A downtown Victoria eatery has made the list of top 10 new restaurants across Canada this year.
Opened this summer, the Marilena Café & Raw Bar was named the third best new restaurant across the country, according to Air Canada’s enRoute magazine, which has run the national competition for the past 20 years.
The magazine praised Marilena for mixing the modern with the classic, as the luxury eatery serves classic sushi as well as seafood dishes with a contemporary twist.
“Ageometric neon light spotlights sushi chef Clark Park spinning maki like a South Beach DJ,” reads the enRoute list impression of Marilena.
“There are Negronis on tap and the bow–tied servers have their sleeves rolled up,” the list adds. “This is a new form of Island hospitality that is upscale yet assertively unstuffy: Arc’teryx meets herringbone over oysters,” says enRoute.
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The dishes at Marilena tend to feature local ingredients to help the coast’s bounty of seafood and spices shine.
“Burrata from Puglia with heirloom tomatoes dressed in Venturi–Schulze balsamic tastes like pure Saanich sunshine,” says enRoute.
“And I notice at least one plate of Park’s aburi wild sockeye salmon on every table.”
Marilena also earned another accolade from enRoute, claiming the “Design of the Year” award out of the 10 top new restaurants in Canada.
Marilena was one of two Vancouver Island restaurants that was nominated for this year’s list.
While it didn’t make the top 10 best new restaurants in Canada, Ugly Duckling, located in Victoria’s Chinatown, was a nominee for the award.
The list of top 10 new restaurants in Canada, according to enRoute, can be found below:
- Kappo Sato (Toronto, ON)
- Wild Blue (Whistler, BC)
- Marilena Café and Raw Bar (Victoria, BC)
- Rizzo’s House of Parm (Fort Erie, ON)
- Petit Socco (Winnipeg, MB)
- Bonheur D’Occasion (Montreal, QC)
- Folke (Vancouver, BC)
- Le Molière par Mousso (Montreal, QC)
- Espace Old Mill (Stanbridge East, QC)
- Darlings (Bloomfield, ON)