Toronto’s Ici Bistro and Campagnolo are two of Canada’s 10 best new restaurants according to En Route, Air Canada’s in-flight magazine. Coming in at fifth and seventh place respectively, the big selling point for judge Sarah Musgrave seems to be their relaxed atmosphere in the big city. She writes that the tranquility at Ici is “contagious” and admires chef Jean-Pierre Challet’s avoidance of the whole angry Frenchman shtick. As for Campagnolo (whose name means “country bumpkin”), Musgrave calls the place “youthful, loose, sophisticated and at its best when relaxed—more like an Italian on vacation.” She also expressed relief that it’s not another “authenticity-obsessed trattoria.” We sense a pattern, especially since she ranked the cheerful and unpretentious Local Kitchen and Wine Bar over Buca last year. Frankly, we’re also a little surprised Campagnolo got the nod over the supremely buzzy Acadia. Oh, and the best new restaurant in Canada? St. John’s elegant and unfussy Raymonds. En Route’s website has the full list of winners.
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