Top 50 Restaurants in Canada 2012: Vij’s is No. 1

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Posted April 26, 2012 by Adrian Brijbassi in Food & Drink Reviews

Report by Adrian Brijbassi
Vacay.ca Managing Editor

A restaurant that had been put up for sale during its early days, whose first landlord complained about the smell of the cooking and which nearly shut down after only two months has risen to be the best restaurant in the nation.

Vij’s in Vancouver was ranked No. 1 in the inaugural Vacay.ca Top 50 Restaurants in Canada List, a survey of 15 judges who include leading food writers, industry insiders and culinary aficionados from across the country, as well as the general public. When told of the news, Vij’s proprietor, Vikram Vij, said he was “overjoyed.” The restaurants on the list were announced on a Twitter countdown using the #Vacay50 hashtag.

The People’s Choice award went to Ottawa’s Atelier, headed by chef Marc Lepine, the winner of this year’s Canadian Culinary Championships. Among the surprises on the Vacay.ca list was the Duke of Duckworth, a St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador pub that is renowned on the east coast for its fish and chips and appearances on the CBC series “Republic of Doyle.” It ranked 10th overall, earning one first-place vote. Toronto led all cities with 13 restaurants on the list, topped by fourth-ranked The Black Hoof, known for its charcuterie plates that can include such odd fare as Lamb’s Brains Ravioli and Horse’s Heart.

Vij’s led Vancouver’s 11 entries. Long before this accolade, Vij’s was a unique Canadian success story. When it opened in September 1994, Vij served as cook, host and waiter to the handful of customers who came into the original location on West Broadway. Business was so light, the restaurant was put up for sale and Vij contemplated closing it, in part because the landlord fretted over the odour of the Indian food.

“He said it smells. It hurt my feelings. I remember thinking that I should go back to cooking French food,” said Vij, who previously worked at Bishop’s, one of Vancouver’s landmark fine-dining spots.

Now, patrons routinely wait 90 minutes for a seat in Vij’s on 11th Avenue in the city’s South Granville neighbourhood. Critics around the world have lauded the restaurant, its cookbooks are bestsellers in Canada and its owner has risen to the status of celebrity chef.

“Seriously, can anyone in North America even come close to offering the nuance and complexity of Indian food like Vikram Vij? He does it in one of the most laid-back dining rooms, despite the seriousness with which he approaches regional Indian food, while constantly checking in on guests — even serving snacks to those waiting outside,” says ABC Chicago’s Steve Dolinsky, one of the Vacay.ca judges, as well as the chairperson of the Midwest US/Canada Region of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants List (unaffiliated with the Vacay.ca survey). “I have literally re-routed my flights to have enough layover time in Vancouver so I could make the pilgrimage.”

Vij says the accomplishment of being named No. 1 is an indication that his cuisine that he fought so hard for has delivered validation for both himself and his homeland.

“If 18 years ago, you said an Indian restaurant would win something like this, people would’ve scoffed, they would’ve laughed,” Vij says. “This makes me feel that I’ve done justice to my culture and my country.”

It also indicates how inclusive Canadian palates have become. Renee Suen, another Vacay.ca judge and a noted food reporter for Toronto Life, says, “All in all, Vij’s embraces all that is Canada: a celebration of our multi-culturalism, acceptance of foreign flavours and utilization of ‘local’ ingredients, friendly and hospitable service, and a generosity of spirit.”

Of the 15 judges’ ballots, two listed Vij’s at the top while four others had the restaurant in the top five. Langdon Hall (No. 2), The Black Hoof and Canoe (8th) each appeared on five judges’ ballots and earned a No. 1 vote.

To learn more about the list and how it was determined, visit the Top 50 Restaurants in Canada webpage, where you will also find some of the People’s Choice nominations.

