The Canadian province of Saskatchewan has a reputation of being the ‘bread basket to the world’. The land is fertile, covered in wheat and canola fields, and is the largest exporter of legumes (think lentils and dried peas) in the world. I’m hitting you with these agricultural factoids for a reason – to demonstrate that food is a Really Big Deal in Saskatchewan. As the province’s largest city surrounded by such bounty and blessed by people returning home or from afar to live a more balanced lifestyle, Saskatoon has morphed into a culinary and foodie destination that deserves attention. Chefs are foraging, reviving butchery, preserving and growing their own ingredients and working with local farmers and growers to create delicious dishes. So much so that crafting a where to eat in Saskatoon guide was real work.
But I’m happy to have done the heavy lifting (and eating) for you in creating this guide to Saskatoon restaurants, farms and special places in and around the city. Bon Appetit!
Where to Eat in Saskatoon
There’s no shortage of great food and drink on the prairies. I’ve compiled this list of the best restaurants in Saskatoon in alphabetical order, just to make it easier to navigate and to show love for all the great places to eat in Saskatoon.
Ayden Kitchen and Bar
Top Chef Canada season one winner Dale MacKay has several restaurants in Saskatoon. His Ayden Kitchen and Bar is a popular comfort food hotspot that marries local and seasonal goodness with global inspiration. Great cocktails, sharing platters and a dark and cosy room make for a social and tasty night out on the town. I’m a sucker for cheese croquettes and charcuterie boards so this spot is my jam.
Baba’s Homestyle Perogies
Saskatchewan is home to a large expat Ukrainian community, who brought their love of soft potato dumplings from the old country to the prairies. While I can’t vouch whether Baba’s Homestyle Perogies is the only Drive Thru perogie join in the world, they say they are and that’s good enough for me. For over thirty years, perogie fans have gotten their fix of homemade, hand-pinched perogies and cabbage rolls at Baba’s drive through or inside the restaurant – purchase them fresh or frozen.
Black Fox Farm & Distillery
Black Fox Farm is one of the few farm-to-still distilleries in North America. These grain farmers turned distillers, grow 90% of what is in their products, from honey to haskap berries (super yummy) to pumpkin flowers. Their oaked gin won World’s Best Gin in London UK in spring 2016. If you visit in summer, you can pick a fresh cucumber, and slice it into your Black Fox G & T right at the farm. It’s swoon worthy.
This family-friendly restaurant has been a staple of the Broadway district for more than 30 years. Calories has been showing off the local farm-to-fork culture before it was a thing. Indulge yourself with a delicious lunch, dinner or just dessert (there are many to choose from) at this funky bistro and bakery. Menus change monthly to take advantage of fresh local produce, and there is lots of local art on the walls to appreciate as you dine.
No, you’re not in Portland, Oregon, it just feels like you are. You’re at Drift Sidewalk Café & the Vista Lounge in the laid back Riversdale district, a spot that is definitely channeling a west coast-like vibe. Drift is the perfect hot spot for grabbing your morning coffee, enjoying a leisurely eggs benny brunch, or sipping on a cocktail. You could even relax in a hammock on the rooftop patio on a summer day, because why not?
Don’t let the strip mall location in the city’s Avalon neighbourhood fool you. A soon as you step into its gorgeous and welcoming space, Hearth will surpass expectations. After operating as a catering business for years, owners Beth Rogers and Thayne Robstad opened the restaurant in 2018, intending to serve thoughtful, ingredient-forward prairie cooking. They forage for ingredients themselves (hello yummy chanterelles and morels!), and produce delicious dishes of quality and inspired presentation to grateful diners.
Located in the Remai Modern art museum, Shift is one of the newer names in the Saskatoon restaurant scene. It’s a great spot to stop and enjoy some Canadian favourites like chicken pot pie and tourtière, or prairie staples like pirogies, either before or after visiting the museum. Sit on the outdoor patio in summer to enjoy the beautiful views of the South Saskatchewan River.
Sticks & Stones
Another of Top Chef Dale MacKay’s restaurants, Sticks & Stones is a Korean and Japanese fusion restaurant in the heart of downtown, with popular dishes like ramen and sushi. They also boast an extensive sake list and creative cocktails. It’s great to go in a group and share several delicious dishes, that way you can really get a taste of everything.
You’ve read me gushing about The Hollows here, but yes, this locally owned and operated restaurant located in Riversdale in the historic Golden Dragon building is the real foodie deal. Food at The Hollows is made with the best ingredients on the prairies: cultivated plants grown from heirloom seeds, wild-harvested leaves and mushrooms, flowers, sap and roots, local fish — sustainably raised, pastured meat, poultry and eggs from small farmers. Chefs Christine Peters and Kyle Michael do everything the hard way – and the pay off is amazing food that looks too beautiful to eat, almost. Dinner weekly and brunch on weekends.
Wanuskewin Heritage Park
For a true taste of the province’s Indigenous food heritage, head out to Wanuskewin Heritage Park. You can sample a bison sausage, venison or wild rice burger on a bannock bun in the Park’s commissary. If you wish to take in a truly unique and transformative experience, participate in the Han Wi-Moon Dinner at the park.
This immersive dinner is about the culture, history, and food of the indigenous people who have lived in Wanuskewin for thousands of years. You’ll take a guided walk and learn about healing and sacred plants, cook bannock over an open fire, eat a three-course meal cooked by Chef Jenni Shrenk while overlooking the river, and listen to ancient star stories and coyote howls as the sun goes down revealing the beautiful Saskatchewan night sky. These unforgettable dinners take place in summer, and pre-booking is required.
Do you have a favorite Saskatoon restaurant? Share it in the comments.
Photo Credits: Claudia Laroye, Tourism Saskatoon, Shutterstock
Disclosure: The writer visited Saskatoon as a guest of Tourism Saskatoon. As always, her love of and opinions about delicious food and gin are honest and her own.