Best of Food & Drink 2018

Welcome to Best of Food & Drink Saskatoon 2018!

Greetings! Do not be afraid! I am a Visitor who has journeyed to your strange world from far beyond the solar system. I’ve parked my invisible spaceship underneath the Broadway Bridge and now walk among you in disguise as part of an important mission. And what IS that mission? I can’t tell you because it’s a secret. But I CAN tell you that it leaves me with a lot of spare time, so lately I’ve been hanging out at Planet S playing with Heath Mulligan’s action figures and shooting three-point trash-baskets.

Probably to get me out of what’s left of his hair, Heath asked me to write this issue’s special section: a Planet S feature called Best Of Food & Drink.

Best of Food & Drink comes from an annual planetsmag.com reader poll. Earlier this year, Planet S readers nominated their favourite food, restaurants and industry people. Those with the most nominations moved on to a second ballot. You’ll find the final results on the following pages, so put on your space helmet and get ready to devour the 2018 installment of the Bridge City’s greatest food feature!

STARTERS & SIDES | MEALS | RESTAURANTS | INTERNATIONAL | BOOZE & PUBS | PIZZA | BREAKFAST | COFFEE | SCENE | PEOPLE | SHOPPING & SERVICES | NEIGHBOURHOODS


Best Of Food & Drink celebrates the best Saskatoon’s food scene has to offer. The results come from our readers, who chose favourites in around 100 categories. Don’t agree with their picks? Too bad — as a level 87 alien intelligence, I assure you these results are correct and totally scientifically indisputable. Next year, instead of complaining, make sure you get your vote in — and by the way, Best of Saskatoon nominations begin this fall. Keep an antenna out for more info!

Thanks to all the readers and voters who participated in this poll, the advertisers whose support makes this feature possible, and the Saskatoon food scene for being so worthy of the spotlight. Thanks also to some humans who helped me out with a few profiles — I couldn’t have finished this without Gregory Beatty and Savannah Hagin. Well, not without bending the space-time continuum into even more of a pretzel.

Finally, congratulations to all this year’s winners and runners-up! Every last one of you is awesome — on this world, and any other.

Sponsored by Downtown Saskatoon

STARTERS & SIDES

Best Appetizers

Las Palapas Resort Grill
910 Victoria Ave. (306) 244-5556 laspalapas.ca

If you’re hungry and on Broadway, you’re in luck. With a menu that showcases cuisine from the American southwest, Central and South America, and the Caribbean, Las Palapas has so many incredible dishes that it’s tough to pick a favorite. If it’s your first time dining at Las Palapas, I suggest coming in on an empty stomach and ordering by threes. I love spicy food so most of my recommendations are gonna be on the hot side. So if you’re into torturing yourself with spicy pain salt, read on.

Start with the Coconut Shrimp. It’s an absolute must that blends the sweetness of coconut with just a hint of spice from their chipotle sauce. Add the Bite and Kiss Shrimp for a little more spice, but really the mango salsa is the selling point of this appetizer. Finally, order some Guacamole Fresco and Alas, their chicken wings done in smoked chili powder. Be warned, they’re hot, but leave a fantastic smoky aftertaste which is where the guac comes into play. The avocado is cut fresh to order and has the same crema fresca as the Bite and Kiss Shrimp, so it’s perfect for balancing out your flaming taste buds.

Even after I can’t feel my mouth anymore, I still gotta agree with the voters on this one. Well done, Las Palapas! /Savannah Hagin

Runners-up
Sticks and Stones, Nosh Eatery & Tap, Taverna Italian Kitchen + Bar, Picaro

Best Calamari

Cactus Club Café
140 Idylwyld Dr. N. (306) 979-8411 cactusclubcafe.com

Matthew Gavin Frank wrote a fascinating 2014 column about the origins of calamari for the online mag Salon. Frank says squid is ubiquitous in North American restaurants today because traditional seafood stocks were overfished in the 1970s and ’80s, causing fish populations to crash and catches to shrink, and that pushed the fishing industry into crisis (and this is why we harp on sustainability). The solution was to find something new and hey! squid were abundant and highly edible. They were sold under the Italian word “calamari” because a lot of people are cowards and “calamari” sounds fancy and European. Today we can order this delicious seafood practically everywhere. Planet S readers like Cactus Club Cafe’s version, which is served with peppers and jalapenos, sprinkled with dill, and accompanied by a couple of dipping sauces.

Runners-up
The Rook & Raven Pub, Taverna Italian Kitchen + Bar, Mano’s Restaurant and Lounge, Saboroso Brazilian Steak House

Best Fries (Local Restaurant)

The Yard & Flagon Pub
718 Broadway Ave. (306) 653-8883 yardandflagon.ca

The Yard & Flagon won Best Pub in this year’s poll. Could its awesome French fries have tipped the balance? We may never know, but we do know that these Best Of Food-winning spuds are hand-cut from Kennebec potatoes, which no less an authority than kennebec.com says have “great potato qualities”. Yeah! Chew on that, russets! You’re going down! The Yard & Flagon also makes a mean poutine.

Runners-up
Congress Beer House, Güd Eats Inc., Amigos Cantina, Nosh Eatery & Tap

Best Fries (Chain Restaurant)

McDonald’s
Multiple locations mcdonalds.ca

McDonald’s fries are great, especially when they’re hot, so you can’t judge Planet S readers for liking them. Well, I guess you can. Whatever. Like you don’t eat them.

Runners-up
Five Guys Burgers and Fries, New York Fries, Cactus Club Café, Boston Pizza

Best Poutine

Smoke’s Poutinerie Saskatoon
307 21st E. (306) 653-2873 smokespoutinerie.com

Hello there, Smoke’s Poutinerie! It turns out Saskatonians dig a place that sells 26 varieties of poutine. And well they should. Your Interstellar Narrator is a beef not-eater (in outer space cattle are for mutilating, not eating), so I prefer Smoke’s vegetarian options. Check out smokespoutinerie.com for an entertainingly stupid tale of this business’ romantic origins. Or don’t! But do order Smoke’s poutine, unless you hate cheese, potatoes and deliciousness. In which case please stop chewing on this page. This newspaper is for reading, not eating (mutilation optional).

Runners-up
Leopold’s Tavern, The Hollows Restaurant, Nosh Eatery & Tap, Fionn MacCool’s

Best Salads

Nosh Eatery & Tap
820 Broadway Ave. (306) 933-3355 nosheateryandtap.com

This Broadway staple has a vegetarian- and vegan-focused menu and great salads are a big part of that. Those include the Root And Shoot, a beet, carrot and parsnip concoction with butternut squash puree and maple mayonnaise; the protein-heavy Saskatchewan Quinoa with local quinoa, black beans, spinach, avocado, pumpkin seeds and a sleek cilantro agave lime dressing; and the Nosh, which has spinach and chickpeas as well as tomatoes, peppers, onion and hemp hearts. Good luck choosing; they’re all great.

Runners-up
Una Pizza + Wine, D’Lish by Tish Café, Browns Social House, Taverna Italian Kitchen + Bar [tie]

Best Soups

D’Lish by Tish Café
702A 14th St. E. (306) 652-5483 livingdlish.com

D’Lish By Tish knocks it out of the park with their endless parade of amazing daily soups. Wait, can soup get knocked out of parks? Probably not. If soup was in a park, say for a picnic, you wouldn’t want it launched anywhere except into your mouth, and only at low velocities. Getting out of the park for a second, let’s wander into this bustling cafe where we’ll find soups like Green Thai Coconut Lentil and Carrot Dill Chowder and Bison Stew with Bannock and Cream of Roasted Lemon Potato Beet and a lot more. Yum!

Runners-up
Sticks and Stones, Nosh Eatery & Tap, The Rook & Raven Pub, Las Palapas Resort Grill

Best Spring Rolls

Odd Couple
228 20th St. W. (306) 668-8889 oddcouple.ca

There was a decades-long stretch in your Interstellar Narrator’s life when he’d never had a spring roll. It’s a tragic tale about a spaceman with no spring rolls but since it’s also boring we’re not going to dwell on it. Moving on, I see Planet S readers have crowned last year’s second-place winner Odd Couple as 2018’s best spring-rollers. An order is $8; alternately seven orders are $56 so if you’re anything like me you might want to consider going that route. You never know when you’ll be orbiting a lame, spring roll-less planet.

Runners-up
Thien Vietnam, Red Pepper, Summer Roll Restaurant, Szechuan Kitchen

MEALS

Best Burger (Chain Restaurant)

Fuddruckers
2910 8th St. E. (306) 955-7777 fuddruckers.com

Are you shocked to learn Planet S readers say Fuddruckers has Saskatoon’s best burgers? Your star-surfing, seen-everything Interstellar Narrator is. Wait, no I’m not  — Fuddruckers is famous for its chain-burger brilliance from here to Sigma Iotia II. Some chains make thin, floppy hamburgers that could slide through mail slots (do millennials know about mail slots?). Fuddruckers sells big, happy hamburgers with jolly round buns, made to order and delicious. Besides beef, the restaurant has chicken, bison and vegetarian burgers. Also many kinds of milkshakes, including blueberry, chocolate, vanilla, blueberry, strawberry, cookies and cream, blueberry, peanut butter, a flavour of the month and blueberry. Guess which kind your Interstellar Narrator loves.

Runners-up
Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Fatburger, Cactus Club Café, A & W

Best Burger (Local Restaurant)

Congress Beer House
215 2nd Ave. S. (306) 974-6717 congressbeerhouse.com

Speaking of millennials, it’s 2018 and they’re nearly all of legal drinking age now so  they’re gonna want booze with their food. Your Interstellar Narrator suggests the award-winning burgers at Congress Beer House. There’s a bacon cheeseburger, a chicken burger, veggie burger and the Ace Burger which has sriracha aioli. Millennials LOVE sriracha! Even if Gen Xers put that stuff on everything back when millennials were still pooping in diapers. Your Interstellar Narrator is sure Generation X will be happy to share the sriracha. BTW, Congress has great food from one end of its menu to the other that will please all your human generations. Even, shudder, Baby Boomers.

Runners-up
Güd Eats Inc., Pink Cadillacs, Ayden Kitchen & Bar, Picaro

Best Desserts

Calories Restaurant
721 Broadway Ave. (306) 665-7991 caloriesrestaurant.ca.

