Kitchener's The Berlin restaurant is in contention for the best new restaurant in Canada as part of a contest in Air Canada's enRoute magazine.

"Chef Jonathan Gushue cooks modern European dishes like hardwood-grilled beef rump with spaetzle and tomato vinaigrette paired with Belgian-style ale from Nickel Brook," the contest page of says.


Jonathan Gushue opened The Berlin last fall. (Courtesy of Langdon Hall/The Canadian Press)

"Throwback touches adorn the long dining room, including the massive flag dating back to when Canada had a mere nine provinces. (Gushue hails from the 10th, Newfoundland.) A fluffy nougatine dessert is suffused with sunflower and sesame seeds and topped with tiny white strawberries."

Gushue said they are pleased to be on the list.

"It's very flattering," he said. 

Gushue said the list makes it clear that good food exists outside major cities, pointing to Raymond's Restaurant in St. John's, N.L., which was named the top restaurant in 2011 by enRoute.

"It's much harder to get that award in a place like St. John's or Kitchener or maybe Saskatoon than it would be in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal. You just don't get, the critics are going through, the people are going through, it's just the volume you're doing is very different. So it's even that much more flattering that people are willing to make the journey or feel that it's worth the trip."

Voting open until Sept. 30

In total, 35 restaurants that opened between June 2015 and June 2016 and made the list "with intelligence gathered from our panel of Canada's leading food professionals," the website says.

People can vote for their favourites until 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 30.

The top 10 will be revealed in the November issue of enRoute.

The other nominees are:

  • ​Toronto: Alo, Antler, Chabrol, Commodore, Noorden, Piano Piano.
  • Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.: Backhouse.
  • Ottawa: Datsun, Fairouz.
  • Bay Fortune, P.E.I.: Fireworks.
  • Calgary: Charbar, Whitehall.
  • Edmonton: Uccellino.
  • Halifax: Highwayman.
  • Montreal: Agrikol, Candide, Le Fantôme, Foxy, Hoogan & Beaufort, Hvor, Le Mousso, Montréal Plaza.
  • Quebec City: Kraken Cru.
  • St. John's, N.L.: Seto Kitchen + Bar.
  • Saskatoon: Little Grouse on the Prairie.
  • Vancouver: Ancora, Kissa Tanto, Mission, Osteria Savio Volpe, Royal Dinette, Torafuku.
  • Victoria: Agrius
  • Whistler, B.C.: Bar Oso.
  • ​Winnipeg: Máquè.

This is the 15th year for the contest.

Jean-François Légaré, editor-in-chief of enRoute, said in a press release that this was not just a contest, "but a useful and up-to-date resource for travellers looking for their next great meal. We're excited to see which restaurant wins the public vote this year."

The Berlin interior

The Berlin's dining room includes "throwback touches" including a flag dating back to when Canada had just nine provinces. (Kate Bueckert/CBC News)