To make it as a restaurant in some of Canada’s biggest foodie cities on a good year requires hustle, timing, that secret sauce and a lot of luck. Add to this the global pandemic, public
To make it as a restaurant in some of Canada’s biggest foodie cities on a good year requires hustle, timing, that secret sauce and a lot of luck. Add to this the global pandemic, public lockdowns (meaning no on-site patrons and a switch to delivery and take out only service) and social distancing. While some neighborhood staples were forced to shut their doors permanently, many new restaurants have found a way to remain open, and even managing to put out some of the best food. And they could really use our support, now more than ever. Here is our roundup of the best new Canadian restaurants.
Wave Tacos – Halifax, Nova Scotia
If you have ever eaten a gourmet taco, no off-the-shelf box kit will do (we have all been there – we are not judging). Oscar Hood at Ware Tacos elevates your palette (think tequila lime chicken) and then feeds it with its gourmet taco kits, delivered each Tuesday.
Osteria Rialto – Toronto, Ontario
Put your pre-order in for Osteria’s “Neighborhood Degustazione” takeaway menu for a complete at-home meal. While the dishes change, you can expect a careful selection of signature dishes such as Osteria’s Arancini Milanese (rice balls), Tagliatelle pomodoro, roasted veal and an Amarena cherry mascarpone. To round off the meal with the perfect vino, you can also order from their wine and bottle shop.
Lulu Bar – Calgary, Alberta
Calgary’s chef-driven Lulu Bar is looking for ways to help you celebrate the holidays a little closer to home this year. One way they are doing that is by offering a variety of curbside options via their website – including BBQ crispy half duck and coal-roasted halibut.
Takenaka – Vancouver, British Columbia
Take your tastebuds to Takenaka for original sushi platters or tender pork cutlet curry bowls, plus more. Got more of a sweet tooth? Get the Matcha Panna Cotta, sweetened with red bean and almond tofu with peach jerry broth. It is a perfect light and refreshing way to cap a meal.
Bar Koukla – Toronto, Ontario
This Ossington Athenian-inspired mezedopoleio (taverna) focuses on tasteful, contemporary takes on Greek meze favorites (grilled chicken souvla) or contemporary twists (try the lamb burger or baklava pancakes).
Allora Everyday Italian – Calgary, Alberta
You can expect everything from Allora to be either handmade from scratch, local or imported from Italy. From crispy calamari to one of their many pizzas (gluten-free is available too), you can’t go wrong with this everyday Italian family spot.
Blind Rabbit – Vancouver, British Columbia
Think “charcuterie and gin” at this East Vancouver spot. Spreads include a West Coast salmon board or garlic and pepper Brie, extra-aged cheddar, black truffle jack, duck rillette, mixed olives and homemade apple chutney and focaccia bread paired with your favorite gin.
Mitch Deli – Montreal, Quebec
Mitch Deli was opened by Maxime Gagné, a teacher at the École des Métiers de la Restauration et du Tourisme de Montréal (EMRTM), after he saw that many of his former students had lost their jobs due to COVID-19. This sandwich shop was his answer to the employment crisis they were facing. Besides having a sweet origin story, the food itself is also fire: their fried chicken sandwich, BLT and Club Mitch (a chimichurri-laced take on the club sandwich) have quickly become East End favorites.
Bonjour Vietnam Bistro – Vancouver, British Columbia
Another East Vancouver spot, Bonjour Vietnam, brings you authentic Vietnamese flavors. Start with the Chả Giò Spring Rolls (pork, shrimps, carrot, black mushrooms, bean thread vermicelli and taro) and try one of their layered belly-warming Phos.
Moose & Poncho – Calgary, Alberta
You can now satisfy your Mexican food cravings directly at home, with Moose & Poncho’s full menu by ordering online (and you get four free Buñuelos). Not sure where to start? Burrito de Machaca con Huevo is a solid option; a large fajita filled with crispy beef, scrambled eggs, black beans, tomato, jalapeño, peppers, onion, cilantro and Salsa Roja seal the deal.
Simba’s Grill – Burnaby, British Columbia
While Simba’s Grill has been perfecting its East African fusion cuisine for more than two decades, the restaurant is now at a new location in Burnaby. Go for the Muhogo (deep-fried cassava root), chicken wings pili-pili (a scotch bonnet hot sauce also known as piri-piri), or Simba’s chicken (full cornish game hen deep-fried and tossed in pili-pili sauce).
Let us know in the comment section your favorite new restaurant in The Great White North.