I had the opportunity recently to dine at the Gates on Roblin, at 6945 Roblin Blvd. My husband and I were contemplating a quiet romantic dinner for two, but when my 13 year old son heard we were going to the Gates he insisted on coming (my daughter was out that night otherwise we for sure would have heard from her also.) My son has been to several bar-mitzvah parties at the Gates, enough to know that he didn't want to miss out on this culinary delight. He's at the age now where he would often rather not be seen with his parents, but when we mentioned the Gates, he was dressed, waiting and ready to go, and even declined his later evening plans with friends since we told him we were not going to rush through the meal.
Before I even get to the food at the Gates, it would be remiss of me not to mention the magnificent setting for the restaurant which is located in what was once a fine Dutch Colonial house with green shutters. The building which was originally built by the T. Eaton Company for Mr. Pugh a researcher for the company, who bought it for himself as a summer cottage, and on his retirement the T Eaton company replaced the summer cottage with the Dutch Colonial House on this gorgeous seven acre river property.
At the Gates restaurant, we were seated at a table surrounded by large windows that looked out onto the fine rural setting, and even at night, the view to the outside is calming and serene. I have been there at other times in the day when you can see the small stable of horses in the front as you turn into the restaurant's driveway.
The menu which features Manitoba-grown elements is extensive and unique and even a picky eater will be able to find something that attracts their palette.
As soon as we had ordered, we received a warm freshly baked basket of bread and buns (multi-grain and white)-with herb whipped butter. All were delicious. The cone shaped buns sliced in the middle were especially noteworthy, and was the cake like thick cornbread. Later in the meal, we did ask for the bread basket to be refilled.
We considered ordering a starter course ($13-14) but with the filling bread basket, we didn't think we could manage it.
The soup of the day that we ordered, a smoked tomatoe bisque was very tasty. Our waitress., who gave very pleasant and attentive service, explained that the Gates has its "own smoker" and smokes the tomotoes on the premises, which no doubt is why the soup's flavour was outstanding. Other appetizing soups on the menu (which are between $ 6-7) are wild rice and cream soup, and French onion soup with gruyere cheese.
The Gates has a good selection of salad choices (such as caesar, house, tomato and beet salads, all of which are between $ 7-10). We chose a new salad item on the menu called Crisp Roast Butternut Salad, a unique salad that we all thought was very good. It consisted of cubed butternut squash topped with gratineed cherry tomatoes served with spinach arugula with a reisling vinagrette.
One part of the entree menu at the Gates is devoted to steaks, prime rib, and half or full lamb, which come with seasonal vegetables and a choice of herb crusted baby potatoes, garlic whipped potatoes or wild rice pilaf. It didn't take my son more than a minute to look at the menu before he announced that he would have a Canadian beef tenderloin steak ($38 dollars) with sea salt and cracked black pepper crusted, grilled and topped with bone marrow Bordelaise sauce. Soon after he started eating it, my son, who always orders steaks when we go out, pronounced it as the best steak he had ever eaten. It was tender and the flavour of the sauce was outstanding. His steak came with generous portions of smashed baby potatoes, roasted carrots and turnip, all of which were tasty.
The other part of the menu has a selection of fish, chicken, pasta and seafood dishes. We tried the Manitoba pickerel which was prepared with a unqiue flavourful sauce. The fresh tasting pickerel was seared with brioche and brown butter crumble, topped with "borscht syrup", dilled creme fraiche, and served with smashed baby potatoes.($28) Another fish option, which looked enticing was the salmon with a sweet and spicy maple glaze ( $28). For those who like salmon, smoked salmon can also be ordered as a starter dish, with homemade Gold Potatoe chips, capers, chives and creme fraiche.
For those who want additional side dishes,($5-11), it is possible to order "a boutquetiere of grilled vegetables," garlic sauteed mushrooms, and stemmed asparagus with bearnaise sauce , among others.
There is an extensive wine menu at the Gates, and although the desserts were very tempting, we didn't have enough room for them, (having eaten too much of the excellent bread choices).
The lunch menu at the Gates also looks inviting. The choices on the menu also extensive with a number of different salads, such as Greek, tomato, house and omega with Altantic salmon (grilled chicken , salmon, or prawns can be added to any salad for an extra $5).The sandwich choices include a vegetable melt, beef dip, Reuben, steak sandwich. There is also an omelette, as well as pickerel and salmon choices. Of course, in the daylight, the setting of the gates and ambiance would only be enhanced.
The Gates is owned by Winnipeggers Don and Nancy Carson. A page explaining the history of the Gates says that "Don is fulfilling a lifelong dream, when as a teenager, he once sat in the driveway of the residence and longed to own the property."
After our dinner, Ray Louie, who is a partner with the Carsons, walked us through the cozy dining room areas that make great locations for special occasions and private functions. We also saw the elegant lounge area, and then were taken behind the Dutch colonial building to the newer state of the art Ballroom and Conference Centre, which regularly caters to parties for 300-400 people. In the Banquet Room where we saw the classy set up for an upcoming Bar-mitzvah party (my son was wandering over to the "candy bar" that had been set up already).
Ray Louie, who is a very hands on and knowledgeable manager who is on the scene, was eager to show us around and answer any questions. He explained said that all of the food served at the Gates is "absolutely fresh." At the Gates, none of the food is prepared hours earlier and then kept in warming ovens, which can be the case if one has a function at a hotel. "We think the fresher the food, the better it tastes," he said (and it's difficult to disagree with that statement).
At the back of the Gates Ballroom and Conference Centre, there is a very large wooden deck that offers a splendid view of the river and surrounding greenery. Ray Louie explained that in the summer the deck is used for outdoor parties, and they have also had corporate barbeques, picnics and functions in the park like setting. The rural beauty of the Gates lends itself to weddings, bar/bat mitzvah's and other special occasions, and those who have functions at the Gates can reserve the use the grounds for photographing their special occasions.
Ray also emphasized that the Gates "is about making family memories that last a lifetime," and "we have many customers who have such great memories of their wedding here that they come back year after year for dinner for their anniversary."
"We don't want people to have people have bad memories of their special occasion because the chicken didn't come out on time or was dry, for example," he says. The chef, culinary team and banquet staff will enable patrons to receive fine dining and service with attention to detail, style, and flair.
Ray says "It's important to us that everything goes well for your special occasion, and to help facilitate this the Gates has a list of recommended vendors we work with. We had a situation for example where a string quartet showed up with only three people," and so they are not on our recommended list. The last thing people want to worry about when they are having an important function is situations like that."
As a result, the Gates lists recommended vendors, (for items such as stationery, carriage rides, florists, bakeries, photographers, live entertainment, fire-works, and more) that can be found on its website at http://www.thegatesonroblin.com/page.php?page_id=3&subpage_id=13.
To make a reservation or booking for a function or to learn more about the Gates, go to their website at http://www.thegatesonroblin.com/or call The Restaurant: (204) 224-2837, Banquet Facility: (204) 694-2837,Fax: (204) 885-6991. You can also send an email to:
If you are thinking of making a booking for aspecial event, don't wait as dates fill up quickly.