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September 18 -October 1
VOL.13 ISSUE. 2
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Best Of Food and Drink 2013

Published Thursday April 18, 11:58 am

Photo Credit: Illustration by Dakota McFadzean

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!

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