Restaurants Reviews and Such

Bonnie Day – 868 Westminster Avenue

Bonnie Day is located in the Wolseley neighbourhood of Winnipeg. It sits in a spot that has gone through a couple of changes in the last few years. Most recently it was known as Ruby West, I don’t know if it’s the same owners, but the billing program still uses the Ruby West name. Bonnie Day falls into the treat category of restaurant.

Persian Olives from Bonnie Day
Persian Olives. This dish from Bonnie Day offers crunch, salt, and sweet.

Before that it was home to the Neighbourhood Bookstore and Café. I wrote about the Neighbourhood Bookstore and Café several years ago. If you’ve followed the tale, you will know that the Neighbourhood shut down because of an ongoing battle over a grease trap.

With the book shelves gone, the space is opened up quite a bit. There are around 30 seats in Bonnie Day. This include a couple of window alcoves that have 2 seats each.

This gives the diners there a bit of seclusion from the rest of the restaurant. However, along with the view of Westminster Avenue, you are also a little on display to passers-by.

One interesting feature is that walls are covered with pictures containing book covers. I asked if this was an homage to the locations previous incarnation. After inquiring, my server told me it was simply a coincidence. As a semi-regular visitor to the Neighbourhood, I thought it a rather happy coincidence.

First Visit to Bonnie Day

On my first visit to the restaurant I just showed up. At least that’s what my email suggests. I did arrive just after Bonnie Day opened, meaning that there weren’t many people there when I arrived.

The menu at Bonnie Day is similar in nature to Two Hands, and Langside Grocery. A limited number of choices divided into courses. Also, these menus are designed for sharing items. I do find it a bit of a challenge to make a good sampling of the items.

The top of this post contains a photo of the olives on offer at Bonnie Day. Not surprising, they were my jumping off point for trying the restaurant’s food. These are my favourite of the olives I’ve tried in the last while.

The combination of the acidic and salty nature of the olives, mixed with the sweetness of the pomegranate syrup and the crunch of the walnuts, means this dish has a lot going for it.

Bonnie Day Puttanesca
Puttanesca pasta, another olive laden dish.

For my next dish I ordered the Puttanesca. There are a variety of claims made for the origin of this dish’s name. You can read more here, and make up your own mind.

One thing about this dish, with all the olives, it is a very salty dish. If you enjoy salty food, this is a dish I would highly recommend.

Creme Brulee on a fancy plate
A sweet Crème Brulée to finish off the meal.

I finished off my meal with a Crème Brulée. This may have had the thickest layer of melted sugar of any Brulée I’ve had. That’s not a bad thing. In fact, I like the fact that the satisfying crack you get when starting on the dish, was repeated several times. 

The service here matches the quality of the food. One of the things that stood out. When I first arrived, they realized I would be a little crowded in the spot they offered me, and moved me to a different table that allowed me more space.

Another Dinner

Last night I returned to Bonnie Day for my second visit. This time I did use their online reservation system. It worked like a charm. I got a table no problem, and received the reminder that my reservation was ready.

This time around I got seated at a table, kitty corner from the one I had the first time. My table is up against a short wall which blocks out nicely any people arriving, allowing a bit of distraction free dining.

Bonnie Day Negroni
Starting off with a classic. A Negroni Cocktail.

To start my meal off, I ordered a Negroni Cocktail. This is a nice, sweet way to kick off my meal.

For a starter, I ordered the Whipped Feta with Roasted Tomatoes, Herbs, and served with sourdough toast. This is a great dish. I liked the Tomato cutting through some of the creaminess of the Feta.

This is also a large dish. Even piling it onto the toast, I ran out of toast before I ran out of Whipped Feta. My server offered me more toast, but knowing the size of my next dish, I simply spooned up the remainder of the dish.

A moist. tender half-chicken from Bonnie Day.

I ordered the Roast Half-Chicken, because I had seen it ordered at another table on my visit first. It is seasoned with a sweet paprika, and is tender and moist throughout. This would rank close to Peasant Cookery in terms of the best Chicken meals I have had in Winnipeg.

Again, this is also a huge dish. Both of the dishes I ordered today could easily feed two people. The roasted potato salad was also very good, but the chicken is the really stand out part of this dish.

Given the size of the dish, I ended up taking some of the salad home in a to go container. Despite the size of the meal, I was also in the mood for some dessert, so I also ordered a rhubarb meringue pie.

Rhubarb Meringue Pie
The Rhubarb Meringue Pie from Bonnie Day, that I took home with me.

Between the walk home from Bonnie Day, and sitting around for a few hours before I got to the pie, I was able to enjoy it as a late-night snack. The pastry is light, flaky, and crispy. The rhubarb filling is good, and creamy. The pie looks beautiful, and the meringue is really gooey. I’m glad I decided to take a piece home with it.

Once again the service at Bonnie Day was first rate. They make sure that everything is fine, and keep you well replenished on water, etc. Bonnie Day is a great restaurant, and one that should, at the very least, be on your treat list.

By Donald McKenzie

Anglican priest, and food blogger. This blog is focused on Food. It will feature reviews of places to eat books, and the odd recipe. I also write about what it means to gather together around food.