Image: Royal Dinette
Looking for a place to close your next deal? Whether you’re on a business trip or in your own city, these 15 restaurants across Canada are the perfect options for impressing your clients.
Written by Erica Cupido
Park, Montreal QC
The name ‘Park’ on the door lets diners know this isn’t your average sushi spot. Here, celebrity chef-owner and Chopped Canada judge Antonio Park prepares Japanese and Korean dishes that are influenced by the South American flavours he grew up with. Park spent his childhood in Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil, and later went to culinary school in Japan. The cultures that have shaped his culinary point of view come together at his Westmount, Montreal restaurant.
The Shore Club, Ottawa ON
The optimal choice for a sophisticated steakhouse in Ottawa is located just steps from Parliament Hill. With its art deco-styling and classic menu, The Shore Club sets the scene for power lunches or catching up with clients. Ideal for those looking to make a good first impression, their lobster bisque, buttermilk fried chicken, and filet mignon are all dishes that can be relied upon for a rich and fulfilling meal.
The Vermillion Room, Banff AB
Conferences and summits are hardly a reason to sacrifice quality or eat poorly on account of a busy itinerary. Set against the breathtaking backdrop of the Canadian Rockies, invite your colleagues and new contacts to The Vermillion Room, located in the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel. The new Parisian-style brasserie opened in May, and uses traditional French techniques to highlight local, Alberta-farmed ingredients. Seal the deal over classics like a croque-monsieur or a prime rib sandwich topped with caramelized onion and tarragon jam.
Toqué! Montreal QC
Escape the everyday with an inspired dining experience at Normand Laprise and Christine Lamarche’s landmark Montreal restaurant. Ever since it opened 25 years ago, Toqué! has been praised for its ingredient-driven menu, and even named one of the best restaurants in the country. Lunch at this prestigious eatery includes options like foie gras mousse served with chanterelle mushrooms and honeysuckle purée, as well as guinea fowl breast accompanied by eggplant, cauliflower, and poivrade sauce. A meal here is sure to leave a five-star impression.
Kojin, Toronto ON
Stand out from the pack by choosing a menu that’s brimming with unexpected options. The newest restaurant from Momofuku group founder, author and TV personality David Chang is a modern steakhouse named after the Japanese god of hearth, fire and kitchen. Fittingly, executive chef Paula Navarrete’s offerings include an emphasis on wood-fire cooking, as well as nods to her Colombian heritage and Ontario’s local produce. Located at the Shangri-La Hotel, it’s the perfect place to fire up a new working relationship.
Port City Royal, Saint John NB
Its exterior dates back to 1877, but inside Port City Royal, chef-owner Jakob Lutes and his team are striving to create a new kind of Canadian cuisine. Located in a historic building in uptown Saint John, the restaurant’s known for its rotating menu of specialty cocktails and reinterpreted East Coast dishes. Choose to lunch here not only because it’s already been ranked among Canada’s best restaurants, but also because you’ll never know what’s being served. Tuck into their braised beef rib or black cod with buttered beet greens and grilled asparagus – until they’re gone, that is.
Maison Boulud, Montreal QC
Famed chef Daniel Boulud brings his contemporary French cuisine to Montreal with his eponymous restaurant, located at the posh Ritz-Carlton hotel. The polished, yet warm interior strikes the perfect balance between being sophisticated and cozy. While your pitch is sure to make an impact, count on executive chef Riccardo Bertolino’s plates to do the same. Options for sharing include delicate oysters and shishito peppers topped with fleur de sel. Or, dig into homemade veal tortellini or marinated strip loin steak while securing a new connection.
Nightingale, Vancouver BC
Things are meant to be social at chef David Hawksworth’s Nightingale. Inside the industrial-style, 7,400-square-foot interior, head chef Phil Scarfone and his team offer a variety of sharing plates that put the spotlight on locally sourced ingredients. Their goal is to serve modern Canadian dishes that are vibrant, flavourful, and eaten in a lively setting. Pick a potential collaborator’s brain over house-made pasta or Nightingale’s twist on a classic cocktail.
Drake Mini Bar, Toronto ON
The Drake empire has grown once more to give Financial District dwellers their hotel bar experience, sans hotel. Their first standalone bar features the drinks, cuisine, art and vibe that are synonymous with Drake Hotel properties. No matter what’s on your to-do list for the day, the Mini Bar’s menu – from corporate executive chef Ted Corrado, executive chef Jonathan Pong and chef de cuisine Amancio Dos Santos – will satisfy. Treat clients to sharing plates like baked scallops or steak tartare. Larger appetites will appreciate options like the gnocchi accompanied by wild mushrooms, peas, and pecorino cheese.
Sofia, Toronto ON
Prolific Toronto restaurateur Charles Khabouth is known for creating spaces with standout décor and see-and-be-seen atmosphere. His latest spot, Italian restaurant Sofia, is no exception. Nestled along Yorkville Avenue (giving it one of the city’s most posh addresses), the eatery’s mod white interior and plush, red velvet banquettes instantly transport diners to the pop art-influenced ‘60s. If the setting doesn’t instantly convince your colleague of your discerning taste, executive chef Christine Mast’s refined Italian menu will.
Rosalinda Toronto, ON
Opt for a fresh take on the ideal power lunch locale. This bright-and-airy outpost boasts a vegan, Mexican-inspired menu that puts the greens front and centre. But the restaurant should be on carnivores’ radars as well, given that it’s owned by Grant van Gameren, Max Rimaldi, and Jamie Cook (who are behind some of the city’s most in-demand restos, like Bar Isabel and Pizzeria Libretto). Make a new deal over coconut ceviche, roasted cauliflower tostadas or their famous black bean-based Rosaburger.
Royal Dinette, Vancouver BC
When you want the comfort of a diner, with the finesse of a high-end restaurant, look no further than Vancouver’s Royal Dinette. With its farm-to-table approach and seasonal menu from head chef Eva Chin, it’s truly a lunch spot that offers the best of both worlds. While their ever-changing menu is always worth checking out, their cocktails are literally world class. Bar director Kaitlyn Stewart won the 2017 Diageo World Class competition, making her one of the finest bartenders in the world. Cheers to that.
Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar, Vancouver BC
Head to Vancouver’s Sutton Place Hotel to experience fine dining through chef Alex Chen’s eyes. At Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar, the executive chef – who has been hailed as one of Vancouver’s most talented amongst locals – serves up a seafood-focused menu that isn’t short on French techniques or playful flourishes. Here, there’s something for every palette, and the kitchen staff’s impeccable plating means that every dish is just as stunning to see as it is to taste.
Charbar, Calgary AB
Step inside the historic Simmons building in Calgary’s East Village to find an authentic Argentine-style steakhouse. Recognized by international culinary critics as a must-stop destination for diners, chef Jessica Pelland butchers and cooks dishes like charred cod and a double-stacked burger over 900F hardwood coals. The asado beef steak is not to be missed, although those who prefer veggies still have several enticing options. The industrial room is filled with plenty of plush seats, so you’ll have no trouble settling in for a meeting.
Bridgette Bar, Calgary AB
While they call it a bar, Chef JP Pedhirney and his team have a menu that goes far beyond the typical snacks. Many of the dishes on offer make use of the wood-burning grill and oven, like their five-cheese pizza, roasted halibut, or grilled beef strip steak. If you’re looking for smaller plates, try the Wagyu beef carpaccio or burrata served with green tomato jam. Between the food and mid-century modern design aesthetic, Bridgette Bar offers an all-around elevated experience that your colleagues will undoubtedly appreciate.