Canadian cuisine is exactly what you’d expect from a country rich in natural resource and beauty. It’s fresh, colourful and full of flavour, the lush forest floors, deep rivers and vast oceans offering up the very best in organic ingredients. Now, we’re not denying the appeal of poutine and maple syrup, but since Canada is quickly turning into a gourmet powerhouse, we thought it about time you heard about some of the country’s award-winning success stories. First up, a restaurant sat on a frozen river…
RAW: ALMOND, MANITOBA
From the makers of Deer + Almond, another of our favourite Manitoba hangouts, this extraordinary annual pop-up sells tickets quicker than you can say “Raw:Almond”. And deservedly so. For just three weeks each year (late January to mid-February) you can sample food by some of Manitoba’s best chefs in a tent set up on the frozen river systems in downtown Winnipeg. It’s become an iconic destination for foodies each year, with a mystery menu and rotating list of celebrity chefs who never fail to deliver the ultimate gourmet experience in a truly memorable setting.
LA PLANQUE, QUEBEC
Vibrant yet laid-back, La Planque is a gem of a culinary institution located at the heart of Limoilou, one of Quebec’s trendiest neighbourhoods. A favourite amongst the locals, it’s probably best to brush up on your French before you visit this restaurant, but to us, that’s all part of its charm. Hidden, local and serving up fresh and locally sourced cuisine; sometimes it’s the simplest things that make for the best experiences. The bavette de boeuf is unmissable.
HAWKSWORTH, BRITISH COLUMBIA
On their website, the restaurant states ‘our contemporary Canadian cuisine looks to the best ingredients available locally, and then from across Canada; blending a range of culinary techniques and traditions drawn from our culturally diverse heritage’ – and they’re not lying. This is the restaurant to try if you still need convincing over Canada’s culinary credentials. Think wild salmon, pacific halibut and lamb loin, all dressed to perfection with truly local ingredients.
Through its menu, Edulis offers your palette the chance to traverse the entirety of Canada. From fresh herring native to the waters of British Columbia to Nova Scotian tuna; you’ll go from West to East and back again in one incredible sitting. Choose between five and seven course tasting menus, and if you’re lucky enough to be in Niagara during truffle season, you’ll have the opportunity to opt for a truffle menu too. The sort of place you’ll need to go to more than once, we think…
MODEL MILK, ALBERTA
Local produce, a simple approach to preparation so as not to ruin natural goodness and a rustic setting within an old dairy has propelled Model Milk to the top of Calgary’s culinary game. Veggies, you may want to skip the next sentence. Model Milk has its own on-site butchers, so they’ll get the animals you end up eating delivered straight to their door. The wines are all from local vineyards too, making the Model Milk experience an inherently organic one. The Bromme Lake Duck and Pacific Halibut were undeniably good.
FLEUR DE SEL, NOVA SCOTIA
Butter poached lobster. Just let that sentence sink in for a moment. Butter, poached. And yes, it is just as incredible as it sounds. Melt in the mouth lobster that’s grown up just off the shores of the island you’ll be dining on, Fleur de Sel are masters at simple, yet perfect Canadian fare. The seven course tasting menu will delight with its fish and meat options, whilst the wine pairings from Nova Scotia, France, Italy and beyond compliment the flavours beautifully.