DINER: Food Critics Share Intel On Nation’s Best Restaurants In New “Eat Canada” App

by Andrew Morrison | Travel around Canada much? A new mobile app called Eat Canada: Dining In Downtown Canada has just been released to the iTunes store, and it has you covered with the best restaurant experiences from coast to coast. Eleven major Canadian cities are included (Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax, St. John’s). All told, the app includes reviews/details of the 20 best establishments in every downtown area – that’s 200 in total – making it the first ever critically-generated pulse-taking of Canada’s urban food and drink landscape. Each review contains info on cuisine styles, noise levels, private rooms, price ranges, credit cards, hours, websites, alcoholic beverages, corkage and outdoor dining, while the app’s interactive elements go even further to include full mapping, directions from a user’s current location, and links to phone numbers, websites and the OpenTable reservation system. Users can even track which restaurants they’ve visited and keep notes on their favourites.

The coast to coast critics were Karl Wells (St John’s), restaurant critic for The Telegram, an accredited chef and host of the Rogers TV show, One Chef One Critic; Bill Spurr (Halifax), features writer and restaurant critic for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald; Robert Beauchemin (Montreal), restaurant critic for La Presse and college instructor on culture and food; Anne DesBrisay (Ottawa), restaurant critic for the Ottawa Citizen for 19 years and author of Capital Dining, the definitive guide to dining in the Ottawa area; James Chatto (Toronto), restaurant critic for over 25 years, editor of Harry Magazine and National Culinary Advisor for Gold Medal Plates and the Canadian Culinary Championships; Christine Hanlon (Winnipeg), has written about food and culture for Style Manitoba, Western Living and Fodor’s Canada; CJ Katz (Saskatoon/Regina), culinary host of CTV’s Wheatland Café, restaurant writer for the Regina Leader-Post, publisher of Savour Life Magazine and author of the newly released TASTE: Seasonal Dishes from the Prairie Table; Mary Bailey (Edmonton), publisher of The Tomato Food & Drink, certified sommelier and wine instructor Art Institute of Vancouver, and co-author of two National Best-Sellers on Alberta food; John Gilchrist (Calgary): CBC Radio restaurant critic for 32 years, restaurant writer for The Calgary Herald, author of ten National Best-Sellers on dining in the Calgary-Banff area, and instructor of food and culture programs at the U of C; and little old me here in Vancouver.

Nearly every single one of the contributing critics is a Senior Judge at the Canadian Culinary Championships (I included a shot of the complete judging panel above). Putting an app out that represented the best of our respective cities just seemed a very natural thing to do. Hat’s off to my friend and colleague John Gilchrist for putting this together with Jeremy Gale of Calgary’s Force Grind Inc.. A lot of work went into the app, and it’s something that we’re all exceptionally proud of.

So if you have a foodie to shop for this Christmas, get clicking!

There are 6 comments

  1. What is the justification for the price of this app? Is it to pay for the critics? That would help me justify this purchase for $10 easier if it’s going to paying for your participation Andrew, but still. $10 to see info on 20 restaurants? It’s advertising for those restaurants! Pretty poor value in my opinion.

  2. I’m afraid that I can’t tell you the justification. I was asked to participate by contributing 20 reviews and my participation wasn’t with the expectation of a paycheck. The app was built with the business traveler in mind, someone who might have need for a reliable source of restaurant intel for good suppers, cocktails, et cetera. If you see no value in it, that’s cool with me. Cheers. 🙂

  3. I’ll add a comment on Eat Canada since I helped coordinate the project. Eat Canada was created by ten of Canada’s top restaurant critics in partnership with app developer Jeremy Gale. There is no advertising in Eat Canada, so revenue for the research and work over the past number of months comes exclusively from sales. And yes, that revenue is to be shared among the 10 writers and the app developer, after Apple takes its piece. Each writer contributed 20 restaurants for their city, for a total of over 200 across the country, and Jeremy designed the app to have features like interactive mapping and direct links to websites and the OpenTable reservation system. It also has some darn fine writing. And it’s all available for under a buck per city.

  4. I think it’s worth noting that $10 would be less than a paper book, and this is much more functional and interactive, and includes free updates. It’s unfortunate that we’ve all been conditioned to never pay more than $1 to $2 for an app, but this project took many hundreds of hours of work by both the authors and me, the app developer.

  5. I’ll add a comment. An app to promote food critics. Business travelers are going to use Yelp, Urbanspoon and Trip Advisor. All free and all written by real people without personal interest. Sorry guys.

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