over Darrell Bell by a nose.

 

BEST Public Art Gallery

Mendel Art Gallery

950 Spadina Cres. E. (306) 975-7610

mendel.ca

The impending transition to the Remai Art Gallery of Saskatchewan aside, the Mendel hasn’t moved an inch in voters’ hearts. On display there right now are They Made a Day Be a Day Here and Rewilding Modernity. Artist-run gallery neighbours PAVED (it stands for “photographic, audio, video, electronic, digital”) and AKA (it stands for “also known as,” as far as we know) take silver and bronze, respectively.

 

BEST Public Art Installation

The graffiti wall at Warman Rd. and 33rd St.

We’re pretty sure this is a first for Planet S voters — okay, the graffiti wall was actually commissioned, and is in no way an act of vandalism, but it’s a marked departure for victor in this category. Heck, it’s not actually a public art installation, but private property. Kudos to you, Ches Burns! Honourable mentions to the good ol’ Ghandi statue at 21st St. and 2nd Ave., and Shelley Miller’s “Sugar Bomb” — an edible graffiti piece that was part of AKA’s annual Street Meet festival.

 

BEST Solo Musician

Reignwolf

Reignwolf (aka Jordan Cook) has been lighting up the U.S. circuit all year, including blowing away New Orleans at the Voodoo Experience festival. But voters hope he comes back to town soon! Kirby Criddle, who we think should have a new album soon, takes second spot ahead of Zachary Lucky and John Antoniuk (aka Smokekiller).

 

City People

 

BEST Alternative/Holistic Practitioner

Dr. Mark Hoe

315 20th St. E. (306) 382-4507

Acupuncturist and homeopath Dr. Mark Hoe pokes in his fourth straight victory in this category. Voters were also in good hands with homeopath Nancy Tam (Creative Neurons/Cantrill Muscle Therapy, 10th St.), second favourite, and Dr. Alana Barmby (Saskatoon Naturopathic Health & Wellness Centre, Lorne Ave.) in third.

 

BEST City Councillor

Mairin Loewen

For her second full year as councillor for Ward 7, Loewen takes home her second Best City Councillor award from Planet S voters — beating out Ward 6’s Charlie Clark by the narrowest of margins! Not far behind is Darren Hill, Ward 1. Honourable mention to newcomer Zach Jeffries (Ward 10).

 

BEST Dentist

Dr. Carman Rabuka, Broadway Dental Group

626 Broadway Ave. (306) 664-9994

Once again Dr. Rabuka takes the crown, as he’s handed his fourth straight victory from Planet S readers. But they also opened wide for Dr. Nina Moe (Avalon Dental Clinic) and Dr. Nathan Nieviadomy (who’s also at Broadway Dental Group).

 

BEST Doctor

Dr. Ryan Meili, Westside Community Clinic

1528 20th St. W. (306) 664-4310

Probably Saskatoon’s best known doctor-slash-NDP-candidate, Dr. Meili is hoping to spread his wings next year, as his new political think-tank, Upstream, takes flight. Last year’s favourite, Dr. Cyprian Enweani (Lenore Centre Medical Clinic), is diagnosed in second place, ahead of Dr. Marlys Misfeldt (Kenderdine Medical Clinic).

 

BEST Esthetician

Sheena Tremeer, Cliptomania

#300 3rd Ave. S. (306) 668-6611

facebook.com/Cliptomaniasalon

The makeup artist also known as Zeldacan sher make ya purdy, but she can also kick ass in local punk band BellaDonnas & The Temps. Voters are also happy to be beautified by Veronica Lynn-Swirsky (Pretty Little Things Esthetics Studio) and Charmaine Holan (Dahlia Salon and Spa), who land in an absolute dead heat for second place! Honourable mention to Katie Martin (also at Pretty Little Things).

 

BEST Hairstylist

Keith Bastian, Chop Chop Salon

606 22nd St. W.(306) 477-0663

chopchopsalon.ca

Mr. Bastian can updo you up right, say Planet S readers, who ran in a mad rush for his golden chair. Runners-up Kara Firman (Spectrum Hair Studio on Broadway) and Leah Gress (Chel Salonspa on 8th St.) take the silver and bronze snippers, respectively. Alicia Soulier (Capelli Salon Studio on McOrmond Dr.) is not far behind.

 

BEST Lawyer

Lisa Watson, Roe & Peszko

#400 - 245 3rd Ave. S. (306) 244-9865

roeandcompany.ca

It’s an upset! After years of ruling Best Lawyer, Bill Roe hands the wig of honour to Roe & Peszko associate and criminal defence lawyer Lisa Watson. Not to be overruled, criminal defence lawyer Brian Pfefferle (Brian Pfefferle Law) lands solidly in second, while estate lawyer Jayme Mitchell (Cuelenaere Kendall Katzman & Watson) earns honourable mention.

 

BEST Mortgage Broker

Tammy Wandzura

#1 511 1st Ave. N.(306) 933-3386

elitemortgagechoice.com

The Mortgage Group’s Tammy Wandzura must be finding some seriously great deals on interest rates, as the newcomer to the podium handily closes the deal. Last year’s winner Ryan Mollberg (Your Mortgage Link) stays strong though, taking voters’ second-favourite ahead of our number three, Steel Van Veen (The Mortgage Group).

 

BEST Real Estate Agent

Lacy Watson, Re/Max

1820 8th St. E. (306) 227-9479

lacywatson.com

Re/Max agent Lacy Watson is back to number one after an ever-so-brief (that is, one year) hiatus from the top of the podium. Voters also signed on the dotted line for Jon Aschenbrener (Realty Executives), who edges out last year’s winner Ashley Turner (Century 21) by a square inch for second place. Honourable nod goes to Ryan Bohle (Coldwell Banker).

 

BEST Saskatoon MLA

Cam Broten

The Leader of the Official Opposition is new to the NDP helm, but he knows what it’s like to lead in this town — as he takes his fourth straight Best MLA title. Ken Cheveldayoff (Sask. Party, Saskatoon Silver Springs) makes a handy showing for second spot though, while Cathy Sproule (NDP, Nutana) does battle with party-mate Danielle Chartier (NDP, Saskatoon Riversdale) for third — and narrowly succeeds.

 

BEST Saskatoon MP

None

We at Planet S don’t believe any real person has ever won Best MP, but we’re looking forward to the next election, when all you sorry naysayers will be able to elect someone for our fair city alone — without those pesky small-towners drowning you out! Seriously, this is a wicked landslide, and Elections Canada doesn’t count Best of Saskatoon votes, so get out and vote! Poor, unappreciated Kelly Block (Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar) and Brad Trost (Saskatoon-Humboldt) mop up the leavings, in that order.

 

BEST SIAST Instructor

Shane McDonald

Computer Systems Technology instructor Shane McDonald earns the A+, with perennial fave Kurt Soucy (Engineering) hot on his heels for an easy A. Voters also liked SIAST Program Head Dalton Mervold, who brings the A- home to his parents.

 

BEST Tattoo Artist

Veronique Gray, Tantrix Body Art

#10 705 Central Ave. (306) 384-5454

tantrixbodyart.com

Voters say Veronique will make you more than comfortable in your own skin — she’ll make your skin comfortable with you! Last year’s victor Graeme Burke (Rites of Passage) handily inks second place, ahead of honourable mentions Craig Fenrick (Pendulum Studio)and Riley Hogan (Riley Hogan Tattoos).

 

BEST Teacher K-12

Scott Hundseth

St. Joseph High School teacher Scott Hundseth makes Planet S readers pine for their school days. How many extra desks have you got, Mr. Hundseth? They also wanted to go back and do it all over again if they could learn from the likes of Caroline Vigneault and Michael Carter.

 

BEST U of S Prof

Scott Napper

Voters put Scott Napper under the microscope, and they liked what they saw of the biochemistry professor. It runs in the family, meanwhile, for second-place finisher David McGrane (Political Studies), husband of Caroline Vigneault (see above). Fellow poli-sci wonk Charles Smith, from St. Thomas More College, is not far behind.

 

BEST Veteran Activist

Peter Garden

He brings us amazing publications, films, talks and protests all year, every year — and every year, readers reward him for it. They also loved the leadership from community facilitator and Next Up environmental youth motivator Tracey Mitchell, and Mozambique health care developer (and Station 20 West champion) Don Kossick.

 

BEST Veterinarian

Dr. Haider Elbermani, Prairieland Vet Clinic

110 Ruth St. E. (306) 242-5637

Dr. Elbermani takes care of voters’ furry friends like no other, as he takes his fourth straight Best Vet title… but he might need a few stitches after this one! When the dust settled, it was Dr. Teresa Chu (All About Cats and Dogs Veterinary Hospital) just behind in the silver spot, and Dr. Vivienne Jones (Erindale Animal Hospital) a hair back for bronze.

 

BEST Young Activist

Erica Lee

Erica Lee has had an amazing year, co-ordinating the Saskatoon Idle No More page and the Indigenous Students’ Council for the U of S, helping organize events and protests for Idle No More across the world, and now starting the Honour the Apology movement — all while completing her studies. Readers also couldn’t wait to see more of musician and Next Up grad (and last year’s winner) Melissa Gan, and Saskatchewan Young New Democrats president Mitchell Anderson.

 

Saskatoon Media

 

BEST Local Radio Host(s)

Rob and Shauna

Rob and Shauna (Morning Show on C95) wake up smiling as they take the golden microphone for the second straight time. Heather Morrison (afternoon show on Magic 98.3) smooth-talks her way into second, while a pitched battle for third sees Shack, Watson and Whitney (Morning Show on Rock 102) overdub our favourite curmudgeon John Gormley (John Gormley Live, News Talk 650).

 

BEST Local Radio Station

90.5 CFCR

Community radio continues its unbeaten streak, having long ago programmed its way into voters’ hearts. But C95 has a growing audience — they’ve maintained their second-place finish from last year, and have inched their way into threat territory. Honourable mentions to CBC at 94.1 and Cruz at 96.3.

 

BEST Local TV Station

Global

Global TV makes it a two-part miniseries, as they capture the Best TV Station prize for the second time in a row. Longtime favourite CTV is not far behind though, making a strong showing in what’s become the local television war. CBC is far behind in third, followed by Shaw.

 

BEST Local Website/Blog

Ominocity

ominocity.com

When it comes to keeping up with the Saskatoon scene, spouting your opinion, or hearing good ideas, there’s no shortage of great offerings hovering out there in cyberspace. Taking their third straight prize is music and living e-zine Ominocity, followed by foodie blog BS' in the Kitchen (bsinthekitchen.com) and Spareparts’ therooster.ca. (Thanks to all of you who voted for planetsmag.com, but we’ve excused ourselves from this one — since you had to go there to vote, it seemed a bit gauche for us to include ourselves!)

 

BEST Meteorologist/Weather Person

Jeff Rogstad

This will make it eight straight rosy forecasts for CTV’s Rogstad, who has obviously earned some serious trust among voters. Kevin Stanfield at Global’s Morning News takes an easy second place, followed by honourable mentions Mike Ciona (also at CTV) and Peter Quinlan (also at Global).

