Discover the Contenders for Canada's Best New Restaurants

#AirCanadaTop10

Alder Room
Edmonton, AB
Bar Von Der Fels
Bar Von Der Fels
Calgary, AB
Battuto
Battuto
Quebec City, QC
Dish at Botanist
Botanist
Vancouver, BC
Brothers
Brothers Food & Wine
Toronto, ON
Cacao
Cacao
Vancouver, BC
Cadet
Montreal, QC
Cafe Linnea
Cafe Linnea
Edmonton, AB
Canis
Toronto, ON
Chartier
Chartier
Beaumont, AB
Clementine
Edmonton, AB
Clementine Café
Clementine Cafe
Winnipeg, MB
Deane House
Calgary, AB
Fayuca
Fayuca
Vancouver, BC
Grey Gardens
Grey Gardens
Toronto, ON
Hayloft
Hayloft
Airdrie, AB
Jackpot Chicken Rice
Jackpot Chicken Rice
Toronto, ON
La Banane
La Banane
Toronto, ON
Lake Inez
Lake Inez
Toronto, ON
Little Oak
Little Oak
Halifax, NS
LOV
LOV
Montreal, QC
Mak N Ming
Vancouver, BC
Marconi
Montreal, QC
Moleskine
Moleskine
Montreal, QC
Montgomery’s
Toronto, ON
Riviera
Riviera
Ottawa, ON
Summit
Summit
Malahat, BC
The Salted Vine
The Salted Vine
Squamish, BC
Tiradito
Montreal, QC
Wolfe of Wortley
Wolfe of Wortley
London, ON

Alder Room

Chef Ben Staley
Cuisine: Canadian
Edmonton, AB


10328 Jasper Ave
780-901-6976
alderroom.ca

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Begin your evening on the sofa in this hyperminimalist room on Jasper Avenue, snacking on quail eggs rolled in vegetable ash and chatting with fellow ticketholders (diners must book limited seating online). At the chef’s bar, marvel at more than a dozen inventive courses from the brick hearth, including Peking duck glazed in mussel marinade. Natural-leaning wines make for fine pairings, but don’t miss outlandish housemade juices like Anjou pear with horseradish and black trumpet mushroom.
Photo: Daniel Wood

Bar Von Der Fels

Chef Eric Hendry
Cuisine: Wine Bar
Calgary, AB


1005A 1st St. SW
587-349-2656
barvonderfels.com

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A mod little wine bar on 1st Street is home to some sneaky-serious good cooking. The tiny open kitchen serves aioli black with activated charcoal and ink to accompany grilled Humboldt squid. The assertively oenophilic owner plucks an open bottle of creamy Jura chardonnay from the 200-year-old enamel ice bucket. Call him over again and he’ll pair something biodynamic with a 10-year-old baked Cortez Island oyster flavoured with tangy yuzu kosho paste and house-dried scallop.
Photo: Ian Holmes

Battuto

Chef Guillaume St-Pierre
Cuisine: Italian
Quebec City, QC


527, boul. Langelier
418-614-4414
facebook.com/battutoqc

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The place to be in the Quebec capital was once a humble casse-croûte, now transformed into an intimate trattoria with modern white tiling. Reserve a seat at the counter to watch the savvy two-man kitchen team slice paper-thin rounds of made-in-Charlevoix lonza and zest fresh orange over bitter raw endives and grilled octopus. Get the daily pasta – maybe tender cavatelli with pancetta and almond-arugula pesto – and get that Italian lambrusco too.
Photo: Félix Michaud

Botanist

Chef Hector Laguna
Cuisine: Seasonal
Vancouver, BC


1038 Canada Pl.
604-695-5500
botanistrestaurant.com

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On the Fairmont Pacific Rim’s glammed-up mezzanine, now lush with greenery in planters and living walls, big flavours from the open kitchen push the menu beyond hotel restaurant. Be sure to try the hand-cut beef tartare topped with umami-rich parmesan foam and an egg yolk “smoked” in apple-wood-infused olive oil. After sundown, join jet-setters and Coal Harbourites in the cocktail lab for avant-garde Manhattans that incorporate mushroom-infused rye, spiced maple and moss.

