enRoute, Air Canada's in-flight magazine, announced its annual "Canada's Best New Restaurant" top 10 today. Montreal nominees included BarBounya, Mezcla, Hôtel Herman and Maison Publique.
Only Derek Dammann's gastropub managed to crack the top 10, however. Here's how the finalists broke down.
1. Bar Isabel, Toronto
2. Shoto, Toronto
3. Fogo Island Inn, Joe Batt's Arm, Newfoundland and Labrador
4. Supply and Demand, Ottawa
5. Pidgin, Vancouver
6. Carino Japanese Bistro, Calgary
7. Maison Publique, Montreal
8. Le Bouchon du Pied Bleu, Quebec City
9. The Acorn, Vancouver
10. Electric Mud, Toronto
Among the Canada-wide panel that nominated the preliminary list of restaurants, the Montreal contingent included critic Sarah Musgrave of The Gazette, critic Marie-Claude Lortie of La Presse and blogger Katerine-Lune Rollet. Other notables included Derek Dammann's cookbook collaborator, journalist Chris Johns, Quebec City journalist and blogger Rémy Charest and Iron Chef America's Kevin Brauch.
Perhaps in anticipation of the controversy these lists tend to elicit, enRoute published this explanation of how the top 10 was ultimately chosen.
To create our Top 10 list, we send one writer on an anonymous month-long eating excursion across the country. All tables are booked under a fake name (sorry chefs, we change it each year) and enRoute pays for all bills. It's a full schedule that often involves two dinners a night – the critic's trick: skip at least one meal a day – but the job has its perks, not the least of which was getting to drive around Vancouver Island in the all-new 2014 Jaguar F-Type, courtesy of our sponsor. Thirty-five worthy restaurants made it onto this year's itinerary, based on tips gleaned from our food panel, which includes many of the country's leading culinary professionals. Restaurants that opened between June 2012 and June 2013 were considered for this year's survey, along with a couple from late spring 2012 that missed the cut-off for last year's list.
Significantly, Fisun Ercan's BarBounya snuck into the top 10 of the "People's Choice Award" voting, coming in at number five. The restaurant that amassed the most votes from the public was Vikram Vij's Railway Express in Vancouver. This after an aggressive social media campaign "and a Bollywood-style flash mob."
· Canada's Best New Restaurants [enRoute]
· All Coverage of Maison Publique [EaterMontreal]