A Canadian restaurant has been selected as one of the top 100 restaurants in the world.
Alo, a French eatery located in downtown Toronto, ranked number 94 on the prestigious World's Best Restaurants list that was released on Tuesday.
It’s the first time a Canadian establishment has found itself in the top 100 since Montreal's Joe Beef was picked in 2015.
Alo’s chef and owner, Patrick Kriss, revealed his delight at landing a spot on the list quicker than he had anticipated.
“It’s great, we’re very proud, it’s been a goal since day one,” he told CTVNews.ca in a telephone interview. “We didn’t think it would happen within three years of opening.”
Situated in a heritage building on Spadina Avenue, Kriss says Alo has set itself apart in the Toronto cuisine scene by offering diners an experience.
“When someone sits down in our restaurant, they’re here for three hours and we do our best to accommodate them and make them feel special,” Kriss explained. “We’re always looking for the best ingredients and how we can improve.”
Kriss has worked in the kitchens of some of the giants of French gastronomy, including Regis Marcon and Michel Troisgros in France. However, he said it was his time working at Daniel in New York City, under the tutelage of celebrity chef Daniel Boulud, that had the greatest influence on him.
“Daniel is one of my biggest mentors. He’s been around for a long time, has many extremely successful restaurants and still goes to work every day and works harder than everyone else,” He said. “I was there for three years and he’d be there almost every day. If he was away he’d be communicating to those running the restaurant. He worked hard every single day and I learned a lot from him.”
And Kriss said he and his staff won’t be resting on their laurels anytime soon, with the Scarborough, Ont. native admitting he has “plenty of other projects coming up.” He opened Aloette on the first floor of the building Alo is located in and said he has another restaurant in Toronto’s tony neighbourhood of Yorkville on the horizon.
“For Alo, we want to stay on the list and climb up and continue to push ourselves to get better,” he added.
Meanwhile, this year’s selections have seen a number of previously high-ranking restaurants tumble down the list.
Heston Blumenthal's The Fat Duck held top spot in 2005, as well as No. 2 in five subsequent years. However, in 2018 it finds itself ranked 74th.
Tokyo's Florilège (59), Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare (69), Spain's Quique Dacosta (68), DiverXO (96) and Amber in Hong Kong (56) all regularly found themselves among the top 50, but now have to make do with a bottom half placing.
Winners 1-50 will be announced at a gala event in Bilbao, June 19.