Here’s the complete list of the Vacay.ca Top 50 Restaurants in Canada for 2012:

1. Vij’s, Vancouver, British Columbia
Website: www.vijs.ca. Phone: 604-736-6664. Cuisine: Indian.
Price range: $24-$28.50 for main courses.
Steve Dolinsky says: “Seriously, can anyone in North America even come close to offering the nuance and complexity of Indian food like Vikram Vij? He does it in one of the most laid-back dining rooms, despite the seriousness with which he approaches regional Indian food, while constantly checking in on guests — even serving snacks to those waiting outside. I have literally re-routed my flights to have enough layover time in Vancouver so I could make the pilgrimage.”
You must order: Wine-marinated Lamb Popsicles ($28.50).

Langdon-Hall

No. 2: Langdon Hall is housed in a country estate on the plush grounds in Cambridge, Ontario. (Julia Pelish/Vacay.ca)

2. Langdon Hall, Cambridge, Ontario
Website: www.langdonhall.ca. Phone: 519-740-2100. Cuisine: Canadian.
Price range: $34-$49 for main courses.
Adrian Brijbassi says: “Jonathan Gushue demonstrates that Canadian cuisine exists — and it wouldn’t look out of place at the head of an international table of dishes.”
See the video and read more of the Vacay.ca report on Langdon Hall
You must order: White-tailed Ontario Deer with Chestnuts, Smoked Venison Bacon, Anjou Pear and more ($49).

3. Joe Beef, Montreal, Quebec
Website: www.joebeef.ca. Phone: 514-935-6504. Cuisine: Steak & Seafood.
Price range: $31-$50 for main courses.
Steve Dolinsky says: “One of the great things about the new wave of talent in the food industry has been the emergence of ‘fuck you’ restaurants. I mean that in a good way. They’re the places where you dine at the chef’s whim. There are no substitutions; you don’t get the dressing on the side; the eggs are already jellied and the offal is already poached. If you don’t like it, too bad, because there’s a line of people waiting to get in who are eager to explore the menus, jam-packed with bold flavours. Joe Beef is a little like this.” Click to read more.
You must order: Whatever is the special that night ;)

4. The Black Hoof, Toronto, Ontario
Website: www.theblackhoof.com. Phone: 416-551-8854. Cuisine: Charcuterie.
Price range: Share plates, $8-$25.
Renée  Suen says: “Once a culinary mecca for the offal bits, ‘The Hoof’ as it’s so affectionately called, has soared to new heights now that chef de cuisine Brandon Olsen is at its helm. Although the focus is still on the nasty bits (and they still don’t take reservations), brilliant numbers like Blood Custard and Foie & Nutella have become new signatures beside the standard Tongue on Brioche that its ex-executive chef (Grant van Gameren) made famous.”
You must order: Foie & Nutella ($25).

5. Atelier, Ottawa, Ontario — PEOPLE’S CHOICE WINNER 2012!
Website: www.atelierrestaurant.ca. Phone: 613-321-3537. Cuisine: Avant Garde Fine Dining.
Price range: Set price for tasting menu: $95.
Vacay.ca Reader Melanie Jadore says: “What a great idea — a top 50 list is for Canadian restaurants! If I only get one vote, I have to vote for Atelier in Ottawa, the best meal of my life.”
You must order: The tasting menu, of course! It’s constantly changing.

6. Les 400 Coups, Montreal, Quebec
Website: www.les400coups.ca. Phone: 514-985-0400. Cuisine: Contemporary French.
Price range: Up to $30 for main courses.
Gizelle Lau says: “From start to finish, Les 400 Coups in Montreal takes you through a journey that teases your senses with sophisticated techniques and concepts that translate into beautifully crafted, artful dishes in flavour and appearance. Using top-quality produce and playful textures to traditional profiles, you’ll find concepts like Beef Tartare with Mustard Ice Cream or Mackerel served with spaghetti made from squash. Although it’s less than two years old, if the inspiration that’s fuelling Les 400 Coups is as determined as it seems on the plate, then we’ll see this Vieux-Montreal restaurant soar into the same space as greats like one of its biggest inspirations: Eleven Madison Park.”
See the video and read the Vacay.ca report on Les 400 Coups
You must order: Beef Tartare with Mustard Ice Cream ($15).

