I have been driving from Calgary to Saskatoon to visit family for as long as I can remember. In my younger years, the long drive would give me time to start craving my Babcia’s pierogies and Nanaimo bars —two delicious comfort foods I associate most with the city. Now that she no longer cooks—and I’ve grown up and started making the pierogies and Nanaimo bars—I’ve become truly enamoured with Saskatoon’s food scene over the past decade.
These days, pulling into Saskatoon feels like an exciting opportunity to explore a city so dear to my heart. Each time, I try a new (or new-to-me) restaurant while returning to my favourites, but it’s becoming more and more difficult to fit it all in. So, I guess I’ll just have to visit a bit more often.
In no way is this fully comprehensive when it comes to where to eat in town, but here are my picks for 12 of Saskatoon’s best restaurants (and bakeries).
Christie’s Il Secondo
First established in 1932, Saskatoon’s iconic Christie’s Bakery has been run by the Muzzolini family since 1966. Today, brother and sister duo Blair and Tracey (head baker) run the show there and at this popular sister concept that’s located just off the always-bustling Broadway Avenue.
At Il Secondo, you’ll find their faultless sourdough loaves, Italian pastries, baked goods and wood-fired Neapolitan pizza. You can also stop in for a casual coffee or quick panini.
My recommendation: Meet a friend for a coffee and pastry, or pizza for lunch, and then grab a baguette to take home for dinner.
Christie’s Il Secondo on Broadway is located at 802c Broadway Avenue, website.
Citizen Cafe & Bakery
If you need a quick sandwich, coffee and baked goods stop, you have got to visit Citizen Cafe & Bakery.
Their extensive latte menu, freshly baked muffins and scones, and satisfying sandwiches (they use bread from The Night Oven and local meats from Pig & Pantry) make this a truly perfect lunch spot. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the Saskatoon Berry Pop Tart isn’t sold out when I stop in next time.
If you’re in a rush, I also love that you can order ahead of time online.
Citizen Cafe & Bakery is located at 18 23 Street E, website.
Hearth is one of those restaurants that can make your heart skip a beat. Founded in 2018, its charming atmosphere and big flavours celebrating all things Saskatchewan are always in perfect harmony.
Every single dish screams Saskatchewan without screaming Rider Pride (IYKYK) and is exactly what elevated yet home-cooked food should taste like. Case in point — the beets to start and the spicy pierogi pasta or pork belly with cabbage as your main. For a cocktail, try one made with locally distilled gin or whisky from Black Fox Farm. You may also want to plan to visit on a Sunday for their iconic 13-layer lasagna.
This is the kind of restaurant you want to go to again and again…and again.
Hearth is currently in the process of moving into the Remai Modern, so you’ve only got until the spring to dine at its current location on Melrose Avenue.
Hearth Restaurant is located at 2404 Melrose Avenue, website.
Little Grouse on the Prairie
Arguably the stand out of Top Chef World All-Stars competitor Dale Mackay’s Grassroots Restaurant Group, this cozy, yet refined Italian eatery on 3rd Avenue has been ever-popular with locals since day one.
Little Grouse's concise menu features a few appetizers, a handful of pastas, two mains and two desserts. With a menu still succinct, it’s easy enough to pop in with a group and try a little bit of everything on the menu.
If you want to do dinner Italian family style, you can do that too by opting for four or seven courses ($75 and $95 respectively).
Little Grouse is located at 167 3 Avenue, website.
The Night Oven Bakery
Most famous for its locally-grown, stone-milled flours and stunning sourdough loaves, The Night Oven is one of the best bakeries in the country. Full stop.
I love picking up a loaf or two to eat during the week and adding a pastry to indulge in…typically right away. As a person who feels ultimate comfort from a baked good, Night Oven’s have never let me down.
The bakery also has weekly “Night Pizza” offerings in the evening, and their relatively new move to a bigger-and-better location off of 22nd Street is gorgeous.
Night Oven is located at 216 Avenue D, website.