Why did Planet S readers once again vote Calories as the place with Saskatoon’s best dessert? Your Interstellar Narrator’s sensors have scanned Calories and identified five possible reasons: 1.) Poached Pear Cheesecake; 2.) Shmoo Torte w/ Shmoo Sauce; 3.) Chocolate Orange Torte; 4.) Rhubarb & Raisin Buttertarts; 5.) Banana Chocolate Coconut Cream Pie; 6.) Saskatoon Berry Pie; 7.) Espresso Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake… uh, wait. My sensors have apparently overloaded. When you have dessert at Calories, yours will too.

Runners-up
Little Bird Patisserie & Café, Prairie Ink Restaurant, D’Lish by Tish Café, Nosh Eatery & Tap

Best Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Rebel Melt
(306) 227-3712 rebelmelt.com

It’s not easy to improve an already perfect food like the grilled cheese sandwich but Rebel Melt found a way: they put wheels on it, meaning that sooner or later that sammie might come to you. But if you can’t wait that long to get a Southern Comfort Melt, or a Fried Green Tomato Melt, or Pickled Classic Melt, or the signature bacon and bacon-jam-packed Rebel Melt, you’ll be glad to know the rebels posted their summer schedule up on that Internet thing. Look for them most Saturdays on Avenue B near the Farmers Market, in late July at Food Truck Wars and, of course, at the Fringe Festival. The play’s the thing but cheese is the steez.

Runners-up
Park Café, The Rook & Raven Pub, Broadway Café, D’Lish by Tish Café

Best Pasta

Taverna Italian Kitchen + Bar
219 21st St. E. (306) 652-6366 tavernaitaliankitchen.com

In a stunning turn of events, Saskatoon’s Best Italian Restaurant also has the Bridge City’s best pasta! Not really stunning TBH. At Taverna Italian Kitchen + Bar you can go simple with  Spaghetti Aglio Olio e Peperoncino or have something more involved like Ravioli Di Ricotta e Spinaci or Cannelloni Ripieni di Carne. It’s up to you! No matter what you choose, your Interstellar Narrator is confident you’ll be happy with it.

Runners-up
Primal, Chianti Café & Restaurant, Little Grouse on the Prairie, Nosh Eatery & Tap

Best Pitas/Wraps

Lebanese Kitchen
1005 Broadway Ave. (306) 979-0552

The winner of Best Shawarma, Lebanese Kitchen, took this category, too. Your Interstellar Narrator is all right with that: shawarma in a pita is fantastic, especially when served with a side of tabouli (have I mentioned how much I love tabouli?). That said, this is a bit like an artist winning a prize for best painting, then another for best frame. Well, why not: a pita is the flatbread miracle that perfectly frames shawarma (or falafal). Yeah! Hey, remember that time the Avengers had shawarma? If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for Saskatoon.

Runners-up
City Perks Coffeehouse, Pita Pit, Freshii, Shawarma Donair

Best Ribs

Montana’s BBQ & Bar
1510 8th St. E. (306) 384-9340 montanas.ca

Montana’s comes away with the prize but your Interstellar Narrator feels obliged to point out there’s a lot of great ribs in the runners-up list. I mean, ALL our runners-up got support; that’s how they made it to the final ballot. But some of the rib-roasters in this roster are especially good. Getting back to Montana’s: the popular, award-winning chain serves ribs with five flavours of barbecue sauce and you can try several at the same time with the Rib Taster Plate or, if you know what you like, just dive in to one of their pork or beef rib specialties. Got someone at your table who’s not into ribs? Montana’s also has burgers (including a vegetarian burger), chicken, salads, tacos, fajitas and a couple of fish dishes, including pineapple salsa salmon.

Runners-up
Bon Temps Café, Sticks and Stones, Mano’s Grill and Brewhouse, Mr. Ribs Family Restaurant

Best Sandwiches

Franky’s Banh Mi
133 21st St. E. (306) 979-8809

There’s a lot of ways to slam meat, bread, vegetables and condiments into a sandwich but you’ll find Saskatoon’s current favourite at Franky’s Banh Mi. These purveyors of excellent Vietnamese subs are on 21st St. downtown, sandwiched (ha!) between Schmatta and the MacMillan building. Choices include sate beef, grilled pork, grilled chicken and vegetarian. The only thing that’s not an option at Franky’s? Enjoying the hell out of your sandwich. That’s mandatory.

Runners-up
City Perks Coffeehouse, Citizen Café & Bakery, Tastebuds Café, Pokey’s Pinball Café

Best Steak (Local Restaurant)

Ayden Kitchen & Bar
265 3rd Ave. (306) 954-2590 aydenkitchenandbar.com

Ayden Kitchen and Bar doesn’t mess around with six or seven kinds of steak. Their menu lists just one: a grilled, 10 ounce dry-aged ribeye, a favourite cut among steak fanatics since its high marbling makes it juicy and flavourful. If you want to cut the crap and find out what a real steak can taste like, Planet S readers say Ayden is the place to go.

Runners-up
Carver’s Steakhouse, Cut Casual Steak & Tap, The Granary, Taverna Italian Kitchen + Bar

Best Steak (Chain Restaurant)

The Keg
1110 Grosvenor Ave. (306) 653-3633 kegsteakhouse.com

But you could also go here. People rave about the Keg’s steaks but your Interstellar Narrator has always been a sucker for whatever grilled salmon is on this chain’s menu (pistachio crusted, last time I was there). Just sayin’. The Keg, as everyone knows, is one of this country’s best chain restaurants and everything they make is great.

Runners-up
Cactus Club Café, Mr Mikes, Montana’s BBQ & Bar, Boston Pizza

Best Veggie Burger

Güd Eats Inc.
2917 Early Dr. 1 (844) 483-3287 gudeatsinc.com

Güd Eats Inc. debuted last summer as a food truck. With its mix of vegan comfort foods including burgers, fried chicken, mac ’n’ cheese and even ice cream — it proved wildly popular.

But when co-owners Chris Cole and Robyn Chatlain first approached banks for financing to start Güd Eats, they met with resistance.

“They had this idea that Saskatchewan was a meat and potatoes place,” says Cole. “But the concept wasn’t like they thought it was. It wasn’t like tofu, grass clippings and cucumber, which I think is what people associate vegan food with. Instead, we wanted to be the Shake Shack of vegan foods.”

With outside investment from partners, and some bank financing, Cole and Chatlain were able to buy a food truck. “We opened last summer and it just took off,” he says. “We were lined up every day and running out of food.

“When the season ended, we decided the concept would work as a restaurant, so we took over the old Prairie Harvest Café. It didn’t cost a lot to get up and running as it was already a restaurant. We took a couple of months to reno the place and opened in late November and we’ve been growing ever since. We’ve got a staff of 28, we’ve got the food truck going again, and we just opened a small grocery.”

Around the time Güd Eats was opening, it received a boost when Cole and Chatlain won Best Pitch at Brett “Dragon’s Den” Wilson’s annual Pitch Party with the slogan “Crave-Worthy Plant-Based Eats”.

“Your friends and family will always support you and tell you that what you’re doing is good,” says Cole. “But when a guy worth $1.5 billion writes you a check and says what you’re doing is the future of food, it definitely feels good.”

While Cole appreciates the health benefits of a vegan lifestyle, that wasn’t his original motivation for becoming vegan. Instead, he was inspired by environmental and ethical concerns.

“Our food probably uses 95 per cent less of Earth’s resources to make than traditional animal protein —especially from factory farms,” he says.

“Then there’s the ethics. I think 9.1 billion animals were slaughtered last year for human consumption. I’ve spent a lot of time recently with farmed animals, you really get to appreciate their attributes rather than just how we perceive them. That was big for me.” /Gregory Beatty

Runners-up
Nosh Eatery & Tap, The Yard & Flagon Pub, Amigos Cantina, Ayden Kitchen & Bar

RESTAURANTS

Best Business Lunch

Cactus Club Café
140 Idylwyld Dr. N. (306) 979-8411 cactusclubcafe.com

Some regard the business lunch as an indispensible tool for strategic planning and wooing clients. Others treat it like a scam to justify their expense accounts. Either’s fine by your Interstellar Narrator! From my studies of your Earth-economies, what’s important in a business lunch is finding a professional but comfortable setting to hatch schemes and build relationships, and obviously it’s got to have good food. Planet S readers recommend Cactus Club Café for business lunches, and with a strong menu and booths that give you a bit of privacy that makes sense.

Runners-up
The Rook & Raven Pub, Congress Beer House, Scarlet, Taverna Italian Kitchen + Bar

Best Chain Restaurant

Una Pizza + Wine
707 Broadway Ave. (306) 978-0116 unayxe.com

With its other location in Calgary your Interstellar Narrator supposes Una Pizza + Wine is technically a chain but as a singular restaurant that was loved and then aggressively franchised not by its founders but by local restaurateurs, it sure doesn’t feel like one. This place is in Saskatoon because it belongs here, not because some mogul launched a Saskatchewan expansion. Maybe that authenticity is the secret to Una’s popularity? Yeah, that, plus a near-numinous combination of wine and pizza. Una was voted Best Gourmet AND Best Thin-Crust Pizza this year, and our reader’s say it’s got the city’s best wine list, too. This is one chain restaurant your Interstellar Narrator would be happy to be chained to.

Runners-up
Cactus Club Café, The Keg Steakhouse + Bar,  Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria, Fionn MacCool’s

Best Family Restaurant

Fuddruckers
2910 8th St. E. (306) 955-7777 fuddruckers.com

Fuddruckers is Planet S reader’s choice for Best Family Restaurant. On your Interstellar Narrator’s world, we’re assigned to a household upon ejection from the Central Incubator. I was placed with a family in unit Drlloo-719, a small community near the Grrplaloonk vegetation complex. All five of my parents are pretty nice although my beta-dad, Palgrrax-8, has a cheesy sense of humour. He’d probably love a family trip to Fuddruckers. Because of Fuddrucker’s famous melted cheese. Get it? That’s the kind of joke beta-dad makes.

Runners-up
Amigos Cantina, Pink Cadillacs, The Granary, Boston Pizza

Best Fast Food

Five Guys Burgers and Fries
1840 8th St. E. (306) 373-5555 fiveguys.ca

You want to talk fast? Your Interstellar Narrator’s star-saucer’s potassium drive can approximate velocities 36 times the speed of light, which is how I’m able to travel the vast distance between my homeworld and Saskatoon. Five Guys Burgers and Fries isn’t quite that quick but it does make great burgers, as well as excellent fries cooked in peanut oil. Delicious, whether you’re from Earth or anywhere else in the Pan-Galactic Amalgamation.

