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Updated by Vicky Vacay on Feb 19, 2018
Headline for 2013 Top 50 Restaurants in Canada Guide
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2013 Top 50 Restaurants in Canada Guide

The Canadian public teamed with 34 of the nation's top food experts to provide the most definitive resource to fine dining in the country ever published. Comment on your favourite restaurant by clicking on the balloon below its listing.

Source: http://vacay.ca/2013/05/top-50-restaurants-in-canada-2013-numbers-1-to-5/

1. JOE BEEF , Montreal, Quebec

Chefs/Owners: David McMillan and Frédéric Morin
Website: www.joebeef.ca. Cuisine: Steak, Seafood, French
Telephone: 514-935-6504. Twitter: @joebeef
2012 Rank: 3
Price Range: $31-$50 for main courses.
You Must Order: Anything and everything — even if it says it's made with SPAM. But if the Double Down foie gras is on the menu, go for it.
Need to Know ... from Judge Dustin Gilman of Food Guy Montreal: Can’t remember if I’ve ever had anything Dave and Fred made that I didn’t like. There’s a reason why a reservation at Joe Beef is one of the hardest to get in the city.

Read about why one reader loves Joe Beef: http://vacay.ca/2013/01/foodie-of-the-year-entry-montreals-joe-beef-wows-contestant/

2. LANGDON HALL, Cambridge, Ontario

Chef: Jonathan Gushue
Website: www.langdonhall.ca. Cuisine: Contemporary, Canadian
Telephone: 519-740-2100. Twitter: @Langdon_Hall
2012 Rank: 2
Price range: $29-$44
You’ll love: Butter Poached Nova Scotia Lobster Double Smoked Bacon, Chanterelles, Turnip, Truffle Nage-$42
Need to Know ... from Ontario Regional Chair Rebecca LeHeup of Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance: The ultimate taste of Canada is showcased with fresh, seasonal ingredients by the culinary team at Langdon Hall. From pub fare to their tasting menus and seasonal BBQ series — every dining experience there is a delight. Pair the culinary experiences with their fabulous rooms and other amenities and this is the perfect culinary vacation destination.

Vacay.ca Managing Editor Adrian Brijbassi says: One of the nation's most accomplished and dedicated chefs, Jonathan Gushue champions Canadian cuisine and leads an extraordinary kitchen staff at this gem of an establishment.

Judge John Placko of Modern Culinary Academy says: The consistency of the offerings here is a testament to the long-term leadership of Jonathan Gushue. Taking the location and surroundings out of the equation, the food here is world class. Delicate flavours, locally foraged ingredients and home-made preserves make for a memorable taste experience every time. The clever creations is artfully plated and the most important part, taste, is always there.

See a Vacay.ca video of Jonathan Gushue in the kitchen and read about the experience of dining at this Canadian icon: http://vacay.ca/2012/03/video-langdon-hall-shows-its-canadian-pride/

3. VIJ'S, Vancouver, British Columbia

Chefs/Owners: Vikram Vij, Meeru Dhalwala
Website: www.vijs.ca. Cuisine: Indian, Fusion
Telephone: 604-736-6664. Twitter: @Vijs_restaurant
2012 Rank: 1
Price range: $24-$28.50 for main courses.
You Must Order: The famous lamb popsicles, which are a rack of lamb served with curry and meant for eating with your hands using the rib bone as a stick. ($28)
Need to Know ... from Judge Renée Suen of Toronto Life: Unquestionably an institution that is quintessentially Canadian in ideology, hospitality, embrace of ingredients and sensibility. The cuisine is refined, yet highly approachable. Musts: lamb popsicle or, even better, the curry goat, and the complimentary chai.

Ontario Regional Chair Rebecca LeHeup of Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance says: Hospitality at it’s finest. Chef Vij is often onsite greeting guests at the door. Waiting for your table is a treat as staff bring around pakoras, samosas and other bites in their lounge. The room seems to be constantly busy yet you feel like you are in your own little world once your meal arrives- this is hands down the best Indian food I’ve ever had!

