With COVID-19 restrictions now lifted, restaurants are facing staffing shortages and higher food costs; nevertheless, many are doing well.
As this year’s Canada’s Best Restaurants ranking demonstrates, Montreal and Toronto continue to reign supreme. Yet there are numerous worthy establishments throughout Canada that warrant consideration; here are just a few:.
1. Mon Lapin
Mon Lapin stands as one of Canada’s finest restaurants, combining exquisite food, warm atmosphere and outstanding service to deliver an unforgettable dining experience. Tucked away on Saint-Zotique street is this treasure that provides decadent-meets-earthy dishes as well as an extensive natural wine list – not to mention an unforgettable personal service experience.
At this restaurant, ingredients change according to season, enabling Executive Chef Marc Oliver Frappier to craft menus that feel fresh and unique – like goose egg with rapini or smoked eel carbonara. In addition, local produce such as mushrooms, seafood and herbs from Jean-Talon Market are used in its recipes.
Mathys Hadida is a quietly charismatic chef, offering playful yet original cuisine at prices nearly any diner can afford. Drawing inspiration from old-school kitchens in Germany and Vancouver as well as his formative summer working at Noma as a stagiaire, Hadida creates restaurants that are immensely enjoyable – from Supply & Demand (a hybrid raw bar-bistro) to his delicious baked Alaska for two featuring spice cake, cream cheese gelato and haskap berries!
This year, Toronto’s Alo moved from third to second on Canada’s 100 Best list, moving up one spot from last year. A spin-off of Los Angeles yoga lifestyle brand Alo Yoga, it specializes in plant-based cuisine that’s delicious yet health-oriented – according to Canada’s 100 Best’s website it’s been described as delicious yet satisfying and wholesome!
A panel of over 130 food enthusiasts from across the country formed by The Judging Panel awarded points to restaurants that offer exceptional dining experiences, from service, decor, cellar depth and ingredient quality – to how the kitchen uses them effectively.
Ottawa’s culinary scene made an outstanding debut this year when Ottawa earned eight spots on this year’s list. Major Tom on the 40th floor of Stephen Avenue Place earned top honors; other noteworthy restaurants included Alice on Adeline Street for cutting-edge plant-based dining (31st place); and River Cafe from Calgary which pioneered careful, local seasonal sourcing both nationally and locally.
Get yourself to Michael Caballo and Tobey Nemeth’s restaurant can seem as impossible as finding unicorns or four-leaf clover flowers, but once you do you’ll discover menu offerings that span from refined to rusticated dishes crafted by Chef Gus Stieffenhofer-Brandson’s German and Vancouver upbringing, as well as his formative summer at Noma Copenhagen; yet still feel distinctly Torontonian in flavor.
Ottawa restaurants had the strongest showing among any Canadian city on this list; eight eateries from Ottawa made the grade, led by Alice on Adeline Street’s innovative plant-based cuisine.
Ottawa was home to numerous notable restaurants, including Atelier (85th) and Perch, a small eatery that proves luxurious tasting-menu dining is possible in Canada’s capital city. Other notables were Bar Kismet (12th), Nova Scotia’s highest ever ranking ever (the highest ever ever for any Nova Scotia restaurant), Vancouver’s Published on Main, as well as Toronto’s Bistro On Main – all featured here amongst many others! Click here for the 2023 rankings which incorporate input from over 135 hospitality professionals and food critics who pay themselves.
4. Restaurant at Pearl Morissette
Restaurant at Pearl Morissette in Niagara is an oasis for fine dining aficionados who appreciate intricate flavors and have faith in gifted chefs, with co-chefs Daniel Hadida and Eric Robertson having opened it on their acclaimed winery in 2017. Since then, it has become a sought-after Canadian destination with their distinct approach to cuisine that prefers local ingredients over imported ones like olive oil or chocolate; their menu primarily features things grown at the restaurant itself with cod and razor clam shipments arriving regularly from East Coast sustainable fishermen who bring fresh cod and razor clam shipments regularly from East Coast sustainable fishermen for sustainable fishermen to coordinate.