7. L’Abattoir, Vancouver, British Columbia
Website: www.labattoir.ca. Phone: 604-568-1701. Cuisine: West Coast.
Price range: Small plates, $13-$29.
Renée Suen says: “Solid. From a good cocktail list to an even better savoury menu that’s tight and simply very very good. Throw in an order of the pan fried veal sweetbreads on toast and the meal becomes stellar.”
Read Vacay.ca’s report on L’Abattoir
You must order: Warm Steelhead and Potato Salad ($15) — and a few cocktails.

8. Canoe, Toronto, Ontario
Website: www.oliverbonacini.com/Canoe.aspx. Phone: 416-364-0054. Cuisine: Canadian.
Price range: $39-$49 for main courses.
Paul Brans says: “I really believe that without Canoe the whole idea of ‘Canadiana’ cuisine would not exist — at least not to the same extent or with the same amount of popularity. It has been a leader in championing local food and what Canadian cuisine truly has to offer.”
You must order: Aged Bone-in Ontario Beef Tenderloin ($49).

9. Rouge, Calgary, Alberta
Website: www.rougecalgary.com. Phone: 403-531-2767. Cuisine: French.
Price range: $36-$84 for main courses.
Diana Ng says: “It is hard to imagine the high level of fine dining and perfection from the unassuming and aged exterior of this restaurant converted from a house built in 1891, but chef Paul Rogalski and his team churn out creative dishes with impeccable ingredients from local suppliers and their on-site garden.”
See the video and read the Vacay.ca report on Rouge
You must order: AAA Alberta Beef Chateaubriand, Bone Marrow and Foie Gras Spring Roll, Potato Rösti ($84 for Two).

10. Duke of Duckworth, St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador
Website: www.dukeofduckworth.com. Phone: 709-739-6344. Cuisine: Pub Grub.
Price range: $7.99-$14.99.
Cailin O’Neil says: “The Duke of Duckworth has recently exploded in popularity due to its spotlight on the CBC series ‘Republic of Doyle.’ But dedicated patrons will tell you it’s long been the best pub in downtown St. John’s AND it has the town’s best fish and chips with their not-so-secret ingredient dressing!”
Read the Vacay.ca report on the Duke of Duckworth
You must order: The fish & chips. The fish & chips. Everyone: The fish & chips! ($10.99 and up).

11. Sushi Kaji, Toronto, Ontario
Website: www.sushikaji.com. Phone: 416-252-2166. Cuisine: Japanese.
Price range: $100-$120 for tasting menus (no a la carte).
Gizelle Lau says: “Incredible sushi and omakase menu – Kaji opens your eyes to what true Japanese sushi/food can be when there’s the care, attention, detail and passion.”
You must order: With only two choices, you may as well spend the extra $20 and get the Takumi omakase menu for $120.

12. Araxi, Whistler, British Columbia
Website: www.araxi.com. Phone: 604-932-4540. Cuisine: West Coast/Canadian.
Price range: $22.50-$45 for main courses.
You must order: Wild Alaskan Scallops ($34.50).

13. Tempest, Wolfville, Nova Scotia
Website: www.tempest.ca. Phone: 902-542 0588. Cuisine: Italian.
Price range: $12.95-$24.95 for main courses.
Janine MacLean says: “Wolfville may be one of Nova Scotia’s best kept secrets — and so is this restaurant. I have never had a meal here I haven’t absolutely loved.”
You must order: Roasted Nova Scotia Sea Bass ($24.95).

14. Splendido, Toronto, Ontario
Website: www.splendido.ca. Phone: 416-929-7788. Cuisine: Contemporary French and Italian.
Price range: $39-$45 for main courses; $125 for tasting menu.
Diana Ng says: “As soon as you step into this contemporary fine-dining institution, you are warmly greeted by smiling and helpful staff. The globally inspired menu is expertly executed, like the Roasted Lamb Rack, shoulder and merguez with Niagara eggplant, preserved lemon, yogurt and arugula.”
You must order: Roasted Rack of Lamb ($45)

15. Bearfoot Bistro, Whistler, British Columbia
Website: www.bearfootbistro.com. Phone: 604-932-3433. Cuisine: West Coast.
Price range: Three-course menu, $49; tasting menu, $98.
Barry O’Neill says: “World class. The chef’s five-course tasting menu is a pleasure to your palate.”
You must order: Vancouver Island Black Cod (part of set menu or $10 supplement to add).

