DINER | The Acorn & PiDGiN On enRoute’s List Of Canada’s 10 Best New Restaurants

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by Andrew Morrison | Good news! The Acorn on Main Street and Gastown’s PiDGiN have made it on to enRoute’s annual Top 10 Best New Restaurants in Canada list, which was released this morning (full disclosure: I’m on the advisory panel). Says the magazine, “On a month-long culinary odyssey that took noted food writer Andrew Braithwaite from Vancouver Island to Fogo Island he discovered a bumper crop of adventurous chefs who continued to redefine what it means to dine out in Canada.” The results are as follows:

NO 1 BAR ISABEL | Toronto | Link

“looks, feels and tastes vaguely Castilian but does far more than ape a menu straight out of Madrid.”

NO 2 SHOTO | Toronto | Link

“a storybook of a tasting menu, with all the typical annoying bits – the repetition of ingredients, the showy caprice, the monotonous pacing – smartly edited out.”

NO 3 FOGO ISLAND INN | Newfoundland | Link

“There’s a terrific survivalist spirit bursting out of Chef McDonald’s kitchen, where most everything is made from scratch.”

NO 4 SUPPLY AND DEMAND | Ottawa | Link

“It’s not supposed to be this easy for a first-timer … you notice all the little things that rookies Steve and Jennifer Wall are getting so right.”

NO 5 PIDGIN | Vancouver | Link

“The cuisine of Winnipeg-born Chef Ono, who ran restaurants in Beijing and Hong Kong, draws from multiple languages.”

NO 6 CARINO JAPANESE BISTRO | Calgary | Link

“a Japanese-Italian wine bar that defies logic in the most wonderful ways.”

NO 7 MAISON PUBLIQUE | Montreal | Link

“A mere 250 years after the Treaty of Paris, cooking Anglo food in Montreal is cool again.”

NO 8 LE BOUCHON DU PIED BLEU | Quebec City | Link

“one of the most convivial, playful, unabashedly fun dining experiences I’ve had anywhere in North America.”

NO 9 THE ACORN | Vancouver | Link

“That the food is meatless is almost beside the point unless you’re a foodie vegetarian who’s long hankered for a compromise-free night on the town.”

NO 10 ELECTRIC MUD BBQ | Toronto | Link

“Electric Mud is a twisted hymn to the American South.”

Here’s a video on the No. 1 pick, Toronto’s Bar Isabel…

While I’m surprised that neither Burdock & Co. nor Wildebeest cracked the list, life goes on. I’m glad to see Vancouver represented again, and keen to try out the rest.

Bonus: the “People’s Choice” nod went to Vancouver’s own Vij’s Railway Express food truck.

  • Stinky

    How seriously can we take the enRoute list? It seems like many but not all of these top-this-or-that lists are filler rather than a serious attempt to pick the best of the best. More “here are ten great new restaurants” than “here are the ten best new restaurants.” It’s potentially useful in either case, but we pay a little more attention if we know that it was a real good-faith effort by qualified reviewers.

    The inclusion of Acorn gives us some confidence that it was serious, though.

  • PTC

    It takes a special kind of idiot to pick Pidgin over Wildebeest. What a joke.

  • John kolakis

    Fuck the haters, go Pidgin!

  • jake

    I don’t know what kind of idiot could have picked those two restaurants to represent Vancouver – Mr. Morrison or Mr. Moron !!!!
    I don’t know how he got that job if he only picked by personal preference. Way to make VANCOUVER’s food scene look bad; idoit.

  • Stinky

    My, what a pleasant community of commenters. Must… take… shower.

  • spiceman

    Hey Andrew, congratulations on taking over en route magazine and making unilateral decisions on their behalf! You must be a busy guy these days.

    Mediating the comments section of your own website when half the readership is completely pissed at you has to be one of the best jobs ever.

  • Scout Magazine

    Ha! Thanks spiceman. It’s quite the burden.

  • Miss Crispy

    Haters need to show some respect. Your comments are shameful. These are two extremely hardworking, creative and successful chefs whose restaurants deserve kudos. Sure many other new Vancouver restuarants deserve kudos too (2012-2013 was ane exceptional year!) but that’s no reason to whine like a baby. Go back to high school if you want a popularity contest. The ‘real’ Vancouver culinary community doesn’t give a flying fart about Andrew Morrison or your piss poor attitudes. We’re happy for our Pidgin and Acorn friends to get some love, whether we like their restaurants or not.

  • Scout Magazine

    Hooray for flying farts.

  • Stinky

    MC- Please don’t feed the trolls- it only stimulates their appetites for more trolling. You must understand this

    Does anybody- anybody?- have any comment about the integrity of the enRoute list? I think it’s a genuine question worth asking, but maybe I flatter myself.

  • Miss Crispy

    Stinky… you’re kidding right? You seriously want to discuss the ‘integrety’ of an article published by Air Canada? Not exactly a bastion of moralilty are they. More to the point though, who cares? If integrety is such an issue, get off your stinky butt and do some research. All of these chefs have done and continue to do amazing work. Their kudos are well deserved

    Having said that, I did raise an eyebrow at David Chang’s video. He’s American, and I’m pretty sure he hasn’t relocated to Toronto to run Shoto, though I could be mistaken. Regardless, it’s a gorgeous restaurant with
    exceptional food, and it’s technically *in* Canada so who gives a fuck. Just maybe would of been nice to see more of their Toronto team represent rather than listen to Mr celebrity chef talk.

  • Derek Gray

    They eat they pay and if they like your restaurant they contact you, Its as honest and fair as any list I’ve seen. As for people saying they should have picked wildebeest over pidgin, its a opinion. I’ve had a better meal at pidgin then wildebeest just saying.

  • Stinky

    Thanks, DG. You comment suggests it’s worth checking out the out-of-town venues as the opportunity arises.