Canada’s annual 100 best restaurants ranking list is out, and Montreal dominates with 27 spots, led by Mon Lapin at number one for 2023.
“We couldn’t believe it, it was quite the shock,” co-chef and co-owner Marc-Olivier Frappier told Global News by phone on Tuesday.
The list of restaurants includes several Michelin-starred places, including Toronto’s Alo in second place, Vancouver’s Published on Main in third and Toronto’s Edulis in fourth. Vancouver’s Published on Main held the top spot on the 2022 list.
This year’s winner Mon Lapin eatery and wine bar, located on Saint-Zotique in bustling Little Italy, is the first Montreal business to take the top spot in six years. Normand Laprise’s Toqué! ranked number one back in 2015 and 2016 when it outdid the competition in both consecutive years.
“They called us the night before the list was out, telling us they wanted to be the first to let us know,” Frappier said. “We’ve been on the list in the past, but getting No. 1 was quite a surprise.”
Frappier, who is co-chef with Jessica Noel, was once running the kitchen at Vin Papillon — part of the Joe Beef/Liverpool House/Le Vin Papillon restaurant group in Montreal’s Little-Burgundy, owned by Fred Morin and now-retired David McMillan.
Frappier’s partner Vanya Filipovic, who hails from the same group of restaurants where she handled wine selection, now does so with Alex Landry at Mon Lapin. There are five partners in total: chefs Frappier and Noel, sommeliers Filipovic and Alex Landry, and maître d’ Marc-Antoine Gelinas.
When asked if the place has been flooded with bookings in the last 24 hours, Frappier said the phones have been ringing, but there are only so many people they can feed.
To celebrate the news, the chef says he and his team went out for dinner in Toronto Monday night and tried going out after, “but everything there closes early. So we flew back home, prepped all day, and now it’s service time. We’re back in the kitchen.”
Canada’s 100 Best editor-in-chief Jacob Richler and the group behind the rankings also announced their top 10 best new restaurants, led by Toronto’s Prime Seafood Palace.
The buzzed-about ranking list is in its ninth year and is decided by 135 judges, each chosen for their reputation and knowledge of the culinary scene. The judges say they don’t receive any direction on where to eat and what to order, and no free meals are accepted.
This year’s judges include Top Chef Canada’s Mijune Pak, Vancouver restaurant critic Mia Stainsby and celebrity chef Michael Smith.
At number eight on the list is another Montreal restaurant, Beba, located in Verdun and run by chef Ari Schor who was once leading the kitchen at Liverpool House.
Toronto is home to 18 of the hot spots on the list, including the double Michelin-starred Sushi Masaki Saito in 19th place.
Vancouver has 15 restaurants on the list — including four in the top 10 — Ottawa has eight, Calgary has seven and Halifax has four.
The list of 100 best restaurants includes two each from Quebec City, Winnipeg, Edmonton, St. John’s, N.L. and Whistler, B.C., with the rest scattered among smaller communities across the country.
The full list, including the 50 best bars in the country and other awards for various categories including best sommelier and pastry chef, can be found at Canada’s 100 best website.
Here are the top 10 restaurants in the country:
1. Mon Lapin, Montreal 2. Alo, Toronto 3. Published on Main, Vancouver 4. Edulis, Toronto 5. Restaurant Pearl Morissette, Jordan Station, Ont. 6. St. Lawrence, Vancouver 7. Langdon Hall, Cambridge, Ont. 8. Beba, Montreal 9. AnnaLena, Vancouver 10. Kissa Tanto, Vancouver
— with files from The Canadian Press