When Air Canada’s enRoute magazine announces their list of Canada’s Best New Restaurants there is always a lot of buzz. More than once, I’ve been asked to grab an extra copy or two from the plane just so a friend can get an official copy of this annual list. Everyone gets a little thrill to see one of their own favourites on the short list and it’s even more fun to find out you’ve eaten at enRoute Canada’s Best New Restaurant. And of course to compare your thoughts to the ones that wrote up the list.
This year you don’t have to wait, silently, to hear what other people think. You can help choose the winner in enRoute’s new People’s Choice Award – EatandVote.com There are 35 restaurants nominated, cross-Canada favourites from Fogo Island Inn in Joe Batt’s Arm, NL to Hudson’s on First in Duncan, BC.
More than just a popularity contest, Air Canada’s enRoute magazine seeks out new restaurants opened during the past year that advance the Canadian culinary identity; they are places where the overall dining experience will have a lasting and significant impact on our restaurant culture.
The restaurants nominated are:
- The Acorn, Vancouver,
- BarBounya, Montreal,
- Bar Isabel, Toronto,
- Le Bouchon du Pied Bleu, Quebec City,
- Burdock & Co., Vancouver,
- Café Boulud, Toronto,
- Candela Lounge, Calgary,
- Canteen, Edmonton,
- Carino Bistro, Calgary,
- Carmen, Toronto,
- Ça Va Bistro Moderne, Victoria,
- Daishō, Toronto,
- Electric Mud BBQ, Toronto,
- España, Vancouver,
- Fogo Island Inn, Fogo Island, NL,
- Gezellig, Ottawa,
- Heirloom, Vancouver,
- Hôtel Herman, Montreal,
- Hudson’s on First, Duncan, BC,
- Kinton Ramen, Toronto,
- Maison Publique, Montreal,
- Market, Calgary,
- Mezcla, Montreal,
- Momofuku Noodle Bar, Toronto,
- Oddseoul, Toronto,
- Patria, Toronto,
- Pidgin, Vancouver,
- La Planque, Quebec City,
- Porzia, Toronto,
- Richmond Station, Toronto,
- Shōtō, Toronto,
- Supply & Demand, Ottawa,
- Union Local 613, Ottawa,
- Vij’s Railway Express, Vancouver,
- Wildebeest, Vancouver.
It’s pretty easy to vote and you even get entered for a chance to win a trip for 2 to Toronto and the gala event along with the use of a Jaguar or Land Rover while you are here – EatandVote.com
I asked a couple of the Toronto chefs to share some thoughts about their restaurants. Here is what I got back:
Carl from Richmond Station
What dish do you serve that you think best represents Richmond Station?
The entire chalkboard menu that changes twice a day. Its a great representation of great food that we have around made into a delicious dish. At lunch we might feature a bbq beef brisket sandwich with a smoked new potato salad and at dinner it might be a simple heirloom tomato salad with house made ricotta or a grilled pork loin served with beautiful local vegetables.
What is the food philosophy?
Our food philosophy is ingredient inspired and technique driven. We find the best ingredients and them decide how we will use them.
or, more simply, how would you describe Richmond Station to your best friend?
Richmond Station is a stopping place, a bustling neighborhood restaurant in Toronto’s downtown core. We are committed to delicious food and excellent hospitality.
Bas from Porzia
What dish do you serve that you think best represents Porzia?
Either the Cavallo Tonnato, chicken liver agnolotti or the octopus. All have been on the menu pretty much since day one. We also change our menu 2/3 times a week.
or, more simply, how would you describe Porzia to your best friend?
We take a very casual, unpretentious approach to amazing food and service. We have modern versions of classic italian dishes. Simply, our food looks and tastes like food, and our staff genuinely care about our guests.
Aki from Kinton Ramen
What dish do you serve that best represents Kinton Ramen?
We provide the most authentic Japanese tonkotsu ramen dishes, but also encourage unique and original ideas. The Spicy Garlic Ramen, a pork broth ramen flavored with 4 kinds of chill pepper and spices, fully encompasses this motto.
What is your food philosophy?
Ramen is a very simple noodle dish, and therefore, the chef’s skill is honestly portrayed in a single bowl. This is why I am very particular about the preparation that goes into my cooking. I spend more than 20 hours to cook the soup, made from both fresh local ingredients and imported Japanese flavoring to achieve the authentic flavor, preparation that is necessary in order to provide customers with a noodle dish at the highest quality.
How would you describe your restaurant to your best friend?
Kinton Ramen is not just a restaurant. The staff are not just servers or cooks. We are all entertainers and artists who combine great food, drinks, interior design, music and service into one lively atmosphere with the aim of leaving customers satisfied and wanting to return again.