Runners-up
Freshii, Mucho Burrito, McDonald’s, Dairy Queen

Best Lunch Buffet

Spicy Bite
113 3rd Ave. S. 306-373-4770 spicybitecanada.com

Spicy Bite, also your choice for Saskatoon’s Best Indian Restaurant, has a buffet packed with a rotating roster of curries that’s made it a favourite of Saskatoon in general and Planet S readers in particular. There are lots of creamy, saucy dishes that are delicious over rice, especially with a drizzle of tamarind chutney; pakoras and samosas, and desserts such as your Interstellar Narrator’s favourite, gulab jamun, which is sort of like a timbit in syrup except a million times better.

Runners-up
Smiley’s Buffet and Catering, Four Seasons Restaurant & Lounge, Royal Thai Restaurant, Great Buffet of China

Best Lunch Restaurant

Odd Couple
228 20th St. W. (306) 668-8889 oddcouple.ca

Casual Asian dining is a fine choice for lunch any day of the week which is probably why Planet S readers picked Odd Couple — also Saskatoon’s Best Chinese Restaurant — for their preferred midday meals. Go light with an Asian Mango Avocado Salad or  have something heartier like the Thai Pork Two Ways. There’s also really good bacon fried rice. Odd Couple serves lunch 11:00–2:30 weekdays.

Runners-up
Nosh Eatery & Tap, Taverna Italian Kitchen + Bar, Sticks and Stones, Picaro

Best Meal Presentation

Ayden Kitchen & Bar
265 3rd Ave. (306) 954-2590 aydenkitchenandbar.com

There’s a saying that you eat with your eyes first before any of your other senses kick in. The chefs at Ayden are masters of this art. Named after Chef Dale Mackay’s son, Ayden prides itself on serving high quality, locally sourced food. Showcasing a wide variety of international cuisine, Ayden captures the art of “simple elegance”. Every dish is balanced and well thought out whether it’s through colour, arrangement, or just the plate it’s served on. Rather than overloading you with a ton of filler, a meal sates you with rich, flavorful ingredients (and maybe a couple pictures to throw on Instagram). The dry aged rib eye is a personal favourite. The plating is simple, but the attention to detail is where the elegance comes in. The steak is dry aged with a subtle peppercorn butter, a twice baked potato (unreal) and an even proportion of arugula with a light drizzle of balsamic dressing. Simple concept, but with an elegant flare. Hats off to you, Ayden./Savannah Hagin

Runners-up
Nosh Eatery & Tap, Little Grouse on the Prairie, Sticks and Stone, Picaro

Best New Restaurant

Hometown Diner
210 20th St. W. (306) 665-1565 hometowndiner306.com

Bitter oldster Earthlings who give millennials a hard time should spend more time in Riversdale checking out the cool restaurants and reflecting on their own moral and aesthetic failures. Start with the Hometown Diner, which takes classic diner fare and makes it more awesome. At Saskatoon’s Best New Restaurant you can get grilled cheese sandwiches, burgers, and breakfasts, all excellently made mostly with locally sourced ingredients. Because this is Riversdale, Hometown has, yes, avocado toast, but for breakfast this particular Interstellar Narrator is most interested in the eggs Benedict. Hometown also makes good coffee, because bad coffee is for Baby Boomers (KIDDING).

Runners-up
Güd Eats Inc., Picaro, Shift Restaurant, Botte Chai Bar

Best Out of Town Restaurant for a Day Trip

Restaurant Pietro
955 C Waskesiu Dr. (306) 663-9534

In his time on your world, your Interstellar Narrator has learned Saskatchewan has a disproportionate number of great restaurants in rural and far-flung areas. Nits in Moose Jaw, The Grotto in Vibank and of course this year’s runners-up are the secret ingredient of the province’s culinary stew. Topping the list this year is Waskesiu’s Restaurant Pietro, Planet S readers’ favourite choice for a day-trip meal. With a menu built around high-end meat dishes — including some amazing-sounding steaks (hand-picked, triple-A) — it’s easy to see why it’s worth the drive. The applewood-smoked scallop appetizer sounds amazing.

Runners-up
The Lunch Corner, Skye Café & Bistro, Model-T Inn & Restaurant, Rawhides

Best Restaurant

Las Palapas Resort Grill
910 Victoria Ave. (306) 244-5556 laspalapas.ca

Its gorgeous colours and festive vibe should win Las Palapas Resort Grill some kind of award. How about five awards? This Saskatoon institution took Best Appetizers, Best Ethnic Restaurant, Best Server, Best Burritos and, to top it off, Best Restaurant. Quite the haul, and a guarantee you’re going to enjoy your Las Palapas visit. Your Interstellar Narrator will be enjoying it right there with you. Look for the dorky spaceman drinking margaritas.

Runners-up
Güd Eats Inc., Ayden Kitchen & Bar, Sticks and Stones, Picaro

Best Restaurant for Vegans

Güd Eats Inc.
2917 Early Dr. 1 (844) 483-3287 gudeatsinc.com

Gud Eats Inc. has assembled a one-of-a-kind menu that celebrates simulated meat and dairy. from incredible fried chik’n to tasty “burgs” to glorious cheez to yummy skrimp, Gud’s culinary ingenuity is only exceeded by its penchant for puns. Your Interstellar Narrator wouldn’t have it any other way. Nice to see something this cool in the building that once contained Prairie Harvest, too.

Runners-up
Nosh Eatery & Tap, Leyda’s Café, Citizen Café & Bakery, Picaro

Best Restaurant for Vegetarians

Nosh Eatery & Tap
820 Broadway Ave. (306) 933-3355 nosheateryandtap.com

It’s 2018 and most restaurants have options for vegetarian customers. That’s the way it’s been for at least a couple of decades but what’s a little newer is the rise of restaurants that put vegetarian and vegan preferences at the centre of the menu. Meet Nosh Eatery & Tap! From vegan poutine to curried yam and lentil burgers to the awesomeness that is the Maple Eggplant, Nosh has options for a range of meatless tastes. There are even a few sustainable meat dishes, like duck and salmon for token carnivorous friends. It’s okay, nobody judges them for eating dead things.

Runners-up
Güd Eats Inc., Leyda’s Café, Spicy Bite Restaurant, Botte Chai Bar

Best Restaurant Nobody Knows About

Konga Café
204 Ave. H N. (306) 244-7867

One of the things your Interstellar Narrator has learned about Earth’s culinary scene is that cities without Caribbean restaurants are 15 per cent more depressing than towns with at least one (I could show you the raw data but there’s a lot of tedious math). That’s why it’s critical to get the word out about Konga Café, which Planet S readers say nobody in Saskatoon knows about. Really? This is the place you’ll find jerk beef, chicken and pork, as well as curries and stuff like spicy peanut shrimp. It’s on the corner of Avenue H and 23rd St. West, waiting for you to visit. Go now! Or I’ll disintegrate you.

Runners-up
Güd Eats Inc., Primal, Pokey’s Pinball Café, Jin Jin Dumpling House

Best Takeout/Delivery

Thien Vietnam Restaurant
123 3rd Ave. S. (306) 653-2288, 2-1301 8th St. E.  (306) 954-1088, thienvietnam.com

There is no “delivery” as you know it where your Interstellar Narrator comes from. On my homeworld, nutrient packs materialize on the dining pedestal at the scheduled time of replenishment. It’s efficient but the low-tech, old-fashioned way you deliver food in Saskatoon has its charms. There’s nothing quite like opening a package of take-out food from Thien Vietnam Restaurant and savouring the aroma of lemon chicken or beef and broccoli or chow mein or whatever! That steamy scent sure helps food taste good.

Runners-up
Güd Eats Inc., Una Pizza + Wine, The Griffin Takeaway, Franky’s Banh Mi

Most Creative Restaurant

The Hollows Restaurant
334 Ave. C S. (306) 652-1505 thehollows.ca

Riversdale is getting a lot of love in this year’s Best Of Food. Let’s keep that rolling with The Hollows, Christie Peters’ inventive restaurant. The Hollows focuses on hyper-quality ingredients — think heirloom vegetables, local fish, local greens and wild Saskatchewan mushrooms, along with sustainably-raised meat. Because of this, its menu frequently changes. But your Interstellar Narrator can tell you The Hollows gets oysters in every Thursday and always has a steelhead trout dish. Also: this is the time of year for delicious dandelion fritters! Drop in to see what’s going on today at Saskatoon’s Most Creative Restaurant.

Runners-up
Güd Eats Inc., Nosh Eatery & Tap, Sticks and Stones, Picaro

INTERNATIONAL

Best Burritos

Las Palapas Resort Grill
910 Victoria Ave. (306) 244-5556 laspalapas.ca

Las Palapas Resort Grill lists eight burritos — 10 counting vegan options — with standouts including the Camarones y Chorizo (shrimp and sausage) and Chicken Chorizo Mushroom burritos. Sounds great to your Interstellar Narrator! Pro tip: burritos taste best on a patio, with some of your Earth-beer.

Runners-up
La Bamba Café, Amigos Cantina, EE Burritos, Mi Tierra Mexican Restaurant

Best Chinese Restaurant

Odd Couple
228 20th St. W. (306) 668-8889 oddcouple.ca

Sure to be a hotly-contested category in any Terran city from a small town to a teeming metropolis, Odd Couple can be proud to once again be voted Best Chinese Restaurant by Planet S readers. Odd Couple’s creativity with Cantonese, Vietnamese and Japanese cuisines is obviously a hit, year after year. So, let’s see, what will we have? Let’s start with vegan spring rolls, sweet potato potstickers and golden squid, please, then pad Thai, Kung Pao (vegan) and good ol’ reliable ginger beef. Hey, I may be locked in my star-saucer writing this stuff right now, but in my IMAGINATION I’m having a helluva meal.

Runners-up
Yip Hong’s, Genesis Family Restaurant, Szechuan Kitchen, Oriental Aroma Chinese Restaurant

Best Ethnic Restaurant

Las Palapas Resort Grill
910 Victoria Ave. (306) 244-5556 laspalapas.ca

What should we order at Las Palapas Resort Grill? Burritos? Sure, those are Planet S readers’ favourite but there’s also tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, molletes and a lot more. How about the Paella Cubano, basically a pile of awesomess with shrimp, spicy sausage, vegetables and a crawfish skewer? Or the Mango Honeyrummed Chicken Dinner? The problem with Saskatoon’s Best Ethnic Restaurant is the fact there’s too many great options. Poor, poor us.

