The 2013 Exceptional Eats! Award Winners

The 2013 Exceptional Eats! Award Winners as chosen by EAT Magazine readers

Restaurant of the Year

This restaurant always delivers-in service, selection, atmosphere, and execution. It’s the best restaurant in the city-in every way, every time.



Gold: Brasserie L’ecole

Silver: Ulla

Bronze: Café Brio



Gold: Hawksworth

Silver: Fable

Bronze: Vij’s



Gold: RauDZ Regional Table

Silver: Waterfront Restaurant + Wine Bar

Bronze: Local Lounge & Grill


Restaurant Cooking Local

Best Restaurant Cooking Local:  Local = Fresh + Delicious. Who does barn-to-table best and supports our local farms? What restaurant is it?



Gold: Camille’s

Silver: Sooke Harbour House

Bronze: Ulla



Gold: Bishop’s

Silver: Edible Canada at the Market

Bronze: Tie: Fable, The Parker



Gold: Ricardos Mediterranean Kitchen

Silver: Waterfront Restaurant + Wine Bar

Bronze: Hillside Winery Bistro


Best Dish of the Year

You really must try the _____at _____! What dish was so fantastic that you will remember it forever-or at least until next year?


Crispy smoked chicken with roasted cauliflower, rice, pickles and South East Asian vinaigrette - Relish Food & Coffee

Crispy smoked chicken with roasted cauliflower, rice, pickles and South East Asian vinaigrette – Relish Food & Coffee


Gold: Crispy smoked chicken with roasted cauliflower, rice, pickles and South East Asian vinaigrette – Relish Food & Coffee

Silver: Steak Frites at Brasserie L’ecole

Bronze: Gnocchi at Zambri’s



Gold: Qualicum Bay Scallops with caramelized Belgian endives, wild rice griddle cake, candied ginger and citrus sauce – Blue Water Cafe

Silver: Birch Syrup Sablefish – Edible Canada at the Market

Bronze: Humboldt Squid with Persian Tamarind Glaze – Diva at the Met



Gold: Bengali Fish with tangy kasundi mustard sauce with raw mango, chili, onion and   coconut milk – Poppadoms

Silver: Prime Rib – Ricardos Mediterranean Kitchen

Bronze: Confit Duck Leg “Grilled Cheese” Sandwich – Hillside Winery Bistro




Best Place for Lunch

Lunch as a Delicious Event: Lunch is not only about re-energizing you at midday; it has really come into its own as a dining out experience.



Gold: Relish Food & Coffee

Silver: Devour

Bronze: Foo Asian Street Food



Gold: Meat & Bread

Silver: Medina Cafe

Bronze: Au Petit Chavignol (now closed)



Gold: Walla Artisan Bakery & Cafe

Silver: Good Omens Coffee House

Bronze: Okanagan Street Food


Dish Under $10

Best Place to Spend Your Last $10: You’re hungry. You have a ten-dollar bill in your pocket. Where do you go to eat?



Gold: Hernande’z Cocina

Silver: Red Fish Blue Fish

Bronze: Pig BBQ Joint



Gold: Go Fish

Silver: Vijs Rangoli

Bronze: La Taqueria



Gold: Okanagan Street Food

Silver: The Bench Market

Bronze: Cinnamon Cafe


Remotest with the Mostest

Let’s head out of the city. I know this amazing little place in the middle of nowhere… Name a great restaurant not in a city that’s worth a special trip (keep it close to home, though, no planes).



Gold: Amusé on the Vineyard

Silver: Stone Soup Inn

Bronze: Point-no-Point



Gold: Miradoro Restaurant at Tinhorn Creek Vineyards

Silver: Araxi Restaurant & Bar

Bronze: The Pear Tree



Gold: Hillside Winery & Bistro

Silver: Benja Thai in Keremeos

Bronze: Joy Road Catering at God’s Mountain


Place For Appys & Cocktails

It’s been a long day; fancy an appy and a drink? Or three? Best after-work or late-night place to go for a bite and a drink. Name your favourite establishment.



Gold: Veneto Tapa Lounge

Silver: Clive’s Classic Lounge

Bronze: Stage Wine Bar



Gold: Chambar

Silver: Hawksworth

Bronze: Cactus Club Burrard St



Gold: Local Lounge & Grille

Silver: RauDZ Regional Table

Bronze: Bufflehead Pasta & Tapas Room


Neighbourhood Gem

Everyone’s neighborhood should have one: warm and friendly atmosphere, decent food and drinks, and wallet-friendly prices. Which neighbourhood restaurant, bistro, pub, or café is your “go-to” for a “walking-to” date night? Name the place and the neighbourhood.



