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HOTEL RESTAURANTS GENERALLY FALL INTO TWO CATEGORIES: workhorses that serve the hotel guests and show ponies intended to reach beyond that level of service. Boulevard Kitchen + Oyster Bar, now entering its 10th year with a bursting trophy cabinet, transcends the conventional divide (and an awkward maze-like dining room) with diverse offerings that hit high at all levels, from decadent seafood towers and For the Table experiences designed for sharing to a dessert tasting menu event led by pastry chef Kenta Takahashi. Executive chef Roger Ma leads an all-star team that includes Iron Chef Alex Chen and chef de cuisine Daniel Kim. Impeccably sourced ingredients get modern spins reined in by classic French and Asian rigour. Hamachi crudo, for example, defies expectations by avoiding typical Japanese preparation; instead, it mines junior sous-chef Jaeyoung Park’s Korean heritage, with the delicate fish rolled around julienned vegetables and served alongside a bracing gochujang aïoli. Service is polished to a fine sheen under the direction of general manager and wine director JP Potters, a consummate professional whose cellar leans towards France and new-world labels with oldworld personalities. Desserts are exquisite, like the tropical-fruit panna cotta that’s a veritable produce aisle of vacation-evoking flavours.

COCKTAIL: The BLVD Martini reinvents the most classic of classics with two kinds of B.C.- made gin, nori-infused vermouth and pickled ginger.

Chen has lifted Boulevard to dining heights not realized in most hotel restaurants. Caren Mcsherry

Photography by Leila Kwok

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