Runners-up
Konga Café, Lebanese Kitchen, Botte Chai Bar, Mi Tierra Mexican Restaurant

Best Hot and Sour Soup

Thien Vietnam Restaurant
123 3rd Ave. S. (306) 653-2288, 2-1301 8th St. E. (306) 954-1088, thienvietnam.com

Hot and sour soup? That stuff’s great! Put me down for a bowl at Thien Vietnam Restaurant, elected as the purveyors of Saskatoon’s Best Hot And Sour Soup. It’s made mild, medium and hot so spice wimps and warriors alike can enjoy it. The menu also lists a meatless version under “vegetarian dishes”. Thien has two locations, one right downtown and one on 8th St. East to satisfy soup cravings on either side of the South Saskatchewan river. Unfortunately there is no location IN the river, then again I guess that isn’t a problem for you humans, who prefer to dine on land.

Runners-up
Yip Hong’s, Genesis Family Restaurant, Oriental Aroma Chinese Restaurant, Lien Thanh

Best Indian Restaurant

Spicy Bite
113 3rd Ave. S. 306-373-4770 spicybitecanada.com

Spicy Bite is pretty excited about earth-spices. Chili, cardamom, cumin, coriander and more season the tandoori chicken, pakoras, samosas, paneers, masalas, kormas and other scrumptious snacks on this downtown Indian restaurant’s menu and daily buffet. Besides eating in, Spicy Bite makes orders for pick-up and they deliver too. They can also feed your special event, both at the restaurant or catered to wherever you like. Basically: they’re everywhere. Spicy Bite is like a Tholian energy web: you can’t escape it and probably shouldn’t bother trying.

Runners-up
Black Pepper Restaurant, Angeethi Flame Fine Indian Bistro, Kabab King, Swadesh Restaurant

Best Italian Restaurant

Taverna Italian Kitchen + Bar
219 21st St. E. (306) 652-6366 tavernaitaliankitchen.com

The history tapes your Interstellar Narrator consulted for this feature tell me that Italian cuisine has been an everyday Canadian favourite for at least five decades, so perhaps it’s easy to take for granted. As a visitor from a world that thinks great food is a flavourless synthetic paste, I say it’s time for that to end — so let’s head out to Taverna Italian Kitchen + Bar for an evening of elegant food! From the simplicity of Spaghetti Al Pomodoro E Basilico (pasta with tomatoes) to the sumptuous Cannelloni Ripieni di Carne (cannelloni with meat) to the opulent La Bistecca alla Fiorentina (a 20-ounce. porterhouse steak), you’ll be reminded why this world-shaping cuisine is still right up there with the best Terran cooking has to offer.

Runners-up
Primal, Una Pizza + Wine, Little Grouse on the Prairie, Chianti Café & Restaurant

Best Noodle Bowls

Thien Vietnam Restaurant
123 3rd Ave. S. (306) 653-2288, 2-1301 8th St. E.  (306) 954-1088, thienvietnam.com

Speaking of pasta, this seems like a good time to remind everyone that noodles were first eaten in China more (possibly much, much more) than 2,000 years ago, and they’re an enormous part of many Asian cuisines to this day. My sensors indicate noodle bowls — we’re talking about rice vermicelli topped by vegetables, tofu, seafood, springrolls and meat — are an immensely popular dish in Saskatchewan and having the best is a big damn noodly deal, so rock on, Thien Vietnam. Oh, and I’d like to order #152, please.

Runners-up
Sticks and Stones, Red Pepper, Nutana Café, Café Japa Bowl

Best Pad Thai

Keo’s Kitchen
1013 Broadway Ave. (306) 652-2533 keoskitchensaskatoon.com

Keo’s Kitchen is a Saskatoon institution and this city’s gold standard for Thai food. Part of that comes from cooking Saskatoon’s gold-standard Pad Thai. While your Interstellar Narrator will never say no to Pad Thai (he’ll happily eat Keo’s two-person-sized portion by himself), I must give one of your human “shout-outs” to the Bird’s Nest, an underappreciated noodle dish with a nice crunchy texture. One more thing: Keo’s is moving in the near future, so keep an eye peeled for its new location — still on Broadway but several blocks south.

Runners-up
Odd Couple, Thien Vietnam Restaurant, Red Pepper, Spicy Garden Pho House Restaurant

Best Shawarma

Lebanese Kitchen
1005 Broadway Ave. (306) 979-0552

Once upon a time in the Ottoman Empire, meat was jammed on a spit and slow-roasted. Thin slices were cut off and gobbled-up. It was so great! And that’s the origin of shawarma, the delicious food eaten throughout Turkey and the Middle East and — lucky us! — in Saskatoon at places like Lebanese Kitchen. Think of it: beef! Chicken! Yum! Served in a pita with hummus and maybe lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes and stuff like that! Lebanese Kitchen also makes shawarma pizza! They have delicious falafal and tabouli as well. Your Interstellar Narrator LOVES tabouli! You know what’s great about tabouli? EATING IT.

Runners-up
Super Donair, 786 Shawarma Donair, Afghan Kabob & Donair, H67 Donair and Pizza

Best Sushi

Sticks and Stones
226 2nd Ave S. (306) 979-1919 sticksandstonesyxe.com

Our readers proclaim Sticks And Stones has this year’s Best Sushi, surprising nobody who’s eaten at the Korean-Japanese fusion restaurant since it opened last year. According to my ship’s data files, the restaurant’s head chef is Hiro Oishi, an earthling whose sushi is legendary. I could go on and on about dishes like the soy orange marinated trout, or local mushroom tempura, or the Hiro Roll, with tempura rockfish, prawn, avocado and other stuff… but that would be wasting valuable time better spent eating them. One quick note to wrap up: a fond farewell to long-time Best Sushi winner Sushiro, which closed recently after being destabilized by the Broadway street closure then squeezed by rising rent. Sucks! You guys will be missed.

Runners-up
Sushiro Sushi and Noodle Bar, Otowa, Go For Sushi Buffet, Nisen Sushi

Best Thai Restaurant

Keo’s Kitchen
1013 Broadway Ave. (306) 652-2533 keoskitchensaskatoon.com

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve written about Thai food, I could probably buy myself lunch. Keo’s Kitchen is the Broadway hot spot for whenever that Thai food craving hits. With its chill atmosphere and fantastic service, this family-run business is one of the best places in Saskatoon for an afternoon lunch. Their ingredients are fresh, the dishes are chock full of flavour, and you definitely get some bang for your buck.

Out of the whole menu, the Thai Ginger Beef and the Panang Curry are two dishes I can’t say no to. Nothing kills ginger beef like when it’s drowning in sauce and too soggy or else overly battered. Keo’s ginger beef is a champ in this category: crispy, with an excellent ratio of beef to fresh veggies, and the shredded coconut is an excellent finish to this dish.

Combine that with the Panang Curry, and you’re set. Made with a red curry base, thai basil, veggies and peanut butter, this dish perfectly showcases each ingredient without them overpowering each other. So whether you’re wandering Broadway during the Fringe, or stuck at your desk writing Best of Food blurbs, Keo’s is your best bet for quality Thai food. Hats off to you, Keo’s! /Savannah Hagin

Runners-up
Red Pepper, Summer Roll Restaurant, Royal Thai Restaurant, Asian Hut Restaurant

Best Vietnamese Restaurant

Thien Vietnam Restaurant
123 3rd Ave. S. (306) 653-2288, 2-1301 8th St. E. (306) 954-1088, thienvietnam.com

Speaking of moving, Thien Vietnam’s downtown restaurant relocated a block north last fall but fortunately they took their great food with them. If they hadn’t, do you think Planet S readers would have picked them for Best Vietnamese Food? We’ve talked about their noodle bowls already but you know what we haven’t talked about? Their seafood hot pot. It’s good. So good. You should eat it. There — now we’ve talked about it. [Slaps hands emphatically as if to remove space-dust, eats a springroll.]

Runners-up
Red Pepper, Saigon Roll Restaurant, Vietnamese Diner, Restaurant 224

BOOZE & PUBS

Best Beer Menu

Winston’s English Pub & Grill
243 21st St. E. (306) 374-7468 winstonpub.ca

With 76 taps, 38 Winston’s patrons could have two distinct beers without anyone at the table having the same pint. Alternately, 19 drinkers could have four beers each, all of them different from every other pint in the group. Then again, your Interstellar Narrator and a lobster-armed Metalunan buddy could each have 38 beers with no duplication, but we’d die. Bah. Who wants to live forever? I’m going out on a 21st Street Brewery Sunny Day IPA.

Runners-up
Congress Beer House, 9 Mile Legacy Brewing, Cathedral Social Hall, Fionn MacCool’s

Best Brew Pub

9 Mile Legacy Brewing
229 20th St. W. (306) 373-2337 9milelegacy.com

If we’re gonna be TECHNICAL about it, 9 Mile Legacy is more a microbrewery and taproom than a brewpub. But do you see a “Best Taproom” category in this thing? Me neither, so we’re not gonna split hairs. Besides, 9 Mile is awesome. Their Belgian blonde Golden Ticket has been praised by the masses; the Old Man Moon English mild is great for a session with pals; and the 7.3% ABV Abbey Dubbel is a great tranquilizer for cold winter days or, I dunno, tonight. Bottom line: 9 Mile Legacy is terrific. Bring your friends! Bring your kids! Bring your dog! No beers for children; no dogs at the table. Damn the Man and his rules!

Runners-upWinston’s English Pub & Grill, Prairie Sun Brewery, The Thirsty Scholar

Best Caesars

Congress Beer House

215 2nd Ave. S. (306) 974-6717 congressbeerhouse.com

Congress Beer House’s amazing Caesars use Lucky Bastard vodka (made in Saskatchewan!), and are garnished with house-made pickled beans and house-smoked beef jerky. Congress also makes its own salt mix. This is one deadly Caesar. You know who likes it? Planet S readers! That’s you, buddy! Way to go!

Runners-up

Nosh Eatery & Tap, Sticks and Stones, Picaro, Fionn MacCool’s

Best Fish Tacos

Picaro
101 20th St. W. (306) 242-0116 picaro.ca

Do you think fish are delicious? Are you wacko for tacos? If the answer to both questions is “yes”, you should immediately visit Picaro to consume Saskatoon’s Best Fish Taco. Or perhaps 20 of Saskatoon’s Best Fish Tacos. What? Your Interstellar Narrator requires another nutrition portion, and these are made with avocado mousse and pico de gallo, which is Earthling for “really good salsa”.

