These are the 10 best new restaurants in Canada for 2023

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With the hospitality industry struggling, Air Canada enRoute’s annual list of Canada’s Best New Restaurants seems even more noteworthy. A recent report from Restaurants Canada suggests that more than half of the country’s restaurants are either operating at a loss or just breaking even.

The restaurants on the list opened between late spring 2022 and May 31, embarking on a monumental task at the best of times. According to a single anonymous reviewer, they succeeded in making their mark.

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Toronto’s Michelin-starred Kappo Sato, headed by chef-owner Takeshi Sato, took the top spot as Canada’s Best New Restaurant. The Whistler steakhouse Wild Blue and Victoria’s Marilena Cafe and Raw Bar rounded out the top three.

Sato began his culinary career at Tokyo’s Michelin-starred Ukai and moved to Toronto in 2011 as the Japanese Consulate General chef. In 2013, he moved on to Zen Japanese Restaurant in Markham and, in 2022, opened Kappo Sato. In addition to being an experienced chef, Sato is a tea ceremony master, flower arranger, certified sommelier and sake master.

At Kappo Sato, guests sit at a counter overlooking the open kitchen, where Sato and his team prepare the $360 kappo omakase tasting menu with ingredients primarily flown in from Japan.

A meal at Kappo Sato, a Japanese restaurant in Toronto
At Toronto’s Michelin-starred Kappo Sato, the meal unfolds in 16 courses. Photo by Virginie Gosselin (Air Canada enRoute)

British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec had equal representation on the list, with three restaurants each and one — Petit Socco (No. 5) — in Winnipeg.

The top ten is nearly an even split between major cities and smaller communities, such as Rizzo’s House of Parm (No. 4) in Matty Matheson’s hometown of Fort Erie, Ont., Espace Old Mill (No. 9) in Quebec’s Eastern Townships and Darlings in Ontario’s Prince Edward County (No. 10).

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Food critic and author Amy Rosen visited more than 30 restaurants to determine the top ten, which, at 22 years, Air Canada says is the country’s longest-running ranking.

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Canada’s Best New Restaurants 2023

  1. Kappo Sato — Toronto
  2. Wild Blue — Whistler, B.C.
  3. Marilena Café and Raw Bar — Victoria
  4. Rizzo’s House of Parm — Fort Erie, Ont.
  5. Petit Socco — Winnipeg
  6. Bonheur d’Occasion — Montreal
  7. Folke — Vancouver
  8. Le Molière par Mousso — Montreal
  9. Espace Old Mill — Stanbridge East, Que.
  10. Darlings — Bloomfield, Ont.

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