The sizzling regional foodie scene in Canada is worth a trip on its own, especially before the busy summer season begins. Be the first to try contemporary Indigenous cuisine — the latest dining trend gathering speed in Toronto — and tuck into the season’s best dishes at the hottest new restaurants. Meet farmers and artisan producers for the spring harvest, learn how to be a real lumberjack, wine-taste or sample one star-chef’s take on “live-fire” cuisine.
Toronto is internationally renowned as a multi-cultural hot spot. And the latest entry onto the vibrant dining scene is Indigenous cuisine. Try elk with cranberries and salmon on bannock (bread) at these upstart restaurants spotlighting a kitchen that’s long been waiting for its limelight moment: NishDish and Pow Wow Cafe.
Critically proclaimed a Canadian “East Coast jewel,” New Brunswick is becoming a popular culinary destination, especially in the maritime cities of Saint John and Moncton. Sample the latest excitement at Moncton’s Les Brumes du Coude and 11th Mile in Fredericton, with a focus on local and shareable modern Canadian-Asian fusion.
British Columbia farmers start peddling just-harvested snap peas and asparagus in May, when it’s time to hit the Farmer’s Market Trail — a self-guided road trip that takes you to the orchards, kitchens and fields of those who “grow, make and bake BC” around the province. Taste craft beer and spirits, boutique wine, fresh produce, artisan cheese and farm edibles.
You can dine (and axe-toss) at Halifax’s new Timber Lounge — the spot for artisan charcuterie and pub fare in a rustic mountain man-style setting — and you can learn the tree felling trade, too. Restaurant owner and world champion lumberjack Darren Hudson teaches essential skills like bow sawing, log rolling and tree climbing at Wild Axe riverside park.
The arid Okanagan Valley, a 4.5-hour drive from Vancouver, is a leading Canadian wine region known for its small award-winning wineries, food and picturesque orchards. Beat the crowds and wine-taste in spring when the blossoms are bursting. Try these new additions to the scene: Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards, Origin Wines, Phantom Creek Estates and Rust Wines.
Tiny Prince Edward Island is a big culinary destination. Detour off the North Cape Coastal Drive for afternoon tea and goodies at Tyne Valley Tea and Company. Sample outdoor flame-kitchen dishes at FireWorks, the 25-foot wood-burning hearth and smoke house of Food Network star-chef Michael Smith. Taste craft beer at Copper Bottom Brewing Company.
Manitoba restaurateurs are creative, original and resourceful, and refreshingly low-key. They also have the benefit of sourcing much of their fresh ingredients from the back yard of this fertile prairie province. Bite into Korean BBQ, German Jaegerschnitzel, “mountain man burgers” and Arabic manakeesh (flatbread) at these top 10 dining venues around the province.