Runners-up
Las Palapas Resort Grill, Cactus Club Café, Rock Creek Tap and Grill, Fionn MacCool’s

Best Happy Hour

Earls Kitchen + Bar
610 2nd Ave. N. (306) 664-4060 earls.ca

Your Interstellar Narrator’s study of Earth socioeconomics reveals most humans are lowly units of production with a sacred duty to financial markets. It doesn’t sound like a lot of fun to me but that’s what you guys keep voting for so you must like it. Anyway: your lives are so busy and work-filled that it’s difficult finding time for happiness. And yet happiness, counter-intuitively, helps maximize productivity. Really! So if you truly love financial markets you should strive to be happy. Fortunately, Earls has these great things called “happy hours”. If you visit the Earls lounge Sunday to Thursday between 3–6 p.m. or 9 p.m.–close, or Friday to Saturday 3–5 p.m. or 10 p.m.–close, your happiness batteries will be fully recharged by great deals on drinks and appetizers (I recommend the $5.50 margherita pizza). And then you’ll be ready to get back to the grindstone, or alternatively, just a suggestion, overthrowing unfettered capitalism! Either/or.

Runners-up
Cactus Club Café, Congress Beer House, O’Shea’s Irish Pub, 9 Mile Legacy Brewing

Best Martinis/Cocktails

Flint Saloon
259 2nd Ave. S. (306) 651-2255 flintsaloon.com

The good thing about keeping night owl hours is even though I can’t make it in time for brunch at Poached, I can enjoy a few cocktails at its nighttime alter ego Flint. I’ve been hanging out there for years. I like the atmosphere, the charcuterie board, and most importantly, their awesome cocktails. Heck, I wrote this blurb on their patio the other night. Combining classic cocktails and locally focused martinis (such as the Wombat), Flint caters to their regulars but doesn’t overdo it by making things too complex. The menu changes seasonally, so each season has its own collection of themed drinks. They also post the staff’s preferred drink for a more personal feel. Each drink is cleverly named and has a unique flavour that really shows how talented Flint’s bartenders are. They even have a drink that comes with a creamsicle in it, which is perfect timing seeing as summer is finally here. Cheers to you, Flint. /Savannah Hagin

Runners-up
6Twelve Lounge, Sticks and Stones, Ayden Kitchen & Bar, Picaro

Best Microbrewery

9 Mile Legacy Brewing
229 20th St. W. (306) 373-2337 9milelegacy.com

9 Mile named its delicious radler after Saskatchewan’s coolest animal. Like its namesake, Prairie Rattler is more bark than bite. That’s what you want in a radler! Did you know Farley Mowat had a pet rattlesnake when he lived in Saskatoon? True story. Your Interstellar Narrator had a lovely conversation with him 60 or so cycles ago when I abducted him for probing. Great guy!

Runners-up
Prairie Sun Brewery, Paddock Wood Brewing Co., Winston’s English Pub & Grill, The Thirsty Scholar

Best Nachos

Amigos Cantina
806 Dufferin Ave. (306) 652-4912 amigoscantina.com

When your Interstellar Narrator was in Australia, he made a friend with a delicate stomach who can’t eat nachos. The only things she could eat, sadly, were eucalyptus leaves. It’s too bad she was a koala, because if Didgeri Sue were human I bet she’d have loved Amigos Cantina’s nachos. The next time you order Regular, Grande or Supremo Grande nachos at Amigos, think of my poor Koala pal who will never know the joy of Saskatoon’s best cheese-gooped, topping-loaded tortilla chips. It’s heartbreaking. Excuse me, I think I have something in my eye… wait, that’s a jalapeno. Ow.

Runners-up
Las Palapas Resort Grill, Nosh Eatery & Tap, Picaro, The Hollows Restaurant

Best Place for a Wicked Bender

Crazy Cactus
269 3rd Ave. S. (306) 975-1266 crazycactusyxe.com

Would you launch your wicked bender at some place called “Sanity Sage” or “The Levelheaded Agave”? No. No you would not. That’s why you want the Crazy Cactus on 3rd Ave. South, where you can start with a Sol or three before settling in for a few rounds of Hornitos Black Barrel. There’s lots of tasty food to keep you on your feet, as well as a weekend brunch for post-bender recovery. As always, remember that this is a wicked bender, not an evil drunkpocalypse. Be kind and friendly, tip properly, take a cab home and don’t make anyone clean up barf.

Runners-up
Leopold’s Tavern, Amigos Cantina, Capitol Music Club, O’Shea’s Irish Pub

Best Pub Grub Overall

Congress Beer House
215 2nd Ave. S. (306) 974-6717 congressbeerhouse.com

Your Interstellar Narrator was very confused by the term “pub grub”. It wasn’t what I thought it would be at all. I asked my Planet S liaison to change this next year to avoid further confusion. ANYHOO: Planet S readers picked Congress Beer House as the place with the city’s best pub grub, no doubt thanks to such Congress treasures as duck-gravy poutine, lamb shanks and smoked chicken pappardelle.

Runners-up
Leopold’s Tavern, The Rook & Raven Pub, The Yard and Flagon Pub, Amigos Cantina

Best Pub to Argue About Politics

Winston’s English Pub & Grill
243 21st St. E. (306) 374-7468 winstonpub.ca

Please note: Winston’s is Saskatoon’s best pub to ARGUE about politics. If you want a full-on ideological bar brawl, take it somewhere appropriate: Mos Eisley, Deep Space Station K-7, anywhere in Regina; you get the idea.

Runners-up
The Yard & Flagon Pub, Amigos Cantina, Capitol Music Club, O’Shea’s Irish Pub

Best Wine List

Una Pizza + Wine
707 Broadway Ave. (306) 978-0116 unayxe.com

It’s right there in the name, isn’t it? No not pizza, you can’t drink that; wine, which

Una Pizza + Wine serves over 70 varieties of — and thank goodness, because it’s amazing with pizza.

Runners-up
The James Hotel Lobby Bar, Ayden Kitchen and Bar, Calories Restaurant, Little Grouse on the Prairie

Best Wings

Somewhere Else Pub & Grill
2605 Broadway Ave. (306) 652-3233 somewhereelsepub.com

Want 10 of Saskatoon’s best wings for $6? Here’s how to make that happen. The day: Wednesdays. The time: 11 a.m. to midnight. The place: Somewhere Else Pub & Grill on Broadway. The catch: you have to buy a drink to qualify for the deal (best catch ever!). Your Interstellar Narrator will add that you can have wings anytime, not just Wednesdays, for $13/pound, and the best flavours are buffalo and dill pickle. Also, there’s live music every Friday and Saturday — bands start at 9 ($5 cover). Check out Undercover Pirates May 25–26! They were a hit on Naussicaa.

Runners-up
The Yard & Flagon Pub, Ayden Kitchen and Bar, The Hose and Hydrant Brew Pub, O’Shea’s Irish Pub

Best Pub Overall

The Yard & Flagon Pub
718 Broadway Ave. (306) 653-8883 yardandflagon.ca

This comfy Broadway pub is the top spot for a beer or maybe some scotchy scotch-scotch, as your famous historian R. Burgundy calls it. The Yard & Flagon also has great food, including appetizers, burgers and sandwiches, and house specials including steak and kidney pie and an amazing butternut squash curry. Your Interstellar Narrator assumes you know all about the rooftop patio? I’ve flown over it in my saucer. Lovely spot for a pint.

Runners-up
Congress Beer House, The Rook & Raven Pub, Amigos Cantina, O’Shea’s Irish Pub

PIZZA

Best Basic Pizza

Red Swan Pizza
#4 3401 8th St. E. (306) 974-0467, #4 2410 22nd St. (306) 954-9944, 213 2750 Faithfull Ave. (306) 954-6622, swanpizza.com

Red Swan is a Canadian chain with an Indian twist — their pizzas include spicy paneer chicken, spicy ginger and coriander, and butter- and Tandoori chicken. They have a bazillion other options and of course you can pick your own toppings, too. Your Interstellar Narrator has his eyes set on the paneer tikka. Check out Red Swan at redswanpizza.com and see what looks best to you. Hey, Earthlings, it’s pizza — it’s going to be good.

Runners-up
Venice House, Santa Lucia Pizza, Pancho’s Pizza & Pasta, Pizza Pirates

Best Chain Pizza

Red Swan Pizza
#4 3401 8th St. E. (306) 974-0467, #4 2410 22nd St. (306) 954-9944, 213 2750 Faithfull Ave. (306) 954-6622, swanpizza.com

There are seven species of swans on Earth’s five continents and none of them are red — though Australia’s black swan has a fetching crimson bill and South America’s black-necked swan has a lumpy red knob on its face. Another thing about swans: until recently birds were not known to make award-winning pizza (Brontitallians aside). Well, they are now, and that makes Red Swan pizza a rare bird.

Runners-up
Panago Pizza, Family Pizza, TJ’s Pizza, Santa Lucia Pizza

Best Gourmet Pizza

Una Pizza + Wine
707 Broadway Ave. (306) 978-0116 unayxe.com

Pizza seems to fit with almost any occasion. Sporting event? Yep. Birthday? Yep. Awkward office party? Yep. This versatile flavour disc can be devoured in many different styles too: deep dish, Neapolitan, New York, stuffed, and gourmet.

Now, I’ve dined on numerous ’zas, and I gotta agree with the voters here when they say Una Pizza & Wine has the best gourmet pizza in Saskatoon. To find out what sets Una apart from the rest, I spoke with owner Carmen Hamm. “We put a lot of thought into our menu,” says Carmen. “We try to fill our customers with a healthy product as opposed to a big greasy pizza.”

Using a low gluten flour (a double zero), Una’s pizza fits more into the Californian pizza genre, where it’s more like a flatbread and much of the focus is on simplicity and quality. “We don’t want you to feel like there’s a bowling ball in your stomach after your meal,” says Carmen.

Una’s menu has eight pizzas to choose from, and a weekly rotating pizza with unique spins on classics like the Carnivore, Margherita and Vegetarian. For more adventurous wheel eaters, there’s the Prosciutto that comes with a bed of arugula on top and the Tiki finished with jalapeno oil and shaved pineapple (cue that argument).

Aside from being environmentally conscious, Una also locally sources their produce and works with some of the vendors at the Farmers’ Market. “Our biggest goal here is hospitality and distinction,” says Carmen. “We have high service standards and pride ourselves on having a knowledgeable staff and a high grade product.”

