Where to Eat in Canada, 2004–2005


394 pages
ISBN 0-7780-1242-5
DDC 647'.9571






Reviewed by Janet Arnett

Janet Arnett is the former campus manager of adult education at Ontario’s Georgian College. She is the author of Antiques and Collectibles: Starting Small, The Grange at Knock, and 673 Ways to Save Money.



That this collection of restaurant reviews has been updated and reissued
repeatedly over 34 years is strong evidence that it fills a need for
business travellers, vacationers, and others in search of a good meal.
The reviews are snappy and fun to read, but beyond that there are
several puzzles.

Restaurants are rated with one, two, or three stars, a pointing finger,
or nothing. There’s no explanation of how the stars are earned or what
they imply, except that the more stars the higher the price. We’re
told that the pointing finger implies a “good buy.” Does that mean
those rated with stars are not a good buy? How does one star compare to
a finger? As if all this weren’t confusing enough, there are lots of
entries without either stars or fingers. What does that mean?

The price given is the average cost of a dinner for two, including
wine. But the amount of wine included in the price varies by the number
of stars assigned to the restaurant, making the price comparisons
useless. Some one-star restaurants are less expensive than
star-and-fingerless ones—a further puzzle.

The restaurant listings are cross-referenced to 10 maps, each of which
covers a big chunk of one or more provinces. But as the guide points
out, you’ll need to consult your own road map to actually find the
town or city where your restaurant of choice is located. Each listing
includes details of dates and hours the establishment is open, credit
cards accepted, smoking status, liquor licence, and handicapped access.

There are 245 restaurant reviews, which sounds like a lot until it is
put in the perspective of a Canada-wide selection. Only 20 are provided
for all of Alberta, for example.

A strange, esoteric work that’s fun to read but less than practical.


Hardy, Anne., “Where to Eat in Canada, 2004–2005,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 22, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/15247.