Judge Sarah Bancroft says: Yes the bar is filled with tourists, yes the wait for a table is two hours, but more than a decade after opening, Vij’s is still Vancouver’s most original and internationally noteworthy restaurant. The décor is still exotic, sexy and contemporary, the food is inventive, modern and healthy, and the service (with orders taken on an iPhone by rotating servers) is as well-orchestrated as Swan Lake.

See a video of Vikram Vij cooking in Niagara, Ontario, and read about what being named Vacay.ca's No. 1 in 2012 meant to him: http://vacay.ca/2012/05/photos-vikram-vijs-cuisine-sparkles-at-niagara-winery/

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4. ATELIER, Ottawa, Ontario

4. ATELIER, Ottawa, Ontario

Chef: Marc Lepine
Website: www.atelierrestaurant.ca. Cuisine: Microgastronomy, Modern
Telephone: 613-321-3537. Twitter: @MarcLepine
2012 Rank: 5
Price Range: $110
You Must Order: The menu changes daily. Dinner usually averages around three hours in length; there is a wine pairing available every evening ($60) of nine or 10 wines. The pairing is optional, and an extensive list of wines by the bottle and glass, as well as other drinks. Need to Know ... from Vacay.ca Managing Editor Adrian Brijbassi: The service is first rate; the kitchen is smaller than what you’d find in some Toronto condominiums yet it turns out plate after plate of mind-blowing dishes. The other aspect of Atelier you will remember is that the imaginativeness doesn’t stop with the food. Each dish has a name that attempts to be clever. A cold pea soup puree is called Give Peas a Chance (and you should, it’s delicious), a crab-and-lobster dish is named after characters in both the “Little Mermaid” (Sebastian the Crab) and “The Simpsons” (Pinchy the Lobster), and a peach dessert gets tagged with the title Impeachment. The servers appear chagrined and apologetic when they pronounce some of the names, which only adds to Atelier’s lack of pretentiousness.

Judge John Placko of Modern Culinary Academy says: I’ve dined here three times and each time the multi-course menu keeps improving in terms of sophistication, presentation and flavour combinations. Marc’s use of modernist techniques to create unique textures puts his food on the top of my list. No surprise then that the small, oddly located restaurant has been full on all three occasions. He masters the unique modernist techniques and weaves them into the local and seasonally inspired ingredients, while having fun with his menu descriptions.

Judges Don and Jenn Chow of Foodie Prints say: Diners have seen the rise and fall of molecular food. Almost clichéd plates of spheres in foam no longer excite. The techniques remain. Stalwart proponents of modernist cuisine apply them to create dishes that celebrate ingredients and convey ideas. One practitioner of what he deems "hyper modern 'new Canadian'" is award-winning chef Marc Lepine. At celebrated Atelier, he and his team assemble thoughtful multi-course menus that represent the “now” of food. Plates appeal to every kind of diner. They are also feasts for the senses. Imagine creative dishes with ahi tuna, elk, smoked avocado, parsnip, and beet.

Read Vacay.ca coverage and see a video of Marc Lepine talking about how he was inspired to start Atelier: http://vacay.ca/2012/10/why-ottawas-atelier-is-canadas-alinea/

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5. CHARCUT ROAST HOUSE , Calgary, AB (Winner of Best Female Chef in Canada)

5. CHARCUT ROAST HOUSE , Calgary, AB (Winner of Best Female Chef in Canada)

Chefs/Owners: Connie DeSousa, John Jackson
Website: www.charcut.com. Cuisine: Charcuterie
Telephone: 403-984-2180. Twitter: @CHARCUT
2012 Rank: New entry
Price Range: $19-$26
You Must Order: Rotisserie Chicken Salad Sandwich. With pancetta, arugula, DeSousa family piri piri aioli-$15
Need to Know ... from Ontario Regional Chair Rebecca LeHeup of Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance: The dynamic duo of Connie DeSousa and John Jackson work their culinary wonders in their open kitchen — exposing customers to their craft, which is primarily focused on all things meat. From the house-made charcuturie to the bone marrow with escargot, every dish is delicious. The attention to customer service and calling out their favoured growers and producers makes this a great place to “taste Alberta.”