So if you want to relax on the patio with a nice glass of Pinot Grigio, make sure you get to Una and have a slice and enjoy this Cali cuisine here on the prairies. /Savannah Hagin

Runners-up
Red Swan Pizza, Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria, Aroma Resto Bar, Taverna Italian Kitchen + Bar

Best Thin Crust Pizza

Una Pizza + Wine
707 Broadway Ave. (306) 978-0116 unayxe.com

Una Pizza + wine has been praised elsewhere for its excellent food and terrific wine list. Your Interstellar Narrator joins Planet S readers to salute its thin-crust pizza as a masterpiece of both flavour and aerodynamics. A great pizza is an elegant thing, and not just because it’s shaped like a flying saucer. If pizza was a human weapon of war, a well-made thin-crust would be a Hattori Hanzō katana: sharp, perfectly balanced and lethal in the hands of a samurai. But pizza is not war, pizza is love so pound your swords into pizza peels, Saskatoon, and enjoy the Bridge City’s best thin crust as friends.

Runners-up
The Night Oven Bakery, Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria, Aroma Resto Bar, Taverna Italian Kitchen + Bar

BREAKFAST

Best Basic Breakfast

Park Café
515 20th St. W.

Some humans think an all-powerful god made them. Others suspect we “live” in an advanced civilization’s simulated reality. Your Interstellar Narrator puts his nickel on an uncaring, unknowing universe governed by principles of science and math. Whatever strange forces or cosmic accident brought us here, we should thank it for the unpretentious basic breakfast — eggs, toast, hashbrowns, possibly meat, served with coffee. And as has been the case for at least the last two years, you can have Saskatoon’s best at Riversdale’s Park Café, open daily 8–4.

Runners-up
Broadway Café, Hometown Diner, Grainfields Family Restaurant, Scarlet

Best Breakfast Buffet Hotel

Garden Court Café (Delta Bessborough)
601 Spadina Cres. E. (306) 683-6912 marriott.com

Turns out the hotel breakfast buffet is not a luxury for tourists only! All manner of citizens — human, Andorian, Denebian, American, whatever — can partake of the Garden Court Cafe’s glorious tubs of scrambled eggs, breakfast meats, fruits, cheeses and other delectable delights. Planet S readers say Saskatoon’s best is this spot at the Bessborough. Your Interstellar Narrator accepts their verdict.

Runners-up
Garden Cafe (Saskatoon Inn), Four Seasons Restaurant (Park Town Hotel), Fixin’s Homestyle Eatery (Travelodge), Garden Grille (Hilton Garden Inn)

Best Chain Breakfast

Cora
1718 Preston Ave. N. (306) 249-2672, 100-3020 Preston Ave. S. (306) 668-4525 chezcora.com

Cora’s is best known for its hypnotically carved and arranged fruit. None can resist its deliciously bisected strawberries and artfully flayed apples! Your Interstellar Narrator digs the asparagus and Swiss “Ben et Dictine”, which comes with fruit, too. Fruit everywhere! With two Saskatoon locations, Cora will get you sooner or later so you might as well bite the banana and give in now.

Runners-up
Grainfields Family Restaurant, Denny’s, Fuddruckers, Smitty’s Family Restaurant

Best Cinnamon Buns

Honey Bun Café
167 2nd Ave S. (306) 665-9901 honeybun.ca.

Technically I’m not supposed to say this, but your Interstellar Narrator will let you in on a secret: your world is being invaded by Reptilians. It’s part of the reason I’m here; to observe on behalf of the great Pan-Galactic Amalgamation while eating popcorn. Anyway, reptoids hate cinnamon so just bring someone you suspect belongs to the scaly illuminati to the awesome Honey Bun Café and order Planet S readers’ pick for this city’s best damn cinnamon bun. If your companion declines the delicious treat and asks instead for a tall glass of human blood, well, you’ve got a predatory, shape-shifting, fascist lizard on your hands. Disintegrate immediately and reward yourself with a cinnamon bun. Happy to help!

Runners-up
City Perks Coffeehouse, Christie’s Mayfair Bakery, Prairie Ink Restaurant, The Griffin Takeway

Best Eggs Benedict

Poached Breakfast Bistro
259 2nd Ave. S. (306) 651-2255

I don’t know who Benedict is, or why they have an egg dish named after them, but whoever created it is a genius. Whenever I succeed in dragging myself out of bed at a decent hour and not settling for a breakfast of cigarettes and black coffee, I go to Poached for their eggs Benedict.

Recently, I wandered in after 1:45 p.m., too late for breakfast, but I did speak with owner Chad Venne about what makes their eggs so darn good. “We frequent a lot of local delis, and all of our recipes are made in-house,” he says. “We want our guests to enjoy a fresh, not frozen, product.”

The menu has five Benedicts including classic, vegetarian and my personal fav, the Poached over Crab and Shrimp Risotto Cakes. I don’t think I’ll ever master the art of cooking an egg, but Poached is aptly named since they’ve perfected it. “There’s a lot of eggs on our menu, so we wanted to make sure our product matched our name,” Chad says.

Poached, YXE eggs Benedict lovers will be happy to know, has just expanded their kitchen for quicker service. One of these days, I’ll kick these night owl hours and have myself a Benedict. For now, I’ll just raise my cup of coffee to toast Poached. /Savannah Hagin

Runners-up
Hometown Diner, Park Café, The Hollows Restaurant, Scarlet

Best Fancy Breakfast

Poached Breakfast Bistro
259 2nd Ave. S. (306) 651-2255

This beloved downtown nook might have the best eggs Benedict in Saskatchewan so it’s no surprise to see Poached Breakfast Bistro as our reader’s choice for Best Fancy Breakfast. Besides bennies, Poached makes risotto crab cakes, bacon-wrapped pecans and sublime mimosas. Not shocking since Poached is the Bruce Wayne to Flint Saloon’s Batman; two top-shelf businesses in the same spot at different times of the day.

Runners-up
Hometown Diner, The Hollows Restaurant, Nosh Eatery & Tap, Sticks and Stones,

Best Hash Browns

Park Café
515 20th St. W. (306) 652-6781 parkcafe.ca

Your Interstellar Narrator has become a fan of the noble hash brown, be it chunks, tiny cubes, deep-fried patties or the authentic form, shredded potatoes flipped in the pan to make a salty, crumbling pile of awesome. Since hash browns are inherently unpretentious, it’s pleasing to see an equally unpretentious diner like Park Cafe recognized as the city’s best hash-slingers. Park’s version, a frequent winner in this poll over the years, is the fried cube style, which they serve mixed with bits of fried bell pepper and green onion. I could eat this stuff all day. I mean, I’d better not, since I’m 470 Teenaxigrams overweight. But I could.

Runners-up
Hometown Diner, Kelly’s Kafe, Nosh Eatery & Tap, Scarlet

Best Muffins

City Perks Coffeehouse
801 7th Ave. N. (306) 664-2060 cityperks.ca

A muffin with coffee is an efficient start to a great day and there’s a lot of places that do it well in good ol’ YXE. City Perks, for instance, has great muffins, including your Interstellar Narrator’s favourite: Berry Bran (sorry, banana chocolate, I love you too). Not to get off-topic but this place also makes great quiche, amazing eggs bennie and ludicrous French toast — and that’s just a fraction of the breakfast menu. City Perks! Check it out! Bring your stomach.

Runners-up
Citizen Café and Bakery, Honey Bun Café, Prairie Ink Restaurant, The Griffin Takeway

Best Omelettes

Broadway Café
814 Broadway Ave. (306) 654-8244 broadwaycafesaskatoon.ca

There are a lot of ways to make a good omelette but only one to make Saskatoon’s BEST omelette. First, warm a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Next, realize that you’re no omelette chef — you’re a fraud, a phony, a pathetic pretender. Turn off the heat, put the pan away and have a good cry. Now head to the Broadway Cafe. Order the mushroom and cheese omelette. Hey, it’s terrific! No more tears!

Runners-up
Hometown Diner, Nosh Eatery & Tap, Sticks and Stones, Scarlet

COFFEE

Best Coffee Shop

Collective Coffee
220 20th St. W. collectivecoffee.com

Mornings suck, but there’s this wonderful nectar called “coffee” that seems to make it all better. Collective Coffee is the best place for a cup of boiled bean juice and to stare out the window and wonder if Game of Thrones is ever going to come back.

One day, I asked Collective Coffee’s owner Jackson Wiebe if he knew, but he told me about their coffee instead. “Collective uses the top coffee roasters from North America and Europe. Our approach is based on exacting standards where we focus on all the details that go into each cup.”

Aside from top-notch beans, Collective also carries a selection of in-house baked pastries which are perfect if you’ve consumed too much caffeine and need something to calm the jitters. “Searching out passionate producers with the best products is one of the backbones of who we are,” says Wiebe.

Saskatoon has no shortage of coffee shops, but Collective is the shining star. The shop’s atmosphere is perfect for reading a book, gathering with friends, or a quiet place to frantically meet a deadline. “Collective is about people and coffee is what brings us all together,” says Wiebe. “We’re dedicated to our craft and being local in the things we do. We plan to make coffee for Saskatoon for a long time.” /Savannah Hagin /Savannah Hagin

Runners-up
City Perks Coffeehouse, Broadway Roastery, Venn Coffee Roasters, Mystic Java

Best Coffee Shop Menu

City Perks Coffeehouse
801 7th Ave. N. (306) 664-2060 cityperks.ca

You might remember City Perks from such Best Of Saskatoon awards as Best Muffin. This essential Central Park spot also took Planet S reader’s Best Coffee Shop Menu. City Perks has filled Central Park residents’ and visitors’ bellies with such delights as Moroccan salmon salads, veggie pitas with baba ganoush, gourmet grilled cheeses and great soup. Also: breakfast! Also: desserts! Also: great coffee brands, including Matchstick and your Interstellar Narrator’s own go-to beans, 49th Parallel! Which this alien astronaut thinks he’ll brew another pot of, stat.

Runners-up
Prairie Ink Restaurant, The Underground Café, Collective Coffee, Venn Coffee Roasters

Best Coffee Shop to Work/Study In

Broadway Roastery
614 Broadway Ave. (306) 652-5558, 2318 8th St. E. (306) 652-8882

Different folks work different ways and not everyone can study in a public place like a coffee shop. Your Interstellar Narrator? Since my saucer landed last summer I’ve come to love reading, sketching and telepathically probing unsuspecting humans in public. The bustling background activity — people chatting, moving around and just existing — helps me focus. Also, coffee shops have clean, cleared tables. Have you seen your Interstellar Narrator’s desk lately? It is not clean. It is not cleared off. It is a trash mountain of shame and space-sadness. He should be writing this blurb at Broadway Roastery. That’s what he should do.

