Canoe sits atop the TD Tower on Wellington on the 54th floor, and the menu here pays homage to some of the finest ingredients and regions in Canada.
Like several other Oliver & Bonacini restaurants, the kitchen is overseen by Executive Chef John Horne, who has experience in Michelin-starred restaurants around the world.
The space is as much an appetizer as anything else, since the view is near literally jaw-dropping, affording great views of the CN Tower, the city and out to the islands, little planes flying in. For a super romantic setting, book a reservation for sunset.
Canoe’s slightly more casual but still upscale bar is what ritzy after-work cocktail fantasies are made of.
Get The Dill Pickle ($15), a Canoe classic made with Beefeater and Grand Marnier. It's a light cocktail that carries more of its lemon and white cranberry juice flavours to the forefront than the edge of dill puree.
A seasonal Cold Fashioned ($17) is made with plenty of muddled clementine, though Jim Beam, cinnamon and Angostura bitters add bite, with star anise and dried seed pods of Elettaria cardamomum as garnish.
An open kitchen concept invites the harmonious clatter and energy of a fine dining kitchen into the interior.
Watch revolutionary dishes of dainty ingredients like foie gras and caul fat being prepped and plated at bar seats.
There’s always foie on the menu, in weekly from Quebec. Today it’s a terrine ($22) with a graham crust, mustard seeds, poached and fresh Northern Spy apples, tart cider gelee, and the tiniest brioche.
Sweet cured diced maple salmon is layered atop a creamy Fogo Island crab salad ($20 as a starter), dressed with smoked avocado puree, fresh horseradish, tempura bits, shaved fennel and micro cress.
Halibut ($36) is in season in BC during my visit, flown in so it’s just two days old. Light, delicate, and flaky, it's perfectly crusted on top, paired with crisp 100km romanesco, bitter Swiss chard, fresh wasabi mayo and halibut fritters.
Desserts ($12) by Executive Pastry Chef Chloe Hong include the chocolate and Nancy’s English mint, with mint mousse, meringue, and ice cream accompanying flourless chocolate cake and chocolate streusel.
The Hewitt’s yoghurt panna cotta is a work of art, a square of pink peppercorn sugar glass sitting atop four panna cotta, Muskoka cranberry compote, crunchy white chocolate granola and a “cinnamon bun parfait,” topped with tart berries and edible flowers.
The multi-level space is dominated by warm wood tones and wooden chandeliers, inukshuks, and centrepieces made of antlers. Seats are almost surprisingly comfy, and there are multiple options for parties large or small, including a constantly-booked private area.