Judge Julie Van Rosendaal of Dinner with Julie says: CHARCUT has become a destination restaurant in Calgary — a place people bring out-of-town visitors for a unique and memorable experience. From creative cocktails to house-cured charcuterie and preserves, the cuisine is innovative, with a focus on locally sourced ingredients.

6. ACADIA, Toronto, Ontario

Chef: Patrick Kriss
Website: www.acadiarestaurant.com. Cuisine: Southern American
Telephone: 416 792-6002. Twitter: @AcadiaToronto
2012 Rank: 37
Price Range: $20-$24 for main courses.
You Must Order: Smoked Sturgeon - Bread and Butter Pickle, Mustard, Lettuce, Pumpernickel ($25)
Need to Know ... from Top 50 Restaurants in Canada Chair Janine MacLean: Chef Patrick Kriss’ innate understanding of flavour, texture and which components work best on a plate is, in my opinion, unrivaled in Toronto. His cuisine has taken Acadia Restaurant from what was merely great place to eat, to a truly phenomenal dining experience. Acadia is a place where other cooks love to eat – food executed so well that it has every right to be pretentious, but, like the chef, it just isn’t.

7. MODEL MILK, Calgary, Alberta

Chef: Justin Leboe
Website: www.modelmilk.ca. Cuisine: Canadian
Telephone: 403 265-7343. Twitter: @ModelMilkBistro
2012 Rank: New entry
Price range: $19-$32 for main courses
You Must Order: Brome Lake Duck Confit Duck Leg, Cotechino, Smoked Meat, Truffle ($29).
Need to Know ... from Prairies Regional Chair Jody Robbins of Vacay.ca: Where else can you find classic French oeufs en cocotte, low country shrimp and grits, and the city’s best burger (served medium rare, of course), - all on the same menu? In Cowtown, of course! Calgary’s stepped up to the culinary plate in a big way, and its transgression from serving up meat and potatoes to fusion at its finest, is no more noticeable than at this inventive restaurant.

Judge Diana Ng of up! Magazine: There are special occasion restaurants, and then there are outstanding, yet accessible restaurants—Model Milk is the latter. There, in the former dairy renewed with a laid back charm, executive chef Justin Leboe whimsically updates down-home classics like chicken and waffles and shrimp and grits with local and seasonal ingredients.

8. LES 400 COUPS, Montreal, Quebec

Chefs/Owners: Marc-Andre Jette and Patrice Demers
Website: www.les400coups.ca. Cuisine: Contemporary French
Telephone: 514-985-0400. Twitter: @Les400Coupsmtl
2012 Rank: 6
Price Range: $24-$30 for main courses.
You Must Order: Veal Sweetbreads: squash, hedgehog mushrooms, cipollini onions, rye ($30).
Need to Know ... from Judge Renee Suen of Toronto Life: Dramatic, handsome and rich with charm, Les 400 Coups strikes a happy balance in between very good to excellent fare and service. Desserts by pastry chef Patrice Demers shines like a beacon against an already stunning and subtle menu by Marc-Andre Jetté.

Judge John Placko of Modern Culinary Academy says: This restaurant rocks. I absolutely love what they’re doing here in terms of creativity. The contrast of ingredients on the plate go from frozen to crunchy to soft and creamy, all in one dish. From starters to main dishes and then desserts, they’re all spectacular and a credit to the sweet and savoury chefs, Jette and Demers. They have all the kitchen gadgets but what’s important is the quality and flavours of their menu.

See the Vacay.ca video and read more about Les 400 Coups: http://vacay.ca/2012/04/video-montreals-les-400-coups-aims-for-no-1/

9. CANOE, Toronto, Ontario

Chef: Anthony Walsh
Website: www.oliverbonacini.com/Canoe.aspx. Cuisine: Canadian
Telephone: 416 364-0054. Twitter: @Oliver_Bonacini
2012 Rank: 8
Price Range: $40-$49 for main courses.
You Must Order: New Brunswick Sturgeon-Braised Spring Creek Beef Cheeks, Savoy Cabbage, truffled potatoes ($42).
Need to Know ... from Judge Renee Suen of Toronto Life: While it still caters to the business crowd, Canoe's stodgy predictable menu has undergone some exciting transformation under the hand of John Horne. The focus is 100% Canadiana, integrating the best of seasonal ingredients with exceptional foraged goods.