Runners-up
City Perks Coffeehouse, Collective Coffee, D’Lish by Tish Café, Mystic Java

Best Cup of Plain Old Coffee

Collective Coffee
220 20th St. W. collectivecoffee.com

Lattes and mochas are great but the honourable “cup of plain old coffee”, brewed well, is tough to beat. Riversdale’s Collective Coffee makes Saskatoon’s basic best, say Planet S’ intelligent and excellent-taste-having readers. Of course the best way to enjoy a great cup of plain old coffee is with cookies, and Collective Coffee has oatmeal raisin, chocolate chip and double chocolate. (The correct choice is double chocolate. Double chocolate is ALWAYS the right answer.)

Runners-up
Broadway Roastery, McDonald’s, City Perks Coffeehouse, Citizen Cafe and Bakery

Best Premium Cup of Coffee

Collective Coffee
220 20th St. W. collectivecoffee.com

Hmmm. Your Interstellar Narrator kinda thinks Collective Coffee just won two prizes for the same thing. Sometimes these categories get a little confusing. Well, what’s not confusing is the awesomeness of Collective Coffee’s coffee, which should always be enjoyed with a cookie. Specifically, a double chocolate cookie. I know I’m harping on this. I just want you guys to be happy.

Runners-up
City Perks Coffeehouse, Venn Coffee Roasters, Museo Coffee, Citizen Cafe and Bakery

Best Lattes

City Perks Coffeehouse
801 7th Ave. N. (306) 664-2060 cityperks.ca

Well HELLOOO there City Perks, you multiple-award-winning coffee shop, you. I see you’ve picked up the Best Lattes prize to go with Best Muffins and Best Coffee Shop Menu. For any coffee-newbies reading this (hi Doug!), a latte is a rich, elegant blend of steamed, foamy milk and espresso. They taste great and City Perks makes Saskatoon’s best.

Runners-up
Collective Coffee, rift Sidewalk Cafe & Vista Lounge, Venn Coffee Roasters, Mystic Java

Best Place to Buy Beans

McQuarrie’s Tea & Coffee Merchants
708 Broadway Ave. (306) 242-6016 mcquarries.ca

Saskatoon has a lot of great options for bean-buyers and this year’s readers’ pick for the best is Broadway’s venerable McQuarrie’s Tea & Coffee Merchants. Along with 70-ish coffees of various origins and roasts, McQuarrie’s can set you up with all the apparatus you need to brew a world-class cup at home. Grinders, French presses, all that stuff. Also some neat, unique gift-type things, including stuffed toy octopuses (?!!?). Check it out!

Runners-up
Broadway Roastery, Venn Coffee Roasters, Collective Coffee, City Perks Coffehouse

SCENE

Best Patio

Drift Sidewalk Café & Vista Lounge
339 Ave. A S. (306) 653-2256 driftcafe.ca

Summer is awesome! Patios are awesome! And the best patio in Saskatoon  in 2018 (as chosen by Planet S readers) is at Drift Sidewalk Cafe & Vista Lounge. With its view of the farmers market and bustling street activity, Drift’s rooftop deck is the gravitational centre of the Bridge City’s awesome patio universe. It’ll give you all the glorious sunsets you can handle (limit one per day). The food and beverages are good too.

Runners-up
The Yard & Flagon Pub, O’Shea’s Irish Pub, Earls Kitchen + Bar, Las Palapas Resort Grill

Best Restaurant for a Budget Date

Thien Vietnam Restaurant
123 3rd Ave. S. (306) 653-2288, 2-1301 8th St. E. (306) 954-1088, thienvietnam.com

There is no “dating” on your Interstellar Narrator’s homeworld. There aren’t even mates. This goes back a couple of thousand years to when my species discovered social media. Within 15 years of the invention of Frzblunk — our world’s equivalent of your Facebook — everyone on the planet hated everyone else so much that dating was out of the question. But it’s nice that you still have this tradition in Saskatoon, I guess, so if you’re looking for a place to have a lovely date on a budget, Planet S readers suggest Thien Vietnam Restaurant. Just maybe put your phone away until the date’s over.

Runners-up
Las Palapas Resort Grill, Pokey’s Pinball Café, Nosh Eatery & Tap, Picaro

Best Restaurant for a Luxury Date

Ayden Kitchen & Bar
265 3rd Ave. (306) 954-2590 aydenkitchenandbar.com

As a relative newcomer to this planet, your Interstellar Narrator is grateful to have a list of places to take a date for an unforgettable night out. Yes, I know I just said  we don’t date on my homeworld but I’m willing to make an exception when it involves Ayden Kitchen & Bar. My date and I will start with mushrooms (because they’re sexy) and beets (because they’re awesome). After that, I’ll order the seared trout. Perhaps my companion will choose the ribeye, which I’ve heard is Saskatoon’s Best Steak. Cherries for dessert of course! Luxury Earth-style date: accomplished.

Runners-up
The Hollows Restaurant, Little Grouse on the Prairie, Taverna Italian Kitchen + Bar, Carver’s Steakhouse

Best Restaurant for a Party

Amigos Cantina
806 Dufferin Ave. (306) 652-4912 amigoscantina.com

You probably think there are no parties on your Interstellar Narrator’s homeworld. You are correct. My homeworld is very lame. Be glad, Saskatoon, that you have so many places to frolic and be festive — such as Amigos Cantina, which has great food, dancing, awesome live music and, say Planet S readers, also the city’s best nachos.

Runners-up
Congress Beer House, Las Palapas Resort Grill, Crazy Cactus, Pokey’s Pinball Café

Biggest Restaurant News

Prairie Harvest Closing
It’s heartbreaking when a local place that made a list as one of Canada’s top 50 restaurants shuts down, but that’s life in the often-cruel restaurant industry. Prairie Harvest Cafe closed for the last time on Sunday, Aug. 13 after six years of astounding food. Over the years, diners enjoyed meals such as Diefenbaker trout with lentil purée, braised lamb leg with beer and bacon barley, duck confit with savoury potato donuts and apple pumpkin purée, and Lentil risotto with wild mushrooms. You can revisit Prairie Harvest’s glory, as your Interstellar Narrator just did, on Facebook. I guess Facebook’s good for something.

Runners-up
Taco Bell Opening, Picaro Opening, Taverna Italian Kitchen+ Bar New Look, Vangelis Becomes Black Cat Tavern

PEOPLE

Best Barista

Daryl Grunau
City Perks Coffeehouse
801 7th Ave. N. (306) 664-2060 cityperks.ca

If your Interstellar Narrator understands all this correctly, a barista is like a pub’s mixologist but with coffee instead of cocktails. A good barista knows their beans, their ingredients and their machines. They also know their foam, which they make great art in. In Saskatoon, Planet S readers picked Daryl Grunau as the town’s top latte-slinger as well as a man who can rock a hat. Congratulations, Daryl!

Runners-up
Jackson Wiebe (Collective Coffee), Jessy Wilgosh (Good Earth Coffeehouse), Ya-Li “Bear” Won (Venn Coffee Roasters), Brittany Brown (Citizen Café and Bakery)

Best Bartender

Chad Coombs
Sticks and Stones
226 2nd Ave S. (306) 979-1919 sticksandstonesyxe.com

This year’s Best Bartender is a long-time friend of Planet S. Chad Coombs pours a smooth drink at one of this town’s best restaurants, Sticks and Stones, so you really can’t go wrong.

Runners-up
Harrison Bourdon (Leopold’s Tavern), Chris Pang (Nosh Eatery & Tap), John Harper (Picaro), Jon Regnier (Sticks and Stones)

Best Chef

Dale MacKay
Ayden Kitchen & Bar
265 3rd Ave. (306) 954-2590 aydenkitchenandbar.com

Saskatoon’s prodigal son won Top Chef Canada in its first season, opened a whole pile of great restaurants in Saskatoon and is currently bringing his skills to Regina’s downtown food scene with a new restaurant. Planet S readers say you’re okay, Dale MacKay.

Runners-up
Justin O’Reilly (Nosh Eatery & Tap), Nathan Guggenheimer (Sticks and Stones), Younes Skouta (The James Hotel), Steve Squier (Picaro)

Best Mixologist

Adrian Chappel
The Hollows Restaurant
334 Ave. C S. (306) 652-1505 thehollows.ca

Another rock star at another top restaurant, in this case, The Hollows — Riversdale’s high-end, local-focused epicure’s delight. Congratulations to bar manager Adrian Chappell for being the Bridge City’s Best Mixologist!

Runners-up
Chad Coombs (Sticks and Stones), Wes Gendron (Picaro), Chris Cho (Ayden Kitchen & Bar), Ian Miller (Ayden Kitchen & Bar)

Best Server: Pub/Lounge

Monica Kirilenko
Capitol Music Club
244 1st Ave. N. (306) 244-0772 apitolclubyxe.ca

Your pick for Best Server: Pub/Lounge is pretty much an institution at Capitol Music Club. She’s been there since August 2014, which is just a couple of months after the club opened, and she was even day manager for a time before returning to school.

The Capitol occupies a unique niche in Saskatoon. It’s probably best-known for the live music it programs with local, national and international bands. It also does comedy shows, after-parties and other types of entertainment.

Most of that stuff happens at night. During the day the Capitol functions as a pub-style restaurant. And Monica appreciates the club’s versatility. “I work both day and night shifts. You meet a lot of different people, and that’s really interesting. Some are there for a quick bite to eat and others come for a show.”

Not surprisingly, the day and night shift have different vibes, says Monica. “Night-time is louder, and it can be quite crowded so at times it’s hard to walk through. But you just learn to adapt. It’s really fun, though, and I love working night shift. Everyone’s there to have fun, and there’s different types of music from country to rock and rap.”

Monica sums up her philosophy to serving this way. “I like to read my customers and see how they are reacting. I try to give them the experience I’d expect being a guest at that venue. Some I would consider friends, who I’d have dinner with and catch up after work. And it’s really nice to meet new people too. That’s the best part of this job, building relationships with them and my co-workers.”

As noted, Monica balances her job at the Capitol with school. “I go to the University of Saskatchewan, and am working toward a physics or computer science degree. At first, I wanted to be an astrophysicist, but I realized I’d have to leave Canada. I love my family and am really close to people here, so I decided to incorporate physics with computer science and hope that would open up more doors for me.”

