Bryan Lavery's Picks
LONDON ONTARIO’S TOP RESTAURANTS in 2013
See Updated Mini Reviews on
Best London Ontario Restaurants: The City's Most Delicious Offerings
“We must pass our unbiased impressions on to the readers, while alerting the dining public to the diversity of choice on the culinary scene.”
For those of you who are reading this blog for the first time, the objective has been to offer a professional insider’s perspective and to contribute to the enthusiasm and discussion about the local and regional culinary culture at large, and about the restaurant community in particular.
Seemingly, restaurant blogs the world over face a similar predicament. Are rating restaurants purely a question of taste? And within that there lies the matter of ingredients, innovation, style, consistency, service and much more. We place importance on other criterion such as, the wine list, the atmosphere, the setting and obviously, the price.
There are plenty of restaurants whose simple virtues deserve to be recognized without too much bravado or angst. Hopefully I will get to all of them in time. However, I am not in league with the restaurant business to hype underserving chefs and their establishments.
As patronising as it must sound, my personal mission has been to encourage people to dine out and to support culinary tourism and the farmers and culinary artisans by helping to reinforce community initiatives.
The food media are very necessary members of the culinary community. Like any thoughtful patron, I hope that I continually bring appreciation and sensibility to the table. But the food media’s mission goes beyond that. We must pass our unbiased impressions on to the readers, while alerting the dining public to the diversity of choice on the culinary scene.
Good writing furnishes you with enough information and insight to enable you to make informed decisions, while helping to arbitrate the standards of dining out. If you don’t have a good, strong food media — whether you love them or despise them — you don’t have the same degree of interest, enthusiasm and accountability.
One of the greatest satisfactions joys about writing a blog on the culinary scene is “unearthing the diamond in the rough”. In my opinion, among the disappointments are discovering restaurants that don’t live up to their reputations, or the complaining owner who has lost interest in the business and the writing is on the wall. Almost as bad is the culinary equivalent of grey: dull at worst, inoffensive at best. Or the one-trick pony — the great restaurant whose menu never changes, and quickly the food becomes stagnant.
Even more obnoxious are those hosts/servers who ride on the chef’s laurels and the restaurant’s former accolades, thinking the chef’s/restaurant’s reputation gives them carte blanche to dispense rude, indifferent or poor service to their customers.
Despite the changing definition of restaurant professionalism, poor customer service and unfriendly reservation policies disappoint us, and good service fosters loyalty, which in turn inspires repeat business and great word-of-mouth. Every time I return to certain restaurants, it hits me just how much uninterested service irks me and how profoundly irritated its patrons must feel, even when the food is the cream of the crop.
Reading someone else’s assessment of a restaurant is not necessarily enough for every reader to evaluate a restaurant. The real way to do a restaurant justice is to eat there. These are my professional opinions.
In Ontario, we are very fortunate to have many talented chefs, restaurateurs and culinary retailers who are not just advocating eating and drinking local, and eating seasonal, they are actively and creatively enhancing and developing new region-specific cuisines. As for their cuisine, it’s made from scratch and it’s innovative. They are implementing time-honoured traditions and trusted techniques yet delivering ingredients in revolutionary ways. They are the new culinary vanguards. Many of these trailblazers of the cutting-edge and emerging culinary regionalism in Ontario's Southwest are profiled on this blog. Our true culinary stars are not only our farmers, but also those labouring in restaurant, hotel and market kitchens throughout the city, offering up some of Ontario’s finest food and most innovative drink experiences.
London Ontario’s Top Restaurants in 2013
The latest news on: restaurants, chefs, farmers` markets, culinary retail and food events. The ethicalgourmet curates the best restaurants in Ontario and beyond. Serving them up to you in an entertaining and accessible way so you can appreciate the best the area has to offer.
We’ve wined there, we’ve dined there and now we want to share our best places to drink and dine in in London’s top dining destinations, as selected by ethicalgourmet in 2013:
"2013 was the year of the Modernist Chef as the indie- hipster artiste."
Best Chef – Daniel Markovic, Kantina Restaurant
Best Pastry Chef – Michelle Lenhardt, River Room
Best Restaurant Dining Experience – River Room
Best New Restaurant – Byron FreeHouse
Best Fine Dining Restaurant – David’s Bistro
Best Farm-to-Table Restaurant– The Only on King
Best Modernist Dining – Kantina Restaurant
Best Overall Dining – Garlic’s of London
People's Choice – Michael's on the Thames
Best Gastropub – Church Key Bistro
Best Diner – The Early Bird
Best Deli – Billy’s
Best Bakery/Cafe – Organic Works Bakery
Best Restobar – Che Restobar
Best Health Conscious Menu – Blackfriars Bistro
Best Hotel Dining – Idlewyld Inn
Best Private Dining – Blu Duby
Best Alfresco Dining – Black Trumpet
Best Restaurant Interior Design – Tamarine by Quynh Nhi
Best Restaurant Wine List (Ontario) – The Only on King
Best Restaurant Wine List (Overall) – David’s Bistro
Best Restaurant Craft Beer – Milos Craft Beer
Best Caterer– North Moore Catering
Best Organic – The Root Cellar
Best Italian – Abruzzi
Best Ethiopian – Addis Ababa
Best Latin American – Tru Taco
Best Chinese – The Chinese Barbeque
Best Greek – Mykonos
Best Hungarian –The Budapest
Best Indian – The Raja
Best Korean – Korean House
Best Mediterranean – Aroma
Best Polish – Unique Food Attitudes
Best Thai – Thaifoon
Best Vietnamese – Tamarine by Quynh Nhi
Best Restaurant Service – Blu Duby
OUT OF TOWN
Best "Local" Restaurant – Monforte-on Wellington, Stratford
Best Fine Dining Restaurant – Mercer Hall, Stratford
Best New Restaurant -The Bruce