Friday 28 October 2022

Michelin Guide Vancouver Restaurants Announced

Kissa Tanto - 1 Michelin Star

After months of careful delegation by a team of anonymous Michelin Guide inspectors, eight Vancouver restaurants have been awarded 1 Michelin Star each. In addition to the eight Michelin Stars, 12 restaurants were given the Bib Gourmand and a list of recommended restaurants in Vancouver was also released. Really is about time that Michelin Guide came to Canada, so it is a big deal that Vancouver has received its very first ever Michelin Stars. 

A few of my predictions matched Michelin Guide, so you could say I am pretty much now qualified to join the elite individuals tasked with selecting which restaurant deserves a Michelin star. My personal favourite is Kissa Tanto which is now officially a 1 Michelin Star restaurant! If The Four Seasons Vancouver had not closed, I strongly believe The Yew would have been a strong contender for a Michelin Star. 

1 Michelin Star: "very good in its category" having a quality menu and prepares cuisine to a consistently high standard

2 Michelin Stars: excellent cuisine delivered in a unique way, and has something exceptional to offer - it is "worth a detour" to visit while travelling. 

3 Michelin Stars: exceptional cuisine and "worth a special journey". The restaurant is the destination and deserves its own trip. Serves distinct dishes are that executed to perfection. 

It feels like a validation of Vancouver's culinary scene which in recent ten years has significantly ramped up its quality, sophistication and creativity. For many chefs and restauranteurs, achieving a Michelin star is the ultimate life goal. Give Bradley Cooper's movie Burnt a watch as it captures the intensity and drive that consumes many in the fine dining world. 

The Michelin Guide has been hailed as the ultimate handbook for excellent eats since 1926, so you must be wondering where the Michelin Tire Man fits in? The tire company created the handbook to boost tire sales by encouraging people to make the drive for amazing food. 

Michelin inspectors make their judgement based on 5 universal criteria to ensure fairness and equity:

1. Quality Products
2. The Harmony of Flavours
3. The Mastery of Cooking Techniques
4. The Personality of the Chef in the Cuisine
5. Consistency Between Each Visit 

Each establishment is visited by multiple inspectors to corroborate the decision of awarding a star. Needless to say, Michelin Stars are not given out easily! I am shocked that eight restaurants in Vancouver achieved one since we are a fairly small city. 

Vancouver Magazine got the opportunity to interview the Chief Inspector in Vancouver's Michelin star faith - I am jealous! They are serious about the anonymity of their role that he could not even divulge his name. It was nice to know that Michelin takes a "boots on the ground" approach to deciding which restaurants to evaluate. There is an initial draft of restaurants, but many restaurants are added after landing in Vancouver and striking up conversations with locals but still being careful to never reveal why they are interested in discovering the best places to eat in Vancouver. 

A number of restaurants I frequent were part of the 12 Bib Gourmand which are restaurants recognized for offering good food for good value. Anh and Chi is where I had my birthday dinner at three nights prior. Also on the list that I have dined at is Oca Pastificio (I am OBSESSED with this place), Lunch Lady, Chupito, Little Bird Dim Sum, Phnom Penh, Vij's, Say Mercy, and Fable Kitchen. 

Interestingly, a few restaurants in Vancouver that tend to define themselves as upscale fine dining failed to snag a precious star or a place on the Bib Gourmand. Not to be harsh, but I have personally felt these restaurants' bloated reputations were unwarranted. Nightingale, Hawksworth, Cioppino's, Tojo's, Botanist and Boulevard are the ones that come to my mind. However, Botanist's cocktail program is phenomenal, so Botanist took home Michelin Exceptional Cocktails Award. 

I am fearful that the restaurants I enjoy dining at might raise their prices after receiving a Michelin star. Dining out is already financially tough and great food should not be reserved for the rich. 

The Michelin Guide assesses its decision on an annual basis, so the true test of these Vancouver restaurants is to come next year. Curious to see who in 2023 retains their star and which restaurants might be added. 

For now, I am going to make my way through Vancouver's Michelin Guide list. 


Vancouver Michelin Guide restaurant rankings 2022

One Michelin Star:
  • AnnaLena 
  • Barbara
  • Burdock & Co.
  • iDen & QuanJuDe Beijing Duck House
  • Kissa Tanto
  • Masayoshi
  • Published on Main
  • St. Lawrence

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