16. Bao Bei, Vancouver, British Columbia
Website: www.bao-bei.ca. Phone: 604-688-0876. Cuisine: Chinese fusion.
Price range: Small plates, $6-$20.
You must order: Kick Ass House Fried Rice (price changes daily, but roughly $14).

17. West, Vancouver, British Columbia
Website: www.westrestaurant.com. Phone: 604-738-8938. Cuisine: West Coast.
Price range: $29-$55 for main courses; $58 and up for tasting menus.
You must order: Haida Gwaii Smoked Sablefish ($36).

18. Guu Izakaya, Toronto, Ontario
Website: guu-izakaya.com/toronto. Phone: 416-977-0999. Cuisine: Japanese.
Price range: $1.50-$9.80 per item.
You must order: Salmon Tataki ($6.80).

19. Ruby WatchCo, Toronto, Ontario
Website: www.rubywatchco.ca. Phone: 416-465-0100. Cuisine: Canadian/Comfort Food.
Price range: Menu changes daily; expect to pay in the range of $49 for a four-course meal.
Steve Dolinksy says: “Local celeb chef Lynn Crawford (formerly of The Four Seasons) has returned home after stints in NYC, and has created a comfy restaurant where everything is served family-style. Her passion for local farmers is made evident on every menu.” Click to read more
You must order: Whatever they’re serving that night!

20. Basho, St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador
Website: No website. Phone: 709-576-4600. Cuisine: Japanese.
Price range: $26-$32 for entrées.
Candice Walsh says: “Japanese restaurant, plus other food options. Best dining experience I’ve had in St. John’s.”
You must order: Nigiri and Sushi Roll Assortment ($26).

21. Hawskworth, Vancouver, British Columbia
Website: www.hawksworthrestaurant.com. Phone: 604-673-7000. Cuisine: Contemporary Canadian.
Price range: $26-$38 for entrées.
Renée Suen says: “Refined and welcomed return to fine dining. Good for those seeking elegance, but somewhat safe.”
You must order: 48-hour Beef Shortrib ($16).

22. Yew, Vancouver, British Columbia
Website: www.yewrestaurant.com. Phone: 604-692-4939. Cuisine: Mostly Seafood.
Price range: $24-$45 for main courses.
Katie Marti says: “This is a high-end, fine dining experience that doesn’t take itself too seriously thanks to special promotions like Wine Down Sundays, where every bottle of wine is 50% off all day.”
You must order: Lobster poutine ($17).

23. Ensemble, Vancouver, British Columbia
Website: www.ensemblerestaurant.com. Phone: 604-569-1770. Cuisine: French Contemporary.
Price range: Small plates ranging from $8-$19
Adrian Brijbassi says: “Dale MacKay was named Top Chef Canada for many reasons, all of them on display at this terrific neighbourhood restaurant in the West End.”
Click here to read more of the Vacay.ca report on Ensemble
You must order: Potato Gnocchi ($12) and Black Cod with Thai broth ($18).

24. Salmon n’ Bannock, Vancouver, British Columbia
Website: www.salmonandbannock.net. Phone: 604.568.8971. Cuisine: First Nations
Price range: $10-$24.
Kathleen Kenna says: “No one prepares or serves wild salmon like their all-First Nations staff. Or wild game. Or wild berries. The inventiveness of the menu here is matched by the intimacy of dining amid original First Nations art. There is no other place on the West Coast where you can nibble on candied or smoked salmon under a Haida canoe. This is the only aboriginal restaurant in Vancouver, and the only one I know in Canada that boasts sustainable and local produce in a fine-dining setting. Salmon n’ Bannock also serves Saskatoon berry cider and wines from Nk’Mip Cellars, Canada’s first winery owned and operated by aboriginals.”
You must order: The Salmon and Bannock, duh :) ($16).