 

BEST Planet S Writer

Craig Silliphant

Music reporter and restaurant critic extraordinaire Craig has been telling us what we want to know for aeons (sorry, Craig), and readers have noticed! They also loved Chris Morin’s Live Previews, Lisa Johnson’s political reporting, and Noelle Chorney’s food reviews. But we at Planet S love you all equally — really!

 

BEST Political Reporter

Charles Hamilton

Charles has been hammering away at his typewriter at the StarPhoenix for a while now (ssh, just pretend they still do that) — and voters say he has earned his reputation. They also love getting the inside scoop from Murray Mandryk (StarPhoenix, CBC) and Stefani Langenegger (CBC), who land second and third spots, respectively.

 

BEST Reporter (broadcast)

Jennifer Jellicoe

CTV anchor Jennifer Jellicoe advances up the podium, from a third place finish in 2012 to a first in 2013! Shallima Maharaj, Global’s weekend anchor, makes a mean showing though, cinching second place just ahead of CBC reporter Dan Zakreski and CTV Mornings on the Go reporter Stephanie Massicotte.

 

BEST Reporter (print)

Jeremy Warren

Our local newspaper duked it out with itself — and established news reporter Jeremy Warren must’ve traded some mean hooks with Best Political Reporter Charles Hamilton, because he barely managed this victory. Nursing their bruises, news reporter Jason Warick and Bridges editor Jenn Sharp follow closely behind.

 

BEST Sports Reporter

Wray Morrison

It was game six before this one was decided, and the glorious Voters’ Cup is handed to… News Talk’s Wray Morrison! Last year’s victor, CTV’s Kevin Waugh, settles for a regional championship. Blades Blogger Les Lazaruk and Global’s Kim Thue take the C and D leagues, respectively.

 

BEST TV Anchor

Lisa Dutton

Global Morning’s Lisa Dutton makes it a two-peat, ahead of longtime favourite Rob MacDonald (CTV at 6), who nonetheless makes a strong showing for second place. Chantel Huber, Rob’s co-anchor at CTV, takes third over honourable mention Julie Mintenko (Global’s Evening News).

 

BEST TV News

CTV

Yup, perennial sniffer-of-news CTV shows no sign of letting up its grip on the, er, odours of voters (gimme a break—these damn puns get hard after a while!). Chasing the lead is last year’s silver medallist, Global — who lets us in on the goings-on of the day just before CBC does, say readers.

 

City Living

 

BEST Dance Studio

Free Flow Dance Company

224 25 St. W. (306) 665-5998

freeflowdance.com

Voters have been loosened up by Free Flow, who take the golden slippers yet again with their community-minded combination of modern dance, burlesque, drawing parties and swing dances. But you can also get your groove on at Saskatoon Salsa, Brenda's School of Baton and Dance and DancEgypt Dance Company, say our readers.

 

BEST Employer

University of Saskatchewan

Well, colour us surprised — layoffs, closure of iconic campuses, and talk of perp-walks aside, the U of S is still the place to make a living at! This is the university’s sixth straight Best Employer title, so let’s hope it doesn’t go to their heads. Second-most pleasing is everyone’s favourite uranium digger, Cameco, followed closely by Saskatoon Health Region and City of Saskatoon.

 

BEST Golf Course

The Willows

382 Cartwright St. (306) 956-4653

willowsgolf.com

The Willows is so far out on the greens as to be virtually untouchable in this category, as they swing yet another victory. The real battle is for second: the silver tam goes to Moonlake Golf and Country Club on Valley Rd., while the bronze pants go to Dakota Dunes on Highway 219. And yes, they get a free bowl of soup with those.

 

BEST Gym

Motion Fitness

431 Nelson Rd.; 3110 Clarence Ave. S. (306) 975-1003

motionfitnesssaskatoon.ca

Motion makes it a two-rep routine, cleaning-and-jerking the heavyweight title for the second straight year. Goodlife Fitness (3510 8th St. E.) stays on the podium too, once again settling for the silver medal. Newcomer Freedom Functional Fitness (102 20th St. W.) takes the bronze, ahead of Bridge City Fitness (2345 Millar Ave.).

 

BEST Part of Saskatoon to Shop In

Downtown

On the heels of the City’s release of the brand-spanking-new City Centre Plan, Planet S readers may be advising the City to take it easy when it comes to change in the downtown — as they like it pretty well just the way it is. Broadway Ave. settles for runner-up yet again, well ahead of honourable mentions Preston Crossing and Riversdale.

 

BEST Place to go Dancing

Diva's

#110 220 3rd Ave. S. (306) 665-0100

divasclub.ca

Look out Saskatoon — when voters put their dancing shoes on, things can get vicious! A Hollywood-worthy dance-off between the city’s gay/ally clubs played out in our Readers’ Poll, with the elder Diva’s taking the top prize. 302 Lounge (302 Pacific Ave.) settles for second, a mere handful of votes behind. And cutting footloose in the battle for third is Spadina Freehouse (608 Spadina Cres. E.), ahead of Beily’s Ultralounge (2404 8th St. E.).

 

BEST Place to Take an Out-of-Towner

Broadway Ave.

It may have come second for Best Shopping, but Broadway proves it has the chops to impress your big-city (or small-town, for that matter) cousins — as it pulls off a strong victory over longtime favourite River Landing. Want to pull out all the stops as tour guide? Voters suggest you continue down to the Meewasin Trail before heading to The Berry Barn.

 

BEST Pool Hall

The Snooker Shack

3421 8th St. E. (306) 374-2100

snookershack.ca

Voters polishing off their cues may be hinting The Snooker Shack should change its name to “Snooker Shark,” since they positively own the Best Pool Hall table. The second-place game sees a switching of places from last year’s results, with Modern Billiards pulling off the winning shot just ahead of Pacific Billiards.

 

BEST Saskatoon Festival/Event

SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival

SaskTel could have phoned this one in if they wanted to — the Jazz Festival once again easily snaps the hearts of readers. And in a near-perfect image of last year’s results, Saskatoon Folkfest mixes up its colours to come up with silver; but this time, the PotashCorp Fringe Theatre Festival settles for a dead tie with Taste of Saskatchewan.

 

BEST Yoga Studio

One Yoga

#4 527 Main St. (306) 612-2121

saskatoonyoga.com

If you need to unwind, voters recommend One Yoga, whose vinyasa style put them at peace again this year. They also suggest cooling off with the hot yoga of Moksha Yoga (619 1st Ave. N.) or Hot Yoga on 20th (117 20th St. W.), who take second and third spots respectively. The mix of styles on offer at Inner Peace Yoga (3521 8th St. E.) brings up the rear.

 

City Loving

 

BEST Couples Activity (besides that)

Walking Along the River

Since the spectacular South Saskatchewan River is our fair city’s defining characteristic, it’s also a great place to learn how our partners are defined, say voters. The perennial favourite date activity for Saskatonians is followed reasonably closely by good, old-fashioned dinner — while drinking and movie-watching duel for third place. And with so many fine establishments near the river, what’s to stop you from doing all four?

 

BEST Love Shop

Positive Passions

300 3rd Ave. S. (306) 651-7227

positivepassions.com

Whether you’ve got a fetish or just want some tinker toys, readers have been steering you toward Positive Passions for years, as they mop up for Best Love Shop yet again. And, for the umpteenth time, runners-up are For Lovers Only (250 Idylwyld Dr. N.)and Lil’ Devil(#4 1620 Idylwyld Dr. N.).

 

BEST Pickup Line

“Hi.”

Voters are so enamoured with “Hi” as a pickup line, we at Planet S will never quite feel the same whenever someone throws a greeting our way. All those people want to mate with us? We thought they were just friendly... Oh well. Runner-up, for all the heteros out there: “Do you want to go halves on a baby?” If you’re split on that one, you might try, “Are you in Star Wars? Because Yodalicious!” or, “Do you have wifi? 'Cause I'm feeling a connection.”

 

BEST Place for a First Date

The River

When you’re not yet sure how you feel about each other, a stroll along the riverbank gives readers some space, and the scenery, to avoid creepy eye contact. If you’re a little more comfortable, how about a pint at The Rook and Raven (154 2nd Ave. S.), a latte at The Broadway Roastery (614 Broadway Ave., 2318 8th St. E.), or some tapas at Duck Duck Goose (616 10th St. E.)?

 

BEST Place to Break Up

The River

Must be that creepy eye contact thing again... And in a heated battle for first runner-up, The Broadway Roastery (614 Broadway Ave., 2318 8th St. E.) breaks it off ahead of Buds (817 Broadway Ave.)and that favourite space of yellow-bellies everywhere, cyberspace.

 

BEST Place to Get Condoms

Shoppers Drug Mart

Everywhere

If the glove doesn’t fit, voters recommend the ubiquitous Shoppers Drug Mart for finding one that does. Or take advantage of the safe (and free!) environments at Sexual Health Centre Saskatoon (210 2nd Ave. N.) and Student Health and Counselling Services (3rd and 4th floors, Place Riel, U of S campus). A few of you, though, will nonetheless look for the bright lights of 7-11.

 

BEST Public Smoochin' Spot

The Riverbank

If that first date goes well, rest assured you won’t be the only couple swapping spit on the riverbank. (Say, is that what made the water level so high this year?) If anywhere approximating a riverbank isn’t specific enough, consider your other options — the Train Bridge (Spadina Cres. at 33rd St. E.) and River Landing (3rd Ave. S. to Victoria Park).

 

Shopping

 

BEST Baby Stuff Store

Cravings

2105 8th St. E. (306) 477-8200

shopcravings.ca

Readers say you can prove you’re the coolest aunt/uncle/whatever ever by picking up the latest in trendy baby doodads for somebody else’s bundle of joy from Cravings! You can also get the stuff that’ll make your life way, way easier at Once Upon a Child (815 Gray Ave.), Carter's Oshkosh Store (1718 Preston Ave. N.), and Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo (705 Central Ave.).

 

BEST Bath and Beauty Shop

Bath & Body Works

3510 8th St. E. (306) 933-4884

bathandbodyworks.com

Last year’s contest was a vicious one, and it saw newcomer Lush ultimately proclaimed victor. This year, there’s another new game in town — and Bath & Body Works (The Centre Mall) has positively scrubbed the competition! Lush settles for the silver loofah in a distant second, followed by the bronze bubbles of Midtown-mates The Body Shop.

 

BEST Bicycle Store

Bike Doctor

623 Main St. (306) 664-8555

bikedoctor.ca

Make it a 10 speed — Bike Doctor crosses the finish line with its 10th straight Best Bicycle badge! And in a perfect repeat of last year’s relay, Doug's Spoke and Sport pedals solidly into second, ahead of Bike Universe and City Park Cycle in third and fourth, respectively.

 

BEST Book Store

McNally Robinson

3130 8th St. E. (306) 955-3599

mcnallyrobinson.com

The Winni-pagers at McNally Robinson close the chapter on yet another winning year, garnering more votes than all other Best Book candidates combined! Those poor, corporate big boys at Indigo (3322 8th St. E.) settle for a distant second, followed by voters’ favourite truly local bookstore, Turning the Tide (525 11th St. E.).

