Embark with us on four savoury stops on Canada’s gourmet route!
By Shelley Cameron-McCarron, Yann Fortier, Mario Carlucci and Shel Zolkewich.
Our country is full of good food’s enthusiasts and the creativity of our chefs, from Saskatoon to St. John’s, continues to impress many.
Terre Restaurant Settle in St. John’s
When Chef Matthew Swift and his girlfriend Clarah Germain first visited St. John’s in 2017, the place resonated with them. They talked about moving but had no plans. Fast forward two years, and Chef Swift has opened a new venture downtown, Terre Restaurant on Water Street, where diners are welcomed with good food, some drinks, and a space to relax and have fun.
“Sounds simple, but it’s important for me to remember that’s what I look for in a restaurant and what I want to offer,” says Swift, formerly of Joe Beef. Terre’s menu focuses on things to share and changes seasonally. The goal? To make Terre a restaurant that’s in Newfoundland, and makes sense here, but isn’t a Newfoundland-themed restaurant. “I don’t come from here, and my style of cooking is more familiar to Montréal,” says Swift, who’s excited to be part of St. John’s gastronomy scene.
“The culture of hospitality here is pretty special, and I was struck by how many great restaurants there are for a city with relatively few people.” Also quite amazing is that the people, from other chefs to local residents, have been very welcoming, says Chef Swift.
Le Boulevardier et Bar Flâneur Two culinary experiences to discover
Bruno Durand, partner and associate of Le Boulevardier restaurant and Bar Flâneur, has been involved in the Germain Hotels’ culinary signature experience for the past few years. He is at the centre of this exciting challenge. “This is the restaurant I’ve always dreamed of. It connects all my areas of expertise and my ambitions,” he says, noting the constant support and collaboration he has received from Germain Hotels.
What will we find on the Le Boulevardier menu? “It’s inspired by the cooking of Southern France, which is part of my childhood, with an added touch of creativity and modernity. The restaurant will serve seafood, fish and tartares, as well as the classic French dishes. The lobby bar is more along the lines of bubbly and oysters, and is also the perfect place to enjoy your morning coffee.”
What kind of experience are you aiming for? “Besides serving our hotel and business clientele, we want to create a veritable culinary destination in Montréal. And we have the dream team that will get us there.”
Can you tell us a bit about Chef David Pellizzari? “David is most known as the former chef and co-owner of Lili.Co. We clicked the first time we met, especially because he also loves Mediterranean cuisine!”
Farinella Torna a casa
For Farinella’s sibling owners, Nina and Cesare Agostini, mastering the foods they wanted to serve here in Ottawa meant leaving the country and moving to their ancestral homeland in Italy.
For Cesare, knowledge came from an apprenticeship at Roscioli, a renowned Roman bakery, which he eventually managed. For Nina, her mastery of gelato came at Menchetti, a gelateria in Perugia, which she also eventually managed. Four years later they returned to Ottawa knowing exactly what this city needed: simple and honest Italian food that was fast and accessible. “We just want to do traditional, classic things and we just want things to be simple for everybody to understand.”
Simplicity means pizza al taglio. Line up at the bar and choose the pizza you like. If you’re hungry, “you get a lot. If you’re not, you get a little bit,” adds Cesare, who has been so busy that he’s had to hire a small army of pizzaioli to help out. A word of advice: when the porchetta focaccia sandwich is on the counter, you order it before it disappears.
Across the aisle there’s the gelato: everything from traditional stracciatella and pistachio to a fior di latte and cookie dough creation called fior the love of dough. Nina says she’s looking forward to diversifying what’s on offer by adding breakfast as well as special offerings tied to Christmas, Easter, and rituals of Italian life.
Ciao… and see you soon!
Odla Back to Basics
It’s a Swedish word that means to farm, cultivate. And the partners in Odla are certainly cultivating a new way to eat in Saskatoon.
The restaurant and market harken back to a time when food came from nearby—grown and raised by neighbours, eaten when it came off the fields, or put up in glass jars that had seen many seasons.
Much of the raw ingredients come from Farm One Forty, a holistically managed farm owned by Arlie and Brett LaRoche, who partnered with sommelier Lacey Sellinger and chef Scott Dicks to bring the Odla concept to life. The model is a simple one—celebrate the bounty of the region and support local growers.
Inside the modern rustic restaurant space featuring barn wood accents, diners can expect dishes from a showcase of made-in-Saskatchewan ingredients including chickpeas, camelina oil, mushrooms, mustard, Saskatoon berries, honey, wild spruce tips, and sea buckthorn berries.
The cocktail menu continues the theme, featuring housemade syrups—rhubarb, spruce tip, and lilac honey for starters—plus local Black Fox Oaked Gin.
On the market side, shoppers are encouraged to create spectacular homemade meals from canned fruits and vegetables, honey on tap, and protein cuts from Farm One Forty’s herd of free-range animals.