Odd Couple Restaurant
I distinctly remember walking out of Odd Couple after my first visit and simultaneously planning my return. Seriously, I texted all my family members with whom I travelled to Saskatoon and gushed about the food. They had missed out.
There are many hits on the menu here, but both the Vietnamese and vegan spring rolls are highlights, with the plant-based option surpassing the pork-filled version flavour-wise. It’s a great spot for lunch or dinner and they’ve got some fun cocktails too.
Odd Couple is located at 228 20th Street, website.
POP Wine Bar
Affiliated with one of Saskatoon's most celebrated restaurants (Primal, and more on that spot below), POP Wine Bar is the place to go in Saskatoon if you want to indulge in delicious small plates while sipping a natural wine or quality cocktail.
You can go the comfort route with an order of poutine or chef Christie Peters’ delicious “Pizza Pop” or play things fancier with the elk tartare and crispy rabbit (think schnitzel). Their happy hour with oysters is also not to be missed.
If you’re alcohol-free, The Placebo Penicillin, made with Lapsang Souchong Tea, ginger honey syrup and lemon, is a perfect way to imbibe in the dimly-lit, moody room.
POP Wine Bar is located at 334 20th Street, website.
Do you need a bowl of pasta from Primal? Yes, yes, you do.
Using Saskatchewan heritage grains and whole animal butchery, this restaurant encourages one’s…well, primal urge to eat a whole bowl of pasta in one sitting and eagerly crave another helping.
The pork agnolotti and beef heart bolognese are two menu highlights, but it’s highly recommended you order the night’s feature pasta too.
Pasta adjacent, the mushroom risotto is definitely a must-try. Much like its sister spot POP Wine Bar, you can expect a fantastic wine list here thanks to manager Adrian Chappell.
Primal is located at 423 20th Street, website.
Shelter Brewing Company
Just down the street from Thirteen Pies you’ll find this cool nano-brewery and taproom. It's a beautiful minimalist-designed space is a favourite of Saskatoonians looking to enjoy craft beer and Mexican eats from Dylan & Cam’s.
On the beer menu are four core brews, a rotation of seasonal options and, as every friendly brewery should have, a guest tap. Food wise, Dylan & Cam’s offers the perfect accompaniment of nachos, tacos and burritos.
Head here on Wednesdays for $7 pints and 2 for $10 fish tacos.
Shelter Brewing Company is located at 255 2nd Avenue, website.
Geographically, Saskatoon and sushi don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand, but Sushi Raku is here to prove otherwise.
The fish is fresh and the roll portions are generous too. You’ll find all the classic rolls on the menu as well as the “SK Roll” composed of cream cheese, prawn tempura, avocado, and cucumber with smoked salmon and mango on top (perhaps to emulate Roughriders colours?).
Sushi Raku is located at 239 Idylwyld Drive, website.
Taverna Italian Kitchen & Bar
Having a classic Italian restaurant recommendation in your back pocket is always good. In Saskatoon, try Taverna Italian Kitchen, which has been around since 1969, but got a facelift in the past decade to visually keep up with newer and more buzzworthy spots.
Using simple ingredients (a mix between imported Italian and local), Taverna offers all your Italian favourites. Think flavourful starters like the burrata and parma prosciutto, house-made pasta, and tiramisu for dessert.
Its consistent service and inviting, casual atmosphere will always make you feel at home.
Taverna is located at 219 21st Street, website.
Thirteen Pies Pizza + Bar
Every “must-try” list needs a tasty pizza place and Thirteen Pies is a great go-to in Saskatoon.
The restaurant and bar serves up delicious Brooklyn-style pizza (think big and foldable slices), with fun ingredient combinations and even an option to add everything bagel spice from the Bagel Shop (which is co-owned by the restaurant’s executive chef Cole Dobranski) to your crust.
You know the pizza is good when you’re sitting around talking about it days later.
Oh, and don’t forget about a cocktail here as Thirteen Pies is noted as one of the best cocktail spots in Saskatchewan.
Thirteen Pies is located at 243 2nd Ave, website.