Air Canada’s EnRoute magazine has dropped its annual ranking, Canada’s Best New Restaurants, and it’s a solid year for Montreal’s food scene.
Saint-Henri Italian restaurant Elena, from Emma Cardarelli and Ryan Gray of Nora Gray, as well as Marley Sniatowsky, earned third place on the list. Second place went to Mon Lapin, the little Italy resto-wine bar from the Joe Beef group. Both opened last winter.
Elena’s write-up gave props to the restaurant’s playful pastel design, wood-fired pizza, and natural wine offerings, while Mon Lapin’s elegant use of local produce combined with, again, natural wine, earned it that second-best position.
The top spot went to the Restaurant at Pearl Morissette in Jordan Station, Ontario, in the wine country near Niagara on the Lake.
Restaurants that opened from summer 2017 through summer 2018 were eligible for the accolade, which is voted on mostly by food journalists and critics, including Montreal Gazette critic Lesley Chesterman and former Eater Montreal editor Ian Harrison. (The voting system generally seems more rigorous than the Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants list, which is decided upon by an odd collection of judges.)
It’s a strong year for Montreal — last year, just one restaurant made it (Marconi, at ninth place), and in some prior years such as 2015, no Montreal restaurants earned a nod. 2016 remains the high point, when three Montreal restos, Foxy, Le Fantôme, and Agrikol earned placements.
The people behind Elena and Mon Lapin have past experience with Canada’s Best Restaurants — Nora Gray inched into the top ten in 2012, while Vin Papillon, from the Joe Beef group, came in third for 2014.
Petite-Patrie resto Bistro Rosie, NDG’s Hopkins, and the Au Pied de Cochon group’s Cabane d’à Côté, 45 minutes north of the city, were all on the longlist for this year, but didn’t make the top ten.