enRoute Has Named Canada’s 10 Best New Restaurants of 2015

All body photos courtesy of enRoute magazine. Title photo courtesy of Partisan Projects.

enRoute Magazine’s team have put their tastebuds on paper after a year of arduously travelling our great nation and eating at the best new restaurants from coast to coast.

“Criss-crossing Canada this year to sneak a taste of the country’s newest restaurants felt a lot like time travel,” writes enRoute’s Andrew Braithwaite. “Some chefs were channelling 1920s San Sebastián or 1830s Tokyo. Others dreamed up the sort of forward-looking wine bar whose new global tastes could easily belong in 2025.”

Behold, their picks for the 10 best new restaurants in Canada for 2015:


1. Pigeonhole, Calgary
“Tonight’s crowd at Pigeonhole is young, dapper and prone to hugs, but 30 years ago, this space was a British tea room, frequented by Calgary’s gay community and ladies who lunched.”


2. Port City Royal, Saint John
“Does that trapdoor lead to a trove of Lutes family recipes, perfected over generations? Nope: They’re aging craft beers in the cellar.”


3. Pilgrimme, Galiano Island, B.C.
“After sampling almost everything on the entire enchanted menu, we might never leave.”


4. Dailo, Toronto
“The sight of that whole fried Giggie trout, its eyes open and head propped up on the plate, reminds me of the yakuza board-meeting scene in the movie Kill Bill.”


5. Bar Raval, Toronto
“A new rush of hungry bodies surfs us over to a wine barrel in the middle of the space. Tapas and pintxos (stuff on a plate vs. stuff on bread) find us anyway: fat cubes of tangy Manchego, a creamy-saline shrimp bisque slathered atop a baguette round, and a plate of acorn-fed jamón.”


6. Annalena, Vancouver
“Michael Robbins named his restaurant for his two grandmothers, Anna and Lena. If either of them ever told him not to play with his food, it doesn’t show.”


7. Adelaide Oyster House, St. John’s
“Roll your eyes at yet another kale Caesar salad all you want. Vardy doesn’t care. His version is loaded so heavily with smoked albacore and capers and something called “sunflower granola” that we ditch our forks and hoover it up with a spoon.”


8. Yasu, Toronto
“We nod respectfully and reach our fingers toward the next offering – a thinly sliced scallop from Hokkaido, dusted with that Himalayan salt. Each bite is like a ceremonial handshake between strangers.”


9. Enoteca, Winnipeg
“The almost-French, almost-Spanish cuisine here plays on unexpected notes that resonate: A puck of sweet raw scallop, diced and sandwiched between slices of lomo and pickled kohlrabi, gains sharpness from black garlic and dehydrated ginger.”


10. Soif, Gatineau
“Soif (thirst in French) shares key personality traits with the 120-odd bottles on its wine list: It’s lively, smart and devoid of pretension. Just what a wine bar should be in 2015.”