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enRoute Best New Restaurants


Andrew Morrison
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Congratulations to Chambar and the Rosemeade!

Chris Johns from En Route unveils his top 10 best new restaurants for 2004.

1. Garcon – Montreal

2. The Rosemeade Dining Room –Victoria

3. Le Club Chasse et Peche – Montreal

4. Raza – Montreal

5. George – Toronto

6. Chambar – Vancouver

7. O Chalet – Montreal

8. Fleur de Sel – Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

9. Panache – Quebec City

10. Thuet Cuisine – Toronto

Andrew Morrison

Food Columnist | The Westender

Editor & Publisher | Scout Magazine

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Here's some more information extracted from their press release. By the way, the period covered was for new restaurants opened between July 2004 and June 2005.

Canada’s Best New Restaurant 2005

is Garçon! in Montreal

enRoute honours 10 new restaurants from Victoria, BC to Lunenburg, N.S

“Warning: this restaurant may not be suitable for all diners. It contains scenes of audacity and culinary extravagance… Gastronomic discretion is advised. […] For adventurous diners who are comfortable with a high level of pampering in a refined setting, Garcon! is a pure sensory delight.”

– Chris Johns on Garçon!, winner of enRoute’s Canada’s Best New Restaurant 2005

Could Montreal’s Sherbrooke Street West be Canada’s new restaurant row? For the second consecutive year, Canada’s Best New Restaurant is located there, according to enRoute magazine’s fourth annual survey. After calling upon a nationwide roster of 30 of Canada’s most respected culinary critics to recommend new restaurants across the country (opened between July 2004 and June 2005), enRoute and its contributing editor Chris Johns are proud to unveil the 10 best new tables of 2005.

The winner, Garçon!, is a contemporary French fine-dining experience from renowned restaurateur Patricia Hovington and Chef Jérôme Lefils (previously of Montreal’s Chorus).

Last year’s winner, Brontë, is just eight blocks west of Garçon!. Describing the impact of winning the title last year, Joe Mercuri & Desiree Draca, co-owners of Brontë, explain: "Since November 1st 2004, when the magazine first appeared, the restaurant has been solidly booked with clients from all over Canada and around the world, who discovered us through enRoute. To this day, one year later, the response continues to be overwhelming."

The other excellent restaurants included among

Canada’s Best New Restaurants 2005 are:

2 Rosemeade Dining Room – Victoria “Each dish is imbued with clean, bright and harmonious flavours.”

3 Le Club Chasse et Pêche – Montreal “A refined esthetic with a delightful injection of whimsy.”

4 Raza – Montreal “This is the kind of food that makes diners drop their cutlery, stare at each other in disbelief and recite panegyrics.”

5 George – Toronto “A modern approach of three small courses followed by dessert.”

6 Chambar Belgian Restaurant – Vancouver “Inspired blending of Belgian and Moroccan cuisine.”

7 Ô Chalet – Montreal “Old-school Canadiana cottage-chic feel… complex comfort food.”

8 Fleur de Sel – Lunenburg, N.S. “French technique and Spanish influences.”

9 Panache – Quebec City “The best possible local ingredients are given full expression.”

10 Thuet - Toronto “Flavours are bold and almost aggressively confident.”

Canadian bragging rights go to Montreal - a tour de force. BC bragging rights go to the Island - congratulations Rosemeade. Begin the gloating now.

Jamie

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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Title has been edited to reflect the appropriate year. Get with the time Morrison!! :laugh:

Funny, I thought Le Club Chasse et Pêche had been around longer.

Rosemeade was already on my Vancouver island list. Maybe this Christmas ...

A.

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DSC067340.jpg

Snapped this happy photo of (l-r) manager Mark Wachtin, owner Maria Hernandez and chef Richard Luttman following last night's fabulous wine dinner at Rosemeade.

I have posted some photos of the food courses on the Winchester Cellars winemaker dinner thread.

