Skip to main content

Two Winnipeg eateries nominated for Canada’s best new restaurant

Bar Accanto's beef tartare, albacore tuna and vegetable bonbon. (Source: Travis Ross) Bar Accanto's beef tartare, albacore tuna and vegetable bonbon. (Source: Travis Ross)

Two Winnipeg restaurants are in the running for a prestigious ranking of the country’s best new eateries.

Bar Accanto and Petit Socco have cracked the longlist for Air Canada’s Best New Restaurants 2023.

Every year, Air Canada sends a top food critic to travel the country in search of the most noteworthy new additions to its culinary scene.

Thirty restaurants have been nominated for this year's ranking, with a chance to make its coveted top ten list set to be released this fall. The final ten will also be featured in the November issue of Air Canada enRoute magazine.

When word reached Mike Del Buono Thursday that the newest addition in his empire of eateries, Bar Accanto made the long list, he found himself a bit emotional.

“I had a little moment to myself, and then it was just a big celebration with the team.”

Bar Accanto's beef tartare with marrow and lemon emulsion, white anchovy, crouton, mustard yolk, grana padano and house-made chips. (Source: Travis Ross)

Del Buono, who heads up Burnley Place Hospitality, opened the 30-seat Norwood hot spot in April with a focus on minimal intervention wines and adventurous shared plates.

Its name, which means ‘the bar next to’ in Italian, is a nod to its stone’s throw location beside its sister restaurant Nola, a nominee last year.

Its menu by Nola-recruit chef Colin Naylor features colourful plates of cured albacore tuna with flourishes of pickled chili and an elevated take on the Manitoba classic pickerel, pan-seared and served in a creamy soubise sauce.

The dishes are meant to be enjoyed alongside a curated natural wine list by Casey Holder.

“It’s all about sharing. We really believe that that's the best way to eat. Everyone gets to try things together, and I think that's something that people really missed out on during the pandemic,” Del Buono said.

Bar Accanto's take on pan-seared pickerel is served with soubise sauce, potato pavé, pickled and roasted fennel, fresh dill, yuzu kosho and buttermilk vinaigrette. (Source: Travis Ross)


The Winnipeg representation doesn’t end there.

Petit Socco, an intimate Stafford Street eatery offering a seasonal, four-course menu, is also enjoying its nomination.

The ten-seat, 300 square-foot restaurant is run by chef Adam Donnelly and partner Courtney Molaro, who handles front-of-house operations.

The cozy space is styled to make guests feel like they’re at a kitchen party hosted by the couple.

“It has a unique set of challenges, but it's wonderful,” he said.

“It really makes it feel like you're having friends over for dinner, and I think that really translates to the people that are eating there, as well.”

A previous Petit Socco menu item of tuna, bean escabeche and zucchini. (Source: Petit Socco)

Donnelly is the former chef and owner of Winnipeg’s late, great Segovia Tapas Bar. He says Petit Socco’s menu is a reflection of what he would want to eat in any given season.

Judging by its current offering, Donnelly's craving hearty beef tostadas with lime crema and Black Forest cake with cherry sorbet.

While their menus differ, both Donnelly and Del Buono share in their delight to see another Winnipeg spot join them on the longlist.

“We’re just honoured to be on there, being the underdogs in Winnipeg, and especially to see our friends over at Petit Socco on there is great,” Del Buono said.

“I love Winnipeg, and I'm happy to be here,” Donnelly said.

“I think there's a lot of amazing things going on here, and I think that it's going to get better and better.”

Olive oil cake with strawberry-rhubarb ice cream. (Source: Petit Socco) Top Stories

Stay Connected