Where Should You Eat North Of The Border? Look To Canada's Top Chefs
Photo by Colin Way
Canadian cuisine is so multifaceted that it can be hard to define in a single dish. Or two dishes. Or three. That’s why we’ve scoured the country to bring you must-try dishes from chefs who are truly reveling in Canadian flavors.
For these chefs, amazingly cultivated local products do the talking. Looking for must-hit dining north of the border? Here’s our list of culinary hot spots run by the best restauranteurs in the country.
CHARCUT Roast House: Calgary, Alberta
Photo by Candace Bergman
CHARCUT Roast House is a Calgary, Alberta restaurant and pioneer of the city’s urban-rustic food scene. This spot serves comfort food favorites with decadent twists that elevate them for sophisticated diners. Local farmland is famous for top-notch beef, and the mastermind behind CHARCUT’s deliciously treated dishes is Connie DeSousa, a Top Chef Canada finalist who’s known for her incredible butchery of it. DeSousa’s skills are on full display at CHARCUT with dishes like their Alberta beef feature steak, which is a cut of Alberta beef topped with a refreshing salsa verde and served with rich parmesan fries.
deer + almond: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Photo courtesy of Mandel Hitzer
The Winnipeg tapas restaurant deer+almond is the stage of chef Mandel Hitzer, who performs culinary feats using deliciously local ingredients, such as deer and fresh beets, alongside plenty of ingenuity. Hitzer is also the mind behind the annual Winnipeg foodie event, RAW:almond, a 21-day pop up restaurant that invites chefs from all over the continent to cook on a frozen river in a beautifully constructed space. For a true taste of Manitoba, try deer+almond’s signature deer tartare: beautifully tender venison playfully paired with blueberry, buckwheat, and hollandaise.
FABLE: Vancouver, British Columbia
Photo courtesy of FABLE
Trevor Bird, another Top Chef Canada contender who made it to the runner-up spot, is a driving force behind the farm-to-table movement in Vancouver, British Columbia. Named cleverly for the movement itself, FABLE revels in local ingredients, like spring salmon and asparagus, as well as making their food from scratch. Their open kitchen concept invites guests to watch as local ingredients are lovingly prepared. Because of seasonality, the menu is constantly shifting, but currently you can taste Bird’s vision in dishes like the smoked duck breast, which is served with an indulgent brown butter hollandaise, walnuts, and Brussels sprouts.
Le Bremner: Montréal, Quebec
Photo by Le Bremner / Instagram
Le Bremner is a collaborative effort between executive chef Chuck Hughes and chef de cuisine Danny Smiles, who you can catch on Food Network Canada traveling the country and cooking together on their show, Chuck & Danny’s Road Trip. Hughes and Smiles’ brick and mortar extension in Old Montréal, Quebec serves up the freshest seafood in unexpected ways. If you’re looking for a Canadian classic, try their salmon and crab bacon béarnaise, a delightful play of ocean flavors, smoky bacon, and creamy béarnaise sauce.
The Inn at Bay Fortune: Bay Fortune, Prince Edward Island
Photo by The Inn at Bay Fortune / Instagram
Canada’s small eastern island province, Prince Edward Island, is home to a burgeoning food scene that is captured beautifully by The Inn at Bay Fortune, a cozy spot with a sweeping view of the Bay Fortune. Chef Michael Smith and his wife, Chastity Smith, run both the inn and the accompanying restaurant, which sources ingredients directly from their organic farm and herb garden. The Inn’s dinner is dubbed “The Feast,” an apt name for a truly bountiful spread. Starting with an all-you-can-slurp oyster bar, shuck your way through world-famous Colville Bay and Fortune Bay oysters in The Inn’s historic kitchen, then roam the inn grounds before sitting down to a long table meal brimming with taste-of-the-island charcuterie, smoked fish, seafood chowder, and beautiful local vegetables.
Fring’s: Toronto, Ontario
Photo by Fring’s / Instagram
Fring’s is the brainchild of Toronto chef and internationally-recognized celebrity chef Susur Lee. You can catch Lee judging Food Network Canada’s Chopped Canada, but if you want to taste Lee’s expression of Canadian food, you’ll have to head to Fring’s, his Toronto restaurant. Fring’s revels in fresh flavors and unique Canadian-Asian fusion. For a one-of-a-kind taste, try the “Lee” cheese burger spring roll: angus beef and cheddar perfectly cooked, wrapped in a spring-roll wrapper and deep fried. Served with smoked chili mayo, pickled veggies, and lettuce wraps, the cheese burger spring roll perfectly epitomizes the cultural melding of fresh ingredients and flavors that characterizes Canadian cuisine.
Canada’s food scene is bursting with ingenuity, inspired by the country’s abundant and delicious local products. Canadian chefs are taking in the bounty of the land and creating world-class dishes, putting both themselves and the Great White North on the culinary map.
This post is a sponsored collaboration between Destination Canada and Gothamist staff.