Thursday, November 06, 2014

Vancouver Island's Wolf in the Fog named Canada's Best New Restaurant by enRoute magazine

A Vancouver Island restaurant came out on top in enRoute magazine's annual Canada's Best New Restaurants. Wolf in the Fog, located in Tofino on the "wild side" of Vancouver Island, bested nine other restos in enRoute's annual roundup of top restaurants in Canada. For those not familiar with enRoute, it is Air Canada's award-winning inflight magazine (and one of my favorites).

Selecting the best restaurants was the mission of food writer Andrew Braithwaite, whose month-long culinary journey took him across Canada from Tofino, BC to St. John's, Newfoundland. The ten winners represented seven of Canada's provinces: British Columbia 2, Ontario 2, Quebec 2, Alberta 1, Newfoundland 1, Nova Scotia 1, Saskatchewan 1.

Chef Nick Nutting of Wolf in the Fog in Tofino on Vancouver Island
 ©JohnCullenPhoto courtesy enRoute magazine 

CANADA'S BEST NEW RESTAURANTS 2014 | Air Canada's enRoute magazine 

1. Wolf in the Fog (Tofino, BC) | "On the extreme west coast of Vancouver Island, where rainforest meets ocean, you stumble up a flight of stairs and into a soaring cedar-clad room above a surf shop where chef Nick Nutting leads a crew trained in the precise details of fine dining." 

2. Farmer's Apprentice Restaurant | Vancouver | "Each small plate -- more often, a bowl -- conjured by owner David Gunawan is a precise jumble of textures and flavours. Digging in is a sort of black magic." 

3. Le Vin Papillon | Montreal | "Long-time Joe Beef guru Vanya Filipovic fills massive chalkboards with organic wines to run with a vegetable-focused cuisine from boyfriend and chef Marc-Olivier Frappier." 

4. RGE RD | Edmonton | "The heart of Blair Lebsack's kitchen is a wood-burning oven that consumes birch and maple at 700F, curing honey ham and smoking Salt Spring Island mussels or even dehydrated local milk during the off-hours."

5. Mallard Cottage | St. John's | "Todd Perrin spent two years restoring a heritage property in Quidi Vidi Harbour for this brilliant mash-up of fine dining and comfort cuisine on the outskirts of St. John's."
Canadian journalist and author Andrew Braithwaite at work.

6. Bar Buca | Toronto | "Rob Gentile's restaurant likes to pretend it's a simple bar for sipping Barolo. You're here to drink, sure, but you're also here to eat things like tiny fried smelt dusted with fennel salt."

7. The Chase | Toronto | "Chef Michael Steh doesn't lean on molecular trickery or audacious ingredients to wow. His food is more direct and more delightful than that, in an atmosphere that makes you want to say yes to things."

8. Ayden Kitchen & Bar | Saskatoon | "Top Chef Canada winner Dale MacKay gambled that Saskatoon was ready for lime- and lemongrass- and ginger-dusted chicken wings. Ayden isn't about showing off Prairie cooking to the world -- it's about bringing the world home."

9. Restaurant Legende | Quebec City | "Northern Quebec is the culinary hunting ground that Frederic Laplante mythologizes at his capital-city bistro. Cornish hen gets a boreal accent from balsam fir fleur de sel."

10. Edna Restaurant | Halifax | "Jenna Mooers' North End bistro digs up treasure from the fertile soils of Nova Scotia's Annapolis Valley and hauls it out of the brisk Atlantic waters."
Ayden Kitchen & Bar was awarded the 2014 People's Choice Award, and all the winners are profiled in the November issue of Air Canada's enRoute and online. There you can also find out where the top chefs travel, drool over a "dream menu" and take a quiz to find out where you should eat (I got Chase in Toronto). The top 10 restaurants will receive their official awards during the annual Canada's Best New Restaurants Gala celebration in Toronto on November 20, 2014.

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