Five downtown restaurants make top 100

By Makayla Peacock

Ottawa foodies can rejoice knowing that the meals served at five Ottawa locations have earned those restaurants a spot among Canada’s top 100 restaurants.

Canada’s 100 Best, a Toronto-based magazine that annually showcases the country’s best restaurants, has announced its 2017 lineup of the country’s superior dining venues, as well as Canada’s best culinary scenes, chefs, recipes, fresh market trends and new openings.

Ottawa’s honourees are Fairouz, a Middle East-themed restaurant on Somerset Street West, Elgin Street’s Beckta, “molecular gastronomy” specialist Atelier in Little Italy, Bank Street’s Fauna, which offers a “New Canadian” menu, and the stylish Riviera on Sparks Street.

All five of the restaurants are located in Centretown and placed between 46th and 75th place.

According to Lisa Richler, the digital and marketing editor of the magazine, the list showcases the best of the best across the country.

“The goal of the Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants list is to acknowledge those who lead with skill and passion and set higher standards when it comes to the business of dining out,” she said. “As a result, anyone who is helping to build an even more dynamic Canadian scene will eventually be recognized.”
It marks an improvement from previous years.

Last year, just two Ottawa restaurants were named, and the year before only three were listed.

Anne DesBrisbay, an Ottawa-based judge, said Ottawa chefs are among the best in the country, finishing on the podium at national competitions six times in the past 10 years. She isn’t the only one to notice that.

Peter Hum, food editor and restaurant critic for the Ottawa Citizen, said that the restaurants on the list were underrated. He argued recently that the 2017 list represents an improvement from previous years, but he still had some concerns about the level of attention the capital’s top restaurants are receiving.

“The list proudly notes that 30 restaurants this year are first-time inclusions,” Hum wrote.

He explained that the restaurants named should have ranked higher, especially Atelier, which placed 19th in 2015 and this year came in at 60th.

“I think that they could have placed higher on that list of 100.

“I feel that the ones in Toronto and Montreal and Vancouver benefit for a number of reasons,” he said. “One is that there are simply more judges there as Ottawa only had four judges this year. If there are more judges in the city, they kind of root for the hometown.”

Jordan Holley, owner of Riviera, said he thinks the selection was earned by both the top-quality food and special ambiance that the restaurant offers.

“I think we’re trying to offer a whole experience. It’s a great room, beautiful space. We’re not trying to be pretentious,” he said. “I think we offer the whole package.”

Just being noticed by Canada’s 100 Best is an honour. The restaurants have to catch the judges’ eye. This year, 82 judges helped to identify the country’s dining hotspots.

“The strength and uniqueness of the C100B list are our judges: chefs, restaurateurs, journalists, gourmets and food industry leaders from across the country,” said Richler. “Like restaurant and food fanatics around the world, these are the people who know what’s good, what’s great and are obsessive enough to be constantly on the hunt for the next big thing.”

This year marks Ottawa’s best showing yet on the national list. And with Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation being celebrated this year, hotels and tourism promoters are certain to showcase the city’s newly recognized, nationally ranked restaurants.