Indigenous-run Restaurants and Why You Should Check Them Out

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January, 2018

For the next week, Vancouver will be in full Dine Out with restaurants around the city featuring fixed price menus at a $20, $30, or $40 price range. We took this opportunity to visit Inez Cooks’ Salmon n’ Bannock Bistro and we quickly discovered why it has been a staple for the Vancouver Indigenous community.

This dinner inspired us to find more Indigenous restaurants across Canada, here is a list to get you started. Let us know what your favourite spots are!

Warning: Do not read before lunch

Dine Out 2018 – Salmon n’ Bannock Highlights

British Columbia

Salmon n’ Bannock Bistro
#7 – 1128 West Broadway St., Vancouver, BC | 604-568-8971

Salmon n’ Bannock Bistro is Vancouver’s best known Indigenous restaurant and an absolute must for dining when visiting the west coast. From their namesake Salmon n’ Bannock Burgers, to Bannock Tacos, to Boar Meatballs, it is difficult to choose which dish to try first!

Must eat: Boar Meatballs au jus

Kekuli Café Coffee House
2051A Voght St., Merritt BC | 250-378-3588 OR 307-3550 Carrington Rd., Westbank, BC | 250-768-3555

Kekuli Cafe Coffee House is so popular they have their own app, they offer a loyalty program to earn Bannock Bucks to use on hot beverages, or Breakfast Bannock Sandwiches, and they have two locations in British Columbia – Merritt and Westbank! Their lunches and Indian Tacos look amazing, but breakfast is the most important meal of the day!

Must eat: Wild Salmon Breakfast Bannock with a Saskatoon Berry Tea Lemonade

The Thunderbird Café
4584 Blackcomb Way, Whistler, BC | 1-866-441-7522

The Thunderbird Café inside the Squamish-Lil’wat Cultural Centre is a great spot to eat at when visiting Whistler. In addition to the Spirit Bear Coffee they serve, you can add on a Grilled Salmon Panini, a Home-made Venison Chili or a Pemberton Bison Pot Pie.

Must eat: Cedar Plank Sockeye Salmon Chowder served with fresh traditional bannock

Tomahawk Restaurant
1550 Philip Avenue, North Vancouver, BC | 604-988-2612

Tomahawk restaurant is a delicious greasy spoon with too many menu items to mention. Although not technically authentic Indigenous cuisine, the kitschy diner is worth the stop to gawk at all the amazing artifacts that have been collected over the years.

Must eat: Yukon-Style Bacon & Eggs

Painted Pony Café
705 Victoria St., Kamloops, BC | 250-828-1131

Painted Pony Café offers an excellent variety of both traditional and fusion foods. You might go there for the many dessert offerings (Bannock Pudding, Apple Bannock, Indian Ice Cream) but you won’t be able to resist their Salmon Soup, Slow Roasted Elk, or the Bannock Dog.

Must eat: Powwow Special – Bannock breakfast sandwich with choice of bacon, blackened bologna, Prem, or ham.

Lelem’ Café
#100 – 23285 Billy Brown Rd. Langley | 604-343-9277

Lelem’ Café in Fort Langley offers an impressive selection of food items that are worth the stop. Have a cup of their St’ex roast coffee and try their Egg Benny’s in the morning (all served on house-baked bannock), a Sockeye Filet on Ciabatta at lunch, or a hearty Elk Stew at dinner. Be sure to check out their Facebook page beforehand, throughout the year they have performances from some of the best Indigenous performers – including Sister Says, Murray Porter, Ostwelve.

Must eat: Mixed bannok basket – a selection of herb, cheese, cranberry, cinnamon bannock served with seasonal compote and cedar sage butter

Other great spot to check out:

Ontario

Tea-n-Bannock
1294 Gerrard St. E., Toronto, ON | 416-220-2915

Tea-n-Bannock brings a big taste of home to the middle of Toronto. They offer a nice variety of burgers, stews, fish and desserts, although their Three Sisters Soup with corn, beans, and squash sounds delicious.

Must eat: Bison Stir Fry – Wild rice sautéed in onions, mushrooms, peppers. Served with mashed potatoes and coleslaw.

Other great spots to check out:

Saskatchewan

Wanuskewin Heritage Park
RR #4, Penner Rd., Saskatoon, SK | 306-931-6767

Wanuskewin Heritage Park in Saskatoon is an excellent interpretive centre and gallery for the local Indigenous communities; but equally as good is their dining hall featuring traditional foods infused with a contemporary style. Don’t miss their Muskeg Tea-Battered Whitefish and Chips, or the juicy Bison Burger with saskatoon berry sauce, served on a fresh bannock bun

Manitoba

Feast Café Bistro
587 Ellice Ave., Winnipeg, MB | 204-691-5979

Feast Café Bistro in Winnipeg offers such a great selection on their menu, we want to try every dish! The standard Bannock Burgers or Wild Smoked Salmon sound amazing, the Bannock Pizza is revolutionary, but it’s difficult to say no to an Indian Taco (Pow wow, Gatherer, or Sundance style).

Must eat: Bison Ribs – fall-off-the-bone local Manitoba grass-fed bison ribs with house-made berry BBQ sauce and bannock

Other great spot to check out:

Alberta

Native Delights
14640 142 St. NW, Edmonton, AB | 780-237-0717

Native Delights food truck is worth the chase; however they have recently opened a kiosk inside the Canadian Athletic Club in Edmonton.Go try their wide selection of Bannock Burgers, Indian Tacos, or pick up some dried meat to take home.

Must eat: Buffalo Smokies

Nova Scotia

Kiju
50 Maillard, Membertou, NS | 902-562-6220

Kiju’s in Membertou is known as being: Fresh. Local. Friendly. Kiju is a Mi’kmaq word for “Mother” and you certainly get that feeling from the comfort food offered on their menu. Whether you are in the mood for Sweet and Spicy Duck in apricot curry sauce, Fish Cakes & Beans, or Sea Scallop and Shiitake Risotto, there truly is a dish for every taste here.

Must eat: Crisp Atlantic Haddock Loin – Pan seared potato crusted Nova Scotia haddock fillet with warm fennel chowchow.

Indigenous-run Catering

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