Jordan Station restaurant’s panoramic photos showcase an iconic black barn set against vineyards; this landmark structure made enRoute magazine’s best new list in 2018. Although their dining area upstairs remains closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year there is now also Le Pre downstairs which chef Matty Mathys describes as being like “a little piece of Canada abroad”.
Jacob Richler led an unprecedented 135 judge panel in voting for Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants 2023 edition, led by Editor-in-Chief Jacob Richler. Montreal’s Mon Lapin earned top honors while Toronto restaurants Alo and Edulis tied for second and third.
5. 20 Victoria
Ottawa residents looking for their perfect dining spot this year should check out Alice on Adeline Street, which ranked 31st. It marks Ottawa’s highest placement since 2023 and second-best ever appearance on this list.
As well as some GTA restaurants, this list is dominated by Montreal and Toronto with 27 spots each. As evidence of our dining scene’s maturing past its tasting-menu phase of early 2010, more restaurants from cities other than those two metro areas are appearing.
Published on Main in Vancouver is highlighted alongside Lupo in Banff, Halifax Biera and Calgary River Cafe as examples of Canada’s vibrant food culture that’s deeply rooted in local landscape and culture – an aspect which makes this country special and so the 2023 list is an effort to celebrate that. Innovation and disruption are not simply revolutionizing how we dine; they’re altering it altogether!
As travellers reenter restaurants following the release of lockdown orders, it is essential to remember that not all Canadian cuisine is created equal. Each province boasts their own distinct culinary personality: Quebec is famous for its French roots; Ontario for produce and wine; Prairies have wheat for choice beef production while Westerners relish Atlantic salmon and Arctic char dishes.
Montreal restaurants dominated this year’s list, boasting 27 establishments – with Mon Lapin being at the top. Toronto also made an impactful showing, with Alo, Edulis and 20 Victoria ranking among Canada’s best eateries.
Riviera ranks 49th for their Sparks Street restaurant, which is popular with Ottawa politicos and power players who come here to dine and entertain guests. Supply and Demand took 62nd for its inventive small plates in Ottawa; 18 restaurants from Greater Toronto Area (including Collingwood and Cambridge day trip destinations), 18 from Vancouver, 10 from Calgary, seven from Edmonton, four in Halifax and two in Winnipeg were also included on this list – view it all here.
Ottawa was proud to make history when this year’s list was unveiled, with eight restaurants making the grade. Alice stands out among them all as it ranks 31st nationally while also taking top honours among newly opened restaurants in Ottawa. North & Navy placed 96th for chef-owner Justin Champagne-Lagarde’s refined tasting menus; while two-time Canadian Culinary Championship winner Marc Lepine proved extravagant tasting menus are possible here too.
Richler describes this year’s list as indicative of an increasingly “healthier” restaurant industry, with 27 Montreal eateries (Mon Lapin being at the top), 18 Toronto ones, 10 Vancouver ones, 7 Calgary ones, four Halifax ones and 2 each from Winnipeg and Bay Fortune P.E.I.
Notable rankings this year include Edmonton’s deer + almond and Maque restaurants earning the 57th and 58th spots respectively, Vancouver’s Published on Main landing 20th place and Bar Kismet receiving their highest-ever ranking for an eatery from Nova Scotia. As travel is back on the agenda, this coast-to-coast list can serve as the ideal way to embark on your culinary adventure!
Making Canada’s 100 Best list doesn’t just bring applause from readers; it sends shockwaves through the country. This year’s Canada’s 100 Best features an impressive roster of eateries across Canada from coast to coast; Montreal’s Mon Lapin, Toronto’s Alo and Vancouver’s Published on Main were all named among this year’s top three.
Alice Restaurant in Ottawa stands out as an enthusiastic take on classic dishes that has quickly become a local favourite. Run by husband-and-wife duo Steve and Jen Wall from Labrador and New Brunswick respectively, their menu constantly evolves due to constant innovation – from tweaking recipes to adding new ingredients into the mix!
Hadida and Robertson are committed to thoughtful local sourcing. You’ll find names of farms, ranches and cheese dairies scattered throughout their menu. Their garden provides vegetables, herbs and fruit; plus there’s fruit-flavored vinegar made on-site that makes you wish you lived nearby (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Alice). (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Alice).