 

BEST new Car Dealership

Ens Lexus Toyota

285 Venture Cres. (306) 653-5660

enslexustoyota.com

Voters approve the credit at Ens, who drive away with the consumers’ choice for the second year in a row. But Jubilee Ford (419 Brand Pl.)has shifted into gear, improving on their third-place finish of 2012. The new car smell at Volkswagen Centre of Saskatoon (635 Circle Dr.) and Saskatoon Motor Products (715 Circle Dr.) is nothing to sniff at either, say voters.

 

BEST used Car Dealership

Ens Lexus Toyota

285 Venture Cres. (306) 653-5660

enslexustoyota.com

Our tireless, tire-kicking readers have been test-driving this category for years, and once again it’s Ens who gets their engines revving. They also appreciate the mileage at Saskatoon Motor Products (715 Circle Dr.), Jubilee Ford (419 Brand Pl.)and Wheaton GM (2102 Millar Ave.), in that order.

 

BEST CD/Record Store

The Vinyl Exchange

128 2nd Ave. N. (306) 244-7090

thevinylexchange.com

It’s a crazy world when you’re wooing loyalty from music buyers in Saskatoon. In a complete about-face of 2012’s results, it’s Vinyl Exchange reversing from bronze to gold, handily spinning in ahead of Vinyl Diner (628B Broadway Ave.), who holds down the silver again, and Beaumont Film and Record (220 3rd Ave. S.), who goes from gold to bronze.

 

BEST Clothing Store Gals Hip/Trendy

Tonic

122 2nd Ave. N. (306) 975-1529

tonic-life.com

Trendy Tonic tried on the “undefeated” style, and they liked it — taking their fourth straight Gals Hip title. Relative newcomer Dutch Growers — yes, THAT Dutch Growers (685 Reid Rd.)— flows seamlessly into second spot; look for their new location, White Dhalia [sic], downtown on 2nd Ave. Honourable mentions go to other downtown mavens of mode, Frakas (#1 - 183 2nd Ave. S.; #9 410 Ludlow St.) and Guys And Dawls (212 1st Ave. S.).

 

BEST Clothing Store Gals Professional/Formal

Tonic

122 2nd Ave. N. (306) 975-1529

tonic-life.com

Voters getting suited up for business and special occasions don’t want to sacrifice value for style, or style for value — so they recommend Tonic once again. They also love the fine duds at Ricki’s (Midtown Plaza), Banana Republic (1718 Preston Ave. N.) and Manhattan Casuals (124 21st St. E.), in that order.

 

BEST Clothing Store Guys Hip/Trendy

Luna + Hill

208 3rd Ave. S. (306) 244-5862

lunaandhill.com

This category was awfully competitive last year, but for 2013, Luna + Hill turned up the style — and turned their second-place finish from 2012 into numero uno. Last year’s victor, Banjo by Tonic (122 2nd Ave. N.), settles for silver. And in a vicious fight for bronze, it’s Ultimo Euromoda (204 3rd Ave. S.) over Guys And Dawls (212 1st Ave. S.). Downtown’s where the duds are, dudes!

 

BEST Clothing Store Guys Professional/Formal

Manhattan Casuals

124 21st St. E. (306) 664-6686

manhattancasuals.com

We at Planet S don’t find any of our guys to be anywhere approaching unpredictable — but then again, we’re not exactly lining up for formalwear. I guess voters have schooled us pretty well, as they show an honourable mention from 2012 can waltz away with Number One Necktie, which Manhattan Casuals has handily done. Last year’s winner, Anthony’s Fashion for Men (234 1st Ave. S.), ties up second place, ahead of Moores (157 2nd Ave. S.) and Banjo by Tonic (122 2nd Ave. N.).

 

BEST Comic Book Store

8th Street Books & Comics

1006 8th St. E. (306) 343-6624

8thcomics.com

Voters never close the book on this category — they have a tough time settling on a long-term chalice of valour for Best Comic Book Store. This year it’s 8th Street Books & Comics glugging from the cup, ahead of Unreal City (139 2nd Ave. N.), our 2012 victor. Amazing Stories (#270 2600 8th St. E.) is no sidekick either, in hot pursuit not far behind.

 

BEST Computer Store

OTV Technologies

302 Wall St.(306) 374-0607

otvtech.com

Voters never overeat the terabytes at OTV, who happily hums along to win its sixth straight election as Best Computer Store. Making a comeback from previous years is Campus Computer Store (Lower Place Riel), who uploads their student deals on the Readers’ Poll network. Also appreciated were the speed and service at Neural Net Interactive (2325 Preston Ave.) and Future Shop (1723 Preston Ave. N.).

 

BEST Eco-Friendly Store

The Better Good

640 Broadway Ave. (306) 242-4663

thebettergood.com

Planet Sreaders are a discerning bunch who appreciate an environmental conscience when they see it. With that in mind, hats off to three-time reader-pleaser The Better Good, who once again defeats Dad's Organic Market (1820 8th St. E.). Third and fourth spots go to the wise minds at Steep Hill Food Co-op (730 Broadway Ave.) and Lush (Midtown Plaza), respectively.

 

BEST Electronics Store

OTV Technologies

302 Wall St.(306) 374-0607

otvtech.com

There’s a new winner of the woofers, and it’s Best Computer Store victor OTV Technologies. The computer capitalists overtake last year’s Best Electronics, Best Buy (#20a 3310 8th St. E.), by a mere handful of pixels. Future Shop (1723 Preston Ave. N.), meanwhile, turns it up over Krazy Kiley's (108 Ave. D S.; #106 1844 McOrmond Dr) to take third place.

 

BEST Flower Shop

Bill's House of Flowers

712 Broadway Ave. (306) 242-8809

billshouseofflowers.com

Bill’s scores a sweet-smelling upset, catching the bouquet over voters’ longtime Best Florist, Blossoms(613 8th St. E.). Still need to brighten your winter? Readers suggest the perfumed poesies at Flowers by Fred (727 22nd St. W.), and the peachy petals at Little Shop of Flowers (#9A 202 Primrose Dr).

 

BEST Furniture Store

Urban Barn

3142 Clarence Ave. S. (306) 933-9770

urbanbarn.com

The fine furnishers at Urban Barn didn’t take this one lying down — they won over voters with the utmost in upholstery once again. Newcomer Hiddenstich Upholstery and Home Decor (14 23rd St. E.) stuffs it in to take the silver chaise, comfortably ahead of Palliser Rooms / EQ3 (2125 Faithfull Ave.) and Metric Design Centre (160 2nd Ave. N.).

 

BEST Home Decor Store

Homesense

#130 3047 Clarence Ave. S. (306) 933-3911

homesense.ca

Readers need to look no further than these big boys for the best in treasures and trinkets, as Homesense settles into its fourth straight title. Best Furnisher Urban Barn (3142 Clarence Ave. S.) scores the silver centrepiece, while Hiddenstitch Upholstery and Home Decor (14 23rd St. E.) brandishes the bronze bauble, ahead of Metric Design Centre (160 2nd Ave. N.).

 

BEST Jewellery/Accessories Store

Frakas

#1 183 2nd Ave. S.; #9 410 Ludlow St. (306) 665-3883

frakas.ca

We had to combine these two categories this year, partly to prevent confusion with automotive, and other, accessories. And it’s last year’s Best Accessorizer, Frakas, who sticks it out for the win. Voters also appreciated the non-automotive goings-on at milliner Hats and That (636 Broadway Ave.), jeweller GMG Jewellers (#1 105 21st St. E.) and antique-r Back Then and Again (#18 115 3rd Ave. S.).

 

BEST Locally Owned Shop

The Better Good

640 Broadway Ave. (306) 242-4663

thebettergood.com

It’s what economists call the multiplier effect: when you spend your dollar at a local store, and the store owner spends your dollar locally, you’ve made $2 of economic activity for the $1 you spent. Voters just call it good business, and love to spread their dollars around with Saskatoon champions The Better Good, as well as Luna + Hill (208 3rd Ave. S.), Turning the Tide (525 11th St. E.) and Better Off Duds (510A 33rd St. W.).

 

BEST Mall

Midtown Plaza

201 1st Ave. S. (306) 653-8844

midtownplaza.ca

Be it the convenience of heat, air conditioning or proximity, readers who need it flock to the Midtown in droves, as the central retailer cashes in on yet another triumph. But readers also recommend the indoor extravaganzas at The Centre Mall (3301 8th St. E.) and The Mall at Lawson Heights (134 Primrose Dr.).

 

BEST Music Gear Store

Long and McQuade

721 43rd St. E.; 617 8th St. E. (306) 664-1966

long-mcquade.com

Long and McQuade turns it up to 11 again — no surprise here, as they’re the big player in town and their competitors are numbered. Still, Riversdale’s Village Guitar and Amp Company (432 20th St. W.) makes another fine showing, landing second fiddle, ahead of third-place band outfitter St. John's Music (640 Broadway Ave.).

 

BEST New Store

Bath & Body Works

3510 8th St. E. (306) 933-4884

bathandbodyworks.com

Hmm, we sense a trend... Last year’s Best New Store, Sephora, captured Best Bath & Beauty... This year’s, Bath & Body Works, did the same. Are we really that dirty? Whatever it is, Bath & Body has us in another swoon. We also clapped for joy at the opening of Hiddenstitch Upholstery and Home Decor (14 23rd St. E.) and Laundry (133 21st St. E.).

 

BEST Optical Store

Atrium Eye Care

407 1st Ave. N. (306) 652-4374

atriumoptometric.com

Wow — are we reading these results right? This was a ferocious tussle, and it sees the crowning of a new glasses guru, Atrium Eye Care! Atrium polished up the win just a shade ahead of Point Optical (123 2nd Ave. S.; Confederation Mall), 2012’s silver medallist, and Optika Eclectic Eyewear (702 Broadway Ave.), a longtime victor. Family Focus Eyecare (#1 419 Ludlow St.) earns honourable mention.

 

BEST Pet Supplies Store

Early's Farm and Garden

2615 Lorne Ave.; 502a 51st St. E. (306) 931-1982

earlysgarden.com

No mere catfight here, this was a race to the last! Voters finally settled on crowning a new champion, Early’s, who land just a kibble ahead of longtime favouriteCritters Pet Health Store (110 Ruth St. E.; #2 202 Primrose Dr; 406 Ludlow St.). Not to be disobedient, PetSmart (1719 Preston Ave. N.) takes third not far behind, while Pet Planet (1501 8th St. E.; #102 1824 McOrmond Dr.) sits and stays for fourth.

 

BEST Shoe Store for Gals

Swank Shoe Lounge

#1 157 2nd Ave. N. (306) 979-5775

facebook.com/swankshoelounge

Swank makes it a pair, as they capture their second straight title for Best Gals’ Shoes. Traxx Footwear (#23 2105 8th St. E.) was hot on their heels, but will have to settle for the silver slingback. And voters hand the bronze boot to Durand's Fine Footwear and Accessories (255 2nd Ave. S.).

 

BEST Shoe Store for Guys

Traxx Footwear

#23 2105 8th St. E. (306) 956-2272

traxxfootwear.net

Voters have done some sole-searching since our last Readers’ Poll, and have come up in favour of a new sultan of sneakers! Aldo(Midtown Plaza), the usual favourite, is relegated to second spot — just a step or two ahead of Momentum Clothing & Equipment (2102 8th St. E.) and Ninetimes Boarding (1111 Louise Ave.).

