Top 50 Restaurants in Canada 2013: Numbers 21 to 25

Report by Staff

The second half of’s second annual Top 50 Restaurants in Canada Guide begins with the best restaurant in British Columbia’s most popular ski resort, Whistler-Blackcomb, and also includes a renowned establishment from iconic Montreal chef Martin Picard and a gem tucked away in a charming property in Nova Scotia.

Here are restaurants 21-25 in the countdown.

21. FLEUR DE SEL, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia
Chef: Martin Ruiz Salvador
Website: Cuisine: French, Seafood
Telephone: 902-640-2121
2012 Rank: New entry
Price Range: $21-$39
You Must Order: If you see anything with lobster in it, do not hesitate.
Need to Know … from East Coast Regional Chair Renée LavalléeThere is something magical about Fleur de Sel; the location or the food, but either way I think it is one of Canada’s best-kept secrets. Martin Ruiz Salvador and his wife, Sylvie, take you on a magical journey of food and wine, pairing it all with exceptional service. Using local and seasonal ingredients, Martin changes his menu regularly. He works closely with farmers such as Ted Hutten and fish suppliers such as Peter Darnell.

Judge Zane Kelsall of Two If By Sea Cafe says: Martin and Sylvie of Fleur de Sel do an exceptional job. Every year we try to make it out a few times, and each time they never disappoint. The food is fantastic, the wine list amazing and the use of local and seasonal ingredients is awesome.

22. RIVER CAFE, Calgary, Alberta 
Chef: Andrew Winfield
Website: Cuisine: Canadian
Telephone: 403-261-7670. Twitter: @RiverCafeYYC, @ChefWinfieldYYC
2012 Rank: New entry
Price Range: Main courses range from $28-$49.
You Must Order: Olson’s High Country Bison Striploin ($48), served with smoked potato emulsion, huckleberry and bordelaise jus.
Need to Know: A walk in the park takes you to this relaxing jewel that serves delectable dishes featuring Alberta beef and British Columbia seafood. In Prince’s Island Park, River Cafe is a leader in Calgary’s exciting and impressive culinary scene.


L’Abattoir is a Gastown standout in Vancouver. (Photo courtesy of L’Abattoir)

23. L’ABATTOIR, Vancouver, British Columbia 
Chef: Lee Cooper
Website: Cuisine: West Coast
Telephone: 604-568-1701. Twitter: @LABATTOIR_VAN
2012 Rank: 7
Price Range: Small plates, $13-$29.
You Must Order: Warm Steelhead and Potato Salad ($15) — and a few cocktails from bar man Shaun Layton.
Need to Know … from Judge Renee Suen of Toronto Life: Solid. A good balance of good cocktails to flavourful food that’s tight and very good. Go to order: pan fried veal sweetbreads on toast.

Read’s report on L’Abattoir

24. LA CABANE A SUCRE DU PIED DE COCHON, St. Benoit de Mirabel, Quebec 
Chef: Martin Picard
Website: Cuisine: Quebecois, Canadian
Telephone: 450-258-1732. Twitter: @CabanePDC
2012 Rank: 26
Price Range: $59 for adults/$20 for kids (sugar season); $50 adults/$20 kids (apple season)
You Must Order: Triple Pork, Maple Meille Feuille
Need to Know … from Dustin Gilman of Food Guy Montreal: This is not a normal restaurant. Highlighting maple at the peak of its delicious season, while creating delectable and one-of-a-kind dishes heightened with the sweet syrup is simply the best. The fact that it’s only open for a few weeks during the year makes it that much more exclusive and exciting … if you get a reservation.

25. ARAXI, Whistler, British Columbia 
Chef: James Walt
Website: Cuisine: West Coast, Contemporary Canadian
Telephone: 604-932-4540. Twitter: @araxirestaurant
2012 Rank: 12
Price Range: Large plates range from $24.50-$42.50, and include vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free choices.
You Must Order: Saffron-crusted halibut caught in Haida Gwaii ($36.50), featuring a seafood and herb foam with chili oil.
Need to Know: The sophisticated restaurant of choice in Whistler for years, Araxi brings refined flavours from both sides of the Coastal mountain range onto the plates in one of Canada’s most popular outdoor centres. Seafood and meat choices are divine, and the kitchen deserves credit for its conscientious approach toward vegetarian and vegan diners.


More About the 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: 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.



Adrian is the editor of and He also edited "Inspired Cooking", a nutrition-focused cookbook featuring 20 of Canada's leading chefs and in support of the cancer-fighting charity, InspireHealth. "Inspired Cooking" was created in honour of Adrian's late wife and co-founder, Julia Pelish, who passed away of brain cancer in 2016. Adrian has won numerous awards for his travel writing, travel photography, and fiction, and has visited more than 55 countries. He is a former editor at the Toronto Star and New York Newsday, and was the social media and advocacy manager for Destination Canada. His articles have frequently appeared in the Huffington Post, Globe & Mail, and other major publications. He has appeared on national and local broadcasts, talking about travel, sports, creative writing and journalism. In 2019, he launched Trippzy, a travel-trivia app developed to educate consumers about destinations around the world.

Leave a Reply