Nathan Guggenheimer knows a thing or two about what goes on in the Top Chef Canada kitchen. He is, after all, best friends with first season winner Dale Mackay and co-owns Grassroots Restaurant Group with the chef. Not only that, but Nathan has worked under the likes of Top Chef Canada: All-Stars guest judge Daniel Boulud, which means he should be up-to-speed on what it takes to win the title.
While Nathan is plenty busy as executive chef at the Saskatoon hot spot Sticks and Stones, he still takes time to eat out in the city’s thriving dining scene. Here are his picks on all the best eats Saskatoon has to offer.
Cantonese, Vietnamese and Japanese cuisines are present on the Canadian menu of this family-owned and operated restaurant, making eating at this spot a truly unique experience. From bacon and eggs on barbecued pork rice to curried tomato pad Thai, there’s something for everyone here.
“[There is] great service and owners, [and the] best spring roll in the city,” says Nathan. “[I’m] never disappointed in the quality. I used to frequent there for lunch with my ex and her son, so there’s a lot of nostalgia.”
“Una Pizza is delish and I love the wine selection,” Nathan raves about this friendly neighbourhood pizzaria featuring thin crust pizzas with Mediterranean inspired flavours. The spot was conceptualized following several trips to San Francisco, where California pizzas are practically a staple. Meanwhile, the wine selection features an array of small batch producers, guaranteeing a unique experience with every visit.
This quaint spot is one of three restaurants opened under Nathan and Dale Mackay’s Grassroots Restaurant Group, and it features a sustainable and diverse menu of Italian-inspired favourites that are perfect for get-togethers and date nights alike. It also happens to be where Nathan’s Top Chef Canada competitor Jesse Zuber serves as executive chef.
“[I] love to sit at the pasta bar and by the time my coat is off there is a glass of wine at my seat,” Nathan said. “Jesse asks what I’m in the mood for and my meal begins.”
Another one of Grassroots’ signature restaurants, this spot is where Nathan invokes his inner butcher background for hearty, meaty meals. The rich eatery is all about comforting classics and homegrown favourites. Sample some hand-crafted cocktails at the bar, or sit down for some locally sourced favourites any night of the week.
“[This is my] favourite spot to go on my day off and crush a charcuterie, tartar, wings, and a burger cooked rare,” Nathan says. “Then [I] feel sick from eating too much meat and go straight home to bed.”
Feasting on the traditional Thai dishes at Keo’s is akin to travelling all the way to Thailand. The menu features updated Thai classics to warm you up from the inside out, like dancing prawns, pad Thai and red curry.
“I can eat their tom ka kai soup with sticky rice and a lao sausage every day,” admits Nathan.