 

BEST Skateboard Store

Ninetimes Boarding

1111 Louise Ave. (306) 477-4663

ntb.ca

We’re not sure if it’s actually been nine times, but Ninetimes is looking pretty comfortable as top skateboard shop. Escape Sports (110 19th St. W.), meanwhile, flips from last year’s bronze board to this year’s silver skate. Honourable mention slides to Backside Board Shop (1102 3rd Ave. N.).

 

BEST Specialty or Used Book Store

Turning the Tide

525 11th St. E. (306) 955-3070

turning.ca

The tide has turned, indeed! The pageturners at Turning the Tide have earned themselves a victory, as they move up the podium from last year. Other longtime favourites, Westgate Books (1515 8th St. E.) and White Cat Book Company (129 2nd Ave. N.), papercut each other all up for second place — but in the end it’s Westgate in a word.

 

BEST Sporting Goods Store

Al Anderson's Source for Sports

208 Avenue B S. (306) 652-9412

alandersons.sourceforsports.com

Planet Sreaders are great sports, who go wherever the best equipment, selection and value are — and this year they’ve elected Al’s as their A-1 spot for sports. Escape Sports (110 19th St. W.), the 2012 top choice, settles for silver jockstrap. Third and fourth are taken by Cabela's (1714 Preston Ave. N.) and Sport Chek (201 1st Ave. S.; 301 Confederation Dr; 3510 8th St. E.), in that order.

 

BEST Vintage Store

Value Village

2115 Faithfull Ave.; 302 Cope Ln. (306) 668-6161

valuevillage.com

The Villagers may seem like the heavyweights in the vintage scene, but we know our readers love uniqueness and value as much as they love recycling, and competition is strong in this category. Better Off Duds (510A 33rd St. W.) moves down the podium to second, where they’re followed by Hiddenstitch Upholstery and Home Decor (14 23rd St. E.) and Flashback Clothing Collective (#7 115 3rd Ave. S.).

 

BEST Youth/Children's Clothing Store

Once Upon a Child

815 Gray Ave.(306) 979-6822

onceuponachild.com

See? What did we just tell you! Yup, Once Upon a Child is a second-hand store, and voters say their wares can hold their own against the new stuff. Carter's Oshkosh Store (1718 Preston Ave.) is nearly as good, say voters, as are The Children's Place (Midtown Plaza; #380 3310 8th St. E.) and Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo (705 Central Ave.).

 

Services

 

BEST Auto Repair Shop

Avalon Auto Service

2601 Broadway Ave. (306) 343-9551

avalonauto.ca

Avalon seals their sixth cylinder, as voters once again trust them most with their beloved four-wheeled babies! Meanwhile, Glenwood Auto Service (101 Jessop Ave.)holds onto another silver socket wrench, well ahead of Auto Doctor Service (802 46th St. E.) and Prairie Autohaus (1002 17 St. W.).

 

BEST Bank/Credit Union Branch

Broadway Branch, Affinity Credit Union

#1 922 Broadway Ave. (306) 934-4000

affinitycu.ca

This is a tough category, since there are about a gigabillion bank branches in town — so the Broadway Branch of Affinity is clearly making a lot of people happy! Last year’s third-favourite, TD on 8th Street (3020 8th St. E.), moves up to second this year, ahead of newcomer Conexus on 8th (2119 8th St. E.).

 

BEST Beauty Spa

Spa Ahava

720 Broadway Ave. (306) 978-8111

spaahava.com

The Broadway blissifiers have been battling this one out for a while, and this year’s no exception. Spa Ahava keeps up their streak in the end, but they’re hotly pursued by Edgewater Spa (101-611 University Dr.), who settles for silver. Just for You Day Spa (2414 8th St. E.) massages a third place out of their duel with Chel Salonspa (#8a 3110 8th St. E.).

 

BEST Carpet Cleaners

Brothers in Grime

(306) 229-3639

brothersingrime.ca

The Brothers Grime suck up the competition and finally reach the top of the podium. Voters further appreciated what wasn’t swept under the rug by Chem-Dry of Saskatoon ((306) 934-5995)and Concept Cleaning ((306) 384-5550).

 

BEST Dry Cleaner

Executive Cleaners

#7A 234 Primrose Dr. (306) 242-5811

Now that your winter gear is out, we hoped you remembered to give it a thorough cleaning. No? Well, readers recommend you head to Executive Cleaners to get your parka in tip-top shape! They also got that clean feeling from The Clean Shoppe (230 2600 8th St. E.) and Arthur Rose (321 4th Ave. N.).

 

BEST Hair Salon

Cliptomania

300 3rd Ave. S. (306) 668-6611

facebook.com/Cliptomaniasalon

There are tons of great stylists out there (see Best Hairstylist) — almost as many as there are great salons! The selection is so stunning, in fact, that we have a complete changing of the guard from our 2012 champions. All hail the new bigwigs of hair: Cliptomania, Chel Salonspa (#8a 3110 8th St. E.) and Spectrum Hair Studio (706 Broadway Ave.), in that order!

 

BEST Insurance Agency

Galon Insurance

909 3rd Ave. N. (306) 244-7000

galoninsurance.com

Galon Insurance Brokers have been poring over their policy, and it shows — they moved from third place to second last year, and now are onto first! Longtime favourite Cherry Insurance (350 3rd Ave. S.; 206 Circle Dr. E.)moves down to second, ahead of Butler Byers Insurance (301 4th Ave. N.) and Cooke Agencies (411 Confederation Dr.).

 

BEST Interior Decorator

Metric Design Centre

160 2nd Ave. N. (306) 974-0190

metricdesign.ca

Voters are once again sold by the swatches at Metric, who really pulls the room together ahead of Atmosphere Interior Design (203 2nd Ave. N.). Atmosphere settles for the silver chandelier, while Funktional Space (1706 Madden Ave.) takes the bronze medallion — in a perfectly coordinated repeat of our 2012 results!

 

BEST Landscape Service

Sawyer's Trees and Landscapes

(306) 244-8906

sawyers.ca

Boy, did Sawyer’s cut down the competition, as voters absolutely loved their lush and sculpted leavings. (Yes, we’re talking about landscaping!) Vision Landscape and Design ((306) 373-6716), our 2012 victor, rolls in the mud with JJ's Landscaping ((306) 221-5102) for second-place bragging rights, and comes out on top.

 

BEST Moving Company

Ray's Moving and Storage

(306) 933-1122

raysmoving.ca

Voters say Ray’s have the steady hands they need when moving their treasured stuff. They also appreciate how Need it Moved? ((306) 261-6188) left things the way they found them, how Strongback Moving Company ((306) 716-1007) took good care, and how Town and Country Moving ((306) 978-1463) never suffered from a case of the dropsies. Now move on!

 

BEST Piercing Shop

Schmatta

131 21st St. E. (306) 664-9595

schmattabodypiercing.com

Tantrix Body Art

#10 705 Central Ave. (306) 384-5454

tantrixbodyart.com

Whoa there — not to poke holes, but a tie, really? Wowzers! Readers looking for a good, solid stud clearly have some choices in the matter, as Schmatta and Tantrix Body Art both come out sterling! You can also feel good about going under the gun at Eye of the Needle (1005 Broadway Ave.) and Alchemy Clothing and Salon (615 2nd Ave. N.), say voters.

 

BEST Professional Photographer

Lauren Winter Photography

(306) 955-3283

laurenwinterphotography.com

It’s two in a row for the spectacular snaps at Lauren Winter Photography, who voters recommend for capturing your most sublime moments. And Maki Fotos ((306) 220-2080) takes its second silver shot, ahead of honourable mentions Erin Crooks ((306) 371-0495) and Martine Sansoucy ((306) 371-1332).

 

BEST Tattoo Shop

Tantrix Body Art

#10 705 Central Ave. (306) 384-5454

tantrixbodyart.com

The colours are sharp on the skin around town, as this fiercely competitive category sees Tantrix reclaim the throne! Fellow inkers extraordinaire, Rites of Passage (634 10th St. E.), just barely fall to second spot. Readers also loved to show some skin for Eye of the Needle (1005 Broadway Ave.) and Ink Addiction Tattoos (405 Circle Dr. E.).

 

BEST Travel Agency

CAA Travel

3110 8th St. E.(306) 668-3770

caask.ca/travel

CAA sets out with the title for the first time since 2011, easily getting the stamp of approval from the most voters. The knowledge and experience at Co-op Travel (2507 8th St. E.; #1 402 Ludlow St.), Expedia Cruise Ship Centers (#106 3126 Clarence Ave. S.) and Flight Centre (183 2nd Ave. S.) also passed voter security, and are cleared for take-off.

 

 

 

 

BEST RESTAURANT OVERALL

WECZERIA FOOD & WINE

820 Broadway Ave.

 

With their third-straight victory in the top category — taking consideration for service, quality, ambience and menu — Weczeria continues their march toward mainstay-status. But this may’ve been the most torn that Planet S voters have ever been: after a ferocious five-way battle, Prairie Harvest Café serves it up secondbest, followed oh-so-narrowly by The Hollows , The Rook & Raven and Truffle’s Bistro.

 

BEST NEW RESTAURANT

STATE & MAIN

River Centre, 100 2nd Ave. S.

 

The paint may barely be dry, but State & Main’s chic atmosphere in the brand-spanking-new River Centre at River Landing  has already impressed voters. Cora Breakfast & Lunch (also barely settled in, at Preston Crossing), the new Rock Creek Tap & Grill (on Betts Avenue), and Root Down Workers’ Cooperative Café and Books (next to Saskatoon Farmers’ Market) were also welcomed with open arms this year.

 

BEST RESTAURANT FOR A BUDGET DATE

THIEN VIETNAM

123 3rd Ave. S.

 

Budgeters may not typically bet on the dark horse — but for 2013, maybe they should’ve. Thien Vietnam (downtown) barely penny-pinches out long, long-time favourite Amigos Cantina (10th Street) for Planet S readers’ go-to place for quality face time that’s affordable too. They also loved stretching their bucks while getting to know each other at Fuddruckers, The Rook & Raven and Broadway Café.

 

BEST RESTAURANT FOR A LUXURY DATE

WECZERIA FOOD & WINE

820 Broadway Ave.

 

When the time is right to splurge on the one you love, voters recommend heading down to Broadway Avenue’s Weczeria — also voted Best Restaurant Overall, by the way. You’ll also be made to feel like queens and kings at Truffle’s Bistro on 21st Street, at Carver’s Steakhouse in the Sheraton Cavalier, and at Saboroso Brazilian Steakhouse on 8th Street.

 

BEST RESTAURANT FOR A ROMANTIC DATE

WECZERIA FOOD & WINE

820 Broadway Ave.

 

Well, Planet S readers continue their love affair with Weczeria — telling us the Broadway hotspot sets the music, the lighting and the mood just right. They also like playing a little footsie under the tables at Truffle’s Bistro (downtown), Calories Restaurant (Nutana) and Carver’s Steakhouse (Sheraton Cavalier).