Memo

Edited by Memo (log)

Ríate y el mundo ríe contigo. Ronques y duermes solito.

Laugh, and the world laughs with you. Snore, and you sleep alone.

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Here's the Rosemead website The English Inn

Wow - those off season rates look great and the menus look fantastic.  Now - I wonder if it would be just TOO sad if someone went by themselves for the weekend.  Not me of course...  I mean I am asking for a friend.

I think Neil wouldn't mind being your date, if you pick up the tab. :wink:

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I won't comment too much, since I write for the magazine, except to say that the full "Canada's Best New Restaurants of 2005" article can be found in the November issue of enRoute, which is available gratis on all Air Canada flights.

If you don't happen to find yourself on a plane next month, you'll be able to read the article online at enRoute's website, once the November content is posted. (While you're there, you'll also be able to read my November feature on "culinary cocktails," but enough plugging...)

If you're interested to know who has won in the past, follow these links:

2004

2003

2002

Montreal kind of stole the show this year, didn't it?

Edited by chrisstearns (log)
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Here's the Rosemead website The English Inn

Wow - those off season rates look great and the menus look fantastic.  Now - I wonder if it would be just TOO sad if someone went by themselves for the weekend.  Not me of course...  I mean I am asking for a friend.

I think Neil wouldn't mind being your date, if you pick up the tab. :wink:

Again, would waive my $25.00 fee.

Neil Wyles

Hamilton Street Grill

www.hamiltonstreetgrill.com

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Here's the Rosemead website The English Inn

Wow - those off season rates look great and the menus look fantastic.  Now - I wonder if it would be just TOO sad if someone went by themselves for the weekend.  Not me of course...  I mean I am asking for a friend.

That's what I would call an "artist's retreat," CH. You could call it a "business retreat". Just don't let it out that Egullet's most elligible bachelor is going solo for the weekend or the hotel may be inundated with hungry young females and reality tv crews.:wink:

Zuke

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

--Mae West

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I think Neil wouldn't mind being your date, if you pick up the tab.

I said I was asking on behalf of a 'friend'! But I guess if you feel comfortable being so open about it - there you go.

While you're there, you'll also be able to read my November feature on "culinary cocktails," but enough plugging...

Montreal kind of stole the show this year, didn't it?

Dude - your cocktail feature - Ginger Scotch Smash - sounds excellent!

It does look like Montreal is on a big upswing. Last issue of the Art of Eating had a big spread on the Montreal restaurant and food scene (my posting here) Good for them - I have a soft spot for Montreal and it's glory days in the 70's.

I took a look on the online Enroute article re:the Gucci shop opening in Vancouver. Wow it is first class obnoxious! Ugh - Toronto writers.

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Montreal kind of stole the show this year, didn't it?

And may--with Toronto--continue to.

Having lived in Montreal recently Chris, I'd look forward to your further commentary on the different dining cultures. My own impression is that as Montreal's economy continues to improve, there is an abundant appetite for fine dining, all-evening opportunities, whereas much of the excitement on the West Coast relates to new Asian and more casual turns in regional cuisine. Commercial rents also remain relatively reasonable in Montreal.

Relative to Montreal, we are architecturally starved here. Most new-build restaurants in Vancouver are located in condominium podia and are constrained by their long narrow spaces. I'd love to see a restaurant like, say, CRU, spread its wings a little. But purpose-built restaurant spaces are typically only pre-planned for tenants with strong covenants. Thus the most important big new rooms to open this year will be Earls at Paramount Place and Saltlik. I note that Lift, the most expensive new room to open in Vancouver during the judging period, failed to make the Top Ten list.

In Toronto, where the residential real estate market may be more adversely affected by rising interest rates next year (and therefore disposable income may diminish), there's seemingly no sign yet of a waning interest in big box rooms. David Aisenstat's (The Keg, Hy's, Gotham) new Ki cost a reported $7 million.

