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Calgary Herald [moved from W. Canada board]

Haven't seen a post discussing CBC/Calgary Herald John Gilchrist list for best restaurants in Calgary for 2006. Any comments, protests or hell yeahs?

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  1. Bumpy's Cafe (#10): oh HELL YEAH!! As I've said before, they can go toe to toe with any coffeehouse in Vancouver. Best baristas in the Calgary area with the possible exception of Java Jamboree in Cochrane.

    1. Raw Bar has the most amazing Lobster Bisque. It's seems raw bar and st germains are his fav all the time. I keep trying to get back there for the bisque. Just thinking about it..........

      1. I have to agree that the Raw Bar ad was poorly conceived. Hales, we know it was intended for humourous effect, but it came off as claiming that Raw Bar is The French Maid with better seating. Very bad idea, misplaced wit. It would have been funnier, actually, given Hotel Arts growing status as the HQ of all things art-ful and outre in Calgary, to have a fabulous drag queen in that ad. THAT would have been the sweet spot!

        1. Do you really think the opinions of a well recognized food critic are that relevant? I get the impression that in other cities the local food critics take a lot of care to ensure they are not recognized, at least they don't print their pictures in the paper.

          2 Replies
          1. re: hsk

            Agree 1000%. EVERYBODY knows what this guy looks like. Who would recognize Joann Kates? In Calgary, Kathy Richardier in the Herald is IMO a better reviewer. But I like Gilchrist because he lets us know what's happening in the city's resto scene (eg in his Sunday Herald column) and I do purchase his books.

            1. re: hsk

              I've worked in a ton of $$$ restaurants and every single one both knew JG AND would ensure that he recieved the very best food and service. (Manager/Chef visits the table, extra love in the kitchen). It's not that the plebes got worse, it was just that knowing who he was, he always got a little extra attention. I'm certain his average dining experience is not representative of the typical fare of the places he dines.

            2. hsk raises an interesting point. I've heard the other argument that even if a restaurant recognizes a reviewer they don't have time to change their food and the reviewer can see how the tables around them are served. I still suspect anonymous might be better.

              I'll state right off that I am not a fan of John Gilchrist ever since I heard him on the radio years ago when balsamic vinegar was new. (Yes, I am as old as dirt) Gilchrist said the restaurant he was reviewing served something with balsamic vinegar, "whatever that is". I was appalled. As a serious cook I had heard of balsamic vinegar but if I hadn't, as a reviewer I would have looked it up rather than toss off a comment like that. I've never trusted him since.

              1. I don't understand Gilchrist's adoration for Saint Germain either. I have only dined there once, but that will likely be the only time: it unimaginative and dull food, passably prepared and presented, but not worth the price. There are a number of other places in town that serve traditional French which are comparably good but substantially less expensive. Perhaps Gilchrist was served an exceptional meal but did fail to look around and see what the rest of us non-restaurant-reviewers-with-photos-published-everywhere plebes were eating.

                1. Thanks for the Calgarians here chiming in on restaurant critic John Gilchrist. As a outsider(I'm based in Montreal), the only Calgary restaurant critic I know about is John Gilchrist. So he's not that respected for his restaurant reviews by at least some Calgarians?

                  1. I don't think Gilchrist has any credibility. Rule number one of being a food critic is anonymity. Gilchrist is the most famous guy in town. I wonder how many meals he doesn't get charged for?

                    1. I think Gilchrist is a fine journalist, but I'd like to ask him how he squares with the anonymity thing.

                      1. In Vancouver, there's prominent restaurant critic Jamie Maw who goes further with the anonymity thing. Not only is his not anonymous, but he informs restaurants in advance that he's coming, & also visits the kitchens of all the establishments he reviews. I'm in Montreal, & I don't think the restaurant critics here make a great effort to hide their anonymity.