In a country as vast and diverse as Canada, it can be hard to choose where to travel, let alone where to eat. But if you travel with taste buds in mind, here are six restaurants from coast to coast that have locals buzzing.
This new addition to Calgary’s trendy 17th Avenue S.W. offers modern Indian fare in a bright, pink-and-lime-coloured room accented by checkered tiles and tropical plants. Sharing with friends is easily done here. Noteworthy dishes include ground lamb and potato croquettes and charred broccolini tossed in garlic and ginger ghee and finished with gunpowder (a spice blend made with ground lentils and chillies). Don’t skip the gin-centric cocktail list.
Must-try dish: Tandoor roasted zucchini topped with nigella seed and cold-pressed canola.
From the owners of acclaimed Italian eatery Ask For Luigi comes this French Canadian-inspired restaurant, also located in Vancouver’s cool Railtown neighbourhood. Think terrines, classic beef tartare, salmon and boursin rillette, and Paris-Brest filled with foie gras mousse and fresh B.C. cherries. Pair your meal with a glass of wine or a crisp craft cider. Mais oui!
Must-try dish: Pomme duchesse a la royale—a baked potato with cheese curds and gravy.
Leave any preconceived notions of pub fare at the door before dining at Biera, which is inside the Blind Enthusiasm brewery. Chef Christine Sandford’s Michelin-starred restaurant experience is evident in her menu that include slices of in-house sourdough with lardo and cultured butter and grilled beef ribs with marinated dijon oil and garlic.
Must-try dish: Crispy chicken skin and radishes with lemon verbena vinaigrette.
This concept from The Drake Hotel’s growing Ontario empire combines food and art. The industrial-style space in the up-and-coming Junction Triangle district offers a morning-to-night menu alongside rotating exhibits from international visual artists. Grab a coffee and a liquorice cinnamon bun in the morning, an open-faced rye sandwich with pickled herring, beets and cream at lunch or a classic, Roman-style pizza in the evening.
Must-try dish: Drake Morning Bun with white chocolate and cinnamon sugar.
Brothers Sam and Tony Rinaldo’s namesake Italian-American restaurant has been a hit with Haligonians since opening. There are no frills to be found at this family-run joint, just made-from-scratch comfort food at its best. You’ll find meatball heroes, chicken parmesan, cavatelli pasta with meatballs and, of course, plenty of pizza on the menu.
Must-try dish: Antonio’s Clam Pie pizza with fresh Nova Scotia clams.
If you’re looking to get your Caribbean food fix, you will certainly find it at this casual Haitian eatery in St.Hubert Plaza. Plates of house-smoked chicken with mushroom rice or bowls of bright, shrimp ceviche are happily enjoyed on Kwizinn’s cute sidewalk patio along with a boozy rum cocktail or two.
Must-try dish: Pork griot, fried and marinated in citrus.