1. Eigensinn Farm, Singhampton, Ont.
More than a restaurant, Eigensinn Farm is a legend among the Ontario gourmand set, owner of a rare five-star rating on Trip Advisor and blanket rave reviews despite a high price ($300 per meal, not including wine) and, in a rural setting two-and-a-half hours away from Toronto, having broken the cardinal rule of the restaurant business: location. Chef Michael Stadtländer’s eight-course dinners are farm-to-table dining epitomized and, according to many, a once-in-a-lifetime experience worth saving up your pennies for.
(Photo courtesy of ReneeS…/Flickr)
2. Bonavista Social Club, Upper Amherst Cove, Nfld.
Simple homemade food made from fresh garden ingredients is the name of the game at this small-town restaurant on the province’s Bonavista peninsula, about a 300-kilometre drive from St. John’s. Try to visit on a warm day, when you can dine on the deck while gazing at the ocean, then aid digestion with a stroll through the garden and a visit with the goats and lambs. Don’t leave without a loaf or two of their renowned sourdough, baked in the province’s only commercial wood-fired bread oven.
(Photo by Brian Ricks Photography)
3. The Lunar Rogue, Fredricton, N.B.
Fredericton might be a small city, but it punches above its weight when it comes to the booze. And while locals might head to the 23-year-old Lunar Rogue for its pub menu, its kegs of hometown favourite Picaroons beer or simply the cosy vibe, the real draw is the extensive menu of whiskies – about 375 to choose from, so many that it’s been named one of the best whisky bars in the world. Choose your favourite or ask the knowledgeable staff for recommendations.
4. The Sugar Shack, Quebec
A meal at the cabane à sucre is a springtime tradition in Quebec, even though the hard work hauling buckets of sap through the snow that makes a heavy meal a necessity is more or less a thing of the past. For high-end maple syrup dining, head to the Au Pied de Cochon Sugar Shack run by famed Montreal restaurateur Martin Picard – if you can get a reservation. Another favourite? Cabane à Sucre Chez Dany in Trois-Rivières, whose year-round offerings include maple taffy produced, in the warmer seasons, on freshly made snow.
5. Carbone Coal Fired Pizza, Winnipeg
Coal-fired ovens, the theory goes, heat up hotter than wood-fired, meaning thin-crust pizzas are cooked quickly enough to be enjoyably crispy without losing moisture. The debate’s still going on which kind is better, so head to Carbone – Winnipeg’s only coal-fired pizza place – to try for yourself. Their pizza dough is made with organic Alberta-grown flour, sauce is prepared fresh daily and other menu options include oven-roasted chicken wings, white bean hummus, fresh salads and the Ferrero, a personal-size dessert pizza with Nutella, roasted banana and optional gelato.
(Photo courtesy of Carbone Coal Fired Pizza)
6. The Shore Club, Hubbards, N.S.
If lobster’s a must-eat on your visit to Nova Scotia, then go no further than the Shore Club at Hubbards Beach, which has welcomed no less than Prince Charles and Lady Diana among the more than one million guests served since the location’s first lobster supper in 1936. Come hungry – in addition to lobster, your dinner includes all-you-can-eat salad bar and mussels, plus potato salad and your choice of dessert.
(Photo courtesy of The Shore Club)
7. The Ranche, Calgary, Alta.
It might be a cliché to eat beef in Alberta – there’s a lot more to the province’s culinary scene than the cow – but sometimes, the clichés are worth following up on. At The Ranche, named the best place to take out-of-town visitors by Avenue Magazine, you can bring it even further by dining on not just beef, but dishes including bison, pheasant, rabbit or wild boar and even a regionally sourced, house-made charcuterie board, all served up in a beautifully restored historic ranch house built in 1896.
(Photo courtesy of The Ranche)
8. God’s Mountain, Penticton, B.C.
Drive along a lakeside country road, through big iron gates and up a steep, winding driveway to God’s Mountain Estate, a hillside bed and breakfast in B.C.’s Okanagan Valley with perfect views of Skaha Lake. It’s not technically a restaurant, but Sunday evenings in the summertime it plays the part, with seasonal meals by the talented Joy Road Catering and pairings from local winemakers, all served at a communal table where the conversation heats up as the sun goes down.
(Photo by Kat Tancock)
9. Dunes Studio Gallery & Cafe, Brackley Beach, P.E.I
When heading to “The Dunes,” be sure to pack two essentials: an appetite, and plenty of time to take in the gallery of local arts and crafts and the surrounding gardens, so worthy of envy they’ve been featured in East Coast Gardener magazine. But despite the appealing visual setting, it’s the fresh, island-inspired cuisine that will seize your focus: think seafood stew, lobster pad thai, mussels and oysters and vegan options including quinoa-stuffed portobello mushrooms and Thai noodles with tofu and vegetables.
10. Golden Pagoda, Saskatoon, Sask.
Burmese food might not be the first thing you think of when debating where to eat in Saskatoon, but according to the locals, Golden Pagoda is well worth a visit. Still less common in Canada than other Asian cuisines, Burmese is often compared with neighbouring Thai, Chinese and Indian, but is more than worthy of standing on its own. Go hungry, ask your server for recommendations and see for yourself.
(Photo courtesy of wyn♥lok/Flickr)