25. Salmon House on the Hill, West Vancouver, British Columbia
Website: www.salmonhouse.com. Phone: 604-926-3212. Cuisine: Seafood.
Price range:  $23-$45 for main courses.
Barry O’Neill says: “Famous alder-grilled salmon and spectacular views.”
You must order: Steamed Whole Dungeness Crab ($45).

26. Cabane a Sucre (Martin Picard), Montreal, Quebec
Website: http://cabaneasucreaupieddecochon.com.
Phone: No phone; email reservations only: reservations@cabaneasucreaupieddecochon.com.
Cuisine: Sugar shack cuisine with maple syrup produced on site.
Price range: Set prices based on menu (seasonal; usually around $50 per person)
You must order: Triple Pork, Maple Meille Feuille (menu and prices change often)

27. Pointe Restaurant at the Wickaninnish Inn, Tofino, British Columbia
Website: www.wickinn.com/restaurant.html. Phone: 250-725-3100. Cuisine: Pacific Northwest.
Price range: $32-$39 for entrées.
Adrian Brijbassi says: “This magical place overlooking the Pacific not only has one of the best settings for a restaurant in the world, it delivers as classy a dining experience as you’ll find anywhere in Canada.”
You must order: Dungeness Crab (market price).

28. Scaramouche, Toronto, Ontario
Website: www.scaramoucherestaurant.com. Phone: 416-961-8011. Cuisine: French.
Price range: $36-$47 for entrées.
You must order: Rack of Lamb ($46) and Coconut Cream Pie ($13).

29. Mono Cliffs Inn, Mono, Ontario
Website: www.monocliffsinn.ca. Phone: 519-941-5109. Cuisine: Country-style fine dining.
Price range: $26-$60 per person.
Barry O’Neill says: “Finest in country dining; great variety of food; shrimp linguine is to die for.”
Read the Vacay.ca report on the Mono Cliffs Inn
You must order: Shrimp Linguine ($14).

30. Lighthouse Picnics, Ferryland, Newfoundland & Labrador
Website: www.lighthousepicnics.ca. Phone: 709-363-7456. Cuisine: Casual Picnic-Style.
Price range: About $20 per picnic lunch.
Candice Walsh says: “Outdoor dining experience with a picnic basket. Best lemonade ever created.”
You must order: Seafood Club Sandwich, fresh lemonade.

31. Buca, Toronto, Ontario
Website: www.buca.ca. Phone: 416-865-1600. Cuisine: Italian.
Price range: $15-$25 for entrées.
Diana Ng says: “There is no shortage of Italian restaurants in Toronto, but Buca stands out from the crowd with its proficient use of seasonal ingredients to create simple and light dishes. Pizza is thin and crispy, so much so that servers cut them with scissors.”
You must order: Artisanal Pizza (prices range).

32. Rotisserie Romados, Montreal, Quebec
Website: No website. Phone: 514-849-1803. Cuisine: Portuguese Chicken and Pastries.
Price range: $1 Pastries to $10 Chicken Combo Plates.
Jodi Ettenberg says: “A Portuguese roast chicken restaurant on a busy corner of Montreal’s Plateau area, guaranteed to give you the best chicken you’ve had in years. Whenever I return to Montreal, I go here first. It’s fantastic.”
You must order: The half chicken combo plate (spicy, $10) and natas (Portuguese egg tart, $2).

33. Chambar, Vancouver, British Columbia
Website: www.chambar.com. Phone: 604-879-7119. Cuisine: Modern French.
Price range: $22-$33 for entrées.
You must order: Moules Frites ($22).

34. Murray Street, Ottawa, Ontario
Website: www.murraystreet.ca. Phone: 613-562-7244. Cuisine: Charcuterie and more.
Price range: $10-$80 (for a whole pig head).
Jodi Ettenberg says: “Ottawa meat fans rejoice: this is a restaurant to call your own. Great roasted meats, perfectly cooked vegetables, strong drinks …  and the poutine was also one of the best I’ve ever had. As a Montrealer, I’m sad to report it was outside Quebec!”
You must order: Spaetzle Poutine ($11) and “Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes” ($24).

