Since its debut in 2015, Canada’s 100 Best has compiled a ranking of top restaurants, relying on a growing roster of as many as 99 nationwide judges.
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Head chef and GM of Aiana, Raghav Chaudhary, in the newly opened restaurant in downtown Ottawa at 50 O’Connor St. Photo by Julie Oliver /Postmedia Three Ottawa restaurants, a food business and a chef active in the city are lauded on the just-released Canada’s 100 Best list, which because of the COVID-19 pandemic pivoted this year and dispensed with rankings.
The esteemed magazine and website recognized: Aiana Restaurant Collective, the posh fine-dining restaurant that opened last year in the Sun Life Financial Centre; the ByWard Market eatery Fairouz Cafe, a fall 2020 opening spun from the more formal Fairouz restaurant in Centretown; Bar Lupulus, which pivoted to maximize its sales of wines and beers during the pandemic; and Tablz, an Ottawa-based company that allows diners to reserve specific tables at restaurants.
The 2021 list, dubbed “100 things to savour right now,” also features an entry profiling chef Jae-Anthony Dougan, who splits his time between Montreal and Ottawa and whose pan-Caribbean food was featured in recent months at Tingz in the ByWard Market and at a pop-up based in the City Centre complex, both now closed.
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Because the country’s restaurants have struggled since March 2020 with repeated lockdowns and pandemic restrictions, Canada’s 100 Best had to take a different tack in 2021, said its editor-in-chief Jacob Richler.
“The 100 is a testament to the resilience of a beleaguered industry and a celebration of the resourcefulness of its restaurateurs, chefs, bartenders and everyone in the business who are doing things differently and well to get through this lousy year,” Richler said in a release.
Since its debut in 2015, Canada’s 100 Best has compiled a ranking of top restaurants, relying on a growing roster of as many as 99 nationwide judges. This newspaper’s restaurant critic was a judge in 2020. For the 2021 list, Richler said in an interview that he relied on a “national network of food writers on our judging panel,” which included this writer.
Richler said he hopes to return next year to taking votes from a full judging panel, which will include new judges. “As restaurants reopen, we look forward to inviting a lot of those new judges on board,” he said.
The magazine is to hit newsstands June 7, while a digital version can be bought and downloaded at canadas100best.com.
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