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Oct 10, 2012 04:38 PM

Yet another Best Restaurants list - This time by Maclean's with Jacob Richler editor

Maclean's with the help of yet another self proclaimed 'know-all' food critic ( Jacob Richler ) and researchers Patricia Treble??!! and Anne Kingston??!! has published a ' Canada's Best Restaurants - The Top 50' magazine.

The following are Toronto (GTA ) / Ontario restaurants that made the list:

- Campagnolo
- Nota Bene
- The Stockyard
- Edulis
- The Grove
- Chantecler
- Catch
- ICI Bistro
- Scaramouche
- Kaiseki Yu-Zen Hashimoto


Notable omission IMHO include, Eigensinn Farm, Treadwell, Splendido, Canoe, Auberge du Pommier, Yours Truly, Sushi Kaji....etc. And YES!! not a single 'Chinese' restaurant was mentioned on the list, be it in Ontario ( GTA ) or BC ( Vancouver / Richmond ). And we are supposed to have the best Chinese food east of the Pacific and in North America!

Wake up Richler! Wake up!

These Chatto, Kates, Nuttal-Smith and now, Richler lists are getting more and more ridiculous and controversial!!

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  1. As I'm reading this I'm drinking a mediocre Chianti which scored 95 points in Wine Spectator. Apart from the omissions, almost half of the restaurants have only been open for a couple of months.

    2 Replies
    1. re: dubchild

      Must be a 2004 or 2006 to garner such a high score?!

      1. re: Charles Yu

        Mazzei Ser Lapo 2007 $24.95 part of this weekend's release. My LCBO already had it out.

      1. re: Notorious P.I.G.

        Thx for the link...interesting read. The other list has 13 restaurants from the center of the universe...clearly unacceptable for Maclean's. And for Charles (and me) there is even a token "Chinese" place listed....fusion stuff though. And 2 entries from the culinary centre of Canada...Tofino, BC.

        1. re: Notorious P.I.G.

          Thank you for the link, NPIG!! Glad to see I'm not the only one in uproar and arm raised!!

          1. re: Charles Yu

            Well the title is Canada's Best restaurants not Canada's best Chinese Restaurants.

            1. re: Herne

              "And yet leaving off the likes of Au Pied de Cochon or Vij’s — a restaurant where customers regularly wait two hours in line for a table, often in the rain — on a list of Canada’s 50 best restaurants is as unthinkable as omitting Margaret Atwood and Michel Tremblay from a list of Canada’s 50 best writers."

              i think this is an entirely unfair comparison to make. it's much easier to glorify a writer based on their past merits than it is a restaurant. atwoods written stinkers for days, but she has some golden moments that are not fleeting, as a meal is. a restaurant that put out some great plates in 1983 (or in the 2000's, as the case is with APDC) is not necessarily doing that now, and we're only tasting the present, reputation can only take you so far in the restaurant game. after my last meal at APDC, i'm fairly confident that there probably are 50 restaurants in all of canada serving more exciting, relevant food, although i can't speak for the sugar shack being overlooked because i haven't eaten there. anyways, these lists are only made to generate press for the restuarants involved and the publications anyways so it shouldn't really surprise anyone

              1. re: Herne

                The two can't be mutually exclusive?

                1. re: Herne

                  Are you telling me that, whilst churning out some of the best tasting food in all of North America, let alone Canada, there is not one single Chinese Restaurant in the country that is worthy of recognition??!!
                  Just as this year's Nobel peace prize was awarded to the European Union and not an individual, may be one of the top 50 slot, especially the Ontario category, should be awarded to ' Cantonese Restaurants' in Markham and Richmond Hill??!!

                  1. re: Charles Yu

                    I'm not saying the list is complete or that this is a good representation of a Chinese restaurant. All I'm saying is that Bao Bei is on the list and it bills itself as a Chinese Brasserie.

                    1. re: dubchild

                      Got to try their Kick-Ass fried rice!

                  2. re: Herne

                    Herne: are you saying that Chinese restaurants in Canada are not Canadian restaurants?

