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!