Winners of 2018 Restaurant Awards announced in Vancouver

The 29th annual Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards were held today to celebrate some of the best restaurants in the Lower Mainland, the Okanagan and Whistler.

Winners for Chef of the Year, Best New Restaurant, Best Seafood and more were announced at the ceremony

The annual Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards were held Monday at the Sheraton Wall Centre. (Vancouver Magazine/Twitter)

The 29th annual Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards were held Monday to celebrate some of the best restaurants in the Lower Mainland, the Okanagan and Whistler.

This year is the first time the award ceremony has been open to the public and the CBC's Gloria Macarenko and Stephen Quinn co-hosted the event at the Sheraton Wall Centre.

Awards are handed out for many categories like Best Chinese, Best Italian, Chef of the Year to name a few.

The award for Best New Restaurant and Restaurant of the Year went to St. Lawrence, a French-Canadian eatery on Powell Street in Vancouver, run by chef JC Poirier.

"St. Lawrence is a charming spot that serves dishes from his native Quebec, like steak tartare and tourtiere," said CBC food columnist Gail Johnson.

Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar at the Sutton Place Hotel won Best Upscale Restaurant and took gold in the category of Best Seafood Restaurant.

"You walk in and kind of feel like you're in a magazine spread. It's a sumptuous, glamorous space. The food is just as exquisite," Johnson said.

Chefs Roger Ma and Alex Chen lead the kitchen at Boulevard and Chen is steamrolling the competition this year, winning Chef of the Year at Monday's event and taking home gold at the 2018 Canadian Culinary Championships.

"He creates these extremely technical dishes showcasing B.C. products with subtle global influences using ingredients like shiso, nori and zaatar," Johnson said.

Tacofino won bronze in the Best Chain category behind gold winner Cactus Club and silver winner Joey's. Nuba and the Flying Pig were included as honourable mentions in this category.

Two of local chef Vikram Vij's restaurants were recognized in the Best Indian category with My Shanti in Surrey winning gold and Rangoli in Vancouver earning silver. Surrey's Sachdeva Sweets scored bronze.

The Grill Room at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler snagged the top spot from Araxi for Best Whistler restaurant, which has earned gold in the category every year except once since 2000.

Fairmont Chateau Whistler executive chef is Isabel Chung, who created a menu last summer for Canada's 150th. One item included on that menu was a maple-cured Arctic char served in a piece of smouldering cedar paper.

"Like Chen and Ma at Boulevard, she has taken a traditional hotel restaurant to new heights, with fresh and exciting menu items. If you can't afford to ski in Whistler anymore ever since Vail took over, here's another excuse for a getaway; you could just go up and have dinner there," Johnson said.

To view the rest of the winners from the 2018 Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards, tune into their Twitter, their website or wait for the magazine which hits newsstands Tuesday.

With files from On The Coast