Air Canada's in-flight magazine, enRoute announced its Top 10 Best New Restaurants in Canada this morning.
Food writer Andrew Braithwaite travelled from Vancouver Island to Fogo Island, eating his way to a decision. Toronto's Bar Isabel comes in at number one; Momofuku Shoto is number two.
And what may come as a surprise to some, Electric Mud is number 10.
According to Braithwaite, the search was about more than just food on a plate; he sought out chefs and sommeliers dedicated to creating memorable experiences.
1. Bar Isabel, Toronto: "looks, feels and tastes vaguely Castilian but does far more than ape a menu straight out of Madrid."
2. Shoto, Toronto: "a storybook of a tasting menu, with all the typical annoying bits – the repetition of ingredients, the showy caprice, the monotonous pacing – smartly edited out."
3. Fogo Island Inn, Joe Batt's Arm, Nfld. and Labrador: "There's a terrific survivalist spirit bursting out of Chef McDonald's kitchen, where most everything is made from scratch."
4. Supply and Demand, Ottawa: " It's not supposed to be this easy for a first-timer ... you notice all the little things that rookies Steve and Jennifer Wall are getting so right."
5. Pidgin, Vancouver: "The cuisine of Winnipeg-born Chef Ono, who ran restaurants in Beijing and Hong Kong, draws from multiple languages."
6. Carino Japanese Bistro, Calgary: "a Japanese-Italian wine bar that defies logic in the most wonderful ways."
7. Maison Publique, Montreal: "A mere 250 years after the Treaty of Paris, cooking Anglo food in Montreal is cool again."
8. Le Bouchon du Pied Bleu, Quebec City: "one of the most convivial, playful, unabashedly fun dining experiences I've had anywhere in North America."
9. The Acorn, Vancouver: "That the food is meatless is almost beside the point unless you're a foodie vegetarian who's long hankered for a compromise-free night on the town."
10. Electric Mud, Toronto: "Electric Mud is a twisted hymn to the American South."
Also, Vij's Railway Express, a mobile restaurant inspired by an Indian rail carriage, received the inaugural People's Choice Award as Canada's favourite new restaurant.
· Bar Isabel: a Spanish Gem That Will Make You Cut a Rug [Globe]
· Momofuku Shoto: Yes, It's The Best Restaurant in Toronto. Here's Why [Globe]
· Electric Mud: Why You Should (And Shouldn't) Eat at Parkdale's Hot New BBQ Joint [Globe]