10. RAYMONDS, St. John's, Newfoundland & Labrador

Chef: Jeremy Charles
Website: www.raymondsrestaurant.com. Cuisine: East Coast, Canadian
Telephone: 709-579-5800. Twitter: @Raymonds_CA
2012 Rank: New entry
Price Range: A seven-course tasting menu runs $125 ($75 with wine pairing) and a five-course menu is $100 ($55 with wine pairing). A la carte entrees range from $40-$45 on the current menu.
You Must Order: Rack of Lamb, roasted rack, local merguez sausage & braise, creamy polenta, roasted red peppers, eggplant purée, grilled zucchini, gremolata, and tomato sauce ($45).
Need to Know ... from Vacay.ca Managing Editor Adrian Brijbassi: If the spirit of Newfoundland is wild and unwieldy and rambunctious, Raymonds is its grown-up, sophisticated alter ego. George Street is 10 blocks away but its screech-in ceremonies, atmosphere ripe for one-night stands, and heel-pulverizing Irish-tinged rock music is another planet entirely from this immaculate restaurant that Charles and his business partner, Jeremy Bonia, opened three years ago.

Inside the circa 1916 building, light floods through a bank of windows in a way that will remind you of a Napa Valley spa restaurant, if not for the view. The Narrows and the harbour catch your gaze again and you wonder what kind of food Charles can manage to pair with this sight. Turns out, the cuisine is just as spectacular.

Note: Raymonds chef Jeremy Charles was a member of the Vacay.ca Voting Academy, whose rules stipulate that owners/employees can't vote for restaurants they are affiliated with.

See the Vacay.ca video and read the rest of the article on Raymonds: http://vacay.ca/2013/04/raymonds-is-all-class-in-st-johns/

11. ROUGE, Calgary, Alberta

Chefs/Owners: Paul Rogalski and Olivier Reynaud
Website: www.rougecalgary.com. Cuisine: French, Canadian
Telephone: 403.531.2767. Twitter: @RougeCal
2012 Rank: 9
Price range: $35-$40 for main courses
You Must Order: Seared Arctic Char, Shimeji Mushroom, Lobster Fricassee, Savoy Cabbage, Crispy Spaetzle ($35)
Need to Know ... from Vacay.ca Managing Editor Adrian Brijbassi: A trip to Calgary can’t be complete without a visit to this restaurant. It’s a destination in itself — that’s how important Rouge has become to Canada’s food scene. Olivier Reynaud’s European aesthetic is apparent beyond the cuisine and how it’s sourced. Rouge’s space is refreshing. It’s not in a big, open box with cool modern décor or a lower-level basement that chefs snap up for the cheap rent. In the trendy Inglewood neighbourhood, the house — formerly owned by A.E. Cross, one of the founders of the Calgary Stampede — has loads of charm, with intimate rooms on two levels, splashes of its namesake red throughout, and an air of both elegance and warmth.

Note: Rouge executive chef Paul Rogalski was named an honorary judge for the Vacay.ca rankings after he graciously sent in his picks for best restaurants in the nation out of his own initiative. Vacay.ca decided it would benefit all diners in Canada to have his choices as part of the voting academy's selections.

Read more and see a video about the wonderful Rouge in Calgary: http://vacay.ca/2012/04/rouge-calgarys-class-act/

12. HAWKSWORTH, Vancouver, British Columbia

Chefs: David Hawksworth
Website: www.hawksworthrestaurant.com. Cuisine: French, Pacific Northwest
Telephone: 604-673-7000. Twitter: @HawksworthRest
2012 Rank: 21
Price range: $29-$40 for main courses
You Must Order: Pacific Sablefish, lap cheong, soy braised daikon, pickled shiitake, crispy yam ($38)
Need to Know ... from Judge Terry Pichor of Sonora Resort: Hawksworth restaurant is top of my list. The food is innovative without compromise and dedicated to utilizing the best of Pacific Northwest ingredients as they come into season. The wine program and service combined with the food and the luxurious room make it one of the best dining experiences in Canada.

