‘Incredible honour’: New restaurant, trio of bars in Victoria lauded by Canada’s 100 Best

'Incredible honour': New restaurant, trio of bars in Victoria lauded by Canada's 100 Best
Marilena Cafe + Raw Bar.

Staff at a downtown Victoria cafe are calling it a big honour as they take the culinary crown as Canada’s preeminent new restaurant.

Marilena Cafe + Raw Bar ranked number one on Canada’s 100 Best “Best New Restaurants” list, which was revealed this week. The Douglas Street establishment also made it to number 27 on the “Best Restaurants” list.

“Thank you, (Canada’s 100 Best), for the incredible honour as the #1 Best New Restaurant and #27 on Canada’s 100 Best List,” wrote Marilena in an Instagram post, which included photos of the executive chef and select items on the menu.

The restaurant opened last summer and is known for its “local and global seafood paired with high-quality sustainable ingredients that adhere to the highest standards,” reads a post on its website.

“Guests can choose from a selection of nigiri, sashimi and sushi rolls at our stunning Japanese raw bar.”

Critics say foodies have been eager to try it.

“It has been crammed since day 1, in July, and the reasons are numerous,” wrote Canada’s 100 Best, lauding Toptable Group, which also operates restaurants in Vancouver, Whistler and New York City.

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According to Marilena, executive chef Kristian Eligh is an avid free diver and fisherman. He returned to his hometown of B.C.’s capital for the role and helped establish a menu that drew inspiration from “memorable” West Coast cuisine.

“Eligh is the real deal. And so are his supporting cast: Clark Park at the raw bar and Dominique Laurencelle on pastry,” wrote Canada’s 100 Best.

“We are so proud of our dedicated and committed team who strives each and every day to deliver the best possible hospitality experience for our amazing guests and community in Victoria,” added Marilena.

While it was the only restaurant in Victoria to be recognized by Canada’s 100 Best this year, Clive’s Classic Lounge inside the Chateau Victoria Hotel on Burdett Avenue ranked number 15 on the magazine’s “Best Bars” list.

“What an amazing night for Victoria!” reads a post on Clive’s Instagram Monday.

“Huge props to the whole Clive’s team for the accolade along with industry family at (Humbolt Bar) and (Citrus and Cane)…Thanks as always for the attention and accolades (Canada’s 100 Best).”

Citrus and Cane on Douglas Street, which Canada’s 100 Best calls “a gorgeously restored midcentury tropical lounge,” ranked 29th on the “Best Bars” list, while Humboldt Bar on Humboldt Street took to social media saying it was “an incredible accomplishment for our small team” to claim 36th.

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Visit this website to see all the winners, which were selected by a group of 150 judges, according to Canada’s 100 Best in a release. It says its yearly restaurant and bar guide will hit newsstands on May 21.

Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

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