According to Local Food Plus, an Ontario-based non-profit organization, sustainable-food purchases in Canada increased 92 percent from 2007 to 2008. Dramatic increases in food and (until recently) fuel prices, combined with the growing awareness that vibrant communities depend on a diverse and sustainable local economy, have caused many Canadians to re-evaluate their grocery lists.
1325 Wellington Street, Ottawa
The national capital’s first official British-style gastropub, which opened in 2006, serves local brews complemented by a menu that features vegetables, meats and other products from suppliers in the Ottawa region. (When they can’t source local, such as for seafood, they buy Canadian.)
The Wooden Monkey
1685 Argyle Street, Halifax
This intimate, earthy eatery satisfies the senses as well as the conscience. The menu features organic, macrobiotic and regional ingredients, and the business promotes local environmental initiatives. Mains $10-20.
5308 St. Laurent Blvd., Montreal
The “Workshop” offers fine French cuisine made with fresh terroire ingredients from Montreal’s famous markets. This bring-your-own-wine establishment is tucked away in the city’s hip Mile End/Plateau district, so it’s the perfect place to start for a night on the town. Mains $30-45.
(Fairmont Royal York)
100 Front St. West, Toronto
This high-end hotel restaurant sets a new standard in eco-chic, with a menu featuring herbs, honey and grapes cultivated on the hotel’s rooftop garden. The restaurant has also partnered with the OceanWise Conservation Program to make environmentally responsible seafood purchases. Mains $33-48.
550 Academy Road, Winnipeg
Canadian game and seafood take centre stage. Indulge in wild Manitoba elk garnished with fresh Saskatoonberries and forest mushrooms. Mains $20-40.
721 Broadway Avenue, Saskatoon
Owned and inspired by husband and wife team Rémi and Janis Cousyn, Calories’ reputation is built on a commitment to supporting small-scale producers in Janis’s hometown, and a menu that reflects Remi’s upbringing and culinary training in the south of France. Mains $20-34
18210 100 Ave., Edmonton
This Aboriginal-owned restaurant features locally-sourced bison, lamb, chicken and beef roasted over a wood fire and prepared according to traditional recipes. Mains $15-27.
2183 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver
Since opening in 1985, the flagship restaurant of renowned chef John Bishop has been a leader in promoting sustainable cultivation and use of regional Canadian fare. Mains $35-41.
To check a restaurant’s “locavore” ethic, take a minute to review the menu (often posted online) before booking your reservation, consult blogs or newspaper reviews highlighting restaurants using regional suppliers, ask market farmers for names of restaurants that buy their products, and test the serving staff’s knowledge of where the ingredients come from before placing your order.
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