Gold: Stage Wine Bar – Fernwood

Silver: Fernwood Inn – Fernwood

Bronze: Bubby’s Kitchen – Fairfield



Gold: The Parker – Strathcona

Silver: Bishop’s (Kitsilano)

Bronze: Irish Heather (Gastown)



Gold: Waterfront Restaurant & Wine Bar – Cultural District Kelowna

Silver: Hillside Winery Bistro – Naramata

Bronze: Minstrel Cafe – Lower Mission Kelowna


Guilty Pleasure

Is it a sticky cinnamon bun, a dark pain au chocolat, or a silken crème brûlée? Where do you go to soothe the sweet cravings that call? Please name the item and the restaurant/bakery/café/shop.



Gold: Fol Epi – Pain au Chocolat

Silver: Bubby’s Kitchen – Cinnamon Bun

Bronze: Cold Comfort – any ice cream



Gold: Thomas Haas – Double Baked Almond Croissant

Silver: Thierry – Macarons

Bronze: Chocolate Arts – Cinnamon Bun



Gold: Sandrine French Pastry – Macaron

Silver: Okanagan Grocery – Chocolate Croissant

Bronze: True Grain – Ginger Cookie



There’s this little place you go to that no one seems to know about but you-and you love it. Name your undiscovered treasure?



Gold: Uchida eatery/shokudo

Silver: Clay Pigeon

Bronze: Nourish



Gold: Musette Café

Silver: Judas Goat

Bronze: Tableau Bar Bistro



Gold: Saint Germain Cafe Gallery

Silver: Cinnamon Café

Bronze: Mad Mango Cafe


Great Pizza Pie

The thin-crusted, wood-fired pizza parlour invasion continues and we love it. Where do you go to get your slice of heaven?



Gold: Pizzeria Prima Strada

Silver: Zambri’s

Bronze: Fiamo



Gold: Nicli Antica Pizzeria

Silver: Campagnolo

Bronze: Pizzeria Farina



Gold: Bordello’s Italian Pizzeria

Silver: de Bakker’s Kitchen

Bronze: DunnEnzies Pizza Co.


Best Front of House Crew

We’ve all been there. Left at the front without being greeted. Ignored when we want that glass of wine when the main course comes. Which restaurant give you the best service and cheers you up no matter how in the weeds the kitchen is?



Gold: Brasserie L’ecole

Silver: Ulla

Bronze: Zambri’s



Gold: Tie: Hawksworth / Bishop’s

Silver: The Pear Tree

Bronze: Provence



Gold: Ricardo’s Mediterranean Kitchen

Silver: RauDZ Regional Table

Bronze: Miradoro Restaurant


Place For Healthy Eating

Delicious and Nutritious… Feed me! A meal out can be both delicious-and healthy. Tell us where you go when you want to treat both your palate and your body?



Gold: Rebar Modern Food

Silver: Nourish

Bronze: Mo:Lé 



Gold: The Acorn

Silver: The Parker

Bronze: Capers 



Gold: Wild Scallion

Silver: Nature’s Fare

Bronze: The Chopped Leaf


Best Street Food

The street food scene continues to heat up. Whose stall, cart, pot or truck is worth braving the elements to chow down?



Gold: Red Fish Blue Fish

Silver: Taco Justice

Bronze: The Refiner Diner



Gold: Tacofino

Silver: La Brasserie Street

Bronze: Vij’s Railway Express



Gold: Jeffer’s Fryzz

Silver: Okanagan Street Food

Bronze: Gregors Gourmet


Place to Feed a Kid

Praise be to the restaurants and cafés that know how to cater to families with kids. Who makes you welcome when you have children in tow?



Gold: Pizzeria Prima Strada

Silver: Crumsby’s Cupcake Cafe

Bronze: Red Robin



Gold: Little Nest

Silver: Rocky Mountain Flatbread

Bronze: Whole Foods



Gold: Wild Apple Restaurant

Silver: Red Robin

Bronze: Poppadoms



Best Place to Buy Local Food

It could be a farm stand, outdoor market or a store. Where do you go to buy your local, fresh and in-season food?



