Driving for Dinner: Restaurant Pietro in Waskesiu

At Restaurant Pietro, summer evenings at the lake never looked so good. Located at the centre of the charming resort village of Waskesiu, the restaurant offers a menu of timeless Italian dishes crafted with locally sourced ingredients, alongside wine paired perfectly by the in-house sommelier.

Photo supplied by Restaurant Pietro

Owned by restaurateur Gary Gagne and chef Evan Niekamp, Restaurant Pietro opened in 2014 and operates seasonally from May to September. Both Niekamp and Gagne have backgrounds in the fine dining business and wanted to bring that same approach and experience to the Waskesiu Lake area. The interior of the restaurant is both intimate and inviting. It also has a wraparound patio, which is popular on warm summer evenings.

Photo supplied by Restaurant Pietro

“The restaurant is a beautiful space. It’s stunningly gorgeous,” Gagne said. “We built it from scratch with all sorts of tile, onyx, chrome, art from all over the world, and then we have our open kitchen, so customers can see the kitchen doing their work.”

Of course, in addition to the gorgeous setting, the food is exceptional. The menu is small but well-curated and features starters like soups and salads, handmade pastas all made in-house, and hand-cut steaks, which Niekamp prepares himself at the restaurant, having trained as a butcher. From the Atlantic lobster spaghettini to the filet mignon, the food will leave you wanting more.

Photo supplied by Restaurant Pietro

“It’s sort of an Italian steakhouse,” Gagne said. “Our focus is steaks with specialty cuts – Evan cuts them on his own band saw – and then house-made pasta like ravioli and pappardelle and we have a fresh seafood selection with a daily market fresh fish. The focus is also on quality ingredients, so we bring in really fresh ingredients – only the best seafood and steak.”

Photo supplied by Restaurant Pietro

When you visit Restaurant Pietro, one thing you simply must order is the starter Caesar salad, which is prepared tableside. From his experience in the fine dining business, Gagne has perfected the art of preparing Caesar salads, and he even has a custom salad cart to go with it.

“I’ve made somewhere around 20,000 to 30,000 trips with my salad cart over time,” Gagne says, noting that it's an experience you won’t find elsewhere – not to mention, an ideal way to start your meal.

From the atmosphere to the food, Restaurant Pietro is fine dining at its best, and with the Waskesiu townsite as the perfect backdrop, you simply can’t go wrong.

Make it a day trip or a weekend

Turn a meal at Restaurant Pietro into a day trip or a weekend and explore what the Waskesiu Lake area has to offer.

Where to stay

Photo credit to Debra Kuzbik

Waskesiu is located in Prince Albert National Park, which offers many options for overnight stays. If you’re interested in camping, there are plenty of front- and backcountry campgrounds in the area, plus hotels and cabins. Just outside of the park is Elk Ridge Resort, which is a lovely spot to spend a weekend. Accommodation options at the resort include cabins, cottages, townhouses and lodge guest rooms, plus there are a few dining options, a spa, 27-hole golf course, and more.

What to see/do

Photo supplied by Pete's Terrace

There’s plenty to see and do in and around the Waskesiu townsite, with local shops, eateries and galleries all within walking distance of the Main Beach. Start your day at Evrgreen Coffee + Food, which is in the same building as Restaurant Pietro and offers coffee, freshly baked goods and artisan sandwiches. Try one of the cinnamon buns while you’re there! Shop for clothing and outdoor gear at Outter Limits or visit Lake Life for a curated selection of women’s and children’s clothing. Another popular Waskesiu favourite is Pete’s Terrace, which is a seasonal restaurant with both indoor and patio seating, known for its pizzas and burgers. It also hosts live music throughout the summer, so check out its Facebook for the latest updates. 

Photo supplied by Evrgreen Coffee + Food

Bonus points

Photo supplied by Treeosix Adventure Parks

If you’re feeling adventurous or want to get out and enjoy nature, Prince Albert National Park has everything you’ll need. There are tons of trails throughout the park for hiking, ranging from easy to advanced. You can also rent canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and more from Waskesiu Marina Adventure Centre. Waskesiu is also home to a Treeosix Adventure Parks location, which has several adventure features, such as a climbing wall, 18-hole disc golf course and zipline through the boreal forest (plus a mini-zipline for kids!). It’s a perfect place to spend a day and a great option for family fun, too.


Restaurant Pietro is located at 955 C Waskesiu Drive in Waskesiu Lake, SK. For more information and hours, visit its website. Restaurant Pietro and two of its recipes are also featured in Naomi Hansen’s first 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 book Only in Saskatchewan: Recipes & Stories from the Province’s Best-loved Eateries, which was published by TouchWood Editions in April 2022. Find her on Instagram @onlyinsaskatchewan, Twitter @naomihansen_ or at www.naomihansen.ca