35. Java Jack’s, Rocky Harbour, Newfoundland & Labrador
Website: javajacksnl.wordpress.com. Phone: 709-458-3004. Cuisine: East Coast Organic
Price range: $16.95-$24.95 for entrées.
Candice Walsh says: “Most ingredients grown in their organic garden. Amazing prices, best $9 fishcakes in the world!”
You must order: Said Fishcakes served with relish ($7.95)

36. Toque, Montreal, Quebec
Website: www.restaurant-toque.com. Phone: 514-499-2084. Cuisine: French.
Price range: $42-$48 for main courses.
You must order: Duck Magret ($48).

37. Acadia, Toronto Ontario
Website: www.acadiarestaurant.com. Phone: 416-792-6002. Cuisine: Southern.
Price range: $15-$24 for main courses.
Renée Suen says: “Innovative, meticulous and modern. Chef Matt Blondin’s mixes low country cuisine with Acadian ingredients (more from the Canadian side of the equation), all matched by scrumptious cocktails and casual southern hospitality.”
You must order: Cornbread with Sweet Potato and Bourbon Butter ($8).

38. Au Pied de Cochon, Montreal, Quebec
Website: www.restaurantaupieddecochon.ca. Phone: 514-281-1114. Cuisine: Quebecois.
Price range: $20-$45.
Renée Suen says: “Gluttony in excess, but a great reward if one steers clear from the stereotypical gut-busting staples and order the other well-balanced (but still gut-busting) menu items.”
You must order: Foie Gras Hamburger ($36).

39. Biff’s Bistro, Toronto, Ontario
Website: www.oliverbonacini.com/Biffs-Bistro.aspx. Phone: 416-860-0086. Cuisine: Modern French.
Price range: $9-$32 for Les Entrees; $21-$36 for Bistro Specialties.
You must order: Beef Bourguignon ($26).

40. Le Champlain at Fairmont Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City, Quebec
Website: www.fairmont.com/frontenac/GuestServices/Restaurants/LeChamplain.htm. Phone: 866-540-4460. Cuisine: French.
Price range: $39-$43 for main courses.
Barry O’Neill says: “Le Champlain features French and continental gastronomy in an intimate atmosphere of old-world charm and hospitable service, best Caesar Salad made at your table which is a show in itself.”
You must order: Rack of Lamb ($49).

41. Sobo, Tofino, British Columbia
Website: www.sobo.ca. Phone: 250-725-2341. Cuisine: Seafood.
Price range: $29-$33 for main courses.
Adrian Brijbassi says: “Who knew fish tacos could be addictive? Although with the number of hippies in Tofino, it shouldn’t be a surprise that they’d find a way.”
You must order: Those Killer Fish Tacos ($6.50).

42. Blue Water Café and Raw Bar, Vancouver, British Columbia
Website: www.bluewatercafe.net. Phone: 604-688-8078. Cuisine: Seafood and Sushi.
Price range: $29.50-$43.50.
You must order: Sashimi Platter ($34).

43. Le Bremner, Montreal, Quebec
Website: crownsalts.com/lebremner. Phone: 514-544-0446. Cuisine: Seafood & Steak.
Price range: $12-$28 (mostly share plates).
You must order: Raw scallop and foie gras torchon ($28).
Read the Vacay.ca report on Le Bremner

44. Origin, Toronto, Ontario
Website: www.origintoronto.com. Phone: 416-603-8009. Cuisine: Tapas, with flavours from around the world.
Price range: Share plates, $6-$79 (for a 32-ounce rib-eye steak).
Diana Ng says: “Showcasing ingredients with minimal manipulation while creating outstanding and unforgettable dishes is easier said than done, but Origin blows the goal out of the water. The selection from the mozzarella bar, namely the Bufala mozzarella with confit tomatoes, basil and preserved lemon, is the perfect example.”
You must order: Tostones with Guacamole ($8).

