The Michelin Guide has deemed eight Vancouver restaurants each worthy of one of its prestigious culinary stars.
The Parisian ode to gastronomy revealed its second Canadian edition at a gala Thursday that touted foodie standouts including the Vancouver outpost of celebrated Beijing restaurant iDen & Quan Ju De and the Japanese-Italian fusion of Kissa Tanto.
“The very first selection is a good start. (It) really represents the high quality of the local culinary field and the great diversity and the great care around the incredible local products,” the guide’s international director Gwendal Poullennec said Thursday before the reveal.
The guide’s anonymous inspectors praised the “crispy and juicy duck” found at iDen & Quan Ju De Beijing Duck House, where the signature dish sells for $128 and comes with caviar for an additional $140.
Also earning praise were the contemporary eateries AnnaLena, Barbara, Burdock & Co and Published on Main, which each won a star that identifies them as very good in their category.
A single Michelin star also went to the sushi bar Masayoshi and the Québécois bistro St. Lawrence.
No restaurants earned two stars, which go to establishments with “excellent” cuisine, nor did any capture a rare three stars, which single out exceptional cooking that is worth a special trip.
However, Poullennec stressed the high standards necessary to achieve even a single star, which anonymous inspectors determine using a global methodology that Poullennec said is applied equally in every country the guide visits.
Factors include flavour, culinary technique, product quality, consistency and whether the chef’s personality is reflected in the dishes.
“You know to be part of the selection is really an achievement in itself. To be awarded with one star means that you are not only one of the best restaurants in your city, but in your country and in the world,” Poullennec said.
The century-old system also awarded 12 eateries with Bib Gourmands, reserved for establishments offering good food for good value, defined as a two-course meal with wine or dessert that costs less than $60.
Vietnamese eateries figured prominently in this ranking – among them Anh and Chi, Phnom Penh and Lunch Lady – while Italian, contemporary and Indian fare also made the cut.
The full selection, including recommended eateries, totals 60 restaurants.
Michelin’s Vancouver guide follows a Toronto-focused list in September that minted Canada’s first two-star restaurant and bestowed single stars on a dozen eateries.
As in Toronto, Michelin’s arrival in Vancouver is thanks in part to a multi-year funding deal to help promote international travel slashed by the pandemic.
The head of Destination Vancouver said the marketing organization negotiated a five-year minimum commitment from Michelin, with the hope that boosting the global profile of local food stars could lure back visitors.
Royce Chwin added that although the partnership means Destination Vancouver will tout the Michelin accolades of certain restaurants, it does not preclude the organization from also promoting other eateries.
“We know that there is a type of visitor out there that will look at who are the Michelin cities, and they will arrange trips and go to those cities to visit to Michelin-rated restaurants,” Chwin said.
“When we do that we actually build capacity, we build a visitor economy for Vancouver.”
— Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian Press