Gold: The Root Cellar

Silver: Red Barn Market

Bronze: Niagara Grocery



Gold: Trout Lake Farmers Market

Silver: Granville Island Public Market

Bronze: Whole Foods



Gold: Kelowna & Penticton Farmers Market

Silver: Harker’s Organics

Bronze: Quality Greens


Best Take-Out

Today’s Takeout (not your mom’s takeaway): It’s the afternoon and you’re thinking about dinner-but you don’t feel like cooking tonight. What do you grab on the way home? Think restaurants, delis and food shops -who’s got the best gourmet to go?



Gold: The Noodle Box

Silver: Foo Asian Street Food

Bronze: Baan Thai



Gold: Rangoli

Silver: Whole Foods

Bronze: Urban Fare



Gold: The Bench Artisan Food Market

Silver: Urban Fare

Bronze: Bluetail Sushi Bistro


Best Place to Shop for Healthy Food

I’m Health Conscious: They say that you are what you eat. Where do you shop for food that is healthy or based on dietary   restrictions?



Gold: Lifestyle Markets

Silver: Planet Organic

Bronze: Mother Nature’s Market



Gold: Whole Foods

Silver: Famous Foods

Bronze: Choices



Gold: Nature’s Fare Markets

Silver: Choices

Bronze: Whole Foods


Favourite (Locally Owned) Kitchen Store

Need a chef’s knife, tablecloth, pot, candles or coffee grinder? And you’re not a fan of big-box shopping. Where do you go to buy it?



Gold: Cook Culture

Silver: Penna and Co.

Bronze: Haute Cuisine



Gold: Gourmet Warehouse

Silver: Cookworks

Bronze: Ming Wo



Gold: Chef’s Edge

Silver: Lakehouse

Bronze: Terwilligers


Best Place to Buy Cheese

The Cheesier the Better: Best selection and service of artisanal and farmstead cheese. Where do you go?



Gold: Tie: Hilary’s Cheese / Ottavio Italian Bakery & Deli

Silver: Charelli’s Cheese Shop

Bronze: Thrifty Foods



Gold: Les Amis du Fromage

Silver: Benton Brothers Fine Cheese

Bronze: The Cheese Man



Gold: Valoroso Foods

Silver: Carmelis Goat Cheese Artisan

Bronze: Upper Bench Creamery


Best Local Food or Ingredient

You’ve got friends and family visiting, and you take pride in BC’s food diversity. Okay, maybe you’ve been known to brag about the largess of this province. What local food, product or ingredient are you sure to introduce them to?



Vancouver Island Salt | Spot Prawns



Kurobuta Pork | Sockeye Salmon



Okanagan Wine!


Place to Buy Meat

Meat your Maker: Many shops, delis and restaurants are offering house made meats – charcuterie, cold cuts, salami and sausages. Where do you go to fill your sandwich?



Gold: The Whole Beast

Silver: Choux Choux Charcuterie

Bronze: Red Barn Market



Gold: Oyama Sausage

Silver: Woodland Smokehouse and Commissary

Bronze: Sebastian & Co.



Gold: Mediterranean Market

Silver: Il Vecchio

Bronze: Valoroso Foods



Best Specialty Food Store

You’re having a dinner party and you’re cooking something special (maybe you’ve never made it before!) Where do you go to get that “something” that makes the dish special?



Gold: Ottavio Italian Bakery & Deli

Silver: Market on Yates

Bronze: Charelli’s Cheese Shop



Gold: Whole Foods

Silver: Urban Fare

Bronze: Gourmet Warehouse



Gold: Urban Fare

Silver: Valoroso Foods

Bronze: The Bench Artisan Market



Best Beer Store

Beer Boom IPA, wit, stout, Belgian, porter… Which store has the best craft-beer selection in town?



Gold: Cook St Village Liquor

Silver: Spinnakers Liquor Store

Bronze: Cascadia Liquor (Quadra Village)



Gold: Legacy Liquor Store

Silver: The Brewery Creek Liquor Store

Bronze: BC Liquor Store (39th & Cambie)



Gold: Cannery Brewing Company

Silver: Metro Liquor

Bronze: BCLDB (gov’t liquor stores)


Best Bar

(This) Bar (is) Fly: You belly up to your favourite bar. Slap your credit card down and call out – “Fix me a…” What cocktail sends you into a swoon and where are you?



