Petit Socco in Winnipeg takes the number five spot on the Top 10 list of Canada’s Best New Restaurants 2023.
This has to be the Littlest Restaurant on the Prairie. It’s got just 10 seats, a tin can of an open kitchen and two employees, co–owners and life partners Adam Donnelly and Courtney Molaro. There’s intimate dining, and then there’s Petit Socco.
A decade after enjoying chef Donnelly’s food at his former Winnipeg restaurant Segovia, I still remember his exciting flavours. He’s doing even more with less here, serving four–course menus twice a night, creating a delicious sense of anticipation. Whatever he’s cooking, we’re having.
So, what are we all having? Tempura shishito peppers first, crisp and airy, dragged through house berbere–spiced mayo sprinkled with sesame seeds. Then a giant tostada for two piled high with chopped poached prawns, chunks of sushi–grade tuna, Salvadoran curtido with a jalapeño sting and a cooling base note of avocado crema. Buttery cubes of pork belly are unearthed from beneath a bright and acidic mound of panzanella made from Donnelly’s own sourdough, juicy tomatoes and nectarines, and a zingy lime vinaigrette. There’s olive oil cake for dessert, with homemade strawberry–rhubarb ripple ice cream and almond praline crunch. I’ll remember Donnelly’s panzanella for another decade.