Report by Vacay.ca Staff
As recently as a decade ago Calgary was thought of as a ghost town for fine dining. No longer.
The Canadian public is proving that Cowtown has an eclectic and exciting dining scene, with a quintet of restaurants ranked in the top 12 of a public vote to recognize the nation’s finest dining experiences.
The 2013 Vacay.ca Top 50 Restaurants in Canada will be decided by votes from the public and 34 judges who include noted chefs and food industry professionals. The public, however, determines the annual People’s Choice award. Although Ontario restaurants currently dominate the top of the standings, Calgary is the most well-represented city, placing five entries in the top 12 as of Monday night. Public voting wraps up on April 15 and the Top 50 Restaurants in Canada is announced via Twitter on April 25 (you can follow the countdown using the hashtag #Vacay50).
Anyone who votes is eligible for the Foodie of the Year Contest, which includes a Grand Prize of airfare, luxury hotel stay and dinner at the Top 50 Restaurant of the winner’s choice.
Muse, headed by chef JP Pedhirney, is the leading vote-getter among Calgary’s restaurants. Pedhirney has worked in the phenomenal Chicago dining scene, cooking at the Michelin-starred Blackbird, and also prepared dinner at the James Beard House in New York, a hallmark occasion for any chef. Voters have raved about his tasting menu at Muse, which features five or eight courses, including a Foie Gras sampler.
Although Muse ranks fourth overall in the Vacay.ca poll, it has received more support in the past four days than any other restaurant in the country and is less than six votes away from second place.
Langdon Hall of Cambridge, Ontario remains in first place, opening up a double-digit lead despite news earlier this year concerning the disappearance of its executive chef. Last year’s People’s Choice winner, Atelier of Ottawa, stands second, while Toronto’s Ruby Watchco has rocketed into third place.
Other Calgary restaurants in the top 12 include Rouge (currently in seventh place after placing ninth overall in the 2012 Vacay.ca Top 50 Restaurants in Canada Guide), CHARCUT (eighth), Q Haute Cuisine (10th), and Catch & Oyster Bar (12th). Also receiving support are UNA Pizza + Wine Bar and Model Milk Bistro, an acclaimed restaurant whose fans have recently caught on to the voting and are now sending in support, meaning a sixth Calgary restaurant could soon rank high on the list.
“The amazing voting from Calgary shows how enthused Calgarians are about dining out. And rightly so. The city’s culinary scene is one of the hottest in the country,” said Janine MacLean, Chair of the Vacay.ca Top 50 Restaurants in Canada Guide. “But anything can happen very quickly, as we are seeing. Restaurants that haven’t received any votes at this point can still blast into contention if they get their fans to support them.”
Anyone can vote simply by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Public votes are each worth one point, while the members of the Vacay.ca Judges Academy — which includes chefs Jeremy Charles of Raymonds, Sonora Resort‘s Terry Pichor, Renée Lavallée of Nova Scotia and Modern Culinary Academy director John Placko — each have 100 points to distribute between 5-10 restaurants. The votes from the public and the judges combine to create the 2013 Top 50 Restaurants in Canada.
“We have seen so much public voting that we can create provincial rankings. That’s how excited Canadians have been to show support for their favourite places to dine out,” said Vacay.ca Managing Editor Adrian Brijbassi. “As for Calgarians, they should be voting, if for no other reason than to give their chefs and restaurants the notice they deserve.”
2013 Vacay.ca Top Restaurants in Canada Overall Standings
(Based on public voting as of March 11; ballots of the 34 Vacay.ca judges are being compiled; voting ends April 15)
1. Langdon Hall, Cambridge, Ontario
2. Atelier, Ottawa, Ontario
3. Ruby Watchco, Toronto, Ontario
4. Muse, Calgary, Alberta
5. Memories, Regina, Saskatchewan
6. Glas Wine Bar, Toronto, Ontario
7. Rouge, Calgary, Alberta
8. CHARCUT, Calgary, Alberta
9. Joe Beef, Montreal, Quebec
10. Q Haute Cuisine, Calgary, Alberta
11. Vij’s, Vancouver, British Columbia
12. Catch Restaurant & Oyster Bar, Calgary, Alberta
13. The Blue Door, Fredericton, New Brunswick
14. Hawksworth, Vancouver, British Columbia
15. The Black Hoof, Toronto, Ontario
More than 120 restaurants have received votes as of March 11, 2013.
2013 Vacay.ca Top 50 Restaurants in Canada Standings by Province
(Based on public voting as of March 11; ballots of the 34 Vacay.ca judges are being compiled)
Newfoundland & Labrador
Raymonds, St. John’s
Magnum & Steins, St. John’s
Aqua, St. John’s
Duke of Duckworth, St. John’s
Java Jack’s, Rocky Harbour
Nectar Restaurant & Wine Bar, Dartmouth
Five Fishermen, Halifax
Two If By Sea, Dartmouth
Prince Edward Island
Lot 30, Charlottetown
Claddagh Oyster House, Charlottetown
Inn at Bay Fortune, Bay Fortune
The Pearl Cafe, North Rustico
The Blue Door, Fredericton (no others receiving votes)
Joe Beef, Montreal
Panache, Quebec City
Manoir Hovey, Montreal
L’Affaire est Ketchup, Quebec City (tie)
Toque!, Montreal (tie)
Langdon Hall, Cambridge
Ruby Watchco, Toronto
Glas Wine Bar, Toronto
The Black Hoof, Toronto
Bistro 7 1/4, Winnipeg
Segovia Tapas & Wine Bar, Winnipeg
Pizzeria Gusto, Winnipeg
Lobby on York, Winnipeg
Willow on Wascana, Regina
The Dining Room, Regina
Muse Restaurant, Calgary
Q Haute Cuisine, Calgary
Catch & Oyster Bar, Calgary
Waterfront Wines, Kelowna