Canada’s newly named best new restaurant is in a former skate shop.
On Wednesday, Air Canada’s enRoute magazine named Arvi Canada’s best new restaurant of 2019. Located in Quebec City, the 30-seat restaurant has an open kitchen allowing guests to watch three chefs prepare their meals — a “dinner-theatre experience.”
Co-owned by French chef Julien Masia and chef François Blais, Arvi specializes in using fresh, seasonal ingredients to create plates like Gaspesian lobster and veal rib-eye.
The annual list of the country’s top 10 new restaurants is boiled down from a larger list of 35. Each year, one food critic using a fake name visits each new restaurant, recommended by a national panel of chefs, industry experts, food critics and food writers as well as previous best restaurant title holders.
To be considered, restaurants have to have opened between late spring 2018 and June 2019.
This year’s top 30 list includes a range of restaurants from coast to coast. But once again, like the last two years, no East Coast restaurant was featured in the top 10 list.
Ready to dine? Check out this year’s top 10 list below:
This small restaurant offers up a 10-course tasting menu for 10 people — fitting. Run by two Toronto-based chefs, Ten offers everything from Ontario white beans to seared fiddleheads to a range of seafood.
The restaurant also has a mission to give back: it works with city organizations to find solutions for their food waste.
City: St. Catharines, Ont.
Run by Australian-born chef Adam Hynam-Smith and artist Tamara Jensen, this Ontario restaurant, close to Niagara’s wine country, offers guests a range of global cuisine.
Dispatch made the top 10 for its funky cocktails, fermented ingredients and a focus on North African and Middle Eastern dishes.
With a changing menu depending on seasonal goods, Pastel offers a 10-course gourmet experience at $140 (along with à la carte options).
The restaurant was praised for its homemade bread, colourful dessert and even its pastel interior.
7) Wayfarer Oyster House
City: Whitehorse, Yukon
This northern oyster house offers fresh oysters and seafood from the Yukon, British Columbia and Alaska.
And if you’re looking for something more, the restaurant’s casual dining room has everything from locally sourced meats to homemade pasta to roasted cauliflower.
Dreyfus was the vision of two Joe Beef expats who wanted to bring new French cuisine from Montreal to Toronto.
The restaurant has everything from garlic-infused escargot to a selected list of small-produced wine to dishes inspired by the chef’s Jewish background.
5) Nowhere * A Restaurant
City: Victoria, B.C.
Nowhere * A Restaurant is a discreet 30-seat eatery tucked inside the courtyard of a small mall. The Victoria restaurant focuses on sustainable seafood and “plant-forward” dishes, like eggplant “meatballs” and pine mushroom pasta.
They also feature a wine list with local drops and tasting menus.
4) Pluvio Restaurant + Rooms
City: Ucluelet, B.C.
This small restaurant creates dishes from local products of Ucluelet and elsewhere on Vancouver Island, like grilled steelhead salmon and slow-roasted duck breast.
Attached to its intimate boutique hotel, Pluvio‘s open kitchen offers guests a personal dining experience.
Donna’s is a laid-back eatery that evokes a “granny chic” vibe with colourful houseplants and vintage posters. The new Toronto restaurant serves up meat mains, like roast pork topped with shaved endive and tarragon and sprat-oil aioli, and smaller dishes like sweet corn with dried shrimp butter.
Their whole oven-baked sole bathed in a harissa and chili butter sauce is a fan favourite.
2) Como Taperia
This restaurant is the spot for tapas and soccer lovers: soccer decor is featured throughout the place and Spanish influence is abundant.
Como Taperia serves classic made-to-order dishes, like tortilla española, alongside kitchen-prepared dishes, like steak with padrón peppers and chorizo. Tin seafood is a menu staple, as is Spanish beer and cocktails on tap.
City: Quebec City
This year’s winner, Arvi offers an intimate dining experience paired with quality food. Guests watch their meals get cooked, plated and served by the small staff, and can take part in seafood or meat dishes, or opt for a five-course vegetarian tasting menu.
Their celebrated bottomless plate of sourdough with truffle butter is a popular way to start, as is a selection from their wine list and local craft beers.