Gold: Barrel-aged Negroni at Clive’s Classic Lounge

Silver: Rosemary’s Baby at Veneto Tapa Lounge

Bronze: French 75 at Stage Wine Bar



Gold: French 75 at The Pourhouse

Silver: The Vancouver at The Parker

Bronze: The Beldi, at West (Bombay Sapphire with bitters by Kale & Nori)



Gold: Amante Picante at RauDZ Regional Table

Silver: Pepper Infused Vodka Caesar at Waterfront Restaurant

Bronze: Cherry Bomb at Local Lounge & Grill


Best Wine Store

You Say Champagne, I say Cremant: You want an excellent selection, a range of prices, and a personable, knowledgeable staff. Best place to drink or buy wine. What’s your recommendation?



Gold: Everything Wine

Silver: Fort & Foul Bay BCL

Bronze: Cascadia Liquor



Gold: Marquis Wine Cellars

Silver: Everything Wine

Bronze: Firefly Fine Wine & Ales



Gold: Metro Liquor

Silver: Discover Wines

Bronze: The BC VQA Wine Info Centre


Best Local Winery

You Brought Wine: Impress your out-of-town host with a bottle from a local winery. What would you bring?



Gold: Averill Creek Vineyard

Silver: Alderlea Vineyards

Bronze: Venturi-Schulze Vineyards



Gold: Laughing Stock Vineyards

Silver: Joie Farm

Bronze: Township 7



Gold: 8th Generation Vineyard

Silver: La Frenz

Bronze: Tinhorn Creek Vineyards


Best Mocktail

This ain’t no Shirley Temple: Cleanse, diet, abstinence? Don’t mock this no-alcohol cocktail. Phew, fix me a drink! Name your favourite mocktail and the bar or restaurant where you get it.



Gold: Spinnaker’s Gastropub (Sparkling Ginger O De Vie) Ginger steeped in Spinnaker’s/Lifecycles apple cider  vinegar, topped with O De Vie sparkling mineral water & sweetened

Silver: Shirley Temple at Pagliacci’s

Bronze: Mango Lassi at Ferris’ Upstairs



Gold: Hawksworth (Kalamansi Fizz) Pomegranate juice, kalamansi, honey, ginger beer

Silver: Fat Dragon (Spiced Mule) Now closed.

Bronze: Blue Water Cafe (Misirilou -with coconut water, orange flower water, lime juice, honey syrup cucumber)



Gold: Poppadoms (Mango Lassi) Homemade yougurt drink with mango purée

Silver: Virgin fresh fruit margarita from RauDZ Regional Table

Bronze: Jamaican Fizz at Ricardo’s Mediterranean Kitchen


Best Local Beverage

Local Beverage of the Year: This local beverage was, in a word, remarkable. Be it  wine, beer, cider, spirits, soda, tea, coffee you name it. What really impressed you this year? Tell us what it was and which company made it.



Gold: Victoria Spirits Victoria Gin

Silver: Merridale Estate Cidery Traditional

Bronze: Sea Cider Farm Rumrunner



Gold: Pemberton Distillery Schramm Organic Potato Vodka

Silver: Artisan Sake Maker Osake Junmai Sparkling Sake

Bronze: Painted Rock Red Icon



Gold: Okanagan Spirits Whisky

Silver: Cannery Brewing Knucklehead Pumpkin Ale

Bronze: Laughing Stock Vineyards Portfolio


Best Place For Coffee

Higher Grounds: We want to know where do you get your bean-juice fix? Name your favourite coffee shop.



Gold: Discovery Coffee

Silver: Caffe Fantastico

Bronze: Habit Coffee



Gold: 49th Parallel

Silver: Caffe Artigiano

Bronze: Revolver Coffee



Gold: Tie: Bean Scene / Good Omens

Silver: Gio Bean Espresso

Bronze: The Beanery Coffee Company


Beer of the Year

This is My Beer of the Year: Impress your out-of-town host with a bottle of local brewski. Name the local brew that has all the beer nerds in a froth?



