Reaction Roundup: what keeps Canadian restaurants out of the world’s top 50?

Reaction Roundup: what keeps Canadian restaurants out of the world’s top 50?

The idyllic Langdon Hall made the top 100 list back in 2010 (Image: Gabriel Li from the Flickr pool)

Last week, we told you about Restaurant magazine’s annual list of the world’s best restaurants, which, once again, featured no representation from Canada, either in the top 50 list or in the consolation prize territory of numbers 51 to 100. Amid the usual status anxiety and self-flagellation that broke out on Twitter (along with a few yawns), we found some fairly insightful commentary on What It All Means.

• Over in the Globe and Mail, Chris Nuttall-Smith argues that “there isn’t a single Canadian restaurant that’s original enough and technically accomplished enough to rank at the very pinnacle of high-end global gastronomy.” He points to Canadian eateries that have made the top 100 in the past, like 2010’s No. 77, Langdon Hall, arguing that while they might be fantastic, they lose marks for originality. The nut: “You get on there by taking huge risks and innovating from the ground up, getting everything right, and then delivering, perfectly, consistently, day after day.”

• In the Montreal Gazette, Lesley Chesterman believes the odds were stacked against Canada. Lumped together with the mid–United States as one region, the entire country had to compete against restaurant powerhouses like Chicago. Plus only 25 of the 800-plus judges of the list hailed from Canada. She believes Quebec restaurants like Au Pied de Cochon and its Cabane à Sucre would have to significantly amp up their publicity machine in order to catch the eye of international food writers (comping many meals along the way)—but ultimately decides Quebec doesn’t need outside approval to keep making great food.

Adrian Brijbassi, the managing editor of, breaks down five reasons there’s no CanCon on the list. And No. 1 is a dig at Toronto’s culinary scene: the city’s expensive real estate, he says, forces city restaurateurs to play it safe to make ends meet. Brijbassi also points to inadequate self-promotion for Canadian restaurants, and, of course, the country’s famous inferiority complex.

• Sorry, Canada. We don’t belong on the World’s Best Restaurants list (yet) [Globe and Mail]
• Ah, yes—groan—another top-restaurants list [Montreal Gazette]
• Why Canada doesn’t have a restaurant on the World’s 50 Best list []