Popular food and drink in Canada
What to eat in Canada? The food in Canada is similar to Australia in the sense that it's very multicultural. In fact, you’ll find the dishes on offer as varied as the Canadian landscape itself!
Oo la la! French Canadian cuisine
Quebec’s French heritage means the region hosts an incredible array of fine French restaurants. So, if you fancy yourself as a foodie or Masterchef that got away, be sure to book into any one of the many revered dining establishments on offer.
On the subject of French Canadian classic dishes, it would be sacrilege not to indulge in the humble, yet naughty – Poutine. This simple combination of fries, cheese curds and well-seasoned gravy is as wickedly scrumptious as it sounds.
Other culinary influences
As in most countries, the areas of Canada where different nationalities have migrated to over the years have become renowned for the food of their homelands.
If you're in the neighbourhood - even if that means a kilometre radius - you won't want to miss Asian cuisine in Vancouver, German fare in South Western Ontario, and even the Inuit specialities like seal and whale if you’re fortunate enough to witness their lifestyle up north.
Canadian wines (what, you didn't know Canada made vino?)
Canada is home to some large winery regions, such as the Niagara Peninsula in Ontario, and the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia.
Canadians are particularly fond of Ice Wine – a dessert wine created from grapes that have actually frozen on the vine. It’s somewhat of a speciality, so why not order some after dinner? When in Rome... eh!
The Caesar (Canada's reply to the Bloody Mary)
Yes, these cocktails deserve their own section as Canadians derive great satisfaction from concocting the most elaborate version of The Caesar known to mankind.
Comprised of vodka, tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco and a stick of celery, they’re similar to a Bloody Mary. However, the food groups they throw in - disguised as garnishes - are where the real magic happens.
All we’re saying is, don’t be surprised to find something resembling an antipasto plate in a cup. But they are very delicious, and even more effective.
What do I tip at restaurants and bars in Canada?
The low-down on service charge in Canada is that you usually tip 15% of the bill – whether you’re at a restaurant or a bar. Over the bar you can leave a tip for the bar staff, we work on a loonie (Canadian one dollar coin) a drink. Of course, if the restaurant wait staff have treated you like royalty, you may want to tip extra. But as long as you’ve added that 15%, you’re covered and in the good books.
Canadian food specialities
- Juicy steak – the Central Plains of Canada are famed for their incredible beef.
- Game – think elk, bison or venison.
- Fresh seafood – the lobster, salmon, mussels and crabs are superb in Canada.
- Poutine – you know you want to!
- Montreal cured meat – loaded into a sandwich with mustard
- Canadian maple bacon
- Nanaimo bar – a sweet treat consisting of chocolate biscuits, layered with vanilla or custard buttercream and smothered in chocolate.
- Ice wine – perhaps accompanied by a Nanaimo bar…?
- Fresh snow-rolled maple on a stick
- Beaver tail shaped donut pastry served warm, with your choice of topping
- Canadian beer – try a macro pale lager like a Molson Canadian or ask for a local India Pale Ale.
- To go with that beer, many pubs have Wing Wednesdays where they do seriously good chicken wings - try them hot.
- Caesar – the famous cocktail Canadians pride themselves on – the more eccentric the toppings, the better!
- Whiskey – Canada produces award-winning whiskey, so if it’s your poison of choice, try Forty Creek’s double barrel reserve.