The best new restaurants in the country have been selected and three Quebec newbies have nabbed spots in the top 10, including two Montreal eateries.
When opening Le Molière par Mousso this year, Antonin Mousso-Rivard had one goal in mind.
“Really to put back up front the good old French classic kitchen with lots of cream, lots of butter but mainly lots of love also,” Mousso-Rivard said.
His bet paid off.
Le Molière, a French brasserie in Montreal’s Latin Quarter, nabbed the 8th spot in Canada’s Best New Restaurant list, published by Air Canada’s enRoute magazine.
“I always like to say that we don’t work for those prizes but when they come, we’re always happy,” Mousso-Rivard said, who sees the recognition as a pat on the back and an acknowledgement of the hard work.
Food writer Amy Rosen was in charge of awarding the prizes.
She went on a culinary journey across Canada to pick the country’s best new restaurants, taking a friend along to watch her reaction.
“I knew we had something when we ordered an omelette and she took a bite and I wrote about it, and she said, ‘What is this?’” Rosen said of her visit to Le Molière.
The answer: French classics perfectly executed.
“It really was like you could grab a bite before or after the theatre, I just see it becoming a classic in the city,” Rosen added.
Coming in hot in sixth place: Bonheur D’Occasion in Montreal’s Southwest borough.
“We do encourage for the sharing kind of style, we try to keep the portions generous, kind of when you go to your friend’s house and you have a big dinner with your friends and family and everyone’s sharing and laughing and there’s a lot of different flavours on the table,” said Philippe Gauthier, chef and owner at Bonheur D’Occasion.
The small neighbourhood eatery does feel like like the house of your coolest friend: the host with the most who travels, picked up a vintage dish collection along the way and is displayed next to vinyl records on shelves and wooden crates.
But above all, what you find at Bonheur d’Occasion is amazing food.
“Me and my friend didn’t realize as we’re eating the dessert that we stopped talking, we were racing to the finish, our spoons were clacking,” said Rosen.
The dessert was so good, Rosen chose it as the dessert of the year: a mille-feuille style sweet treat made with crispy phyllo dough, caramelized maple sugar and a sweet clover cream filling.
Rosen not only applauded the flavour combinations in the menu, she lauded the quality of the ingredients and the genuine hospitality.
“It really was the whole package,” Rosen said.
Through the praise, Gauthier stays humble.
“I think it’s a mix of luck and good work and a bunch of different things,” he says, crediting his years-long relationships with local suppliers.
Espace Old Mill in Quebec’s Eastern Townships took the number nine spot with a farm-to-table concept Rosen called “an agrarian dreamscape”.
With a third of the top 10 best newcomers to the food scene hailing from Quebec, it’s clear there must be something in the water.
“You can’t get a bad bite in Montreal,” Rosen affirmed.
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