Brothers Food & Wine

Chef Jon Nicolaou
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Toronto, ON


1240 Bay St.
416-804-6066

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The subway rumbling beneath your feet every few minutes is just one of many little thrills at this tiny restaurant located directly above Bay station. A glass of Jura vin jaune brings aromas of nuts and curry spice to the bitter endive and walnuts atop a beef tenderloin carpaccio. An old Erykah Badu album electrifies the hi-fi, while a glass of pinotage makes a soul connection with escabeche-marinated Cornish hen.

Cacao

Chefs Jefferson Alvarez and Marcela Ramirez
Cuisine: Latin American
Vancouver, BC


1898 West 1st Ave.
604-731-5370
cacaovancouver.com

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“Progressive Latin” sounds like a bookish tag line, but there’s plenty of playfulness at this humble Kitsilano neo-bistro. Crisped loonie-size arepas come stuffed with sautéed mushrooms and sofrito, while kombucha-vinegar-marinated shallots deliver a tangy snap to a salad of 24-hour-compressed mango and bitter greens. Get a vegan pisco sour before progressing to a glass of albariño from northwestern Spain and pair it with a pan-seared branzino over meaty fried green plantains.
Photo: Luis Valdison

Cadet

Chefs François Nadon and Antonio Ferreira
Cuisine: Seasonal
Montreal, QC


1431, boul. Saint-Laurent
514-903-1631
restaurantcadet.com

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One block south of Bouillon Bilk in Quartier des Spectacles is its sibling, a former thrift store turned sexy wine bar lit by hoop-shaped chandeliers. Frank Ocean plays over a well-dressed crowd busy with Caesar-dressed shrimp guédilles and glasses of pleasantly oxidized Slovenian white from the natural-leaning wine card. Trust the black-pantsuited server when she recommends the baked broccoli with creamy labneh and crunchy spätzle.
Photo: Mickael Bandassak

Cafe Linnea

Chef Kelsey Johnson
Cuisine: French
Edmonton, AB


Holland Plaza, 10932 119th St. NW
780-758-1160
cafelinnea.ca

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By day, sunshine streams through the skylight, as a Duchess Bakery alum serves signature Earl-Grey-and-lavender tea alongside buckwheat galettes topped with fiddleheads and Délice de Bourgogne. In the evening, candles flicker against the brick walls of this renovated industrial building. Sip a smoky dry cider from Brittany and cut into an impeccably seared pork chop partnered with creamed stinging nettles. Yogurt pannacotta spritzed with St-Germain is a choice closer, noon or night.
Photo: Sarah Hervieux

Canis

Chef Jeff Kang
Cuisine: Contemporary
Toronto, ON


746 Queen St. W.
416-203-3317
canisrestaurant.com

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There are no wrong choices on the prix-fixe menu showcasing creative, colourful cooking driven by ingredients that reflect a truly cosmopolitan Toronto. The Queen West room’s minimalist wood-and-concrete decor keeps you focused on a parade of new flavours. A mesmerizing first course sees sweet raw scallop in fermented green tomato broth with herbal notes of lemon basil and flowering coriander. And a brilliant dessert puts Campari-soaked cherries on koji-infused barley ice cream.

Chartier

Chef Steven Brochu
Cuisine: French-Canadian
Beaumont, AB


5012 50th St., #102
780-737-3633
dinechartier.com

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In this small Prairie-French farming community, foodies flock to a stylish Kickstarter-funded bistro to revel in hearty Québécois cooking. Dip tempura green beans, which come in a maple syrup tin, into a smoked maple mayonnaise dotted with Mexican mole chili oil. Classic ‘80s rock and hip hop and a tobacco-syrup-laced Riel old-fashioned provide liquid courage for attacking a platter of Nova Scotia lobster on poutine sauced in rich bisque.
Photo: Cole Hofstra

