Our great country is known not only for its beautiful landscape but also for its incredible foodie scene from coast to coast. Here’s a roundup of five restaurants in five major cities, all worthy of a reservation if you find yourself in the area.
10 rue Saint-Antoine, Quebec City, Quebec G1K 4C9
Located in the quaint and uber-chic boutique hotel Auberge Saint-Antoine in Old Quebec, Panache is a first-rate fine-dining establishment. In the evening, the elegant dining room is lit with gorgeous light fixtures, some of which are from the local La Mailloche glassworks. The menu, created by executive chef Julien Dumas and his team, is a modern take on traditional Quebec cuisine.
The six-course signature menu, currently featuring foie gras yogourt, St. Pierre Lake fishes and Portneuf milk-fed veal, is a tasty spectrum of Panache’s culinary offerings. And what’s a tasting menu without delightful wine pairings expertly chosen by the resident sommelier? Or make your own selection from the wine list that boasts over 700 labels from 14 countries.
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Brooke Restaurant and Bar
8 Sherbrooke St. W, Montreal, Quebec H2X 4C9
Playful seems to be the word to describe the approach executive chef Niko Karagiannakis takes with the menu at Brooke, one of Montreal’s newest and hippest restaurants, which opened in May of this year. “The dishes are balanced, zesty and playful,” Karagiannakis explains. “When you taste our menu, you will understand how it just feels better and it makes sense.”
The menu has sumptuous appetizers, such as the three-way tomato salad on lightly grilled country bread, thin slices of fresh salmon with pickled red beets and yellow beet emulsion, and sautéed duxelle of mushrooms topped with yolk-filled ravioli. Mains include chipotle-marinated butterfish, crispy skin guinea fowl and pan-seared filet mignon brushed with blue cheese butter. Save room for the baked chocolate mousse — set on oranges and served with orange sorbet and an almond and anise crisp, this “playful” sweet ending is hopefully a year-round menu staple.
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121 Richmond St. W, Toronto, Ontario M5H 2K1
The original Little Anthony’s was a downtown landmark for more than 17 years, and after a three-month renovation, the restaurant reopened in April 2012 with a brand new kitchen and a fresh new flavour and atmosphere.
Executive chef Garth Legree (whose previous stints include Splendido and County General) joined the kitchen in March 2013, and in the short time he’s been with the restaurant, we like what we see (or rather, taste).
The casual, energetic and affordable osteria in downtown Toronto remains true to authentic Italian techniques and flavours, serving up some of the best Italian fare in the city. Even Nonna would approve of the tagliatelle alla Bolognese — house-made flat ribbon noodles topped with a meat sauce that’s just the right balance of savoury with a hint of sweetness.
Other impressive dishes include a fresh buffalo mozzarella salad, shrimp scampi and the to-die-for lamb saddle served with gnocchi verde, zucchini, tomato and roasted chicken jus. Finish off your meal with the exquisite classic tiramisu, fresh-made gelato or the light and airy panna cotta. And a cappuccino, of course.
Charcut Roast House
101, 899 Centre St. SW, Calgary, Alberta T2G 1B8
Even before Charcut was placed on the country’s foodie scene map (thanks to co-owner Connie DeSousa’s appearance on Top Chef Canada, season one), the roast house had a local reputation for its succulent menu of custom charbroiled and rotisserie selections. The downtown Calgary eatery describes itself as serving “local chef-driven, urban-rustic cuisine,” and it also focuses on featuring an ever-evolving list of high-quality wines and craft and cellar beers.
So what’s in store for a meal at Charcut? Think slow-roasted heirloom beets for a starter, house-made sausage for sharing and roasted pork belly or grilled whole fish as a main. The dessert selection is limited, but the slim pickings are forgiven, since the delectable cheese plates served with house preserves are what you’ll truly want to cap off your meal with.
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Seventeen89 Restaurant & Lounge
1789 Comox St., Vancouver, British Columbia V6G 1P5
For 25 years, Delilah’s Restaurant & Bar in Vancouver’s West End charmed local diners and visitors alike with opulent decor, a prix fixe menu and a famous martini list. This month, the iconic space has been reborn into Seventeen89, a restaurant and lounge with a new focus on fresh, casual food, courtesy of chef Daryle Ryo Nagata and third-generation fisherman Paul Puratich.
The brand new eatery focuses on approachable regional cuisine, such as super-fresh seafood, creative vegetarian and gluten-free dishes, tasty tapas and Spring Creek Ranch beef. Beachside classics such as burgers, fish and chips and an oyster bar are also available. “Paul and I both love taking the best of local, seasonal ingredients and turning them into tasty, mouth-watering meals that aren’t overdone, just full of flavour,” says Nagata.