Courtesy of Félix Michaud

The answer will only surprise people not up to speed on one of the country's most up-and-coming food scenes

David Landsel
October 23, 2017

October—falling leaves, that distinct chill in the air, cider donuts. If you're a Canadian that loves good food, it also happens to be the time of year when Air Canada's inflight magazine, enRoute, delivers one of the most hotly-anticipated lists of the year: the winners of the magazine's Canada's Best New Restaurant awards.

Justifiably, everyone was talking about Battuto, the 20-seat, four-employee Italian joint carved out of an old Quebec City snack bar, which ended up taking the number one spot, ahead of big-ticket restaurants in places like Toronto and Vancouver.

Still more interesting, however, was the fact that Edmonton, the northernmost major population center in North America—there are nearly 1.5 million people living in the region now—managed to snag three slots out of the final list of ten, a list whittled down from thirty nominees put forth by a Who's Who of Canadian food and food journalism.

Representing Alberta's provincial capital in the rankings were Clementine (#5), an innovative cocktail bar that also offers a rather tweaked, modern bistro menu, Café Linnea (#6), a next-level café/resto from a group of pioneers on the local scene, and the aggressively local/seasonal Alder Room (#10), a 12-seater, tasting-menu only experience from Chef Ben Staley.

Edmonton's sudden dominance on the list will come as a surprise only to those unfamiliar with the city, which has been already been receiving plenty of notices for its food scene, and for good reason. When you add in the winner from Alberta's other, more famous city, the gorgeous Bar Von Der Fels (#3) in Calgary, that's nearly half the list from one province that doesn't always get a ton of respect from snobbish types in Toronto and Vancouver. (Toronto did okay this year, scoring two spots, one for Jeff Kang's Canis and the other for the fun Brothers Food & Wine—that's double the showing from 2016, when the country's largest city limped in with just the one.)

Feel like eating your way down this year's list? It's all right here.