Somehow, no matter how hard new casual rooms in Vancouver try, it's difficult to compare Go Fish! (bless its piscine heart) with dining rooms that offer more complete dining experiences.

And walls.

Edited by jamiemaw (log)

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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It's quite an honour to be considered among the top new restaurants in Canada, and I ain't just sayin' that. In the daily grind of schlepping food and pulling pints, it's easy to lose a bit of perspective. But then someone tells you they love the lamb shank or that the venison carpaccio was ethereal or that they hate the Duchess de Bourgogne but thanks for introducing me to a beer that smells like malt vinegar and tastes like red wine and orange rind, and it brings it back. Sixth in Canada is pretty damn good for a little brasserie where you can occasionally run into guys with tattooed faces.

Congrats to all the winners, particularly Garcon and Rosemeade.

I would've liked to have seen a mention or two of restaurants in the 4500+km between Vancouver and Toronto, but perhaps a community of innovative restaurants (as in the case of Montreal) really raises the bar. It seems that here in Vancouver the community has come together to raise the bar in terms of encouraging sustainable fisheries and driving value. In Montreal (Mr. Stearns, Mr. Maw and others I'd be interested to hear your thoughts) is price less of an issue and culinary artistry more of a focus? Or is it something more akin to a French girl's affection - fickle and fleeting but damned fine?

Thanks also to egullet and egulleters. Personally, reading about Chambar on egullet forced me to go and apply. If it wasn't for your insights I'd likely still be tearing apart scrap cars with my dad. I'd say I just about owe each and every one of you a beer for that alone.

Professionally, it's kept us on our toes, from realizing that there was an extra regulator on our fry-cooker to being able to manage 16000 calls for dine-out. I can confidently say (as a compulsive lurker), that without egullet we wouldn't have made it into the EnRoute top 10, and quite possibly wouldn't have made it into a second year.

That said, I look forward to dining at Rosemeade and gorging myself on the culinaria of la belle province (after, purely on principle, going to the corner-store and gorging myself on corner-store bought beer).

Quentin Kayne

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It's quite an honour to be considered among the top new restaurants in Canada, and I ain't just sayin' that. In the daily grind of schlepping food and pulling pints, it's easy to lose a bit of perspective. But then someone tells you they love the lamb shank or that the venison carpaccio was ethereal or that they hate the Duchess de Bourgogne but thanks for introducing me to a beer that smells like malt vinegar and tastes like red wine and orange rind, and it brings it back. Sixth in Canada is pretty damn good for a little brasserie where you can occasionally run into guys with tattooed faces.

Congrats to all the winners, particularly Garcon and Rosemeade.

I would've liked to have seen a mention or two of restaurants in the 4500+km between Vancouver and Toronto, but perhaps a community of innovative restaurants (as in the case of Montreal) really raises the bar. It seems that here in Vancouver the community has come together to raise the bar in terms of encouraging sustainable fisheries and driving value. In Montreal (Mr. Stearns, Mr. Maw and others I'd be interested to hear your thoughts) is price less of an issue and culinary artistry more of a focus? Or is it something more akin to a French girl's affection - fickle and fleeting but damned fine?

Thanks also to egullet and egulleters. Personally, reading about Chambar on egullet forced me to go and apply. If it wasn't for your insights I'd likely still be tearing apart scrap cars with my dad. I'd say I just about owe each and every one of you a beer for that alone.

Professionally, it's kept us on our toes, from realizing that there was an extra regulator on our fry-cooker to being able to manage 16000 calls for dine-out. I can confidently say (as a compulsive lurker), that without egullet we wouldn't have made it into the EnRoute top 10, and quite possibly wouldn't have made it into a second year.

That said, I look forward to dining at Rosemeade and gorging myself on the  culinaria of la belle province (after, purely on principle, going to the corner-store and gorging myself on corner-store bought beer).

Congratulations, Quinten (and Nico and Karri of course!).