45.  Wine Bar, Toronto, Ontario
Website: www.9church.com. Phone: 416-504-9463. Cuisine: Tapas.
Barry O’Neill says: “Great tapas, changes daily from the finest local and naturally raised food produced by Ontario farmers.”
Price range: Average price of the tapas dishes comes in around $13.
You must order: Cheddar and Apple Salad ($8) — if it’s on the menu that day.

46. Rim Rock Café, Whistler, British Columbia
Website: www.rimrockwhistler.com. Phone: 877-932-5589. Cuisine: West Coast.
Price range: $28-$46.
You must order: Ahi Tuna ($38).

47. Heron’s West Coast Kitchen at the Fairmont Waterfront, Vancouver, British Columbia
Website: www.fairmont.com/waterfront/GuestServices/Restaurants/HeronsWestCoastKitchen.htm
Telephone: 866-540-4509/504-691-1991. Cuisine: West Coast.
Price range: $26-$39 for main courses.
You must order: Spot Prawn Ravioli ($35).

48. Pic Nic Wine Bar, Toronto, Ontario
Website: www.picnicwinebar.com. Phone: 647-435-5298. Cuisine: Charcuterie and French.
Price range: $14-$23.
You must order: Charcuterie Plate ($22).

49. Inn at Bay Fortune, Bay Fortune, Prince Edward Island
Website: www.innatbayfortune.com. Phone: 902-687-3745 or 888-687-3745. Cuisine: Contemporary Creative Canadian.
Price range: $50 a la carte for three courses, also a five-course tasting menu $70 per person, Chef’s Table, a room within the kitchen, available to one party each evening seven courses $85, 10 courses $110, and 12 courses $125.
You must order: Grilled Lobster Straight From Fortune Harbour (part of set menus).

50.  L’Orignal, Montreal, Quebec
Website: www.restaurantlorignal.com. Phone: 514-303-0479. Cuisine: Canadian, with a twist of different cultures.
Price range: $27-$38 for main courses
Adrian Brijbassi says: “While it’s not the most celebrated restaurant in the city, L’Orignal is one of Montreal’s stars. Oysters, interesting selection of meats, boozy cocktails, a fun atmosphere and a late-night menu make it a standout.”
Read more from the Vacay.ca report on L’Orignal
You must order: Lamb Mini Burgers ($9).


About the Author

Adrian Brijbassi
avatar

Adrian is the editor of Vacay.ca and his articles are frequently syndicated by the Huffington Post and appear in the Globe & Mail. He makes regular appearances on CTV News, TSN Radio and CJSF Radio, talking about travel, sports, creative writing and journalism. A former editor at the Toronto Star and New York Newsday, Adrian has won numerous awards for his travel writing and fiction, and has visited more than 30 countries. He is also a judge for the World’s 50 Best Restaurants and spearheaded the Vacay.ca Top 50 Restaurants in Canada list that debuted in April 2012.

  • Didier

    This list has zero credibility. Montreal’s Romados is a nice neighbourhood take-out chicken place. That is it. Yet you place it above Toque and Au Pied de Cochon – just ridiculous and asinine.

    • http://vacay.ca/Vacay2011 Vicky Vacay

      Hi Didier,
      Sorry you disapprove. Feel free to offer your own selections – we promise to keep an open mind!

  • mike k.

    I agree with this list being out of wacky. I live in Toronto. I have been to most of the places on this list. The black hoof being #4!? If I didn’t know any better I would dress up and go there with my wife and find out that its
    A hole in the wall. Where is Frank’s Kitchen on this list?

    • http://vacay.ca/Vacay2011 Vicky Vacay

      Dear Mike,
      Frank’s didn’t receive enough votes to make it this year. If you’d like to vote on the 2013 list, email vote@vacay.ca. The voting criteria is based solely on the quality of the food. The Black Hoof may not be the most elegant dining experience, but it is extraordinary. We think your wife would truly enjoy. The tongue is quite good.

      Vicky!

  • marko65

    Vij’s is in the right place on the list.
    The rest of the places I couldn’t say.

  • Pingback: Vikram Vij to Host Canada’s First Ever Live Online Cookalong | Curve Communications

 
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