Deer + Almond, Máquè about to get even busier
Two Winnipeg restos named to Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants
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TORONTO — Montreal restaurants dominate Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants List with 27 eateries on the annual ranking, led by Mon Lapin in the No. 1 spot.
However, there are also a couple of bright Winnipeg lights on the 2023 list of exceptional eateries.
No. 59 is Deer + Almond, the Exchange District restaurant started by chef Mandel Hitzer in 2012. (He is also behind the winter wonder at The Forks, RAW:almond).
The list entry reads: “Choose the dining room for chef Mandel Hitzer’s contemporary Canadian prix fixe, and the bar for an offering of select à la carte dishes. With warm wood accents and soft lighting, the space, which opened in 2012, is intimate and stylish — and stays open late.”
And at No. 98 comes Dorchester Avenue’s Máquè, from Scott Bagshaw, the chef responsible for Passero at The Forks and Corydon Avenue’s Enoteca: “Máquè offers small-plates Asian fusion, taking inspiration from Korea, Japan and China, while integrating traditional European ingredients and preparations. The wine list may be modest but contains some intriguing selections.”
“I’m super-proud of my team at Máquè — I couldn’t be happier for them,” Bagshaw says, while offering his congratulations to the chefs at Deer+ Almond, which has also appeared in the top 100 in previous years.
“I’d be proud of my restaurants regardless of the list or not — I’m proud of what we’re doing here and what we’re doing over at Enoteca and Passero,” Bagshaw says. “I’m at a point in my life where I know in my heart that we’re doing good work. And again, I’m proud of all the people that work for me; I couldn’t have done without them… I don’t put too much weight behind lists anymore. But, you know, it’s nice.
“I feel there were some other restaurants in the city that probably could have made the list as well… but for those those who didn’t, you know, it’s not the end of the world. If you feel you’re doing good work, and your customers are happy, then just keep doing what you’re doing.”
The 100-best list also includes such Michelin-starred restaurants as Toronto’s contemporary French favourite Alo in second place, Vancouver’s locally sourced Published on Main in third and Toronto’s Edulis in fourth.
Published on Main previously held the top spot on the 2022 list of best restaurants.
Toronto is home to 18 of the hotspots, including the double-Michelin-starred Sushi Masaki Saito in 19th place. Vancouver has 15 restaurants on the list — including four in the top 10 — Ottawa has eight, Calgary has seven and Halifax boasts four.
Editor-in-chief Jacob Richler and the team behind the rankings also announced their top 10 best new restaurants, led by Toronto’s Prime Seafood Palace.
Now in its ninth year, the gastronomic catalogue celebrates the country’s best places to dine as decided by 135 judges chosen for their reputation and knowledge of the culinary scene.
Officials say the judges do not receive any direction on where to go and what to eat and no free meals are accepted.
This year’s judges included Top Chef Canada judge Mijune Pak, Vancouver restaurant critic Mia Stainsby and celebrity chef Michael Smith.
The list of 100 best restaurants also includes two each from Quebec City, Edmonton, St. John’s, N.L., and Whistler, B.C., with the rest of the entries scattered among smaller communities across the country.
The full announcement, including 50 best bars and awards for various categories including best sommelier and pastry chef, can be found online at canadas100best.com.
— The Canadian Press