For many of us, tasting menus aren’t a weekly occurrence, but sometimes, it’s nice to splurge a little on a nicely presented and well-put-together dinner.
If you’re looking to sit back, let the chef take control and immerse yourself in a proper tasting menu experience, these 10 Canadian restaurants are places you should be eating.
Atelier (Ottawa, ON)
Molecular gastronomy can go a little too far at times, but a few techniques, when used the right way, can help take a dish from nice to a full-on sensory experience. That’s the approach chef Marc Lepine takes at Atelier. Before the food hits your table, the course names leave it all up to your imagination, and imaginative they will be.
Eden at The Rimrock (Banff, AB)
Banff isn’t always known for having the most bustling food scene, with many spots catering to families and large groups. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but if you are looking for a truly elevated dining experience in the Rockies, you’ll find it inside The Rimrock Hotel at Eden. Sit down, sip on wine and taste your way through their renowned tasting menu while the sun sets behind the mountain peaks in the background.
George on Queen (Toronto, ON)
With a whirlwind of trends always breezing in and out of this city, George has stayed its course (or courses, if you will), serving up one of the well-received tasting menus in Toronto. The kitchen is also happy to make adjustments for dietary restrictions as well (with a bit of notice), making it a night that everyone gets to enjoy.
Hawksworth Restaurant (Vancouver, BC)
Consistently rated as a top-tier restaurant in Vancouver, Hawksworth is known for stunning plating and big flavours, whether you’re coming by for a bite at lunch or taking the time to spend an evening experiencing the tasting menu.
Mission (Vancouver, BC)
One of the city’s newest restaurants takes the tasting menu approach a little more casually in a cozy dining room that offers proper, but more relaxed service. Top Chef Canada alumnus, Curtis Luk works his magic here with a regular tasting menu and a vegetarian one, too. His love of a vegetable-forward cooking approach really shines through.
Momofuku Toronto (Toronto, ON)
David Chang’s multi-level restaurant attached to the Shangri La hotel offers a lot in terms of dining diversity. Starting on the main floor noodle bar, the experiences get more elevated as you go up each floor. Head up a few flights to find Shoto, the most formal dining room that offers up a 10-course set menu for $95.
Q Haute Cuisine (Calgary, AB)
Just a block from the Bow River, you’ll find Q Haute tucked away in a fairly unassuming building, surrounded by tall apartment buildings. Pop in here, head up the stairs and sit down for a whimsical dinner of molecular gastronomy, full of smoke, mirrors and edibles. Alright, the only mirrors are in the bathroom, but you know what I mean.
Raymonds (St. John’s, NFLD)
After winning multiple accolades for their refined culinary offerings in the past four or so years, Raymonds has become both a chef and food lover favourite. With an emphasis on sourcing ingredients from all around Newfoundland and Labrador, you can bet that a dinner here will be like no other.
Teatro (Calgary, AB)
A Calgary classic, Teatro has been going strong for 32 years now and is just as relevant as it was back then. Many well-known chefs have headed up the kitchen but it is currently run by Jason Barton-Browne, offering a tasting menu with an array of interesting Italian-inspired dishes. With some of the best service in Calgary, you can’t go wrong with spending your time (and money) here.
Toque! (Montreal, QC)
Established in 1993, Toque! was not only one of the first restaurants to experience gastronomic cuisine in Montreal, but one that also began placing an emphasis on sourcing locally and ethically. Today, this spot remains as one of the top restaurants to experience a tasting menu in the country, and they are as big of a local food advocate as ever, taking part in Food Day Canada 2015 this Saturday.
Dan Clapson is a food writer and culinary instructor based out of Calgary. He is constantly creating new recipes and striving to expand his culinary horizons. He thinks yam fries are overrated.