Gold: Driftwood Brewery Fat Tug IPA

Silver: Phillips Brewing Longboat Chocolate Porter

Bronze: Gulf Islands Brewery Gruit Ale



Gold: R&B Brewing Co. – Sun God Wheat Ale

Silver: Old Yale Brewery – Sasquatch Stout

Bronze: Central City – Red Racer Raspberry Wheat Ale



Gold: Cannery Brewing Naramata Nut Brown Ale

Silver: Tree Brewing Winter Ale

Bronze: Crannóg Ale‘s Back Hand of God



Best Food or Drink Experience of the Year


Gilded Gatherings: Which food or drink event, festival or seminar most excited you this year?



Gold: Culinaire

Silver: The Great Canadian Beer Festival  

Bronze: Brewery & The Beast – Festival of Meat



Gold: Feast of Fields

Silver: Cornucopia Whistler

Bronze: Dîner en Blanc – Vancouver



Gold: Feast of Fields

Silver: Similkameen BBQ King

Bronze: Okanagan Fall Wine Festival


Best People Skills

Did you have an amazing experience at a food shop, store or market this year that made you feel special? Maybe it made you want to tell your friends? Tell us your story and the store.



Gold: Charelli’s Cheese Shop and Delicatessen

Silver: The London Chef

Bronze: Ottavio Italian Bakery



Gold: Barbara-Jo’s Books To Cooks

Silver: Les Amis de Fromage

Bronze: Benton Brothers Fine Cheese



Gold: Urban Fare

Silver: Kelowna Farmers Market

Bronze: Discover Wines


I Eat, Therefore I Am  Social

I Eat, therefore I Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram and Tweet: Which local food writer, blog, or photog would you follow to the ends of the earth?




Silver: Heidi Fink’s Blog Lip Smacking

Bronze: Smitten Kitchen




Silver: Mia Stainsby

Bronze: Scout




Silver: Jennifer Schell

Bronze: n/a


Cooking Class or School

Cook Like A Pro: Knife skills 101? Advanced pasta making? Pig butchery? What cooking class really sparked your culinary edification? Please tell us which class and where you took it.



Gold: Spices of North Africa (The London Chef)

Silver: Cosmos Means (Cook Culture)

Bronze: Thai and Indian (Heidi Fink)



Gold: Ocean Fling: The Ultimate Seafood Class (The Dirty Apron)

Silver: Whitewater Cooks class at Barbara Jo’s Books to Cooks

Bronze: Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts  



Gold: Hester Creek Estate Winery Cooking Classes

Silver: Indian Cooking Classes at Poppadoms

Bronze: Mission Hill Cooking Classes


The Next Big Thing

Food fashions come and go. Remember truffle oil on everything? Foam sauces? Cosmopolitans? Say hello to the next big thing. What is it?



Pickled everything





Nose to tail, farm to table

Vegan fine dining

Local, seasonal, organic



Local and organic

Pumpkin is the new bacon

Quality over quantity


Worst Trend of 2012

Remember cake pops? Celebrity chef restaurant outposts where the chef isn’t present? Haute hot dogs? Tall food? Help us weed out the most awful trend du jour! What is it?



Bacon in everything





Large bowl plates (cutlery slides into the food)





Deconstructed dishes

Bacon on everything

Fast food


Best Sustainable Practices

A Year of Living Sustainably: What business, association or non-profit best promotes a sustainable food system?



Gold: Lifecycles Project Society

Silver: Island Chefs Collaborative

Bronze: Red Fish Blue Fish



Gold: Ocean Wise

Silver: C Restaurant

Bronze: Vancouver Farmers Markets



Gold: Harker’s Organics

Silver: Okanagan Chef’s Association

Bronze: Penticton Farmers’ Market


Best New Restaurant, Shop, or Café

Best new addition to the food and drink scene in 2012?



Gold: The Clay Pigeon

Silver: Chorizo and Co.

Bronze: Jam Café



Gold: Wildebeest

Silver: Fable

Bronze: The Parker



Gold: True Grain Bread

Silver: The Kitchen at Misconduct Winery

Bronze: The Stuffed Pepper


Lifetime Achievement Awards

Sean Brennan

Sean Brennan

Give recognition to the person who has spent their lifetime committed to exemplary, sincere, and passionate culinary excellence. The ripple effect of this person cannot be easily measured.  (Note: David Mincey, Greg Hays, Peter Zambri, John Bishop and Bernard Casavant are past recipients of Lifetime Achievement Awards )



Sean Brennan (Brasserie L’Ecole)



Bruno Marti (La Belle Auberge Restaurant) now closed



Harry McWatters (McWatters Collection)

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