13. PASTAGA, Montreal, Quebec

Chef: Martin Juneau
Website: www.pastaga.ca. Cuisine: Quebecois, Modern French
Telephone: 438-381-6389. Twitter: @martin_juneau
2012 Rank: New entry
Price Range: $13-$16.50
You Must Order: Laurentian beef with chorizo sausage and "bubble and squeak" ($16.50).
Need to Know ... from Judge Dustin Gilman of Food Guy Montreal: Pastaga plays on the small dishes platform from chef Martin Juneau. I love tasting so many wonderful flavours in the perfect amount of bites. Also, Pastaga offers one of the most carefully selected and incredible natural wines in Montreal.

14. RUBY WATCHCO, Toronto, Ontario (A Public Favourite!)

Chefs: Lynn Crawford and Lora Kirk
Website: rubywatchco.ca. Cuisine: Canadian, Comfort Food
Telephone: 416-465-0100. Twitter: @RubyWatchco, @CHEF_LYNN
2012 Rank: 19
Price Range: $49 for a set three-course menu.
You Must Order: Whatever is on offer that night :) ... Chances are it will be fabulous.
Need to Know ... from Judge Barry O'Neill of Zed Financial: A unique four course prix-fixe menu that changes daily. The main character that attached us to the place was Chef Lynn Crawford, from watching her TV show "Pitchin Ìn." The talent and enthusiasm that she approaches food, we just knew it was going to be a delight.

There is a new fixed menu every night based on local seasonal products, which they call "Market Inspired Comfort food." It is like being invited over to someone’s house for dinner "…great food and great atmosphere. In fact, the night we were there the staff were hilarious, we haven't laughed so hard in a long time…as I said, like being at a friend’s house for dinner."

Vacay.ca Followers Andy and Linda Tesluk say: We celebrated our 32nd anniversary at Ruby Watchco on September 6, 2012. … They made us feel very special and with complimentary champagne to enhance our celebration and experience ... The menu featured Grilled Ontario Veal Chops with Caper Sage Sauce, with red wine-braised onions and chorizo, roasted cauliflower with raisins, and sweet potato smash with bacon sour cream. ... We don’t have the "culinary" words to describe our experience, but this vote is to show appreciation from the bottom of our heart.

15. TOQUE!, Montreal, Quebec

Chef: Normand Laprise
Website: www.restaurant-toque.com. Cuisine: French
Telephone: 514-499-2084. Twitter: @RestaurantToque
2012 Rank: 36
Price Range: $42-$48 for main courses.
You Must Order: Duck Magret ($48).
Need to Know: Normand Laprise is up for a prestigious James Beard award in 2013.

16. MONO CLIFFS INN, Mono Centre, Ontario — People's Choice Winner 2013!

Chef: Jason Reiner
Website: www.monocliffsinn.ca. Cuisine: French, country comfort food
Telephone: 519-941-5109.
2012 Rank: 29
Price Range: The pub menu generally range from $12-$24; the restaurant menu will include pricier options, including the popular Australian Rack of Lamb ($32).
You Must Order: Shrimp Linguini with julienne vegetable, capers, garlic and olive oil ($14.95).
Need to Know … from Judge Barry O'Neill of Zed Financial: Originally built as a farm house in the early 1800, this is an amazing country restaurant. Inn keeper Carol Hall from Australia makes this a warm, inviting environment. Country Style Fine Dining -Simply delicious! Chalkboard menu that features pub fare that includes homemade foods, breads and desserts. Enjoy a variety of places to eat, from the Main Dining Room to the McLaren Room with its cozy stone fireplace or the Magnolia Patio which is fully licensed. Then there is Peter Cellar's Pub, downstairs, where the locals hang out…unbelievable atmosphere…..directed by the bartender Wayne Biegel who makes everyone feel welcome and goes out of his way to introduce newcomers. Also downstairs, built a 150 years ago, a 'one of a kind'( it should be kept secret) The Wine Cellar which seats 8 and surrounded by all the wine :-) The outstanding homemade food, local draughts, great Australian wines (among others) and largest scotch collection in the area, is an experience not to be missed in any room! The food is consistently outstanding and our favourite place for the food, the atmosphere and the people.

