And when the last of our 97 expert judges cast the final ballot, it fell to our auditors at KPMG to convert all those individual scores into points, and then tally them up for every restaurant that earned a judge’s nod, coast to coast.
Once those point totals were checked, and checked again, the top 100 finishers were ranked in descending order to become what you find here—our 2018 list of Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants.
First things (and first-place restaurants) first: on behalf of all of us at Canada’s 100 Best, I want to extend heartfelt, caviar-topped and truffle-infused congratulations to our winner, Alo: chef-owner Patrick Kriss, chef de cuisine Nick Bentley, operations manager John Bunner, sommelier Christopher Sealy and all the rest of the Alo team.
I still vividly recall exquisite details of my first meal at Alo, back in the summer of 2015. The miniature pommes soufflées, the sea bream sashimi decorated with sea asparagus, kombu and yuzukoshō, followed by an exquisitely rich and artfully plated ragout of veal trotter, oyster mushroom and cockscomb blanketed in shavings of cured foie gras. What Patrick Kriss wanted to achieve was clear from the start.
To strive for that sort of culinary excellence is one thing. To achieve it so convincingly right out of the gate, then maintain it without ever wavering except to improve upon it, well, that’s quite another. So is selling that dream to enough customers to generate a waiting list, night after night.
We named Alo our Best New Restaurant in 2016. In 2017, it displaced Montreal venerable Toqué! as the number one restaurant in the country. For 2018, it maintains that top rank, while Patrick Kriss is the winner of our Outstanding Chef award. Well done, Alo. Please stay focused while minding Aloette and launching Alo Bar in Yorkville.
Meanwhile, there are 99 other restaurants on our list to celebrate. And their ranks are chock-full of changes since our last poll. At the top you’ll find that three restaurants in our top 10 are new to it (congratulations Langdon Hall, Montréal Plaza and Kissa Tanto) and one, Raymonds, is back. Thirteen restaurants in our top 50 were not part of that club last year, and six of them are altogether new to the list. The highest-ranked of those is, of course, our Best New Restaurant. So, special congratulations to La Banane for catapulting to number 16 in your very first year, and for collecting that honour.
All told, the 2018 100 Best Restaurants list features 28 restaurants that have never appeared on it before, and seven others that are returning to the fold after missing the cut in 2017. Every last one of the hundred represents a great choice for dining out tonight. Thank you judges for all your diligent work in assessing your experiences dining out so that the rest of us can make better choices.
With this edition, Canada’s 100 Best also launchesCanada’s 50 Best Bars, a guide and ranking based on voting results of a separate panel of industry experts, from insiders and players to suppliers and tastemakers in the drinks eld. Our bar guide was assembled by editor Claudia McNeilly, a frequent contributor to our restaurant pages. It aims to steer you to the best cocktails near you, the most salubrious spot for an afternoon drink, an apéro or digestif, wherever you live or travel. I hope that you find it to be as useful as I already have.