Clementine

Chef Roger Létourneau
Cuisine: French
Edmonton, AB


11957 Jasper Ave. NW
780-756-4570
barclementine.ca

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Bentwood chairs and marble tabletops lend a fin-de-siècle familiarity to this not-quite-French bistro full of pleasing twists and turns. Case in point: the duck breast comes with oven-crisped leeks with shiitakes, in a duck broth unexpectedly spiked with Korean gochujang. To complement the food, cocktail collective the Volstead Act shakes up teacup-full of Japanese whisky with lemongrass and matcha for equal parts comfort and creativity.
Photo: Shane Hauser

Clementine Cafe

Chefs Chris Gama and Adam Donnelly
Cuisine: Brunch
Winnipeg, MB


123 Princess St.
204-942-9497
clementinewinnipeg.com

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This is brunch in 2017: the Dude, a tonka-bean-milk twist on a White Russian, followed by mushrooms on puffy sourdough smothered in South Asian coconut curry and dusted with Egyptian dukkah. The team behind Segovia was inspired by Australia’s serious morning meals for this subterranean space, where a neon sign reads “Eat This It’ll Help.” That applies equally to a meaty Italian primitivo or to tomatoes with coconut-milk ricotta and Thai green curry oil.
Photo: Xandra Photography

Deane House

Chef Jamie Harling
Cuisine: Canadian
Calgary, AB


806 9th Ave. SE
403-264-0595
deanehouse.com

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Relax on the enclosed veranda at a century-old farmhouse overlooking the Elbow River. The pros behind the River Café cater to a sophisticated crowd with smoky Laphroaig-forward Foibles & Sins cocktails and panzanella salads with walnuts, housemade ricotta and Red Fife sourdough croutons. A shallow bowl of Artisan sake rice and shiitakes swimming in a rich mushroom dashi is a comfort-food adventure in umami.
Photo: Chris Amat

Fayuca

Chefs Ernesto Gomez and Jair Tellez
Cuisine: Mexican
Vancouver, BC


1009 Hamilton St.
604-689-8523
fayuca.ca

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The cuisine of Mexico’s Pacific Northwest cruises up the coast, bringing the slow-building heat of a red adobo sauce to luscious local ling cod. Slink into Innit Designs’ Acapulco chairs and sip damiana-leaf-infused margaritas alongside the young Yaletown professionals who gather here after work. The buñuelo mexicano, a crisped tortilla topped with grilled mango and charred gooeseberry and drizzled with cane-sugar caramel, is a perfectly sweet adiós.
Photo: Hanna McLean

Grey Gardens

Chefs Mitch Bates and Peter Jensen
Cuisine: Wine Bar
Toronto, ON


199 Augusta Ave.
647-351-1552
greygardens.ca

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A boisterous romanticism pervades the Kensington Market satellite of the Black Hoof empire. Cava-spritz sippers gather around the bars while candles flicker on intimate tables laden with small plates. Watch chefs in the open kitchen compose a fun dish of tender-crisp snow peas with shaved squid, hollandaise, soy and mustard oil. A lively Czech pinot-zweigelt from the globe-hopping wine list has just enough tannins to stand up to the sweet and fatty sugar-encrusted slow-cooked brisket.
Photo: Alix Critchley

Hayloft

Chef Jason Barton-Browne
Cuisine: Canadian-Italian
Airdrie, AB


403 Mackenzie Way SW, #5101
403-980-8123
haylofton8th.com

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Inside a strip-mall complex lies an open kitchen and on-trend salvaged barn-door bar, clues that this is refined city dining transported to Calgary’s distant outskirts. Experienced Italian cooking relies on rural neighbours: a delightfully umami goat cheese made by retired ballet dancers in nearby Acme tops tender pappardelle with fennel pork sausage. Local ranch strip steak, grilled over creamy parmesan polenta, deserves that decanted Chianti Classico.