 

FRIENDLIEST RESTAURANT

PARK CAFE

515 20th St. W.

 

The Riversdale mainstay serves up three straight years with a smile, as they handily hold down top spot for winning us over with grace. And in a super tight free-for-all for second place, Konga Café (Avenue H North) just edges out Rock Creek Tap & Grill (McOrmond Drive; Betts Avenue), The Rook & Raven (2nd Avenue South) and Las Palapas Resort Grill (Victoria Avenue).

 

BEST UNIQUE DINING EXPERIENCE

Saboroso Brazilian Steakhouse

#340 2600 8th St. E.

 

Last year, newcomer Saboroso upset long-time favourite Samurai Japanese Restaurant (Delta Bessborough) for voters’ go-to spot for something more than a little different. This year, their grip on this category tightens as they spear the competition. And in yet another upset, The Hollows (Avenue C) slides into a tie (!) with Samurai for thinking outside the box. Saba’s African Cuisine (22nd Street) follows right behind.

 

BEST RESTAURANT TO TAKE KIDS

FUDDRUCKERS

2910 8th St. E.

 

And the Fudds dynasty continues... Voters have told us time and again that nothing beats that winning combination of choice, space, speed of service and all those nearby activities. Jerry’s Food Emporium (8th Street), meanwhile, once again makes second-favourite, and voters also let the rugrats run amok at Montana’s Cookhouse Saloon (also 8th Street) and Amigos Cantina (10th Street).

 

BEST RESTAURANT TO TAKE PARENTS

EARLS

610 2nd Ave. N.

 

Earls picks a fight with longtime winner The Granary, and perennial second-favourite The Keg Steakhouse & Bar, and ekes out a victory by satisfying the experienced palates among us. The Granary (8th Street) finishes not far behind though, followed closely by The Keg (Grosvenor), Manos Restaurant & Lounge (8th Street) and Calories Restaurant (Broadway Avenue).

 

BEST RESTAURANT FOR OUT-OF-TOWNERS

THE HOLLOWS

334 Ave. C S.

 

This year has seen the relative newcomer in Riversdale make significant strides, and the prize for impressing visitors is no exception, as The Hollows unseats frequent favourite Spadina Freehouse (downtown), who cinches up second spot. Readers also like to brag up Prairie Harvest Café (Brevoort Park) and Weczeria Food & Wine (Broadway).

 

BEST FAMILY RESTAURANT

FUDDRUCKERS

2910 8th St. E.

 

The 8th Street hotspot is unstoppable when it comes to satisfying noshers of all ages, as Fudds runs away with top Family Restaurant prize yet again. Other places where voters like to bring generations together: Boston Pizza (various locations), Montana’s Cookhouse Saloon (8th Street; McOrmond Drive), Jerry’s Food Emporium (8th Street) and Broadway Café (Broadway Avenue).

 

BEST RESTAURANT FOR VEGETARIANS

ROOT DOWN WORKERS’ COOPERATIVE CAFE & BOOKS

#117 120 Sonnenschein Way

 

The new guy next to the Farmers’ Market didn’t need long to make a strong impression on leafmunchers who’ve long lamented a shortage of veg-friendly choices in Saskatoon. Last year’s winner, The Hollows in Riversdale, easily holds second spot — well ahead of 2011 winner Keo’s Kitchen and Amigos Cantina, both in Nutana. Looks like animal lovers in the city are going west!

 

BEST “OLD STANDBY” RESTAURANT

AMIGOS CANTINA

632 10th St. E.

 

Undefeated favourite Amigos stands tall with the Best “Old Standby” title yet again, as voters know the big menu in the big venue never disappoints—and seriously folks, these guys are coming up on their 25th anniversary, an astounding achievement for a restaurant! Planet S readers also told us they never walk away unsatisfied from Riversdale’s Park Café, downtown’s Earls or Nutana’s Yard & Flagon, in that order.

 

BEST ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT RESTAURANT

GO FOR SUSHI

#31C 2105 8th St. E.

 

Go For Sushi’s combination of all-you-can-eat sushi and buffets led voters to come back for a third helping, as they award Best AYCE to the 8th Street eatery for the third straight time. But we also love to pack it in at 8th Street’s Saboroso Brazilian Steakhouse (last year’s third place finisher), who overtakes the 2012 silver medallist, New Island Sushi on Quebec Avenue.

 

BEST LATE NIGHT SNACK STOP

MEG’S RESTAURANT

101 3rd Ave N.

 

Downtown newcomer Meg’s seems to have found a niche in Saskatoon; readers tell us Meg’s keeps night owls happier with samosas than the nachos of previous favourites 7 Eleven, or the burgers of previous second-place finisher McDonald’s.

 

BEST FAST FOOD RESTAURANT

WENDY’S

Various locations

 

The square patty draws a straight line from 2012’s third place result, past usual favourite McDonald’s, to make voters the most satisfied in the least amount of time. Mickie D’s hangs in for a handy second, though, while Subway, A&W and Taco Time do battle for bronze.

 

BEST CHAIN RESTAURANT

EARLS

610 2nd Ave. N.

 

Not to be afraid of outsiders, Saskatonians “don’t say bread” for about the hundredth time. We also love the out-of-town offerings from Original Joe’s Restaurant & Bar, who improves on their 2012 finish to land ahead of last year’s second-best, Moxie’s Grill & Bar. Other favourite foreigners are Boston Pizza and The Keg Steakhouse & Bar.

 

BEST CHINESE RESTAURANT

YIP HONG’S DIM SUM RESTAURANT

#17B 1501 8th St. E.

 

Yip Hong’s sums it up for a third straight victory in red dragon country. Other voters want wonton at Mandarin Restaurant (20th Street West), who widens the gap over their long-time rival, Genesis Family Restaurant on 22nd Street West, who holds down third ahead of Szechuan Kitchen (Broadway Avenue) and Oceania Inn (8th Street).

 

BEST THAI RESTAURANT

KEO’S KITCHEN

1013 Broadway Ave.

 

Broadway mainstay Keo’s ties it up yet again; we think voters may be getting a tad attached to the Siamese service from the former 33rd Street entrepreneurs. Congratulations to Keo’s on their 10th top Thai title! Sawaddee Bistro (2nd Avenue North), meanwhile, says “coconuts!” to their third-place finish of 2012, and overtakes the tom yum at Royal Thai Restaurant (3rd Avenue North).

 

BEST VIETNAMESE RESTAURANT

THIEN VIETNAM

123 3rd Ave. S.

 

Downtown’s Thien has been expanding on our voters’ allegiance, and after stealing second spot last year, they absolutely run away with the Vietnamese Victory for 2013. Next-door neighbour Red Pepper retreats to second place, ahead of Spicy Garden Pho House (8th Street), Lien Thanh Restaurant (Avenue A South) and Jasmine Restaurant (Circle Drive).

 

BEST SOUTH ASIAN RESTAURANT

TAJ MAHAL

#6 157 2nd Ave. N.

 

Last year’s expansion of this category — so we wouldn’t miss out on our offerings from Burma, Bangladesh and Pakistan — hasn’t done much to loosen the Taj’s grip on it. But Spicy Bite Restaurant (College Park) is taking nibbles out of the competition, as they secure voters’ #2 title handily, ahead of Golden Pagoda (downtown), Mogul Divaan (Pleasant Hill) and Kabab King (Sutherland).

 

BEST KOREAN RESTAURANT

SEOUL KOREAN RESTAURANT

334 20th St. W.

 

Riversdale’s Seoul overtakes the more established Ricebowl Fusion in Mayfair for the key kimchi around town. Ricebowl remains popular, though, handily holding down second-favourite position ahead of Koryo Korean Barbeque in the Midtown Mall.

 

BEST JAPANESE RESTAURANT

SUSHIRO SUSHI BAR

737B Broadway Ave.

Whew! This is always a competitive category, but Sushiro Sushi Bar made it look easy, wrapping up the voter favourite title for the second straight year. The ninjas at Samurai (Delta Bessborough), meanwhile, hang on for a hold on the silver sword, barely ahead of Otowa Japanese Restaurant (2nd Avenue).

 

BEST FRENCH RESTAURANT

TRUFFLE’S BISTRO

230 21st St. E.

 

Truffle’s makes it deux: the downtown bistro does le service de table right, say voters for the second straight year. They also appreciate les fines herbes used at Broadway’s Calories Restaurant, le diner served at downtown’s St. Tropez Bistro, and the style français at Weczeria Food & Wine.

 

BEST GREEK RESTAURANT

MEDITERRANNO

119 3rd Ave. S.

 

It’s gone through a few permutations in the past handful of years, and voters don’t mind a bit that the latest has an expanded scope that includes Spanish, Italian and Moroccan cooking. So for its first real competition on the Saskatoon Greek scene, Mediterranno gyrates smoothly into first place, ahead of Opa! Souvlaki of Greece, Manos Restaurant & Lounge and Granada House.

 

BEST ITALIAN RESTAURANT

TAVERNA ITALIAN RESTAURANT

219 21st St. E.

 

Taverna (downtown) looks to be tightening its hold on the perfect pesto prize, as voters hand them the victory yet again. Chianti Café is still a favourite, though, as the Idylwyld olive oilers keep second spot cinched up nicely. Relative newcomer Il Salici Ristorante & Lounge (at The Willows Golf & Country Club) makes their first appearance on the podium, serving up third.

 

BEST LATIN AMERICAN RESTAURANT

LAS PALAPAS RESORT GRILL

910 Victoria Ave.

 

Maybe opening a food and goods store on Broadway helped broaden their base, because Nutana’s Las Palapas is starting to look untouchable in this category. And in a perfect repeat of the results from our 2012 survey, La Bamba Café (Boychuk Drive) finishes second, followed by EE Burritos (Avenue P South). Special shout-out to Montana’s Cookhouse and Original Joe’s, who somehow garnered a vote apiece. Weird,  but there you have it.

 

BEST WORLD CUISINE RESTAURANT

KONGA CAFE

204 Ave. H N.

 

It’s a return to form for the Jamaican chefs at Konga Café (Avenue H North), who seems in a constant to-and-fro with Best World rival Saba’s African Cuisine. The Ethiopian offerings at Saba’s (22nd Street West) will have to settle for second this year, well ahead of Lebanese Kitchen (off 8th Street), Afghan Kabob & Donair (off 2nd Avenue South) and Mogul Divaan (22nd Street West).

 

BEST RESTAURANT FOR DIETARY RESTRICTIONS

THE GRIFFIN TAKEAWAY

#10 3311 8th St. E.

 

It’s tough enjoying a night out of your own kitchen when you can’t take part in the majority of the city’s food offerings, so voters are grateful for the sensitive touch at The Griffin — who takes this category for the second straight year: pretty good for a shop that’s barely been open two years! You can also let your stomach guide you to The Hollows, Root Down Café, Woodfire Grill and La Bamba, say readers.

 

BEST RESTAURANT THAT WENT OUT OF BUSINESS

JOE DOG’S

 

Sports haven Joe Dog’s was a casualty of the demolition of The Patricia Hotel this year, and fans are already wishing there’d be another season. Honourable mention goes to last year’s winner, John’s Prime Rib — who’s now reincarnated as John’s Victorian Steak & Seafood House in the Riviera Motor Inn — as well as Scratch, Saskatoon Sous Chef, and D’reen’s.