                    1. re: Non Doctor

                      Hi Charles - agree that the list is incomplete. there are many chinese restaurants in canada that produce great food however to be the best ... IMO serving great food is just one part of the critieria. Other elements would need to be addressed in a Chinese restaurant:
                      better wine list
                      way better service and not that fake fawning they dole out just for repeat customers, more knowledgeable, professional, clean and happier staff
                      cleaner washrooms where one stall is not used to store a stinky mop and pail
                      proper flatware and china
                      higher class decor rather than chairs with cheesy slipcovers with bows
                      consistency with food and reduce the constant changing of chefs
                      overall cleanliness of establishment
                      real sauces that have been reduced rather than corn starched
                      too much frozen ingredients like meat
                      get rid of tvs in the dining rooms please
                      avoid use of Ikea fold out stools to make room for 14 people at table really meant for 10
                      get rid of plastic table cloths
                      make real desert please
                      don't stand over customers when you present them the bill - go away and come back when you know they are ready to pay

                      I have pretty much given up on finding a Chinese restaurant in Canada where I can expect great food and a great experience. Now I just go for the food.

                      1. re: wano

                        This is a pretty broad generalization on Chinese restaurants.

                        What does "make real desert" mean? Restaurants aren't serving enough sand these days?

                        Many of these criticisms are as much a criticism on culture as they are on restaurants.

                        1. re: wano

                          "higher class decor rather than chairs with cheesy slipcovers with bows"

                          how then did Stockyards make it on Richler's list? There's no decor to speak of.It's obvious that he was impressed by the food alone,so...

                          BTW I'm a fan of The Stockyards

                          1. re: wano

                            right on wano! this is not a list of the best places to eat food, it is a list of the top 50 restaurants. big diff.
                            b.t.w.p.i.g...ridiculing a spelling error? lovely and telling.

                            1. re: linalool

                              Then, how did Stockyard manage to get on the list?! With a few bench seats and stools and standing room only, you call that a 'restaurant'??!!

                              1. re: linalool

                                So then are you saying that places that serve Chinese food aren't restaurants?

                      's a contextual error, not a spelling error.

                                1. re: Notorious P.I.G.

                                  I knew this was a pretty passionate bunch! :)

                                  Yes sorry I did not explain well or spell properly. what i want to say is that many Chinese restaurants claim to be fine dining and the attempts are commendable particularly with the cuisine. the front of house in many cases is what is lacking. i realize the list may not be targeting "fine" as the best and that is alright. But I suspect that a few "fine" Chinese restaurants feel they should be included in the list as do some of you - great to have the aspiration for sure. would love for one to be on the list too when it is worthy.

                                  As for the desserts - it would be nice to have a great Chinese meal and when the desire creeps upon one be able to select / order dessert made in house rather than being served the standard sweet soup / pudding and or fresh fruit (yes it is appreciated and grateful for particulary since it is usually complimentary). BTW - many Shanghai restaurants do make dessert in house.

                                  Yes have been to Stockyards - what is great about that restaurant is they know who they are - they do not pretend to be fine dining. The staff fits in with atmosphere of the place (professional, polite, approachable, and friendly) and they conduct themselves with pride when they serve that awesome fried chicken. No attitude there. Just real.

                                  1. re: wano

                                    I mean, this is barely worth arguing as it's pretty evident that the list itself as it stands now is a bit of a sham based on their omissions and allegations of violations of intellectual property rights from Which makes debating which restaurants are "worthy" of this list a bit ridiculous as it seems that quite a bit of politics came into play when compiling it.

                                    What I'm arguing here is that your original statement was a bit of a generalization that doesn't apply to all Chinese restaurants and certainly not most that would be considered for a top restaurant list. It comes off a bit like you've had bad experiences in Chinese restaurants and you compiled all of them into one place and applied it to every Chinese restaurant in Canada which I believe to be unfair.

                                    I'll use Lai Wah Heen as one example that pretty much contradicts every point on your list. Sure, the service is a bit cold but no colder than service I've had at Daniel or Le Bernardin in the past. The latter two being more attentive obviously but I wouldn't call the servers at LWH unprofessional, dirty, or lacking in knowledge. They also have dessert options (although not made in house) that are far from sweet red bean soup (红豆汤) /pudding and or fresh fruit. They've taken a bit of a dip in quality with a chef change but their food is still great.

                                    Regarding the Stockyards, I love that place as much as the next person but come on now. Would people honestly put them ahead of not only our great Chinese establishments in the city but the restaurants omitted from the list that Charles has mentioned above, and one he didn't? (The Black Hoof)

                      1. re: Googs

                        Haven't been to Joe Beef,but the last time I went to APDC(been 3 times, first visit was truly mind blowing,and it was because of Mr Bourdain's glowing review that I went) it was very disappointing.I think they've been resting on their laurels lately....