Where our pros go for a great food and wine experience in their town. See below for a West to East guide of the hottest insider locales.
West Restaurant + Bar
2881 Granville St.
With four consecutive wins as Restaurant of the Year by the Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards, West uses local ingredients to deliver a modern take on classic dishes. Its Wall of Wine contains 600 different labels, so your selection may be difficult – but that’s a good problem to have. westrestaurant.com
Vij's Restaurant Inc
1480 West 11 Ave.
Want Indian cuisine beyond the tandori oven? This is the place. Run by a husband and wife team, Vij’s has grown from a 14-seat restaurant in 1994 to a highly respected Vancouver landmark. Vij’s all-female staff serve up only organic, top level, seasonal food. Vikram Vij is a trained sommelier with a focus to on a wine list that changes with every season. No reservations. vijs.ca
Araxi Restaurant + Bar
4222 Village Gate Sq.
Located in the heart of Whistler Village, Araxi uses local ingredients from nearby Pemberton Valley farms and the freshest seafood direct from the Pacific Ocean. This skillfully executed menu is delightfully paired with an award-winning wine list. From a casual bite to the raw bar, Araxi is an ideal gathering place for any occassion. araxi.com
Divino Wine & Cheese Bistro
113 8th Ave. SW
Divino is a modern bistro that brings the atmosphere, wood-burning grill and extensive international cheese and wine program from Gramercy Tavern in New York City to Western Canada. Right in the heart of the Stephen Avenue district, this bistro features local flavours, an impressive wine list and divino – or should we say divine – desserts. crmr.com
Thai Sai On
35110th Ave. SW
Known for its uncompromising Thai cuisine, excellent service and comfortable Asian decor, Thai Sai On has been called one of the best restaurants in Calgary. Don’t be concerned about the difficulty matching wine with your meal – they have a 300-label cellar. From crisp Rieslings with pan-fried garlic and pepper chicken to a big Shiraz alongside coconut-milk curried beef, Thai Sai On has worked to find and serve the best fit wines at low prices. thai-sa-on.com
Stone Road Grille
238 Mary St.
Bringing an eclectic twist on classic dishes is the Stone Road Grille, specializing in house-made breads, charcuterie and smoked salmon. Serving artisan cheeses and using the best local produce and fruits in peak season, the food is only topped by the 100% VQA Niagara-only wine list selected by chef/sommelier Ryan Crawford. stoneroadgrille.com
Niagara Street Cafe
169 Niagara St.
For a reasonably priced fine dining experience look no further than Niagara Street Café. Unpretentious and welcoming, they use naturally raised meats, organic dairy, and local artisan products to create a French and Mediterranean inspired bistro menu that’s as ever-changing as the wine list handpicked by owner and sommelier Anton Potvin. niagarastreetcafe.com
Crush Wine Bar
455 King St.W.
Toronto, ON M5V 1K4
This bright and comfortable resto-bar combines a well-priced menu with an extensive wine list. There is a focus on presenting wine information in an approachable way, with something to please everyone at many price points. Enjoy the laid-back vibe and exposed-brick walls over great plates. Take advantage of Monday’s $1 corkage fee. crushwinebar.com
1330 Queen St.W.
Located in the historic Parkdale neighbourhood, Café Taste channels a European café, but with a twist – it is 100% Bullfrog Energy powered. Offering over 30 wines by the glass and up to 30 cheeses, Café Taste hosts a warm, casual atmosphere. They focus on Ontario producers for both their wine and beer list, but look overseas to Scotland for their house scotch blend. Closed Sundays and Mondays. cafetaste.ca
730 Queen St. E.
At Ruby Watchco, the focus isn’t on Food Network star Lynn Crawford, but rather on the local ingredients. The four-course fixed-menu changes every night and is served family style at the table. The communal experience has been met with rave reviews. Daily menus are posted on the website and same-day reservations are taken by phone. rubywatchco.ca
The Ceili Cottage
1301 Queen St. E.
The Ceili Cottage offers up simple and affordable Irish fare, with homemade chutneys, roast dinners, fresh shucked oysters and 12 beers on taps (they don’t serve bottled beers in an effort to reduce their carbon footprint). Specialty cocktails have been designed by the Food Network’s Kevin Brauch and several Irish and Scotch whiskeys are available. ceilicottage.com
Didier Restaurant & Catering
1496 Yonge St.
Chef Didier Leroy’s namesake French restaurant is located in Toronto’s midtown. Just like the classic and delectable crème brule, there is an other layer of French refinement to this restaurant. Savour the talents of a Michelin-star chef and quality organic Canadian ingredients. You are certain to delight in both the excellent wine list and miniature madeleines. restaurantdidier.com
111C Queen St. E.
Housed in a renovated 1850s chocolate factory is the restaurant called extraordinary by the Zagat guide for the past three years. Focusing on the city’s broad multicultural makeup, George’s pulls inspiration from seasonal and sustainable food that is found locally. Explore the beautiful location and the wine list that favours terroir-driven wines, especially those produced locally using organic and biodynamic practices. georgeonqueen.com
Play Food & Wine
1 York St.
Featuring small plates, cheese trays and a well-sized wine list, Play is great for those who love to share. Smaller plates bring a smaller price tag, but be sure to order enough to pass around – that way you can enjoy a bit of everything from the appetizing menu. Reservations are recommended, but not required. playfood.ca
Restaurant Les Fougères
783 Route 105
Located just a short drive from downtown Ottawa in the Gatineau Hills you’ll find Restaurant Les Fougères. The menu changes with the seasons and showcases the best regional produce available, either through the à la carte menu, a monthly table d'hôte or an 11-course tasting menu. A series of historic apértifs from centuries past, Quebec micro brews and a carefully chosen wine list from around the globe complement both the menu choices and the delightful surroundings. fougeres.com
2795 Windsor St.
Brooklyn Warehouse strives to create simple, honest food. Call it affordable luxury or laid-back opulence, however you label it – this is good fresh food. Based on the farm to table trend, this restaurant offers excellent local food, spirited service, a music-pumping laid-back vibe. Enjoy a reasonably priced prix-fix menu on Tuesday evenings. No reservations, but locals say it is more than worth the wait. brooklynwarehouse.ca