For recreation, Monica says she likes rock-climbing. “I’m hoping to take some time off this summer and go to Alberta. I try to get out there every summer.” /Gregory Beatty

Runners-up
Erin Mooney (Amigos Cantina), Brooke Schultz (Black Cat Tavern), Kaila Sharpe (The Rook and Raven Pub), Chelsea Ennis (O’Shea’s Irish Pub)

Best Server: Restaurant

Brianne Blatz
Las Palapas Resort Grill
910 Victoria Ave. (306) 244-5556 laspalapas.ca

Brianne Blatz works at the Buena Vista neighbourhood restaurant picked by Planet S readers as their 2018 favourite, so if you’re lucky enough to order Enchiladas Con Mole or Burrito loco or anything else from her, you know you’re in for a great evening.

Runners-up
Luigi Zaffino (Taverna Italian Kitchen + Bar), Hillary Simon-Worobec (Nosh Eatery & Tap), Erin Mooney (Amigos Cantina), Tamara Thompson (Picaro)

SHOPPING & SERVICES

Best Bakery

The Night Oven Bakery
629 1st Ave. N. (306) 500-2350 thenightoven.ca

The Night Oven Bakery makes handmade bread and pastries in a hand-built oven and the results are spectacular (handily). Orders can be placed in advance to avoid the heartbreak of discovering your favourite treat is already sold out for the day, but you can also walk in and take your chances if you’re the gambling type (which your Interstellar Narrator is not since that sabacc game on Corellia) . Anyway, don’t snap and lose it if your favourite treat is gone. The Night Oven will make Canelés again.

Runners-up
Christie’s Mayfair Bakery, Caketopia Custom Cakes, Earth Bound Bakery And Deli, The Griffin Takeway

Best Butcher

The Bulk Cheese Warehouse
732 Broadway Ave. (306) 652-8008

Your Interstellar Narrator was asking around about The Bulk Cheese Warehouse. I’d guessed it was a hanger-sized repository for a titanic selection of cheese. Turns out it’s not that at all. Besides cheese, of which this warehouse has lots, there’s a great selection of specialty meats available, as well as steaks, chops, fancy rib-things, etc. I’m told the cold-smoked pork chops are heaven.

Runners-up
Pine View Farms, Boryski’s Butcher Block, Summit Meats & Sausage Ltd., Prairie Meats

Best Catering

PickNic’s Catering
210 33rd St. W. (306) 343-7374 saskatooncatering.ca

There are dozens upon dozens of great caterers in the Bridge City. Planet S readers reflected on this embarrassment of riches and picked PickNic’s Catering as Saskatoon’s best. You can visit PickNic’s website to see all the breakfast, lunch, wedding and special event options, of which there are many. One thing that looks fun: the Candlelight Dinner In A Box, perfect for a romantic rendezvous. Hmmm. I wonder if they deliver to Epsilon Ceti 2?

Runners-up
Fresh Dish Catering, D’reen’s Catering & Kitchen Socials, Chef Jenni, Caboose Catering

Best Food Truck

Ace Burger
215 2nd Ave. S. aceburgeryxe.com

The Bridge City has a TON of great food trucks, but sadly only one can be the top choice of Planet S readers. This year, they went for Ace Burger over the incredible Gud Eats (winner: Best Vegan Restaurant), cheestastic Rebel Melt (Winner: Best Grilled Cheese Sandwich) and other worthy contenders. It’s a bittersweet win, though: according to its Instagram feed, Ace is out of the mobile burger business and they’re selling their truck. On the bright side, Ace plans to be back year-round at a brick-and-mortar restaurant. Stay tuned!

Runners-up
Güd Eats Inc., Rebel Melt, Nom Nom, Boryski’s Butcher Block Food Truck

Best Health Food

Dad’s Organic Market
1820 8th St. E. (306) 373-7999 dadsorganicmarket.com

Dad’s Organic Market carries organic produce, health groceries, gluten-free food, supplements and even environmentally friendly cleaning supplies. There’s also the (to me, amusingly-named) Earth Bound Bakery, which makes artisan bread. Planet S readers singled Dad’s out as their go-to choice in this year’s Best Of Food and your Interstellar Narrator — who is rapidly becoming acquainted with all kinds of great Earth-bound things — is not shocked.

Runners-up
Three Treasures Tonics, Herbs ’N’ Health Foodport, Mom’s Nutrition Centre Inc, Hygeia Health Market

Best In-Store Bakery

Sobey’s Saskatoon
Four Locations sobeys.com

Planet S readers love Sobey’s and have a particular fondness for its bakery, which came out on top in this year’s reader poll. How did Sobey’s win? Was it Sobey’s artisan bread? Sobey’s croissants? Sobey’s cookies? Sobey’s bagels? Sobey’s buns? It’s probably the buns. Everyone loves great buns!

Runners-up
Co-op Marketplace, Safeway, Superstore

Best Specialty Grocery

The Bulk Cheese Warehouse
732 Broadway Ave. (306) 652-8008

Your Interstellar Narrator isn’t surprised Planet S readers picked the Bulk Cheese Warehouse as Saskatoon’s Best Specialty Grocery. Planet S readers love cheese. Obviously. Have you read Planet S? Cheese for days.

Runners-up
Dad’s Organic Market, Ingredients Artisan Market, Soul Foods Conscious Grocer, Silver’s Local Market

Best Supermarket

Sobeys (Preston Crossing)
1739 Preston Ave. N. 306-668-9901 sobeys.com

Here’s a joke your Interstellar Narrator made up: if this is Planet S readers’ choice, then Sobey’s it. HAW HAW HAW! Beta-dad would love that one.

Runners-up
Superstore (8th St East), Co-op Marketplace (Stonebridge), Save-On-Foods, Co-op Marketplace (Centre at Circle and 8th)

NEIGHBOURHOODS

Best Broadway District Restaurant

Las Palapas Resort Grill
910 Victoria Ave. (306) 244-5556 laspalapas.ca

To wrap up this year’s Best Of Food & Drink your Interstellar Narrator hopped in his saucer, turned on the ol’ cloaking device, cranked the tunes and took a quick zip around town. My first stop was Broadway, home of several personality-packed  restaurants. This year Planet S readers said the neighbourhood’s best place to eat is Las Palapas Resort Grill which makes sense because they also voted it the city’s best restaurant.

Runners-up
Nosh Eatery & Tap, Una Pizza + Wine, Keo’s Kitchen, Calories Restaurant

Best Downtown Restaurant

Congress Beer House
215 2nd Ave. S. (306) 974-6717 congressbeerhouse.com

Your Interstellar Narrator has been to Congress Beer House a few (dozen) times and he agrees it’s an excellent restaurant. Yes he does. Onward!

Runners-up
The Rook & Raven Pub, Sticks and Stones, Taverna Italian Kitchen, Ayden Kitchen & Bar

Best Downtown/Central Pub

The Yard & Flagon Pub
718 Broadway Ave. (306) 653-8883 yardandflagon.ca

In a mighty, mighty field of contenders (and this space traveller can think of a few more places that could’ve easily made the runners-up list), Broadway’s Yard & Flagon takes Best Downtown/Central Pub. To celebrate, I propose a beverage at the Yard, followed by a Downtown/Central pub crawl.

Runners-up
Congress Beer House, The Rook & Raven Pub, Winston’s English Pub, O’Shea’s Irish Pub

Best East Side Pub

Somewhere Else Pub & Grill
2605 Broadway Ave. (306) 652-3233 somewhereelsepub.com

Planet S readers voted Somewhere Else Pub & Grill the east side’s best pub. Is it the live music or the chicken wings? Well, maybe it’s both.

Runners-up
The Thirsty Scholar, Whiskey Jacks, The Coachman, The Village Bistro

Best East Side Restaurant

La Bamba Café
3-1025 Boychuk Dr. (306) 242-2622 labambacafe.ca

For diners who dislike cultural appropriation in their tasty, tasty food, La Bamba on Boychuk drive is an authentic Mexican restaurant owned by an authentic Mexican family. Delicious and guilt-free!

Runners-up
Prairie Ink Restaurant, Pink Cadillacs, The Granary, Oriental Aroma Chinese Restaurant)

Best North End Restaurant

Summer Roll Restaurant
4A 234 Primrose Dr. (306) 242-7655

This Vietnamese/Chinese/Thai restaurant on Primrose Drive serves all the favourites you’d expect. Fresh rolls, Pho, Pad Thai, you name it, you can eat it at Summer Roll.

Runners-up
Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria (Lawson), Brown’s Social House (Lawson), Mi Casa Restaurante, Original Joe’s (51st St.)

Best North End/West Side Pub

Fox and Hound Pub & Brewery
#20 7 Assiniboine Dr. (306) 664-223 foxandhoundspub.ca

Fox And Hounds Pub and Brewery is a nice spot in the Canamara Shopping Centre on Assiniboine Drive. It’s got beer, burgers, fries, fish, a good-looking chicken teriyaki skewer and lots of other tasty stuff. A good place for a fox and its hound pals to have a friendly pint together!

Runners-up
Prairie Sun Brewery, Pokey’s Pinball Café, High Key Brewing Co., Clark’s Crossing Brew Pub

Best Place to Eat on Campus

Louis’ Pub
1 Campus Dr. (306) 966-7000 ussu.ca/louis

Planet S readers made an obvious-yet-good choice here. Louis’ Pub has been an institution since… well a long damn time. Named after one of your more worthy and interesting Earthlings, Métis leader Louis Riel.

Runners-up
Boffins Public House, Choices at St. Thomas More, Marquis Culinary Center, Harvey’s

Best Riversdale Restaurant

Odd Couple
228 20th St. W. (306) 668-8889 oddcouple.ca

Odd Couple has been mentioned a few times in this feature and look, here we go again! A terrific champ coming from a strong Riversdale restaurant scene. Your Interstellar Narrator made a friend on Rodia a couple of weeks back and I promised I’d treat him to a meal here as long as he covers his antennae with a hat. Unfortunately he said he had some business in Mos Eisley and I haven’t heard back from him.

Runners-up
The Hollows Restaurant, Hometown Diner, Park Café, Picaro

Best West Side Restaurant

Konga Café
204 Ave. H N. (306) 244-7867

Great Caribbean food tucked away on Avenue H. Try the Konga Café Sweetfire Burger; I hear it’s something else.

Runners-up
Mano’s Grill and Brewhouse, Pokey’s Pinball Café, Saba’s African Cuisine, Mi Tierra Mexican Restaurant