Naming a swanky restaurant on the 54th floor of a gleaming, modern downtown office tower for a mode of transport that predates the elevator by at least a few millennia seems at first to be a little baffling.
But the juxtaposition implicit in the messaging is exactly what this place is about. For over its 20 year star-chef studded run, the kitchen at Canoe has been consistently preoccupied with Canadiana—and just as often, local preCanadiana. Whenever its historical gaze settles on something it likes, it yanks it hard into the present.
For example, pemmican becomes bison Carpaccio with pemmican threads and pickled Saskatoon chanterelles. Hot-smoked salmon candy is served with wild ginger rice—and a decidedly nonFirst Nations accompaniment of smoked avocado and nori tapioca. More often, chef John Horne simply follows his own smart, contemporary sensibilities, expressing them with archetypically Canadian topquality ingredients (say, Boileau venison with sunchoke subric and icewine jus).
The dining room is modern and sleek and incorporates just enough soft wood finishes to fit the culinary messaging. Day and night the views of the lower city and Lake Ontario are the best in town. The cellar is deep, varied, and rich with Canadian choices. Service is exceptional.