Head east and dine at new eateries popping up on Saskatoon’s food scene

Photo courtesy Tourism Saskatoon

Our prairie neighbour, Saskatoon is an easy six-hour journey to make – not to mention a good reason to make a quick stopover in Drumheller for some candid pictures with the dinosaurs peppered around town. It’s really amazing how far this city’s food scene has come in the past few years. Much like Calgary’s boom a decade or so ago, Saskatoon’s population is projected to jump significantly in the coming years. With more inhabitants come more restaurants and, being a born and raised (and proud) Saskatchewan boy, I am always excited to see what new eateries are popping up in my hometown.

The heart of the city offers up some great establishments like The Rook and Raven (great pub fare), Truffles Bistro (French influenced) and, of course, Ayden Kitchen and Bar.

Ayden Kitchen and Bar

Opened in fall, 2013 by Top Chef Canada season one winner Dale Mackay, Ayden – named after the chef’s son – was officially Saskatoon’s first celebrity chef restaurant. The cuisine here is refined and well balanced, with service and an interior that is arguably unparalleled in the city. Ayden’s barkeep and general manager, Christopher Cho has spent time in Vancouver and Calgary perfecting the art of the cocktail, so it is no surprise that whatever he’s shaking and stirring behind the bar here, it will be some of the best sips you’ll find in town.

Prairie Harvest Cafe

A gem of a dining destination all on it’s lonesome, is Prairie Harvest Cafe. Chef and owner, Mike McKeown serves up elevated Saskatchewan comfort food like ‘borscht’ perogies (better than your Baba’s!), seared local trout and more. Nestled into a teeny strip mall in a residential area, the lay-out of the restaurant is a bit odd, but the quirkiness of the interior with its mix of old tables, wooden chairs and vibrant art on the walls, just adds to the charm. McKeown is all about highlighting Saskatchewan ingredients and cooking with heart, which always translates to a fantastic dining experience. Random location aside, this place is always jam-packed, so a reservation might be a good idea.

Riversdale Area

An amazingly revitalized area of the city, Riversdale becomes more of a destination with each passing year. Anchored by the beautiful Saskatoon Farmers’ Market (buying some sea buckthorn berry gelato there is a must), the area is home to a couple of great cafes like Collective Coffee where you can get your quality caffeine fix, and a number of restaurants. The Hollows (Canadian contemporary) and The Odd Couple (Asian-inspired) are both popular spots to dine, but for a truly unique restaurant, try Leyda’s for a gluten-free, nut-free and 100% organic meal. A concept like this may read as hippie-dippie ‘granola’, but this restaurant manages to pull off health-conscious cuisine in a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

“You mean this bread is gluten-free?” At Leyda’s you’d never know the difference.

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