Here’s How We Find Canada’s Best New Restaurants

Gold SponsorDiageo
Silver SponsorAmerican Express logo
Tourism SponsorDestination Vancouver
Share

For more than 20 years, Air Canada enRoute has set out to find Canada’s Best New Restaurants. The annual search starts with our national panel of experts, who nominate notable openings in their regions. Over the years, that’s included everything from a food truck roving the streets of Vancouver to a dining room perched on the coast of Fogo Island. Food worth flying for comes in many formats, and this exceptional year – mixed with setbacks and comebacks – challenged everyone to think outside the box. Any food establishment that fully opened between late spring 2021 and May 31, 2022 was up for consideration.

Based on our panel’s recommendations, we dispatched one writer on a month–long, 17–city epicurean itinerary, with stops at a Chinese grocery store in Montreal, a wine bar in Saskatoon and an extraterrestrial steakhouse 40 floors above Calgary. Under the cover of a fake name, writer Nancy Matsumoto anonymously visited more than 30 restaurants on Air Canada’s enRoute’s tab – measures put in place to take special treatment off the table.

Ultimately, it all comes down to one meal. From the culinary vision and quality of ingredients on the menu to the trappings and team spirit that surround it, every element factors into an equation that savours deliciousness above all. The most memorable meals from the journey will make this year’s Top 10 list, which comes out November 1, 2022. In the meantime, meet the team of experts who make Canada’s Best New Restaurants possible. Our heartful thanks to them all.

Meet the team of experts who shaped this year’s longlist

Suzanne Barr

Suzanne Barr

Suzanne Barr is a chef with a signature flair for Afro-Caribbean comfort food (True True Diner, Saturday Dinette), as well as a prominent social advocate, author and TV personality.
Photo: Samuel Engelking
Christa Bruneau-Guenther

Christa Bruneau-Guenther

Christa Bruneau-Guenther is a proud member of Peguis First Nation and is the head chef and owner of Feast Cafe Bistro in her hometown of Winnipeg.
Photo: Krista Anderson
Twyla Campbell

Twyla Campbell

Twyla Campbell is CBC Radio Edmonton’s food columnist, and she sits on several national and local food judging panels. She is the author of Maps, Markets and Matzo Ball Soup: The Inspiring Life of Chef Gail Hall.
Cornel Ceapa

Cornel Ceapa

Cornel Ceapa, PhD in sturgeon ecology, is the king of caviar, on a mission to produce sustainable local sturgeon and caviar and educate Canadians that caviar is a treat, not a luxury.
Sousanh Chanthalangsy

Sousanh Chanthalangsy

Chef Sousanh Chanthalangsy owns what may be Canada's northernmost food truck, One of a Thai in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. She’s also a personal trainer and competitive powerlifter.
Shane Chartrand

Shane Chartrand

Shane Chartrand, of the Enoch Cree Nation, is an acclaimed chef, advocate of sustainable Indigenous cuisine, and the co-author – along with Jennifer Cockrall-King – of the award-winning cookbook,  tawâw: Progressive Indigenous Cuisine.  
Photo: Hilary McDonald
Cinda Chavich

Cinda Chavich

Cinda Chavich is an award-winning food and travel writer, and bestselling cookbook author, based in Victoria, British Columbia. She is a former food editor and writer at Calgary Herald and food columnist for CBC Radio, and now contributes to publications such as YAM, EAT and edible Vancouver & Wine Country
Panelist Carmen Cheung

Carmen Cheng 

Carmen Cheng is a Calgary-based food writer who shares her culinary adventures with Avenue Magazine, Eat North and other outlets. She also works as an inclusion and talent strategies leader.
Panelist Dan Clapson

Dan Clapson 

Dan Clapson is a restaurant critic and columnist for The Globe and Mail and the co-founder of Eat North. He contributes to many publications, including Out Magazine, Eater and Air Canada enRoute.
Connie DeSousa and John Jackson  

Connie DeSousa and John Jackson  

Connie DeSousa and John Jackson are the co-chefs and co-owners behind Calgary’s Charcut Roast House, Charbar, Chix Eggshop and the newly opened Connie & John’s Pizza.
Aman Dosanj 

Aman Dosanj 

Aman Dosanj is known for her ability to educate, connect and tell stories through The Paisley Notebook’s farm-side pop-up dinner series in the Okanagan Valley. 
Photo: Jessica Zais Photography
Jessica Emin

Jessica Emin 

Jessica Emin is the hype girl for good food in Nova Scotia. She is a photographer, food stylist, writer and television and video host based in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Eden Hagos

Eden Hagos 

Eden Hagos is the celebrated host, creator and founder of Black Foodie, a media platform and creative agency. An East African-Canadian with a passion for exploring the African diaspora, she's focused on changing the global conversation around Black food culture. Her work has appeared in publications such as The Globe and Mail, Chatelaine and Essence.
David Hawksworth