 

BEST WINGS

WING WORLD

706B Central Ave.; 3322 Fairlight Dr.

 

With tons of flavours and to-your-door delivery, voters loved the poultry offerings from Wing World (Fairhaven and Sutherland) for the second straight year. Perennial contender Yard & Flagon (Nutana) flies easily into second spot, while Somewhere Else Pub & Grill (Avalon) overtakes last year’s bronze medallist, Maguire’s Irish Pub (Grosvenor).

 

BEST NACHOS

AMIGOS CANTINA

632 10th St. E.

 

No one loads ‘em up like the tex-mex champions at Amigos, who have been shredding the competition for eons. And in an all-out battle for second and third places, Original Joe’s (Grosvenor) chips in ahead of Fox & Hounds Pub & Brewery (River Heights), who in turn defeats Yard & Flagon (Nutana) and O’Shea’s Irish Pub (downtown).

 

BEST LUNCH

SOULEIO FOODS

265 3rd Ave S.

 

We may have trouble spelling it, but Saskatonians sure have warmed quickly to Pineview Farms’ Souleio grocery/bistro, who garnishes the lead lunch prize this year — after not even even appearing on 2012’s podium! Amigos (Nutana) and Jake’s on 21st (downtown), meanwhile, wage an all-out noontide war for first runner-up, but call it a draw. The Rook & Raven (downtown) rounds out the podium.

 

BEST BUSINESS LUNCH

THE ROOK & RAVEN

154 2nd Ave S.

 

There are a lot of considerations when you’re heading out for a business lunch: you can’t look cheap, and you can’t look snooty; you need to relax a bit, but stay professional; and a bit of privacy is good, but too much will make you look desperate. With all that in mind, voters unseated long-time victors 2nd Avenue Grill in favour of newcomers The Rook & Raven. They also liked the wheeling and dealing at Earls, Souleio Foods and Rock Creek Tap & Grill.

 

BEST BUDGET LUNCH

THIEN VIETNAM

123 3rd Ave S.

 

Thien’s successful bid for Best Budget Lunch comes after their second try — they made headway in 2012, but 2013 makes their ascension complete, as previous winners Jake’s on 21st (downtown) and Subway (various locations) settle for a distant second and third.  The Underground Café (Riversdale) and Earth Bound Bakery & Deli (8th Street) will also save you some bread, say voters.

 

BEST BRUNCH

POACHED BREAKFAST BISTRO

259 2nd Ave. S.

 

Their downtown spot may only be a part-time bistro (Flint Saloon takes over in the evenings), but Poached has a full-time lock on offering the best of breakfast and lunch, as voters hand them another landslide. And you can also get egged at Park Café and The Hollows (both in Riversdale), who handily take silver and bronze ahead of Botanica (Saskatoon Inn).

 

BEST DIM SUM

YIP HONG’S DIM SUM RESTAURANT

#17B 1501 8th St. E.

 

Last year, you told us Best Dim Sum was the Category We Missed — so this year, we listened, and you spoke! Yep, Yip’s got “Dim Sum” in the name, so they’d better do it right. Voters say they definitely do, handing them a sum-ptuous (sorry!) victory. They also liked the delectable selections at Mandarin Restaurant (20th Street West) and Genesis (22nd Street West).

 

BEST TAKE OUT OR DELIVERY

PANAGO PIZZA

2002 8th St. E.; 3000 Diefenbaker Dr.

 

Are you dubious when you’re told that Saskatoon’s growing into a proper city, with help from new Canadians and a variety of cultures? Well, how’s this for proof: Best Food That’ll Make Me Happy When I’m Desperate: Panago (Italian, duh), Spicy Bite (Indian), Thien Vietnam (that place in southeast Asia). Take that, naysayers! Honourable mentions to Pizza Pirates and Keo’s Kitchen.

 

BEST APPETIZERS

DUCK DUCK GOOSE

616 10th St. E.

 

Planet Sreaders know a good appie when they taste one: you can make a meal out of one (or four) if you like, or let it warm you up to a fuller plate later. Either way, they choose Nutana’s Duck Duck Goose, ahead of The Rook & Raven (2nd Avenue South), 6Twelve Lounge (Sheraton Cavalier) and Earls (2nd Avenue North).

 

BEST BURGER

FUDDRUCKERS

2910 8th St. E.

 

Meaty, juicy, tender and topping-o-licious (not to mention, on good bread) — that’s what a Fudds burger is, say voters. Seriously, we’re pretty sure they took out a copyright on this title. Slightly less regal patty-makers Park Café (Riversdale), Yard & Flagon (Nutana) and Earls (downtown) also grill you up right.

 

BEST VEGGIE BURGER

YARD & FLAGON

718 Broadway Ave.

 

Juicy, tender, topping-o-licious and decidedly un-meaty — yup, veg-heads elevate the Yard from third-place meatburger to top-notch beanburger. Their perennial rival for Best Veggie, Amigos (Nutana), locks in second place nicely, ahead of Park Café (Riversdale) and Spadina Freehouse (downtown).

 

BEST BURRITO

AMIGOS CANTINA

632 10th St. E.

 

Broadway-area mainstay Amigos steals back the title from last year’s burrito baron, Las Palapas (Victoria Avenue). EE Burritos (22nd Street West), meanwhile, maintains their bronze-place finish, wrapping it up ahead of La Bamba Café (Boychuk Drive).

 

BEST DESSERT

CALORIES RESTAURANT

721 Broadway Ave.

 

Unless you’re one of those weirdoes who looks down on sweets — and maybe even then — here’s betting you’re not surprised that Calories’ reign of velvety, voluptuous victory shows no signs of letting up. McNally Robinson’s Prairie Ink Restaurant smoothes into second, ahead of Alexander’s Restaurant. Oh, and hey: who voted for Scott’s Parable? Is there something going on we need to know about?

 

BEST FISH AND CHIPS

GIBSON’S FISH AND CHIPS

1501 8th St. E.

 

Simple, ol’-fashioned Gibson’s (Cumberland Mall) is hard to beat for that artery-arresting British style, and 2013 is no exception. Jerry’s Food Emporium (8th Street) settles for second spot once again, ahead of Joey’s Seafood Restaurant (8th Street; Worobetz Place). Honourable mention to The Rook & Raven (2nd Avenue).

 

BEST FRIES

YARD & FLAGON

718 Broadway Ave.

 

And in yet another dynasty, the Yard stays strong with the finest in Saskatoon’s fries — taking their sixth straight title. Voters also loved sampling the spuds at McDonald’s (various locations), Earls (2nd Avenue North), New York Fries (Midtown Plaza) and Jerry’s Food Emporium (8th Street).

 

BEST POUTINE

THE HOLLOWS

334 Ave. C S.

 

The Hollows takes the prize for Perfect Poutine for the second time in a row: pretty good for only two “Best Of Saskatoon” issues of existence! And in a ferocious Fransaskois fray for the silver medal, it’s Duck Duck Goose who makes the most mess — ahead of Yard & Flagon, Schryer’s Smoked BBQ Shack and New York Fries.

 

BEST MILKSHAKE

BROADWAY CAFE

814 Broadway Ave.

 

The 1950s-style diner may not have a five-dollar shake, but voters would gladly shell out the dough for the shark of shakes, Uma Thurman or no. Really, we think that chalice of victory is so frosty the Broadway’s hands are stuck to it! Fuddruckers and Homestead Ice Cream & Cappuccino will also help you forget you’re an adult, say voters.

 

BEST ICE CREAM

HOMESTEAD ICE CREAM & CAPPUCCINO

822 Victoria Ave.

 

We at Planet S don’t think ice cream season will ever again be upon us, but voters are so adamant about the supremacy of Homestead, we think a new standard for ice cream season is in order. If ‘tis warm enough to melt, then ‘tis the season, we say! Honourable mentions to Jerry’s Food Emporium (8th Street) and Marble Slab Creamery (McOrmond Drive).

 

BEST NOODLE BOWL

THIEN VIETNAM

123 3rd Ave S.

 

Thien doubles up to make two helpings in a row from Planet S readers, who appreciate a tender noodle, a crispy roll, fresh veggies and a touch of heat in an excellent noodle bowl. They also savour sucking it up at Nutana Café (Broadway Avenue), Spicy Garden Pho House (8th Street), and Red Pepper (3rd Ave South).

 

BEST PASTA

CHIANTI CAFE

102 Idylwyld Dr. N.

 

Downtown’s Chianti does it up awesomely al dente again, ahead of the fabulous fusilli at Taverna Italian Restaurant (21st Street East), the luscious linguine at East Side Mario’s (8th Street), and the ravishing ravioli from Earls (2nd Avenue North).

 

BEST PIZZA

CHRISTIES IL SECONDO

802 Broadway Ave.

 

Christies makes it two straight for piecing together the perfect pie. For second and third, voters reverse their 2012 decision — giving Aroma Resto Bar (Radisson Hotel) the silver Sicilian, and Panago Pizza (8th Street; Diefenbaker Drive) the bronze bianca.

 

BEST RIBS

MONTANA’S COOKHOUSE SALOON

1510 8th St. E.; 1840 McOrmond Drive

 

Your grip at Montana’s may be messy at times what with all that ribby goodness, but their hold on the Best Ribs title stays firm. Tony Roma’s (Stonebridge; North Industrial) comes out just ahead of Schryer’s Smoked BBQ Shack (Hudson Bay Industrial), Doc Hollandaise (Sutherland) and Konga Café (Caswell Hill) in the battle for second place.

 

BEST SALAD

EARLS

610 2nd Ave. N.

 

If you’re gonna gorge on those ribs, better add some years to your life with some super salad. Think salad’s boring? Ask our voters, who duked it out between Earls (City Park), Prairie Ink (Brevoort Park), and Rook & Raven (downtown). In the end, Earls shows the most Popeye-style spinach power, outmuscling Prairie Ink, who in turn outlasts Rook & Raven.

 

BEST SANDWICH

SOULEIO FOODS

265 3rd Ave. S.

 

It’s been a staple of our lunches for generations, and readers will make a pickle of a great one. And in a fierce battle for noontime supremacy, it’s downtown’s Souleio ahead of 8th Street’s Earth Bound Bakery & Deli — but only by a crumb! Jake’s on 21st, meanwhile, is not far behind either.

 

BEST PITA/WRAP/PANINI

PITA PIT

142 2nd Ave. S.; #5B 1501 8th St. E.

 

Pita Pit’s got it perfected, as they pack the prize into yet another pocket. In their first appearance on this podium, Jake’s on 21st (downtown) wraps up second, just ahead of a mash-up between Christies Il Secondo (Broadway Avenue), Extreme Pita (51st Street; 8th Street) and Souleio (3rd Avenue South).

 

BEST SEAFOOD

RED LOBSTER

2501 8th St. E.

 

That lobster looks more gold than red, as voters peel ’n’ eat yet another win for the franchise. And, farming last year’s results, Joey’s Seafood Restaurant (Confederation; Grosvenor Park) takes silver scallop over Sushiro Sushi Bar (Nutana). Honourable mention to The Keg Steakhouse & Bar (Grosvenor Avenue).

