THE BLOG

The Provinces With the Best Restaurants in Canada

03/13/2013 12:02 EDT | Updated 05/13/2013 05:12 EDT

As recently as a decade ago, Calgary was thought of as a ghost town for fine dining. No longer.

The Canadian public is proving that Cowtown has an eclectic and exciting dining scene, with a quintet of restaurants ranked in the top 12 of a public vote to recognize the nation's finest dining experiences.

The 2013 Vacay.ca Top 50 Restaurants in Canada will be decided by votes from the public and 34 judges who include noted chefs and food industry professionals. The public, however, determines the annual People's Choice award. Although Ontario restaurants currently dominate the top of the standings, Calgary is the most well-represented city, placing five entries in the top 12 as of Monday night. Public voting wraps up on April 15 and the Top 50 Restaurants in Canada is announced via Twitter on April 25 (you can follow the countdown using the hashtag #Vacay50).

Anyone who votes is eligible for the Foodie of the Year Contest, which includes a Grand Prize of airfare, luxury hotel stay and dinner at the Top 50 Restaurant of the winner's choice.

Muse, headed by chef JP Pedhirney, is the leading vote-getter among Calgary's restaurants. Pedhirney has worked in the phenomenal Chicago dining scene, cooking at the Michelin-starred Blackbird, and also prepared dinner at the James Beard House in New York, a hallmark occasion for any chef. Voters have raved about his tasting menu at Muse, which features five or eight courses, including a Foie Gras sampler.

Although Muse ranks fourth overall in the Vacay.ca poll, it has received more support in the past four days than any other restaurant in the country and is less than six votes away from second place.

Langdon Hall of Cambridge, Ontario remains in first place, opening up a double-digit lead despite news earlier this year concerning the disappearance of its executive chef. Last year's People's Choice winner, Atelier of Ottawa, stands second, while Toronto's Ruby Watchco has rocketed into third place.

Other Calgary restaurants in the top 12 include Rouge (currently in seventh place after placing ninth overall in the 2012 Vacay.ca Top 50 Restaurants in Canada Guide), CHARCUT (eighth), Q Haute Cuisine (10th), and Catch & Oyster Bar (12th). Also receiving support are UNA Pizza + Wine Bar and Model Milk Bistro, an acclaimed restaurant whose fans have recently caught on to the voting and are now sending in support, meaning a sixth Calgary restaurant could soon rank high on the list.

"The amazing voting from Calgary shows how enthused Calgarians are about dining out. And rightly so. The city's culinary scene is one of the hottest in the country," said Janine MacLean, Chair of the Vacay.ca Top 50 Restaurants in Canada Guide. "But anything can happen very quickly, as we are seeing. Restaurants that haven't received any votes at this point can still blast into contention if they get their fans to support them."

Anyone can vote simply by emailing vote@vacay.ca. Public votes are each worth one point, while the members of the Vacay.ca Judges Academy -- which includes chefs Jeremy Charles of Raymonds, Sonora Resort's Terry Pichor, Renée Lavallée of Nova Scotia and Modern Culinary Academy director John Placko -- each have 100 points to distribute between 5-10 restaurants. The votes from the public and the judges combine to create the 2013 Top 50 Restaurants in Canada.

"We have seen so much public voting that we can create provincial rankings. That's how excited Canadians have been to show support for their favourite places to dine out," said Vacay.ca Managing Editor Adrian Brijbassi. "As for Calgarians, they should be voting, if for no other reason than to give their chefs and restaurants the notice they deserve."

Blog continues below slideshow...

Vacay.ca's Top 20 Restaurants In Canada

2013 Vacay.ca Top Restaurants in Canada Overall Standings

(Based on public voting as of March 11; voting ends April 15)

1. Langdon Hall, Cambridge, Ontario

2. Atelier, Ottawa, Ontario

3. Ruby Watchco, Toronto, Ontario

4. Muse, Calgary, Alberta

5. Memories, Regina, Saskatchewan

6. Glas Wine Bar, Toronto, Ontario

7. Rouge, Calgary, Alberta

8. CHARCUT, Calgary, Alberta

9. Joe Beef, Montreal, Quebec

10. Q Haute Cuisine, Calgary, Alberta

11. Vij's, Vancouver, British Columbia

12. Catch & Oyster Bar, Calgary, Alberta

13. The Blue Door, Fredericton, New Brunswick

14. Hawksworth, Vancouver, British Columbia

15. The Black Hoof, Toronto, Ontario

More than 120 restaurants have received votes as of March 11, 2013.

2013 Vacay.ca Top 50 Restaurants in Canada Standings by Province

(Based on public voting as of March 11; voting ends April 15)

Newfoundland & Labrador

Raymonds, St. John's

Magnum & Steins, St. John's

Aqua, St. John's

Duke of Duckworth, St. John's

Java Jack's, Rocky Harbour

Nova Scotia

Nectar Restaurant & Wine Bar, Dartmouth

Chives, Halifax

Five Fishermen, Halifax

Two If By Sea, Dartmouth

Tempest, Wolfville

Prince Edward Island

Lot 30, Charlottetown

Claddagh Oyster House, Charlottetown

Inn at Bay Fortune, Bay Fortune

The Pearl Cafe, North Rustico

New Brunswick

The Blue Door, Fredericton (no others receiving votes)

Quebec

Joe Beef, Montreal

Panache, Quebec City

Pastaga, Montreal

Manoir Hovey, Montreal

L'Affaire est Ketchup, Quebec City (tie)

Toque!, Montreal (tie)

Ontario

Langdon Hall, Cambridge

Atelier, Ottawa

Ruby Watchco, Toronto

Glas Wine Bar, Toronto

The Black Hoof, Toronto

Manitoba

Bistro 7 1/4, Winnipeg

Segovia Tapas & Wine Bar, Winnipeg

Deseo, Winnipeg

Pizzeria Gusto, Winnipeg

Lobby on York, Winnipeg

Saskatchewan

Memories, Regina

Willow on Wascana, Regina

Weczeria, Saskatoon

The Dining Room, Regina

Alberta

Muse Restaurant, Calgary

Rouge, Calgary

CHARCUT, Calgary

Q Haute Cuisine, Calgary

Catch & Oyster Bar, Calgary

British Columbia

Vij's, Vancouver

Hawksworth, Vancouver

Wildebeest, Vancouver

SoBo, Tofino

Waterfront Wines, Kelowna