Jackpot Chicken Rice

Chefs Craig Wong and Jacky Lo
Cuisine: Tropical
Toronto, ON


318 Spadina Ave.
416-792-8628
jackpotchickenrice.com

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The main event at this bubbly Chinatown snack bar is Hainanese chicken: The legs are deboned and poached in a stock infused with garlic and pandan leaf, then served with a bracing ginger-scallion dipping sauce. Earl Grey rum punch, Thai-style Granny Smith apple salad and wooden buckets of fragrant schmaltz-cooked rice will make you smile like the Chinese baby holding a watermelon in Jackpot’s immense Technicolor graffiti mural.
Photo: Barb Simkova

La Banane

Chefs Brandon Olsen and Basilio Pesce
Cuisine: French
Toronto, ON


227 Ossington Ave.
416-551-6263
labanane.ca

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French elegance is alive and well in an energetic Ossington bistro from a Bar Isabel alum, with a banana frond mural and a disco soundtrack. Match a glass of white Bordeaux with poached white asparagus generously sauced in a tangy tarragon-spiked gribiche. A show-stopping baked sea bass is presented tableside in salt-dough lattice, and then served with a yuzu beurre blanc and turned zucchini.
Photo: Rick O'Brien

Lake Inez

Chef Robbie Hojilla
Cuisine: Asian
Toronto, ON


1471 Gerrard St. E.
416-792-1590
lakeinezto.com

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After crushing some panko-crusted katsu cauliflower and tapping the Burdock passion-fruit sour ale, the eclecticism of this candlelit craft-beer pub makes sense. A Gothic mosaic of Kate Bush and Virginia Woolf stands guard over the 18 tap lines of Ontario brews that complement pan-Asian sharing dishes. Many skew Filipino: try the kinilaw, a flavour-packed ceviche of B.C. snapper in a creamy coconut-vinegar marinade that you scoop up with fried cassava chips.
Photo: Robbie Hojilla

Little Oak

Chef Daniel Purvis
Cuisine: Seasonal
Halifax, NS


Bishop’s Landing, 1475 Lower Water St.
littleoakbar.ca

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This white-oak-panelled waterfront resto bar, from the Agricola Street Brasserie team, devotes as much interior space to bottle storage as it does to bistro tables. Bring a big appetite for small plates of pickled shrimp, compressed watermelon panzanella and a slab of sweet salmon rillettes. To go with the delicate pineapple-and-nori-studded tuna poke featured on the daily chalkboard menu, the smart somm chooses a Spanish skin-fermented garnacha blanca.
Photo: Jessica Emin

LOV

Chef Stéphanie Audet
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Montreal, QC


464, rue McGill
438-387-1326
lov.com

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This Old Montreal hot spot is all granola glam, offering plant-driven dishes in a space dotted with terrariums and white wishbone chairs. Clients in linen tank tops take up steak knives to attack tender wedges of grilled celery root topped with plump quinoa grains, fennel ribbons and crunchy poppy seeds. Mother Nature would approve of the mezcal-and-coffee-based Sierra Madre cocktail, enriched with woodsy pine syrup.
Photo: Patricia Brochu

Mak N Ming

Chef Makoto Ono
Cuisine: French-Japanese
Vancouver, BC


1629 Yew St.
604-737-1155
maknming.com

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This intimate red-cedar-clad Kitsilano room dovetails French elegance and Japanese precision. Butter-poached lobster is even more gratifying with an inventive accompaniment of potato-two-ways: roasted in a reduced cream sauce infused with a hit of green nori oil, and blanched in tender-crisp ribbons dressed with nori vinaigrette and spruce tips. Try it with a Sardinian vermentino-chardonnay for thrilling brightness. The kasu semifreddo with rose-petal jelly perfumes the tail end of the tasting menu.
Photo: Glasfurd & Walker

Marconi

Chef Mehdi Brunet-Benkritly
Cuisine: Seasonal
Montreal, QC


45, av. Mozart O.
514-490-0777
marconimontreal.com

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The chatty crowd bursts into applause when the kitchen finishes pounding a terrific bison carpaccio, which arrives topped with spicy nasturtium leaves. At this corner bistro in Mile Ex, aromatic white gazpacho is poured à table. There’s dashi gelée and shredded nori to accompany the lime-cured Arctic char. And a sprightly Quebec rosé is waiting in the wooden wine cooler, a restored dépanneur fridge salvaged from the building’s former occupant.
Photo: Mickael Bandassak

