Reviews and Such Restaurants

Promenade Cafe & Wine. Saint Boniface

One of the things I like about where I work is that there are lots of good dining options in the area. Yesterday I wrote about Pastrami & Things, which is just a few blocks down Tache from St. Philip’s. Today, I’m writing about Promendade Cafe and Wine. Promenade Cafe and Wine, is on the corner of Provencher and Tache, still only ten or so blocks from St. Philip’s. This gives a few extra minutes to let lunch settle when I walk back to work.

Provencher Café and Wine is owned by Shawn Brandson, along with his wife, Connie McCane Brandson. The two also own Fort Gibraltar Dining Corporation, and are heavily involved with some of the food connected with Festival du Voyageur, along with being part of Winnipeg’s Poutine Cup, an annual celebration of that classic dish, originally Quebecois but now enjoyed throughout the country.

Promenade is also an entrant in the 2021 Fried Chicken Fest. Their Chicken Schnitzel is delightful.

Despite being called Cafe and Wine, I’ve only been there during work hours, so I can only write about the cafe and not the wine. However, there are a lot of good things to say about the cafe all on it’s own.

Provencher Coffee.
My coffee was strong, but not bitter. It came in a colourful mug, and the refills were kept up during the course of my lunch.

I wrote this review about a two and a half years ago. I’ve been a couple of times since I wrote that review. So, I decided that I would update the review after my last visit, earlier today. The new parts of the review are in italic bold. The pictures are all from my most recent visit. 

Dining at Promenade Cafe

Located on the corner immediately across from the pedestrian bridge into St. Boniface, Promenade Cafe and Wine shares space with a couple of other restaurants in a little corner lot. The restaurant is spacious, and is divided into three sections. One of the benefits of this is that there is a fair degree of privacy when you are dining with others even though the restaurant is quite full.

My first visit I went with a couple of parishioners. It was a little past lunch so the restaurant wasn’t full. I decided to go with the Moule et Frites. This was quite good, and the portion of both Moules et Frites was quites generous. My fellow diners had the steak sandwich, and the french onion soup. There was one other item that I can’t remember, but both very much enjoyed the meal.

Provencher bacon sign
Bacon makes everything better. One of several sayings on display in the windows of Provencher Cafe and Wine. I’m thinking this would make a great inscription for my tombstone.

On this trip to Promenade I started off with a soup. Promenade makes great soups. I’m a big fan of soups. I find them soothing and relaxing. This is especially true with a good cream soup. The soup of the day was a potato leek soup. As Promenade is a French based restaurant, I’m not sure why this is called Soup Parmentier, which is the classic name for this soup.
While the classic name isn’t used, this is still a classic soup. It is rich and creamy with a little bit of spiciness and also a little hit of smokiness. This is the kind of soup that you would want to eat while curled up in an armchair and reading a good book.

Provencher soup
The potato leek soup I had for lunch.

The next time I went in I decided to try a soup and salad combo. I had two reasons for this. One, was that it made for a lighter meal. Two, I was hoping for something that would be served quickly. I went with a Mediterranean Quinoa Salad, and a Ginger Carrot soup. The soup was exceptional, with both the ginger and carrot flavours coming through in equal measure. The salad was equally flavourful, but it failed somewhat on the lightness scale. I found that there was just a little bit to much dressing on it. As for the quickness the meal came quite quickly.

Promenade Cafe Gnocchi
Gnocchi a la creme aux Poivrons

For my entrée I went with the Gnocchi à la Crème aux Poivrons. You can add a protein to this dish, and I chose the Tourtière Meat. The Gnocchi were absolutely wonderful. Airy, and pillowy soft. The addition of the Tourtière Meat adds a nice touch of savoury spiciness. This entrée will fill you up without leaving you feeling over full and sluggish. 
My latest visit I made in conjuction with Le Burger Week. Le Burger Week is promoted through the Charcoal Collaborative. The special at Promenade Cafe, was the Fig, Pig and Bison. This was one huge burger, that even after squishing down was hard to fit into the mouth. The bacon wrapping around the Bison kept the meat nice and juicy.
This though was probably my worst experience as far as the service went. It was very busy, but there was no offer to refill my water during my meal, and the wait time was on the long side for a lunch visit. That said, the service on the other two visits was very good.
The more times that I have visited, the more the service on Le Burger Week was the exception. Today in particular, the service was friendly, efficient, and did a great job of balancing the question of whether or not I was enjoying my meal with giving me the time to enjoy my meal in peace. One of the things I really appreciated about the service today, was that if I got the attention of a server other than mine, that server quickly relayed my request onto the person serving my table.
On the whole, Promenade Cafe and Wine is a place I wouldn’t hesitate to visit. The atmosphere is very good.  The food is always top quality, and so is the service. It is a little pricier than some lunch spots, but the pleasures of the meal make it worth the extra price.

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.