5 Restaurants to Gorge on Indigenous Cuisine

By Vivian Chung

While Canada boasts a diverse culinary scene, Indigenous cuisine remains distinctly missing, with seemingly few restaurants dedicated to serving dishes that honour its cultures. Explore the country’s vast and varied Indigenous cultures through sampling dishes like bannock and cedar jelly, Navajo tacos and bison stew at these five restaurants across Canada.

Founded in 2010, Salmon n’ Bannock remains Vancouver’s only Indigenous restaurant. Led by owner Inez Cook, a member of the Nuxalk Nation, her all-Indigenous team represents nations throughout BC, including Lil’wat, Métis, Musqueum and Squamish, just to name a few. Sample the vegetarian house chili with their signature bannock, or gorge on the sage smoked salmon burger. Travellers at the Vancouver International Airport can also sample Indigenous cuisine by visiting their outpost, Salmon n’ Bannock on the Fly, which is Canada’s only Indigenous restaurant inside an airport.

Address: 1128 W Broadway #7, Vancouver BC V6H 1G5

Housed in the Grey Eagle Hotel on Tsuut’ina Nation land in Calgary, the Little Chief Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Their menu features contemporary dishes that blend Indigenous flavours and emphasize fresh and locally sourced ingredients. Savour the braised bison eggs Benny with hollandaise sauce for breakfast, and start your dinner with the bruschetta made with fry bread and the creamy four-cheese spinach dip with fry bread sticks.

Address: 3779 Grey Eagle Drive, Calgary AB T3E 3X8

As its name suggests, Bannock Express in Saskatoon’s Pleasant Hill neighbourhood uses bannock as the foundation of every meal on its menu, including burgers, tacos and hot dogs. Plus, their take-home bannock mix, which can be baked or fried and piled on with your favourite ingredients, has become one of the casual establishment’s best-selling items. Bannock Express also helps feed those in need in the community by accepting monetary donations from diners.

Address: 1205 22 St W, Saskatoon SK S7M 0S6


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Chef and owner Christa Bruneau-Guenther runs the show at Winnipeg’s Feast Cafe Bistro, which opened in the West End in 2016. A member of the Peguis First Nation, Bruneau-Guenther has become a culinary icon, appearing as a judge on the second season of the Food Network Canada’s show Wall of Chefs. The menu at this neighbourhood hot spot features comfort foods that spotlight classic Indigenous ingredients like squash, corn, bison, wild rice and bannock. Don’t miss the Manitoban Poutine, a bed of fries drizzled in bison gravy and sprinkled with shredded Manitoban bison, or the butternut squash bannock pizza, studded with roasted butternut squash and toasted pine nuts and paired with a maple chipotle sour cream.

Address: 587 Ellice Ave, Winnipeg MB R3B 1Z7

Welcoming diners since 2012, Tea-N-Bannock on the outskirts of Toronto’s Little India is the city’s longest-running Indigenous restaurant and a fixture in the culinary landscape. Its menu features Canadian-sourced ingredients that are simply prepared to allow for the quality to shine, like arctic char that’s wild-caught on Baffin Island, wild rice from Ontario and Manitoba and leaves that are handpicked in northern Ontario for cedar and Labrador tea. If you’re not sure where to start, sample some of their most popular dishes, like the veggie stir fry with grilled elk and wild rice and the Navajo taco that’s piled generously with beef chili sauce. Save enough room for the bear paws, a dessert made with sweet fry bread rolled in cinnamon sugar. 

Address: 1294 Gerrard St E, Toronto ON M4L 1Y7


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