Moleskine

Chef Frédéric St-Aubin
Cuisine: Italian
Montreal, QC


3412, av. du Parc
514-903-6939
www.moleskinerestaurant.com

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Choose your own adventure at this split-level space by the Pullman wine bar team. There’s Nordika pizza with creamed leeks and sweet shrimp on the fun-loving lower level; upstairs, suppertime gets more serious with stacked sheets of fazzoletti pasta with lobster in a cognac-based tomato bisque. The Tuscan rosé is a good anytime-anyplace choice, as is the house soft-serve with cherry compote and chocolate nemesis cake.
Photo: Dominique Lafond

Montgomery’s

Chef Guy Rawlings
Cuisine: Seasonal
Toronto, ON


996 Queen St. W.
647-748-4416
montgomerysrestaurant.com

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There’s a sense of Scandinavia’s swinging 1970s at Montgomery’s, with refurbished teak furniture and textured wall hangings behind its Queen West storefront. Indulge in a delicious bowl of charred curly endive in a nourishing broth made from pork, beef and duck bones. Your smiley server takes a knee to talk wine before returning with a magnum of orange Greco di Tufo, which holds up to the 45-day-aged PEI shoulder steak.
Photo: Renée Suen

Riviera

Chefs Matthew Carmichael and Jordan Holley
Cuisine: Fine Dining
Ottawa, ON


62 Sparks St.
613-233-6262
dineriviera.com

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There’s a lot of deal-making and bread-breaking under the soaring ceiling of a Sparks Street bank turned temple to old-school power banqueting. Start with Scotch in a Penicillin cocktail speared with candied ginger. Then get an unimpeachable chicken Kiev, panko-breaded and flash-fried to seal a reservoir of sharp garlic butter. Finish with the hazelnut cream Paris–Brest, the team behind El Camino and Datsun will have you signing on the dotted line.
Photo: Chris Lalonde

Summit

Chef Terry Pichor
Cuisine: Italian
Malahat, BC


600 Ebadora Lane
250-856-0188
villaeyrie.com/summit-restaurant

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Stunning views of Saanich Inlet stretch out beyond this white-tablecloth dining room at the Villa Eyrie resort, now a destination for motorsport fanatics. An Italian-in-name risotto with peppery shredded rabbit welcomes West Coast freshness with spring-onion broth and shredded mint grown in the on-site gardens. Match the juicy alder-smoked Cornish hen with a rich white ortega from nearby Blue Grouse winery.

The Salted Vine

Chef Jeff Park
Cuisine: Seasonal
Squamish, BC


37991 2nd Ave.
604-390-1910
saltedvine.ca

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From a team of Araxi veterans, a neo-bistro unpretentious enough to suit its former mining and logging community yet polished enough to entice Vancouverites to drive an hour for dinner. The drink of choice is a potent rum-cherry-espresso-driven Black Dyke cocktail. Use it to wash down the duck and bison salume on a top-notch charcuterie platter. Aji amarillo sauce and yuzu gel up the exoticism of the Hokkaido scallop crudo, served with fresh potato chips.

Tiradito

Chef Marcel Olivier Larrea
Cuisine: Peruvian Nikkei
Montreal, QC


1076, rue Bleury
514-866-6776
tiraditomtl.com

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Pink neon glows and electro-pop plays as you pull up a stool for bar snacks rooted in Nikkei cuisine, a Japanese branch of traditional Peruvian fare. Don’t miss the namesake tiradito, sashimi-cut tuna drizzled in spicy miso sauce. Stir your lime-and-ginger-spiked pisco chilcano with a lemongrass stalk. Then it’s on to the octopus anticucho skewered atop little mounds of avocado and causa potato. Last call is a killer Alfajores cookie with custardy vanilla ice cream.
Photo: Influencr Agency

Wolfe of Wortley

Chefs Justin Wolfe and Kyle Rose
Cuisine: Canadian
London, ON


147 Wortley Rd.
519-854-6004
wolfeofwortley.com

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An Encrusted Nail – Drambuie and Scotch freshened with lemon and maraschino – is the first thing to order in this wedge-shaped dining room in Wortley Village. Ontario produce stars on clever dishes such as roasted squash over a faintly smoky zucchini-and-green-olive purée. As Chaka Khan lays down some funk, a chef extends his tattooed arm to present your grilled octopus finished in rendered charcuterie oil.
Photo: Mariam Waliji