Very well deserved indeed. I've been meaning to come in again in the next little while, but it might be a little harder to get a table!

I raise a glass (of Belgian beer) to you!

Jeff (and all the staff at Aurora)

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Congrats to the BC winners...should have gone to Rosemeade after all when we were in Victoria last week....

Have to chuckle concerning the success of the Montreal...where I was born and raised....restaurants. Do any of you remember the "gnashing of teeth" at the Montreal section of this website when Tofino's SOBO was similarly lauded. All sorts of muttering about a "bus", catering truck winning an award instead of this Montreal spot or another.

Anyway, good for all of the spots mentioned.

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Having lived in Montreal recently Chris, I'd look forward to your further commentary on the different dining cultures. My own impression is that as Montreal's economy continues to improve, there is an abundant appetite for fine dining, all-evening opportunities

I'm no authority on the Montreal dining scene. But as a Vancouverite who was consulting on a restaurant opening there, I did notice huge differences between the dining cultures of the two cities. (Or solitudes, if you like.)

I found Montreal more insular than Vancouver or Toronto. Montrealers seem less interested in recent North American trends in cuisine. This can be a good thing (the tendency for celebrity chef worship seems to have little traction in Montreal) and a bad thing (mid-century French is getting a bit stale, no?).

How much of this you ascribe to economy, chauvinism, or just a kind of culinary inertia is up to you. Certainly the city can seem stuck in a time-warp sometimes. But it is starting to change, with several forward-looking restaurants opening in the last five years (helmed by chefs who look outside the province's borders for inspiration).

Another challenge facing fine-dining rooms in Montreal is getting people to pony up for great food in a city where great food doesn't cost a lot. Forty dollars goes so far in Montreal that a hundred has to go much, much further than it does in Vancouver. The justification for the pricing--the story about fresh products, regional ingredients--doesn't seem to have gained as much attention with everyday diners as in the rest of the country. It's a big hurdle for new restaurants to jump.

As for "all-evening opportunities," ...discretion is the better part.

Edited by chrisstearns (log)
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It seems that here in Vancouver the community has come together to raise the bar in terms of encouraging sustainable fisheries and driving value. In Montreal (Mr. Stearns, Mr. Maw and others I'd be interested to hear your thoughts) is price less of an issue and culinary artistry more of a focus? Or is it something more akin to a French girl's affection - fickle and fleeting but damned fine?

I sort of mentioned pricing in my post above, but to clarify: I think price points need to be understood within the context of the cost-of-living of each city. Montreal, which is working its way out of a lengthy recession, has to be gauged differently than Toronto or Vancouver.

I suppose one could rebut that ingredients cost what they cost, and fine-dining is a world of razor-thin margins... It's a tough business even when you're selling to a willing public. Maybe this explains why so few 'nouvelle' restaurants have cropped up in Montreal in the past few years.

As for the affections of French girls... again, discretion.

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I'd say I just about owe each and every one of you a beer for that alone.

Is there any day in particular that you would like us all to drop by for that beer ??

I'm not afraid...

The indomitable Mr. Mark Brand and I have agreed to buy a beer for "each and every" egulleter that comes through the door to celebrate the 2005 enRoute magazine awards.

A day Mr Wyles? Let's say any Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday 'til the new year.

Karri and Nico don't know about this yet so this may be the last post I make in the employ of Chambar. Nevertheless, if you're under number 31,000 and can prove it (how? I don't know? any suggestions?), a tasty belgian beer will be cascading down your corporeal gullet, gratis.

Quentin Kayne

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  • 11 months later...

According to someone posting on Waiterforum, two Vancouver restaurants place first and fifth in the top five of Enroute's Best New Restaurants for 2006: Nu (1st) and Rare (5th).

Memo - spill the beans, tuppence a bag

Ríate y el mundo ríe contigo. Ronques y duermes solito.

Laugh, and the world laughs with you. Snore, and you sleep alone.

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