RAW: almond, the restaurant on the river, is back!

It’s official – January 24 to February 13, the pop-up restaurant on the river is reopening!

RAW almond, Credit: Jacqueline Young

This is, no exaggeration, one of the coolest projects I’ve ever seen done in the city (it made national news!). If somehow you missed this news story, and this one, and this one, or any of the others, here’s a refresher:

Last year, Mandel Hitzer of restaurant deer + almond and Joe Kalturnyk from RAW Gallery of Architecture and Design opened a pop-up restaurant called RAW: almond on the frozen river near the Forks, with amazing chefs from around the city hosting and cooking different fixed menus each night.

This year, they’re back and planning to be even more amazing – so here’s the rundown of what’s new:

  • It’s gotten bigger- and there’s a new design!
    Described as a ‘reimagined ice-inspired structure,’ the restaurant will be built from aluminium scaffolding that looks like a shard of river ice that’s been pushed up to the surface. It will seat 30 people at a time, with 3 seatings per night. Dinners are 5 courses, with wine, beer, and spirit pairings to accompany. While they’re dining, another 10 lucky people will be chillaxing at the…
  • New tasting bar!
    Guided by chefs, 10 people will nibble on 3 special snacks and drink pairings of their own.
  • More chefs, new chefs, Calgary chefs!
    This year, Jesse Friesen (Lobby on York), Luc Jean (Jane’s), Edward Lam (Yujiro) and Calgarian Jason Barton-­Browne (Teatro) are going to be joining the lineup!
    Back for a second year are:
    Mandel Hitzer (deer + almond), Scott Bagshaw (Deseo Bistro), Adam Donnelly (Segovia), Aron Epp and Ben Kramer (Elements and Diversity Food Services),Tristan Foucault (Peasant Cookery), Eric Lee (Pizzeria Gusto) and Alex Svenne (Bistro 7¼)
  • If you can’t get tickets, you’ll still have a chance to eat there
    OK, this isn’t new, but it’s VERY important. Every single seat last year sold out within a week, and I have no doubt it’s going to happen again this year! They go on sale December 20th at deer + almond and RAW gallery. BUY EARLY. I can’t stress this enough. BUT. If you miss out, there’s hope. Talia Syrie of Come ‘N Eat Café at Neechi Commons serving a $20, walk-­‐up brunch between 10 am and 3 pm on weekends.

We all – me included – complain about the winter a lot, but I think it’s awesome that we’ve started owning the fact that we’re a cold city, and start getting more creative with what we can do with 6 months of snowy goodness!


  • New chefs! Manitoba’s reigning Gold Medal Plates champ, Kelly Cattani (Elements and Diversity Food Services), joins the line up of culinary talent on ice; along with Winnipeg-bred Ryan Lachaine (Houston, TX), and man of mystery Jesse Kreuzer (NYC). And in a thrilling development, Vancouver-based Chef, restaurateur, cookbook author and Food Network Canada personality, Vikram Vij, will cook at the tapas bar in RAW:almond Feb 3 and 4.
  • The #GreatCanadianSleepout for a good cause! Mandel Hitzer, plans to sleep on the ice throughout the restaurant’s three-week run to raise money for three community organizations he holds dear: Boys and Girls
    Clubs of Winnipeg, FortWhyte Alive and Resource Centre for Manitobans who are Deaf-Blind. Mountain Equipment Co-operative is suiting him up, and he’ll spend each night of the #GreatCanadianSleepout hunkered down in a tent within the temporary ice restaurant.

4 thoughts on “RAW: almond, the restaurant on the river, is back!

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