Report by Vacay.ca Staff
Great chefs dominate the upper echelon of the Vacay.ca Top 50 Restaurants in Canada 2013 countdown. Restaurants 11-15 feature award-winning chefs from Montreal, Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto.
11. ROUGE, Calgary, Alberta
Chefs/Owners: Paul Rogalski and Olivier Reynaud
Website: www.rougecalgary.com. Cuisine: French, Canadian
Telephone: 403.531.2767. Twitter: @RougeCal
2012 Rank: 9
Price range: $35-$40 for main courses
You Must Order: Seared Arctic Char, Shimeji Mushroom, Lobster Fricassee, Savoy Cabbage, Crispy Spaetzle ($35)
Need to Know … from Vacay.ca Managing Editor Adrian Brijbassi: A trip to Calgary can’t be complete without a visit to this restaurant. It’s a destination in itself — that’s how important Rouge has become to Canada’s food scene. Olivier Reynaud’s European aesthetic is apparent beyond the cuisine and how it’s sourced. Rouge’s space is refreshing. It’s not in a big, open box with cool modern décor or a lower-level basement that chefs snap up for the cheap rent. In the trendy Inglewood neighbourhood, the house — formerly owned by A.E. Cross, one of the founders of the Calgary Stampede — has loads of charm, with intimate rooms on two levels, splashes of its namesake red throughout, and an air of both elegance and warmth.
Note: Rouge executive chef Paul Rogalski was named an honorary judge for the Vacay.ca rankings after he graciously sent in his picks for best restaurants in the nation out of his own initiative. Vacay.ca decided it would benefit all diners in Canada to have his choices as part of the voting academy’s selections.
12. HAWKSWORTH, Vancouver, British Columbia
Chefs: David Hawksworth
Website: www.hawksworthrestaurant.com. Cuisine: French, Pacific Northwest
Telephone: 604-673-7000. Twitter: @HawksworthRest
2012 Rank: 21
Price range: $29-$40 for main courses
You Must Order: Pacific Sablefish, lap cheong, soy braised daikon, pickled shiitake, crispy yam ($38)
Need to Know … from Judge Terry Pichor of Sonora Resort: Hawksworth restaurant is top of my list. The food is innovative without compromise and dedicated to utilizing the best of Pacific Northwest ingredients as they come into season. The wine program and service combined with the food and the luxurious room make it one of the best dining experiences in Canada.
13. PASTAGA, Montreal, Quebec
Chef: Martin Juneau
Website: www.pastaga.ca. Cuisine: Quebecois, Modern French
Telephone: 438-381-6389. Twitter: @martin_juneau
2012 Rank: New entry
Price Range: $13-$16.50
You Must Order: Laurentian beef with chorizo sausage and “bubble and squeak” ($16.50).
Need to Know … from Judge Dustin Gilman of Food Guy Montreal: Pastaga plays on the small dishes platform from chef Martin Juneau. I love tasting so many wonderful flavours in the perfect amount of bites. Also, Pastaga offers one of the most carefully selected and incredible natural wines in Montreal.
14. RUBY WATCHCO, Toronto, Ontario (A Public Favourite!)
Chefs: Lynn Crawford and Lora Kirk
Website: rubywatchco.ca. Cuisine: Canadian, Comfort Food
Telephone: 416-465-0100. Twitter: @RubyWatchco, @CHEF_LYNN
2012 Rank: 19
Price Range: $49 for a set three-course menu.
You Must Order: Whatever is on offer that night 🙂 … Chances are it will be fabulous.
Need to Know … from Judge Barry O’Neill of Zed Financial: A unique four course prix-fixe menu that changes daily. The main character that attached us to the place was Chef Lynn Crawford, from watching her TV show “Pitchin Ìn.” The talent and enthusiasm that she approaches food, we just knew it was going to be a delight.
There is a new fixed menu every night based on local seasonal products, which they call “Market Inspired Comfort food.” It is like being invited over to someone’s house for dinner “…great food and great atmosphere. In fact, the night we were there the staff were hilarious, we haven’t laughed so hard in a long time…as I said, like being at a friend’s house for dinner.”
Vacay.ca Followers Andy and Linda Tesluk say: We celebrated our 32nd anniversary at Ruby Watchco on September 6, 2012. … They made us feel very special and with complimentary champagne to enhance our celebration and experience … The menu featured Grilled Ontario Veal Chops with Caper Sage Sauce, with red wine-braised onions and chorizo, roasted cauliflower with raisins, and sweet potato smash with bacon sour cream. … We don’t have the “culinary” words to describe our experience, but this vote is to show appreciation from the bottom of our heart.
15. TOQUE!, Montreal, Quebec
Chef: Normand Laprise
Website: www.restaurant-toque.com. Cuisine: French
Telephone: 514-499-2084. Twitter: @RestaurantToque
2012 Rank: 36
Price Range: $42-$48 for main courses.
You Must Order: Duck Magret ($48).
Need to Know: Normand Laprise is up for a prestigious James Beard award in 2013.
More About the Vacay.ca Top 50 Restaurants in Canada 2013
Restaurants 6-10: See the video covering Toronto’s favourite and others
Restaurants 11-15: See the video covering 5 great chefs
Restaurants 16-20: See the video covering the 2013 People’s Choice winner
Restaurants 21-25: See the video featuring Araxi in Whistler, B.C.
Restaurants 26-30: See the video showing Brooklyn Warehouse in Halifax
Restaurants 31-35: See the video featuring Momofuku in Toronto
Restaurants 36-40: See the video and read about the top restaurant in New Brunswick
Restaurants 41-45: See the video for these restaurants
Restaurants 46-50: See the video covering the beginning of the countdown
2012 results, judging and more information: Visit the Top 50 Restaurants webpage for full details
Foodie of the Year Contest: Vacay.ca is giving away a luxury getaway that includes airfare, hotel accommodations and dinner to the Top 50 restaurant of the winners choice. See details here.