Top 10 tasty new restaurant brands from across Canada
The first experience when enjoying a meal is through your eyes; the textures, the colours and aroma are all key to savouring that first bite. Presentation is everything in the restaurant business and you are lying if you say that we’re not influenced by restaurant branding. More often than not, the logo informs the interior design and the feel of the establishment, even down to the vellum sheet that lines the French fry basket. I have a thing for restaurant branding, interior design and architecture and feel strongly that when all these elements are strategically aligned, the customer experience will never disappoint.
Since the 2020 peak of Covid-19, many restaurants have come and gone and a fair amount of outstanding places have opened over the past two years. I’m going to share a few of the best branded ones of 2022 (a few of which opened in 2021) from right across the country. I know that I’m probably missing some amazing ones, but these caught my eye as some of the best of last year. I’m not judging based on Michelin stars, but simply my personal reaction to the branding. I haven’t had the opportunity to experience them all, they are all on my is a wish list for my culinary bucket list!
“Mastard” means “big and beefy” and this restaurant branding is playful, bold and...beefy. The branding is an artistic interpretation of the great Canadian outdoors. The landing page of the website cycles through a trio of bold colours that change the mood of the animated graphics.
The return of chef Stéphane Modat to Quebec City’s culinary scene culminated in the opening of Le Clan, a fine dining destination in Old Quebec City. The branding has French old world sophistication with a quirky, disturbing twist. Not a place for faint-of-heart vegans!
This sleek, chic and sophisticated establishment opened its doors in July 2022 and is already one of the most popular night spots in Yorkville. It has the vibe of old Hollywood, especially in the design of its two bars, the Ruby Bar and the Gold Onyx Bar. The wordmark is a clean blend of nostalgic bling and modernity that suits the spot perfectly.
Sunny’s Chinese is a cult concept that started out as a small friends-and-family pop-up in 2020, but in the summer of 2022 found a permanent home in Kensington Market. The branding, designed by Dana Mevorach, is whimsical, quirky and caters to a youthful market with plenty of bright branded merchandise and a “sunny” vibe.
This restaurant has unique, beautiful branding by Biography Design. The use of two different scripts for the name gives it an informal yet elegant look, completely in-line with the minimalist interior of pale wood and wicker designed by Guido Costantino. The website shows no food and instead employs avant garde typography and a fine art approach that is artistic, modern and very Italian. The gift card designs are exquisite.
Another pop-up-turned-permanent, Toronto’s Fonda Balam offers authentic Mexican food and ultra-bold branding by Ben Silverstein of BS.Projects. Large, fluffy type and three colourful leopards make up the logo and the website is super bold and easy to read, featuring one of the leopards floating across the page in the “About” section. It’s a unique user experience.
Located in downtown Edmonton, this brand new pop-up, alongside local natural wine purveyors Garneau Block, offers delicious dim sum and a very appetizing logo and branding. It’s based on Chinese chop design, with that wonderful texture. I can just smell the ginger and black garlic!
I love this branding for its clean, minimal and unpretentious look. The restaurant has a great simple story and I will definitely drop in next time my partner and I do a road trip.
This modern Persian cuisine restaurant in Kitsilano has a delicate brand identity inspired by the flowing lines of Persian typography. Delara means “beloved — she who brings beauty to hearts”. The floral artwork brings uplifting beauty and appeal to the brand.
Opening in December of 2021 and powering through 2022, this 18-seat restaurant in East Vancouver has a holistic farm-to-table approach, working closely with farmers and seasonal produce. The branding is friendly, approachable and casual.
When setting out to write this article, I really wanted to represent almost all the cities across Canada, but I found that most of the new restaurant activity in 2022 was happening, not surprisingly, in Toronto. There are a lot of well-established, beautifully branded eateries in my home town of Vancouver, but have either had to close during the pandemic or have been going strong well before and hopefully will keep it up this year and beyond. A simple wish for 2023: Eat, drink and be merry!
Vida Jurcic RGD is a founding partner and Co-creative Director of Hangar 18 Design Continuum, an award-winning Vancouver design and branding firm with a legacy of strategic solutions spanning two decades. She has been an in-house art director/designer at the Hudson’s Bay Company and Woodwards Department Stores and has worked at various advertising agencies, including DDB and BBDO. She has judged many regional and national design competitions and sat on scholarship juries including the BC Arts Council. In addition, Vida currently teaches at the IDEA School of Design, Capilano University and has taught at Vancouver Film School and Langara in the past. She is an avid design history buff and part-time musician/Morris