The Mon Lapin restaurant continues its irresistible rise. The establishment, which has been established in Little Italy since 2018, now sits at the top of the Canada’s 100 Best list, the Canadian benchmark in the field, a jump of five places compared to 2022.
It was initially with a certain amount of disbelief that the Mon Lapin team reacted to the news. “We’re super happy, but we didn’t expect that. We suffer a bit from impostor syndrome, says chef and co-owner Marc-Olivier Frappier. We never work for those prices, but it’s really nice. »
The most recent list of the country’s 100 best restaurants indeed testifies to the direction that the restaurant industry is taking in Canada, but also to the fact that the judges have to vote, since last year, for the quality of the food above all else, rather than to judge, as in the past, the complete restaurant experience, which included service, décor or wine list. These elements are still taken into account, but they are now listed in secondary rankings. “Mon Lapin’s cooking is very disciplined, the service is impeccable, but it’s anything but pretentious, we’re injecting a dose of fun into gourmet cooking, it’s the way of the future,” says Jacob Richler, Editor-in-Chief of Canada’s 100 Best.
We are thus entitled to an increasingly heterogeneous list of tables where restaurants such as Mon Lapin and Alo rub shoulders, an upscale Toronto establishment which comes in second place this year – the Michelin-starred restaurant on rue Spadina is a subscriber of the top 10 of Canada’s 100 Best. “We are always a little mixed when we talk about awards,” says Marc-Olivier Frappier. As in music or art, grading something like cooking is extremely suggestive. Also, putting all the restaurants in the same boat is something abstract. But it comes with a recognition that represents something very unifying for the team. And Canada’s 100 Best has positioned itself as the list that people watch the most in the country, so we’re really happy. »
“It’s certainly a nice tip of the hat for what we’re accomplishing, a huge thank you on a slightly different scale,” adds sommelier Alex Landry. We enjoy doing what we do, fun dining is now something that people recognize and enjoy discovering. »
For Jacob Richler, the success of Mon Lapin is first and foremost on the plate. It testifies to the dynamism of Quebec cuisine, which, according to him, has the most diverse range of products in the country. “When I’m at Mon Lapin, I know exactly where I am and what month it is, explains the Montrealer of origin – he is the son of the novelist Mordecai Richler. Many restaurants claim to be part of the farm-to-table movement, but the claim is sometimes a little tenuous. At Mon Lapin, we absolutely do not have the impression that we have fulfilled a specification. »
Quebec has the most restaurants on the Canada’s 100 Best list this year, with 34. Beba, from the borough of Verdun, ranks 8th, while Pichai comes in at 15th, just ahead of the monarch. Montreal Plaza (21st), Joe Beef (24th), Moccione (28th), Air Conditioned Room (30th), Gia (36th), Cabaret l’Enfer (39th), Mousso (41st), Toqué! (45th), Paloma (48th) and Île Flottante (50th) also managed to enter the top 50. It should also be noted in passing that it was Véronique Dalle, of the Montreal restaurant Foxy, who received the title of best sommelier of the year.
Canada’s Best 100 was established this year by 135 members, including chefs, savvy consumers and food critics — our colleague Ève Dumas is one of them. Next year, Jacob Richler intends to double this number, always respecting the proportion of the population of each province. In addition, each judge must devote 30% of their votes to restaurants that are not in their home province.