Canada, Special occasion, St. Johns, Top ___ lists, Toronto, Vancouver

Bowsing my way through Canada’s Top 100 Restaurants 2018: My Food Diary

As we near the end of 2018, I would like to see how I am doing in terms of working my way through this year’s Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants list. I’ve been to several of these restaurants over the years, so I thought it would be interesting to see how I was doing at this point in time. Let’s consider this my diary of the last few years via my food adventures.

7. Raymonds (St. John’s)

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When I was sent to St. John’s for work a couple years ago, I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that it had some of the best restaurants in Canada. I knew I had to immediately make reservations at Raymonds, which was the number 1 restaurant in Canada at one point. It was in a very elegant setting. We had the 5-course tasting menu, which I would highly recommend along with the wine pairings. I wasn’t able to take too many notes during my time there but I wish to go back in the future and to try out the other two top Canadian restaurants located in St. John’s as well (22. Mallard Cottage and 58. The Merchant Tavern). Read about my food adventures in St. John’s here.

14. Savio Volpe (Vancouver)

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We were fortunate enough to have tried their tasting menu here during one of our recent visits to Vancouver. I was extremely impressed. They definitely deserve such a high ranking on this list. This Italian restaurant is located on a stretch of Kingsway which can easily be missed. We drove right by it. The interior is very modern. The service is excellent. The food was amazing, fresh, reasonably priced and generously portioned.  I strongly suggest trying their tasting menu for a memorable culinary experience.

18. Canoe (Toronto)

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We attended a simple, yet elegant wedding reception at Canoe this year. The view, as it was located on the 54th floor of the TD Bank Tower, was indeed breathtaking. The food was also excellent from the small shared starters to the main dishes. I hope to be able to return in the future to try their regular menu and to be able to write a full post about this posh restaurant.

40. Atelier (Ottawa)

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I 100% agree that Atelier is the top restaurant in Ottawa. This unique dining experience is not something that I would ever forget. I was so grateful when my friend offered me her reservation at this restaurant last year, shortly after my birthday. The food is so meticulously prepared and gorgeously presented – from the octopus served in a  terrarium to the foie gras in an edible styrofoam. The service is extremely attentive. The wine/beer pairings are perfect. There is nothing negative I can say about this restaurant, except maybe for the fact that it is not for those who prefer a quick meal. The experience will most likely take up most of your evening, so sit back, relax and enjoy the artistic food symphony. Read my detailed post about Atelier here.

42. Café Boulud (Toronto)

Pan-seared salmon @ Cafe Boulud

We came here as part of Summerlicious Toronto and I was not too impressed, to be quite honest. I was super excited and surprised I could make a reservation here so last minute, especially with their special menu. Unfortunately, the service was less than what I would expect from one of Canada’s 100 Best. The food was also unremarkable. I wonder if this was because we did not have their regular menu, but I am not sure if I would return here in the future. Read about my experience here.

54. Riviera  (Ottawa)

Riviera is owned by the same chef who also runs El Camino and Datsun, two Ottawa restaurants which I frequented prior to the owner admitting to sexually harassing women last year. This is a shame because I really enjoyed the food from both El Camino and Datsun prior to this news. I haven’t been back too much since. Riviera, was the upscale sister, in a gorgeous setting of an old bank building with super high ceilings. The food was, however, less remarkable compared to the other two sister restaurants, in my opinion.

55. Bao Bei (Vancouver)

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I tried this fusion Chinese restaurant in the recently-turned hipster part of Chinatown a couple years ago. Here you can find small plate Chinese food with a much heftier price tag than your usual Chinese restaurant. If you’re looking for big plate, comfort Chinese food, then this is not your place. But if you want to try fusion Chinese dishes in a more cocktail-bar, hip setting, this is it.

62. Fairouz (Ottawa)

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Fairouz is another excellent restaurant in Ottawa. We came here last year for my birthday. There are many Middle Eastern restaurants in the area but nothing that compares to this upscale Middle Eastern restaurant on Somerset. Some of my favourites were the creamy muhammara dip, mindblowingly delicious halloumi and flavourful pidé. Read my detailed post about Fairouz here.

74. North & Navy (Ottawa)

North & Navy is Italian Restaurant with a modern twist. It’s been a while since I’ve been back here (since 2015 – the OG Bowsing Nom Noms days). I don’t recall being swept off my feet to be honest, but you can read about my experience here.

78. DaiLo* (Toronto)

Truffled fried rice, crispy duck wings, and and sweet and sour pork hock from DaiLo @ Assembly Chef's Hall

I’m going cheat a little here. We did not actually to go to the original DaiLo restaurant but we did try their stall at Assembly Chef’s Hall. I was especially impressed by their truffled fried rice. If the food quality is consistent between the two then I would definitely like to check out the original DaiLo restaurant. Read about my experience at Assembly Chef’s Hall here.

91. Stofa  (Ottawa)

Stofa is located in what appears to be a little house on Wellington West – a street full of great eats. I did not take too many notes when I was there earlier this year as we were dealing with some bad news that day, so I hope to go back there again in the near future to give it a fair chance!

And that’s it! I hope to have the opportunity to try out some more restaurants on this list soon. Have you been to any of the restaurants that I’ve listed or any other restaurants on the rest of the list? Comment below and tell me about your experience!

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