Famena’s Famous Roti and Curry

Famena’s Famous Roti & Curry is a little counter top restaurant on Garry Street in downtown Winnipeg. It just a couple of blocks over from Holy Trinity. As I mentioned in my Holy Trinity Fall Supper post, there is a strong Caribbean influence at Holy Trinity. This influences is reflected in both the spiritual and culinary character of the parish. It`s through Holy Trinity that I developed by fondness for Caribbean Cuisine

Famena’s Oxtail
A heaping plate of oxtail with rice and pease.

Famena’s Roti Lunch

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Broadway Beat - Will Ferrell, 'SHAOLIN', The Fantasticks & TOMMY

Famena’s Famous Roti & Curry  is located on the street level of a downtown parking lot. As you walk in you find yourself at one end of a counter that stretches in an arc around to the far end of the building. The street side wall is covered with a cooler and several boxes of drinks. I grabbed a seat at the door end of the counter, and waited until Mohammad, one of the owners, brought me a menu. Sometimes I decide to try a secondary item on my first visit, but this time I went with a roti.

Famena`s Rotie
The picture does not do justice to the size and fullness of the roti.

The picture above shows the lamb curry that I ordered. Yet, it doesn’t really capture the size of the roti. In my post on the new Cityplace eating spots I mentioned trying wraps. This roti is about 50% larger than the largest of those wraps. It’s filled with a flavourful mixture of chickpeas an several pieces of lamb. The lamb is tender, and the gravy in which the chickpeas is cooked is rich. The reason there is no picture o the inside is it took all my concentration to eat this using a knife and fork.

While I ate I noticed that Mohammad keeps up regular conversations with the customers, It’s clear that many of the people there return time and again for their lunches. One ting with the way the restaurant is set up: You get to watch Mohammad and Famena at work. ON this occasion Mohammad moves skillfully between the various pots keeping everything in sync while preparing my roti.

Back for the Oxtail

The picture at the top of the post is of the Oxtail with rice and pease. This appears to be the signature dish at Famena’s. On the menu it says that it is only available Wednesday to Saturday. I notice going in though, that there is a sign up that says it’s now available every day. I order this dish and I’m thinking of ordering a small side to go along with it. When I try to do this, Famena tells me that I should eat this dish first and then order something else if I still want to.

This turns out to be good advice. The dish contains a large portion of food. The Oxtail itself is a fatty cut of meat. This is something I really like. It is well prepared and cooked, so that the fat melts in your mouth. The meat is moist and tender and falls off the bone. While I’m eating, Famena notices that I haven’t added any hot sauce, and makes me aware that it’s there. I say I intend to add some later. One thing I always like to do with dishes, is try them without condiments, and then add them later.

lunch beverage
Its hard to pick up on the label, but the drink is Sorrel with Ginger. Very refreshing.

On my first trip, I ordered a can of pop for my beverage, this time around I went with something different. I ordered a Grace Brand, Sorrel Ginger beverage. I’ve tried Sorrel before,  and enjoyed it. The addition of ginger makes for a very refreshing beverage. Ginger is also good for digestion, which after such a large portion of food, is also a good thing. It turns out Famena is most definitely correct, the Oxtail with rice and pease makes a very satisfying and satiating meal all on it’s own.

Something To Go

On my first visit I notice bottles of hot sauce by the till, which are for sale. On my second visit I ended up sitting a little farther along the counter. From that vantage point I notice a box marked: Hotter Sauce. I love hot sauce and so I pick up a bottle of the hotter sauce to take along with me. I also picked up a bottle of the Grace Mango beverage.

Hotter sauce
Having tried the hot sauce, if this lives up to its name, it will have quite a kick.

I haven’t tried the hotter sauce yet. I have three or four locally produced hot sauces at home. I’m intending to write a post about them in the near future.

Speaking of the future, I intend to visit Famena’s again. the food is fantastic and the owner’s are as well. If you are looking for reasons to come downtown, a visit to Famena’s is one of the better ones.


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.