Read more about the Mono Cliffs Inn from one of its devoted fans and Adrian Brijbassi's report on the inn: http://vacay.ca/2011/11/at-rural-ontario-pub-the-good-times-roll/

17. MUSE, Calgary, Alberta (A Public Favourite!)

Chef: JP Pedhirney
Website: www.muserestaurant.ca. Cuisine: Modern French
Telephone: 403-670-6873. Twitter: @MuseRestaurant
2012 Rank: New entry
Price Range: Entree prices currently range from $32-$38.
You Must Order: For lighter fare, go for grilled Vancouver Island sturgeon with beet ribbons and borscht consomme ($37).
Need to Know … from Vacay.ca Writer Jody Robbins: Muse has lived up to its ambitions since Heather Wighton and Stephen Deere took over. An overhauled wine list, new chef and inventive style of cuisine drove fans to push Muse into the upper echelons of public voting for the 2013 Vacay.ca Top 50 Restaurants in Canada awards. “It’s great to see Calgarians supporting us. There are tons of great restaurants in this country, and it’s an honour to be recognized by our customers who enjoy our food,” executive chef JP Pedhirney says of the national poll.

Read more about Muse in Vacay.ca: http://vacay.ca/2013/04/calgary-diners-have-no-beef-with-muse/

18. CHANTECLER, Toronto, Ontario

Chef: Jonathan Poon
Website: www.restaurantchantecler.ca. Cuisine: French
Telephone: 416 628-3586. Twitter: @ChanteclerTO
2012 Rank: New entry
Price Range: $15-$21 for main courses
You Must Order: Spicy Shrimp ($13)
Need to Know … from Judge Gizelle Lau of Toronto Eats: Open just over a year ago, Chantecler is one of the city’s best restaurants; offering casual family-style lettuce wraps during the week with side dishes that are mind-blowingly creative and delicious. On the weekend, by reservation only, the tasting menu is one of the most creative in the city, incredible technique to bring out unique flavours without being pretentious.

19. EDULIS, Toronto, Ontario

Chef: Chef/Owner Michael Caballo
Website: edulisrestaurant.com. Cuisine: European
Telephone: 416.703-4222. Twitter: @EdulisToronto
2012 Rank: New entry
Price range: $15-$20 for dinner items
You must order: Bonito Cured Pork Belly Arugula-Hazelnut Picada, Celery Root, Mustard Sauce ($15), or the Pickerel Stewed Potato, Marinated Black Trumpets, Sunflower Seed Broth, Claytonia ($17). And while expensive, try the Rib Steak Dry Aged 10 Weeks(1 kg) with Green Salad ($90).
Need to Know: Don’t stop at dinner! This restaurant also has a very good Cheese & Dessert menu as well as a delightful Wine & Cocktail menu.

20. CHIVES, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Chef: Craig Flinn
Website: www.chives.ca. Cuisine: East Coast, Contemporary French
Telephone: 902-420-9626. Twitter: @ChefCraigFlinn
2012 Rank: New entry
Price Range: $23.99-$28.99
You Must Order: Moroccan-Spiced Braised Nova Scotia Lamb, with dried fruit cous cous, root vegetable tagine, wild cucumber yogurt and pistachios ($28.99).
Need to Know ... from Top 50 Restaurants in Canada Chair Janine MacLean: The shining jewel in Halifax’s ever-growing food scene is Chives. No restaurant seems to capture the essence of what fine dining can be in the Maritimes like this place. I was enticed by the online menu, which champions Nova Scotian ingredients, and by chefs Craig Flinn and Darren Lewis’ credentials (between the two they seem to have worked everywhere and have won every possible award). I was more than ready to plow into a delicious, homey meal.