 

BEST SOUP

EARTH BOUND BAKERY & DELI

1820 8th St. E.

 

Best Soup is a title that’s always tough to hand out for voters, who are continually torn between so many wholesome, fresh and flavourful options year after year. After the marathon, it’s Earth Bound that’s got it in the bowl for 2013, while Yard & Flagon and Souleio Foods settle for a second-place tie! Calories Restaurant rounds out the podium, a spoonful ahead of Prairie Ink Restaurant.

 

BEST SPRING ROLLS

THIEN VIETNAM

123 3rd Ave. S.

 

Let’s face it: a Vietnamese meal is not the same without the crunchy, deep-fried goodness of spring rolls. And for a usually competitive category, Thien Vietnam again makes 2013 look easy, finishing ahead of second and third favourites Nutana Café (Broadway Avenue) and Red Pepper Restaurant (3rd Avenue).

 

BEST STEAK

THE KEG STEAKHOUSE & BAR

1110 Grosvenor Avenue

 

The Keg’s been making a habit of tenderizing the competition ever since we started asking the question — and this year is no exception. The Holliston-area bastion of beef is followed by the succulent sirloins of Carver’s Steakhouse (Sheraton Cavalier) and the rapturous rib eye of Saboroso Brazilian Steakhouse (8th Street).

 

BEST SUSHI

SUSHIRO SUSHI BAR

737B Broadway Ave.

 

Nutana’s sensei of sashimi doesn’t miss a beat on its way to the podium, all the while pursued by Louise Avenue’s Nagoya Japanese Restaurant (silver sushi-meshi winner) and 8th Street’s Go For Sushi Buffet (bronze bento box winner). Honourable mentions to Otowa Japanese Restaurant (2nd Avenue South) and New Island Sushi (Quebec Avenue).

 

BEST TAPAS

DUCK DUCK GOOSE

616 10th St. E.

 

The relatively recent venture (from the proprietors of Sushiro, by the way) built its premise around tapas — and boy, have voters noticed! Nutana’s Duck Duck Goose takes it in a landslide, although voters say you also can’t miss with the charcuterie of Flint Saloon (2nd Avenue South) and the share plates of 6Twelve Lounge (Sheraton Cavelier).

 

BEST BBQ

SCHRYER’S SMOKED BBQ SHACK

2830 Millar Ave.

 

And here’s more testament to Saskatoon’s growing maturity: another relative newcomer with a unique concept, who quickly builds a loyal following. Few voters hesitated in making the call on this one, as Schryer’s positively sops up the competition when it comes to barbeque. Settling for second and third are Saboroso Brazilian Steakhouse (8th Street) and Woodfire Grill (2nd Avenue).

 

BEST SHAWARMA/DONAIR

LEBANESE KITCHEN

1206 Emerson Ave.

 

Brevoort Park’s Lebanese Kitchen takes two in a row — making them 2-and-0, as 2013 marks only the second appearance of the Best Shawarma/Donair category. But they’ve got plenty of competition, as slow-roasted awesomeness from H67 Donair and Pizza (22nd Street West), Afghan Kabob  & Donair (2nd Avenue) and Super Donair (33rd Street) all comes in not far behind.

 

BEST CUPCAKES

THE CUPCAKE CONSPIRACY

157 2nd Ave. N.

 

If this is a conspiracy, it’s at least as convincing as the moon landing. The downtown dwellers moonlight for the title on the way to their second straight win, while Broadway’s Crave Cupcakes puts some fine frosting on a second-spot finish. In third spot, Sliced Decadence (Saskatoon Farmers’ Market) and Sugar Moon Cakery (2nd Avenue) call a truce.

 

BEST CHEF

DAN WALKER, WECZERIA FOOD & WINE

 

Chef Dan makes it four in a row, but each year, voters have a tougher time making this call — as 2013 sees The Hollows’ team of Kyle Michaels and Christie Peters just barely having to settle for second. And just a sprinkling of seasoning back is Chef Erin Daniels from Poached Breakfast Bistro. Other masters of culinary arts include Prairie Harvest Café’s Mike McKeown and Sheraton Cavalier’s Robin Andres. We deem them all good, and say that the growing competition in this category is awesome for the city’s dining scene!

 

BEST BARTENDER

CHRIS ENNS, 6TWELVE LOUNGE

 

There’s a new winner at the podium, and Planet S readers say he shakes, muddles and stirs like no other from his den at the Sheraton Cavalier. Bud’s on Broadway’s Curtis Ulmer, meanwhile, keeps up his medal-winning streak while securing the silver stein. Bronze bottlecap goes to last year’s most boastable barkeep, Amigos Cantina’s Mike Eva.

 

BEST FEMALE SERVER

DARA HARDY, AMIGOS CANTINA

 

Diligent Dara recaptures the Most Courteous crown in yet another absolute free-for-all to identify the most friendly, efficient and gracious among our gals. Careful not to step on any toes here, girls, ‘cause the line is crowded: Lindsay Adams (The Rook & Raven; Yard & Flagon), Esther Casey (6Twelve Lounge), Leah Sperle (Tusq Restaurant; 6Twelve Lounge), Lenore Maier (The Woods Ale House) all also received much love from our voters for their sterling service.

 

BEST MALE SERVER

AMAN SALEH, DUCK DUCK GOOSE and SUSHIRO SUSHI BAR

 

Aman turns his badge of service into a streak, bringing to your table his third straight commendation. Not far behind him, though, are co-worker Nathan McKinnon (Sushiro), JJ Glazebrook (Saboroso Brazilian Steakhouse), and Garnet Lindsay (Rock Creek Tap & Grill, McOrmond Drive).

 

BEST BARISTA

JACKSON WIEBE, COLLECTIVE COFFEE

 

Let Jackson help you with your morning kick — of caffeine, that is. Collective’s first first lands Jackson just ahead of another 20th Street coffee artist, Dallyn Guenther at The Underground Café. Foaming up to third is Broadway Roastery proprietor Jennifer Lee. Crème de la crème!

 

BEST STAFF OVERALL

6TWELVE LOUNGE

 

Last year’s all-around award winners, Windows, make way for their boozier 6Twelve sisters to keep the prize in the Sheraton family. Holding onto their 2012 placement, Park Café maintains silver for their stellar staff, while cousins The Rook & Raven and Yard & Flagon agree on the bronze.

 

BEST AFTER WORK DRINKING

YARD & FLAGON

718 Broadway Ave.

 

It’s gotta be comfortable, centrally located and casual, so it’s no surprise that Nutana’s The Yard keeps up their reign of relaxation. Also helping you inject some fun into your after-work day are The Rook & Raven (2nd Avenue South) in second, Winston’s English Pub & Grill (21st Street East) and 6Twelve Lounge (Sheraton Cavalier) in a dead heat for third, and The Woods Alehouse (2nd Avenue South) in fourth. There — I give you permission to put this day behind you!

 

BEST BEER MENU

WINSTON’S ENGLISH PUB & GRILL

243 21st St. E.

 

For years, it’s been hard to be surprised by Winston’s sudsy supremacy — but 2013 sees a new hoppy hotspot in town, and The Woods Alehouse (2nd Avenue South) makes a strong showing accordingly, easily making voters’ second favourite bringer of beer. In a fierce battle for third, Yard & Flagon (Broadway Avenue) grabs the bronze Bohemian.

 

BEST COCKTAILS

6TWELVE LOUNGE

Sheraton Cavalier, 612 Spadina Cr. E.

 

In previous years, we asked voters to elect Best Cocktails/Martinis in one fell swoop, so the cleaving of the 2012 results seems fitting — last year’s silver sunrise, 6Twelve, clearly claims the Best Cocktails cup, with 2012’s victor Flint Saloon (2nd Avenue) settling for second. The Hollows (Avenue C South) takes third. Honourable mention to “Bruce,” whose friends somewhat unwisely gave us his address. See you at happy hour, Bruce!

 

BEST MARTINI

FLINT SALOON

259 2nd Ave. S.

 

...And in the other half of the divide, Flint claims martini mastery, leaving 6Twelve Lounge in second. So there: now you can see where their strengths lie. Aren’t you glad we clarified that for you? The flavourful potions at Earls Restaurant (2nd Avenue North), meanwhile, maintain their bronze place finish from 2012.

 

BEST CAESAR

6TWELVE LOUNGE

Sheraton Cavalier, 612 Spadina Cr. E.

 

6Twelve clamps down on the clammy concoction, as voters hand them Sassiest Caesar yet again. Saboroso Brazilian Steakhouse (8th Street) also keeps it up, wrapping up another second place finish with (yes!) a strip of bacon. In a spicy set-to for third, it’s The Keg Steakhouse & Bar (Grosvenor Avenue), ahead of our Best New Restaurant, State & Main (River Centre).

 

BEST LOUNGE

6TWELVE LOUNGE

Sheraton Cavalier, 612 Spadina Cr. E.

 

The Sheraton’s lounge lizards lap up yet another laidback laurel, in a landslide victory for Best Lounge. You can also ease off your troubles at Earls’ Bacchus Lounge (2nd Avenue North) or kick back with a cocktail at The James Lobby Bar (Spadina Crescent). Honourable mention to Flint Saloon (2nd Avenue South).

 

BEST PUB GRUB

YARD & FLAGON

718 Broadway Ave.

 

When you’ve got a few pints in you, a generous dose of calories is in order. Voters are grateful for the combination of satisfaction, creativity and freshness at The Yard, whose supremacy shows no sign of flagging, as well as at Yard offshoot The Rook & Raven (2nd Avenue), O’Shea’s Irish Pub (2nd Avenue) and Winston’s English Pub & Grill (21st Street).

 

BEST PLACE FOR A WICKED BENDER

AMIGOS CANTINA

632 10th St. E.

 

Pent-up frustration? Money to burn? Birthday? Even if you’ve no particular reason for tying one on, Amigos offers everything voters need to do so — like darkness, accessibility to cabs, and lack of judgment. And in a wicked battle for second, Colonial Pub & Grill (8th Street) and Yard & Flagon (Broadway Avenue) agree to keep their cookies. The Hose & Hydrant Brew Pub (11th Street) takes third, not far behind. Just stay safe while you’re at it, folks!

 

BEST SPORTS BAR

SPORTS ON TAP

2606 Lorne Ave.

 

The odds-on favourite among Planet S readers is still Sports On Tap, in the former Emerald Casino, where the dynasty makes for a wide spread — ahead of Red Zone Premium Sports Bar (Circle Drive West) and last year’s bronze medallist, Shark Club (Sandman Hotel).

 

BEST WINE LIST

CARVER’S STEAKHOUSE

Sheraton Cavalier, 612 Spadina Cr. E.

 

The Sheraton sommeliers make it a four-year vintage, holding the grapes to pair with whatever your stomach desires. The Silver Syrah goes to Broadway’s Calories Restaurant by a nose, forcing 8th Street’s Saboroso Brazilian Steakhouse to settle for Bronze Beaujolais.

 

BEST LOCALLY BREWED BEER

PADDOCK WOOD BREWING CO.

