September 28, 2023

Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants list 2023 released

Here’s some good news for those taking a staycation this summer: the annual Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants list is out Monday—and a fifth of them are in the GTA.

While the top spot went to Mon Lapin in Montreal, the Top 10 has the usual contenders representing Toronto such as Alo (coming in at No. 2 for the second year in a row); Edulis moved up from seventh last year to fourth this year; Restaurant at Pearl Morissette in Ontario’s wine region was fourth last year and is now fifth; 20 Victoria was 64th last year and is now 11th.

New entries include chef Matty Matheson’s Prime Seafood Palace (17th), which opened last year.

Out of the 100 restaurants on the list, 20 are from the surrounding GTA (including day trip destinations Collingwood and Cambridge), 15 in Vancouver, seven in Calgary, four in Halifax, two in Winnipeg and two in Edmonton. As with previous years, no restaurant in the country’s northern territories made the list.

However it’s Montreal restaurants that got the most nods, with 27 restaurants.

“This is the first year of judging since the 2020 list that reflected a whole year of uninterrupted business,” said Jacob Richler, editor-in-chef of the publication that launched in 2015. “We’ve had more judges than ever (with) a greater diversity of opinion. There’s 135 (judges). Last year’s (list) was difficult because of travel restrictions and some people just didn’t go out to eat much. Montreal always depended on Ontario(-based) judges becuase they travel there a lot for business, so a lot of them vote for Montreal restaurants.”

The judges are a mix of food writers and critics; restaurant owners, sommeliers and chefs; and those who have the means to travel and eat throughout the country, Richler said. The judges are volunteers and pay for their own meals, and each rank their Top 10 restaurants, which is then tabulated into the list of 100.

Richler describes Mon Lapin, which was sixth last year, as a highly seasonal restaurant that is a departure from the usual white tablecloth and stuffy service often associated with fine dining. “Just looking at the plate, I know where I am and when I am,” he says, giving an example of razor clams paired with white asparagus. “The staff know the food and wine list inside out. There’s a fundamental casualness and a contagious joie de vivre.”

Located in Montreal’s Little Italy, Mon Lapin opened in 2018 as part of the Joe Beef restaurant group before it branched out on its own a year later. The original 36-seat restaurant went under a renovation in 2020 to double its seating and start taking reservations, which will now come in handy to diners trying to snag a seat.

“If you come right now to the restaurant, you’ll be eating all the things we’re eating this time of year: Quebec lobster, Quebec snow crab, asparagus, we’re getting whelks this week,” said executive chef and co-owner Marc-Olivier Frappier. The menu changes frequently with the only constant being a buckwheat and honey cake on the dessert menu.

“It’s very overwhelming and we’re grateful and shocked,” said sommelier and co-owner Vanya Filipovic, who along with the restaurant’s four other co-owners are in Toronto for the Canada’s 100 Best list announcement Monday evening. “We look up to a lot of people on the list and it’s an honour.”

Here are all the Toronto-area restaurants in this year’s list and where they ranked.

The full list is on the Canada’s 100 Best site.

Alo, second place, French, 163 Spadina Ave.

Edulis, fourth place, contemporary, 169 Niagara St.

The Restaurant at Pearl Morissette, fifth place, French-influenced, 3953 Jordan Rd., Jordan Station, Ont.

Langdon Hall, seventh place, contemporary, 1 Langdon Dr., Cambridge

20 Victoria, 11th place, contemporary, 20 Victoria St.

Giulia, 14th place, Italian, 134 Avenue Rd.

Prime Seafood Palace, 17th place, seafood, 944 Queen St. W

Canoe, 18th place, contemporary, 66 Wellington St. W.

Sushi Masaki Saito, 19th place, Japanese, 88 Avenue Rd.

Mimi Chinese, 25th place, Chinese, 265 Davenport Rd.

Quetzal, 26th place, Mexican, 419 College St.

Dreyfus, 29th place, French-influenced, 96 Harbord St.

Giulietta, 32nd place, Italian, 972 College St.

Hexagon, 34th place, contemporary French, 210 Lakeshore Rd. E., Oakville

Don Alfonso 1890, 35th place, Mediterranean, 1 Harbour Square

Bernhardts, 38th place, contemporary, 202 Dovercourt Rd.

Shoushin, 40th place, Japanese, 3328 Yonge St.

Pompette, 46th place, French, 597 College St.

The Pine, 47th place, contemporary, 203 Hurontario St., Collingwood

Café Boulud, 65th place, French, 60 Yorkville

Richmond Station, 100th place, contemporary, 1 Richmond St. W.

Correction — May 16, 2023: This article was updated to include Richmond Station to the list of Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants.

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