David Hawksworth 

Chef David Hawksworth owns and operates the acclaimed Vancouver restaurants Hawksworth and Nightingale as well as two Bel Cafés. As Air Canada’s Culinary Partner, he also designs Canadian-influenced menus for International Business Class and Signature Lounge travellers. 
Bartley Kives

Bartley Kives 

Bartley Kives is a senior reporter at CBC Manitoba and the author of three books about Winnipeg and Manitoba, including Canadian bestseller  A Daytripper’s Guide to Manitoba.
Catherine Lefebvre

Catherine Lefebvre 

Catherine Lefebvre is a nutritionist and co-host of the podcast On s’appelle et on déjeune on Radio-Canada OHdio. She is also a contributor to Plaisirs, the food and travel section of Le Devoir, and chronicles her gourmet travels for Pénélope and Dessine-moi un été on ICI Première. 
Photo: Cindy Boyce
Roger Mooking

Roger Mooking 

Roger Mooking is a judge on Food Network Canada’s Wall of Chefs and Fire Masters, as well as the host of Man Fire Food. His globally inspired culinary vision is showcased at his restaurant Twist by Roger Mooking, located at Toronto Pearson International Airport. 
Ren Navarro

Ren Navarro

Ren Navarro  launched  Beer. Diversity. in 2018 and has become a known name at breweries, wineries, distilleries and beyond. In addition to being a diversity educator, she is a craft beer consultant for bars and restaurants.
Tara O’Brady 

Tara O’Brady

Tara O’Brady is a bestselling author and contributor to The Globe and Mail, Chatelaine and Epicurious. She has been a judge on Food Network Canada’s Wall of Bakers and Iron Chef Canada, an on-air expert for CTV's The Marilyn Denis Show, and a consultant on CBC's Run the Burbs.
Laura Osborne

Laura Osborne

Laura Osborne, former editor-in-chief of the award-winning RICARDO magazine and Air Canada enRoute editor alum, is currently editor of Time Out Canada. 
Mijune Pak

Mijune Pak

Mijune Pak is a resident judge on Top Chef Canada and Iron Chef Canada. As an advocate for culinary tourism, The Sunday Times named her one of the “World’s Most Extreme Foodies. She also judges Bocuse d’Or Canada National Selections, Hawksworth Young Chef Scholarship and other notable awards. 
Eric Pateman

Eric Pateman 

Eric Pateman is a fourth-generation Vancouver native and top global culinary consultant, chef, entrepreneur and founder of ESP Culinary Consulting.  
Gabby Peyton

Gabby Peyton 

Gabby Peyton is a food and travel writer and culinary historian based in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, where she is the city’s restaurant critic for The Telegram.  
Allan Pulga

Allan Pulga

Allan Pulga is a Regina-based freelance writer, communication consultant, foodie, sneakerhead and avid traveller. He runs the “Regina Bites” food column for CBC Saskatchewan.
Photo: Dwight Lugay
Rahil Rathod

Rahil Rathod

Rahil Rathod is executive chef at Cactus Club Cafe and former chef at Clos Restaurant in Moncton, New Brunswick. As captain of the national culinary team at the 2020 IKA/Culinary Olympics, he led Team Canada to an eighth-place finish, taking home two silver medals. He has his sights set on gold for the 2024 games.
Véronique Rivest

Véronique Rivest

Véronique Rivest is an internationally renowned sommelier and owner of Soif wine bar in Gatineau, Quebec. In 2013, she made history as the first woman to reach the podium at the Best Sommelier of the World competition, placing second. As Air Canada’s Sommelier, she selects wines from across the world exclusively for Air Canada’s Signature Class
Valerie Silva

Valerie Silva

Valerie Silva is a Montreal-based writer and editor. She currently runs Eater Montreal, a website that chronicles all the happenings of the local dining scene. 
Michael Smith

Michael Smith

Michael Smith is Prince Edward Island’s food ambassador and the chef  behind FireWorks Feast at the Inn at Bay Fortune. He is also a Food Network host, nutritional activist and cookbook author. 
Joe Thottungal

Joe Thottungal

Joe Thottungal is the award-winning chef and owner of Coconut Lagoon and Thali restaurants in Ottawa. Named a United Way Community Builder, he strives to inspire and lead others to make a difference in their communities.
Allison Van Rassel

Allison Van Rassel

Allison Van Rassel is the founder of Foodie Québec and creator of Épicurieuse on Radio-Canada's Mordu, where she covers the Canadian culinary landscape from coast to coast. Her series, Foodie Guide to Quebec City, is broadcast on Hungry TV.
Photo: Sam St-Onge
Anton Vidgen

Anton Vidgen

Anton Vidgen, senior director of Experience Design at Air Canada, leads the design and long-term vision of the airline’s products and services across inflight, ground, interior design and communication touchpoints.
Vikram Vij

Vikram Vij

Vikram Vij is a chef, restaurateur and entrepreneur. Since coming to Canada from India (via Austria) he has launched award-winning restaurants in British Columbia, including Vij’s and My Shanti.
Gold SponsorDiageo
Silver SponsorAmerican Express logo
Tourism SponsorDestination Vancouver