Driving for Dessert: Botté Chai Bar in Saskatoon

In the heart of Saskatoon’s Riversdale neighbourhood, you’ll find a café unlike any other in the city. Since opening in 2018, Botté Chai Bar has garnered a name for itself and rightly so – as the province’s only Persian café, Botté is a one-of-a-kind place to eat and drink.

Photo by Botté Chai Bar

Owner Parviz Yazdani and his family moved to Saskatoon from Iran years ago, and they always wanted to open a Persian café in the city. They were inspired to create a place that would feel very much like home.

“It’s about the whole experience,” Yazdani said. “We want people to walk in and feel like they’ve entered a different place; it separates them from the rest of the city, their life. And then a big part of it is our attitude of service – it’s the idea that you imagine you’re serving people at the table in your own kitchen. They’re our guests.”

Photo by Botté Chai Bar

And when you’re a guest at Botté, you’ll certainly notice that it really is about the whole experience, from the relaxed atmosphere to the food. In fact, Botté has one of the largest dessert selections in Saskatoon (over 25 types at any given time), with many Middle Eastern specialties on offer. 

Photo by Botté Chai Bar

Popular favourites are round mini cakes and saffron rice pudding, but its signature dessert is baklava, which is a rich, layered pastry, filled with chopped pistachios and walnuts, all held together by sweet honey. Try it with a scoop of the saffron pistachio ice cream, which is also made in-house. Yazdani notes that customers repeatedly tell them the baklava is “the best they’ve ever had.”

Photo by Botté Chai Bar

There are plenty of gluten-free desserts on the menu, like chickpea cookies and rice pudding brûlée, and since you’ll certainly need a warm drink to go along with dessert, Botté delivers. Its house-brewed chai recipe is always on the menu, along with herbal teas, fair-trade coffee and the city’s biggest selection of drinking chocolate (yes, you read that right, drinking chocolate!). From Italy, there are 13 flavours and you can order the drink as white, milk or dark chocolate. It’s guaranteed to be a sinfully decadent treat. 

Photo by Botté Chai Bar

The restaurant also offers takeout through its Persian Kitchen, where you’ll find plenty of mains and appetizers to enjoy at home, with gluten-free and vegan options available too. And just like the desserts, the food menu is equally unique. 

“The idea is to introduce a version of home-cooked Persian food that you can’t get anywhere else, unless you went to someone’s house,” Yazdani said. “It’s good food that you just can’t get anywhere else in the city.”

Photo by Botté Chai Bar

Where to stay

Botté Chai Bar is just a short walk or drive from several downtown hotels. The Holiday Inn Saskatoon Downtown has a fitness centre, plus a pool and hot tub. The Hilton Garden Inn is also in the downtown, and has an onsite restaurant, pool and pet-friendly rooms. The Alt Hotel has rooms with gorgeous views of the South Saskatchewan River.

Where to shop

Just a block away from Botté, you’ll find 20th Street, home to some of Saskatoon’s best shops. It’s the perfect place to spend the day browsing, starting at Soul Paper, an adorable little store that specializes in stationery, greeting cards, art supplies and gifts. Right next door is Hazlewood, which offers a selection of curated vintage clothing, accessories and furniture, along with locally made goods. If you head further down the block, you’ll come across Hardpressed, which is the perfect place to stock up on Saskatchewan gear. In-store you’ll find its signature Saskatchewan sweaters and T-shirts, plus a selection of other clothing and accessories.

Photo by Hazlewood

Where to eat

In addition to Botté, 20th Street features a number of popular restaurants and cafés. If you’re looking for breakfast or brunch, Hometown Diner is a Riversdale staple, perfect for enjoying a sit-down meal in a bright, sunny setting. Bagel Shop YXE is also ideal for grabbing breakfast or lunch to go, and its handcrafted artisan bagel sandwiches do not disappoint. Grab a coffee from Prism for your daily caffeine fix. Its beans come from Bows & Arrows in Victoria and all of its syrups are made in-house too.

Bannock Express, which moved right next to Botté in early-February, is a perfect option for takeout. Its bannock comes fried, baked and even gluten free, and there’s plenty of meal options like the bannock taco or burgers served on bannock. If you’re looking for a sit-down dinner, check out Odd Couple, known for having a menu that blends prairie ingredients with Cantonese, Vietnamese and Japanese cuisine. Nearby, there’s also Cohen’s Beer Republic, which is perfect for grabbing a burger and beer, and its sister restaurant, Picaro Cocktails & Tacos, where craft cocktails and local ingredients are always on the menu.

Photo by Bagel Shop YXE


Botté Chai Bar is located at 117-123 Avenue B South in Saskatoon, SK. For more information and hours, visit its website. Botté Chai Bar, Odd Couple and Picaro Cocktails & Tacos are all also featured in Naomi Hansen’s forthcoming book, Only in Saskatchewan: Recipes & Stories from the Province’s Best-loved Eateries. Visit www.naomihansen.ca for more information.

Author: Naomi Hansen

Naomi Hansen is a writer and editor based in Saskatoon, SK. She is the author of the forthcoming book Only in Saskatchewan: Recipes & Stories from the Province’s Best-loved Eateries, which will be published by TouchWood Editions in April 2022. Find her on Instagram @onlyinsaskatchewan, Twitter @naomihansen_ or at www.naomihansen.ca