#B1 116 103rd St. E.

 

Sutherland’s Paddock Wood does brewing best for the fourth straight year, say voters — who are particularly fond of their London Porter, Bete Noir, 606 and Red Hammer offerings. Great Western Brewing Co. — for whom voters took note of GW Light and Original 16 — improves on last year’s second-place tie, securing the silver six-pack more handily for 2013. Earls Restaurant, meanwhile, heads for third.

 

BEST OFFSALE

COLONIAL COLD BEER & WINE STORE

#10 1301 8th St. E.

 

A great offsale joint has a lot of things going for it: variety, accessibility, price, and really, really long hours. So readers thank gawd for Colonial Square Inn’s Cold Beer & Wine Store, but they also choose the juice from The Hose & Hydrant (11th Street East) and Ingredients Artisan Market (2nd Avenue North).

 

BEST BASIC BREAKFAST

PARK CAFE

515 20th St. W.

 

The Park’s sinfully simple sunny-side-ups are hard to beat for Planet S readers, who surely appreciate a good start to their day! Also putting you on the right side of the bed are perennial contender Broadway Café (Nutana) and brand-newcomer Cora Breakfast & Lunch (University Heights).

 

BEST FANCY BREAKFAST

POACHED BREAKFAST BISTRO

259 2nd Ave. S.

 

Poached’s hold on hollandaise shows no sign of letting up amongst voters, who hand them another avalanche of Americanos. Voters also suggest letting The Hollows (Avenue C South) ornament your omelette, or asking Cora Breakfast & Lunch (Preston Avenue North) to fancify your frittata.

 

BEST EGGS

POACHED BREAKFAST BISTRO

259 2nd Ave. S.

 

Voters once again had a tough time making the call between Poached (Best Fancy) and Park (Best Basic), but after they cracked it open, Poached made it two in a row. The Park settles for the Silver Scrambled, well ahead of the Bronze Boiled at Cora Breakfast & Lunch. Special kudos to whoever voted for “omelettes.” At least they could spell it, I guess...

 

BEST HASH BROWNS

PARK CAFE

515 20th St. W.

 

More than a holder for yolk and syrup, a fine hash brown stands tall on its own — and voters agree that the perfect potatoes at Riversdale’s Park Café still reign supreme. And in a mash-up sprint for the rest of the podium, the heaping helpings at Mel’s Café (11th Street West) score second, ahead of Nutana’s Broadway Café and downtown’s Poached.

 

BEST BREAKFAST BUFFET

BOTANICA RESTAURANT & LOUNGE

Saskatoon Inn, 2002 Airport Dr.

 

It’s nothing to sneeze at — keeping those eggs hot and tender ain’t easy! Voters appreciate the morning spread at Botanica most of all, for about the millionth time, while fellow hoteliers Garden Court Café (Delta Bessborough), Windows (Sheraton Cavalier) and Four Seasons (Park Town) also hold firm.

 

BEST COFFEE SHOP

BROADWAY ROASTERY

614 Broadway Ave.

 

Long the king caffeinator, Broadway Roastery keeps it strong yet again, but relative newbie Collective Coffee (at The Two Twenty) is still percolating, making an impressive run for the title. Established City Park-area bean-squeezer City Perks also shows a loyal following, ahead of The Underground Café (Riversdale) and Starbucks.

 

BEST COFFEE SHOP FOOD MENU

CAFFE SOLA

38 23rd St. E.

 

Exquisite desserts, cookies and lunches make a great coffee shop into a destination and a neighbourhood nucleus. So rather than passing through, stay for a while in the warehouse district (Sola), City Park (City Perks), Riversdale (The Underground Café) and Nutana (Christies Il Secondo).

 

BEST CUP OF PLAIN OLD COFFEE

TIM HORTONS

Various locations

 

You may not be surprised at voters’ choice, but what if we told you this was not a cinch for super-chain Tim’s? Pouring it almost as smooth and dark are Broadway Roastery, Collective Coffee (20th Street West), Starbucks and McDonald’s.

 

BEST FANCY SCHMANCY COFFEE

STARBUCKS

Various locations

 

Here’s another caffeinated corporation who’s a longtime favourite, but who’s been given a run for their money — er, beans. Collective Coffee (Riversdale) settles for another second place, while Broadway Roastery (Nutana), Museo Espresso (Mendel Art Gallery; Nutana) and Caffe Sola (warehouse district) will also serve it with style.

 

BEST PLACE TO BUY BEANS

BROADWAY ROASTERY

614 Broadway Ave.

 

Broadway bean counters the Roastery and McQuarrie’s Tea & Coffee Merchants continue their clash for the coffee catalyzer crown — and 2013 sees the café unseat last year’s victor, the shop. Voters also start their day in a DIY way at Collective Coffee (20th Street West) and Museo Espresso (Spadina Crescent; Broadway Avenue).

 

BEST COFFEE SHOP TO WORK/STUDY

BROADWAY ROASTERY

614 Broadway Ave.

 

What to look for when your desk isn’t keeping the juices flowing: quiet corners, good tables and a gentle jolt. Voters rediscovered their productivity at Nutana’s Roastery once again, but they also got ‘er done at Collective Coffee, The Underground Café, Starbucks and Museo Espresso.

 

BEST PLACE FOR TEA

DAVID’S TEA

The Mall at Lawson Heights; Midtown Plaza

 

With so many flavour options in the tea world — spicy, fruity, herby or pekoe-y — it’s a steep order to satisfy a party of tea-sippers. But David’s Tea has it in the bag, as they go 2-and-0 for Best Tea in their second year of competition. Broadway Roastery maintains their “hot drink heavyweight” status, keeping the silver kettle whistling, while Caffe Sola and McQuarrie’s Tea & Coffee Merchants can also satisfy the un-coffee needs in you.

 

BEST PLACE FOR A SPECIALTY DRINK

BROADWAY ROASTERY

614 Broadway Ave.

 

Now that you’re wired on all that caffeine, it’s time to think about imbibements of a different variety. Back away from that buzz with something milky or juicy from, yes, that good ol’ Broadway Roastery — or voters also suggest giving Starbucks, The Underground Café or Collective Coffee a try.

 

BEST BAKERY

CHRISTIES MAYFAIR BAKERY

420 33rd St. W.

 

Christies has always lured the most voters with the most heavenly aroma, and this year’s no exception. Earth Bound Bakery & Deli (8th Street), though, appears to have a growing fanbase that sees them creeping ever closer to that evasive loaf loot. Christies’ spinoff Il Secondo and Nutana Bakery (both on Broadway Avenue) will also satisfy, say voters.

 

BEST CATERING

PICKNIC’S CATERING

210 33rd St. W.

 

Whatever your event, when you haven’t the time or the capacity to put out a spread on your own, Planet S readers recommend Picknic’s (Mayfair), who takes the caterer crown from last year’s winner, D’reen’s Catering (Avenue B South). Also impressing your guests are Calories (Broadway Avenue), The Hollows (Avenue C South) and Root Down Workers’ Cooperative Café and Books (Sonnenschein Way).

 

BEST DELI

BULK CHEESE WAREHOUSE

732 Broadway Ave.

 

Be it meats, cheeses or a combination of both, the Bulk Cheese smokes the competition time and again. And in the race for second, Souleio Foods (3rd Avenue South) outlasts Sobey’s, Ingredients Artisan Market (2nd Avenue) and Boryski’s Butcher Block (Millar Avenue), in that order.

 

BEST LIQUOR/WINE STORE

INGREDIENTS ARTISAN MARKET

618 2nd Ave. N.

 

Cava Secreta (R.I.P.) used to have a lock on the Best Liquor laurels, but where Cava left off, Ingredients picked up — and voters noticed! And in second and third spots once again are “The Liquor Church” (8th Street Board Store) and 2nd Avenue Liquor Board Store. Honourable mention goes to Lucky Bastard Distillery.

 

BEST SPECIALTY GROCERY

TIE: DAD’S ORGANIC MARKET (1820 8th St. E.), BULK CHEESE WAREHOUSE (732 Broadway Ave.)

 

Wow — this was quite the battle! In 2012, Dad’s made strides with voters — who still elected old favourite Bulk Cheese to the title. And 2013 sees voters completely unable to settle! And on top of this toss-up, the battle for second is decided by a single vote: Ingredients Artisan Market comes ahead of Souleio Foods for second best! We think these votes are telling us it’s time to get out and try something different from any one of these awesome options...

 

BEST BUTCHER

BULK CHEESE WAREHOUSE

732 Broadway Ave.

 

The Bulk Cheese captures the cleaver cup once again, while other readers suggest that Prairie Meats (Millar Avenue), Boryski’s Butcher Block (Millar Avenue), and Pineview Farms (available at various stores) make the cut, too.

 

BEST ARTY AMBIENCE

SPADINA FREEHOUSE

608 Spadina Cr. E.

 

The Freehouse’s colourful and funky display brings back the artiest award for our 2011 winner. Calories Restaurant’s display of local art puts them just a shade behind, landing in second. Last year’s winner, Duck Duck Goose, as well as 6Twelve Lounge and Flint Saloon, are not far behind.

 

MOST COMFORTABLE RESTAURANT

PARK CAFE

515 20th St. W.

 

Here’s another title that`s been re-captured: after settling for second in 2012, Riversdale’s Park Café is back to reclaim the cozy aura of Most Comfortable victory. The Rook & Raven (downtown), meanwhile, comes out just ahead of a mash-up between Earls (City Park) and Rock Creek Tap & Grill (Blairmore; University Heights).

 

BEST DECOR

DUCK DUCK GOOSE

616 10th St. E.

 

With so many restaurants, and so much subjectivity involved, there were an awful lot of contenders for Décor Distinction — 53, to be exact. Wow! Whatever your tastes, the majority of voters prefer either the quirky antiquities of Duck Duck Goose (Nutana), the chic class of 6Twelve (downtown) or the Chinese heritage at The Hollows (Riversdale).

 

BEST PATIO

YARD & FLAGON

718 Broadway Ave.

 

And the award for best thing we’ll never be able to use again goes to... Hey, I’m kidding!(I hope…) When that one week of warm weather  in early August hits, be sure to head real early to one of the following: Yard & Flagon (Broadway Avenue), O’Shea’s Irish Pub (2nd Avenue South), Earls (2nd Avenue North), or Spadina Freehouse (Spadina Crescent) — like really, really early, because the whole province will be thinking the same thing! I wonder if they’ll take reservations...

 

BEST BATHROOMS

MOXIE’S GRILL & BAR

3134 8th St. E.

 

A few of our voters may have scoffed, but the majority appreciated the value of a fine facility. Moxie’s keeps the supremacy — but not the odour — strong, as they finish first once again, ahead of Earls, Souleio Foods and Duck Duck Goose. And hey, who voted for the U of S?

 

CATEGORY WE MISSED

BEST LOCALLY SOURCED RESTAURANT

 

There are more and more of them around — and whether they go to nearby farms for meat, grains or veggies, to farmers’ markets for produce, or to area artists for art, they deserve our kudos! There: you have a year to ask what’s local on the menu every time you eat out, so get out there and locavore it up!