You can find Chives on Halifax’s bustling Barrington Street, which runs adjacent from the famous harbour. Looking entirely unassuming on the outside, once you step in you are transported to an artsy and colourful space, composed of both urban and rural décor elements, which seem to sum up nicely what the restaurant is attempting to represent — the Nova Scotian way of life.

Read more about Chives in Vacay.ca: http://vacay.ca/2012/07/chives-vaults-maritimes-to-new-heights/

21. FLEUR DE SEL, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

Chef: Martin Ruiz Salvador
Website: fleurdesel.net. Cuisine: French, Seafood
Telephone: 902-640-2121
2012 Rank: New entry
Price Range: $21-$39
You Must Order: If you see anything with lobster in it, do not hesitate.
Need to Know ... from East Coast Regional Chair Renée Lavallée: There is something magical about Fleur de Sel; the location or the food, but either way I think it is one of Canada's best-kept secrets. Martin Ruiz Salvador and his wife, Sylvie, take you on a magical journey of food and wine, pairing it all with exceptional service. Using local and seasonal ingredients, Martin changes his menu regularly. He works closely with farmers such as Ted Hutten and fish suppliers such as Peter Darnell.

22. RIVER CAFE, Calgary, Alberta

Chef: Andrew Winfield
Website: www.river-cafe.com. Cuisine: Canadian
Telephone: 403-261-7670. Twitter: @RiverCafeYYC, @ChefWinfieldYYC
2012 Rank: New entry
Price Range: Main courses range from $28-$49.
You Must Order: Olson's High Country Bison Striploin ($48), served with smoked potato emulsion, huckleberry and bordelaise jus.
Need to Know: A walk in the park takes you to this relaxing jewel that serves delectable dishes featuring Alberta beef and British Columbia seafood. In Prince's Island Park, River Cafe is a leader in Calgary's exciting and impressive culinary scene.

23. L'ABATTOIR, Vancouver, British Columbia

Chef: Lee Cooper
Website: www.labattoir.ca. Cuisine: West Coast
Telephone: 604-568-1701. Twitter: @LABATTOIR_VAN
2012 Rank: 7
Price Range: Small plates, $13-$29.
You Must Order: Warm Steelhead and Potato Salad ($15) — and a few cocktails from bar man Shaun Layton.
Need to Know ... from Judge Renee Suen of Toronto Life: Solid. A good balance of good cocktails to flavourful food that’s tight and very good. Go to order: pan fried veal sweetbreads on toast.

Read Vacay.ca's report on L'Abattoir: http://vacay.ca/2011/10/inventive-labattoir-in-vancouver-is-truly-a-star/

24. LA CABANE A SUCRE DU PIED DE COCHON, St. Benoit de Mirabel, Quebec

Chef: Martin Picard
Website: cabaneasucreaupieddecochon.com. Cuisine: Quebecois, Canadian
Telephone: 450-258-1732. Twitter: @CabanePDC
2012 Rank: 26
Price Range: $59 for adults/$20 for kids (sugar season); $50 adults/$20 kids (apple season)
You Must Order: Triple Pork, Maple Meille Feuille
Need to Know ... from Dustin Gilman of Food Guy Montreal: This is not a normal restaurant. Highlighting maple at the peak of its delicious season, while creating delectable and one-of-a-kind dishes heightened with the sweet syrup is simply the best. The fact that it’s only open for a few weeks during the year makes it that much more exclusive and exciting … if you get a reservation.

25. ARAXI, Whistler, British Columbia

Chef: James Walt
Website: www.araxi.com. Cuisine: West Coast, Contemporary Canadian
Telephone: 604-932-4540. Twitter: @araxirestaurant
2012 Rank: 12
Price Range: Large plates range from $24.50-$42.50, and include vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free choices.
You Must Order: Saffron-crusted halibut caught in Haida Gwaii ($36.50), featuring a seafood and herb foam with chili oil.
Need to Know: The sophisticated restaurant of choice in Whistler for years, Araxi brings refined flavours from both sides of the Coastal mountain range onto the plates in one of Canada's most popular outdoor centres. Seafood and meat choices are divine, and the kitchen deserves credit for its conscientious approach toward vegetarian and vegan diners.