Vancouver's Michelin Guide is back with more stars for 2023

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Vancouver’s dining scene is one star brighter. At a ceremony on Oct. 5, the Michelin Guide announced a new one-star restaurant, Okeya Kyujiro, bringing the city’s total number to nine.

Chef-owner Takuya Matsuda opened the Montreal location of his omakase (“chef’s choice”) restaurant, Okeya Kyujiro, in January 2021. Working around pandemic lockdowns in their first year, a takeout-only menu of sushi- and sashimi-filled bentos earned them a mention in Canada’s Best 100 Restaurants.

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Matsuda launched Okeya Kyujiro’s Vancouver location in the summer of 2022, where they offer a 20-course meal of “mostly sushi” accompanied by dessert and a tea ceremony that costs $300 per person before tax and tip.

According to the Vancouver Sun, Matsuda sources top-quality seafood locally and from Japan. And, unlike his Montreal location, there’s no need for water softening machines. “I can say Vancouver fish and water is best. Soft water is important for Japanese food.”

Of the Vancouver location, Michelin inspectors said: “Hosts dressed in stunning traditional clothing guide you to a dark room, lit only by the faintest glow from votive candles. A black curtain is raised ceremoniously only when the clock strikes the precise minute of your seating. These are the first clues that this is far from your typical omakase.”

Inspired by Cirque du Soleil, Matsuda’s unique blend of theatre and food is very much by design. He refers to Okeya Kyujiro’s omakase experience as a show — each one lasting around an hour and a half. “To be honest, I’m a little tired of the restaurant business, which is why I wanted to make this more of an art performance,” he told Eater in 2021, laughing.

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Matsuda is reportedly planning a third location in Toronto — where the 2023 Michelin Guide was announced on Sept. 27 — potentially followed by Calgary. The Michelin Guide also recognized Okeya Kyujiro’s front-of-the-house team, giving them an award for outstanding service.

A meal at Karma Indian Bistro in Vancouver
“The chef’s serious vision is outlined on a menu of wonderfully delicious traditional dishes interspersed with bold, innovative plates,” Michelin inspectors said of Vancouver’s Karma Indian Bistro. Photo by Vancityeats

The other eight one-star restaurants in the 2023 Vancouver Michelin Guide — such as AnnaLena, Kissa Tanto and St. Lawrence — carried over from the inaugural 2022 edition. Michelin inspectors awarded five new Bib Gourmands (“good food at moderate price”) — Farmer’s Apprentice, Karma Indian Bistro, Motonobu Udon, Seaport City Seafood and Sushi Hil — and identified 12 new restaurants as Recommended.

“The famously anonymous Michelin Guide inspectors once again were impressed with the culinary community here,” said Gwendal Poullennec, the international director of the Michelin Guides. “This sort of steady growth is what we often see in second-year selections, and it is definitely a harbinger of great things to come. We are very proud of the passionate chefs and restaurant teams here in Vancouver, and they make their city very proud.”

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Originally posted 2023-10-06 03:12:31.