Toptable Group Honoured at the 2014 Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards


Araxi, Blue Water Cafe, CinCin, and West all honoured at the
2014 Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards

Vancouver, B.C. (April 24, 2014) – Cherry blossoms herald the arrival of spring – and the restaurant award season.  The latter sprung in motion on Tuesday at the prestigious 25th annual Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards, held at the Sheraton Wall Centre. With an expert panel of 18 culinary judges, the awards ceremony acknowledged industry excellence as Araxi, Blue Water Cafe, CinCin, and West were all honoured before an audience of leading restaurateurs, chefs, sommeliers and service professionals from across the province.

In saluting the Awards’ 25th anniversary, Toptable Group president Michael Doyle said, “We would like to thank the editors of Vancouver Magazine and its judges for the past quarter century of these awards. They salute the hard work, diligence and creativity of the thousands of men and women in our industry, who strive each day to make our region an extraordinary culinary destination.”

”Over that period, at Toptable we have been fortunate to win many of these awards – notably Restaurant of the Year, Chef of the Year, Best Seafood Restaurant, Best Whistler Restaurant, and Sommelier of the Year amongst a myriad of others – and so I would also like to thank our entire team for another wonderful year of excellence in hospitality.”

Araxi Restaurant
Best Whistler – Gold Award
Gold Wine List Award, Vancouver International Wine Festival

For an unprecedented 14th year, Araxi proudly accepted the Gold Award for Best Whistler restaurant, a testament to the distinctive regional cuisine of Executive Chef James Walt, his relationships with local farmers, ranchers and fishers; the true hospitality of Restaurant Director Neil Henderson and Wine Director Samantha Rahn.  The Vancouver Magazine judges said: “Chef James Walt, quintessential 100-mile dieter, has branched out of late: Peruvian chilies in particular have brought welcome complexity to his oeuvre. (His elk tartare, tossed with citrusy Amarillo and smoky panca chilies, is one of his brightest dishes ever.) Wine director Samantha Rahn adds a wild-card jouissance to suggested pairings.”

Blue Water Cafe
Best Seafood – Gold Award
Best Yaletown – Gold Award
Best Upscale – Bronze Award
Platinum Wine List Award, Vancouver International Wine Festival

Executive Chef Frank Pabst, together with Restaurant Director Stephan Cachard, led Blue Water Cafe to win Best Seafood, as well as Best Yaletown, a new neighbourhood category.  They were also honoured with the bronze award for Best Upscale Restaurant.  Vancouver Magazine stated, “Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar continues to dominate, thanks to buzzy, urbane ambiance, a stellar raw bar, and chef Frank Pabst’s exemplary preparations.” Wine Director Andrea Vescovi – a previous winner of the Sommelier of the year award – was singled out for Blue Water Cafe’s elegant and comprehensive wine list, also signaled for its depth and variety, that won the elusive Platinum Award.

CinCin Ristorante
Best Upscale Italian – Bronze Award
Silver Wine List Award, Vancouver International Wine Festival

Since his return to Vancouver two years ago, Executive Chef Andrew Richardson has taken CinCin’s culinary offering to new heights, culminating in the Bronze award for Best Upscale Italian. Vancouver Magazine writes, “CinCin can hold its own in the pasta ring, but judges this year were steadily grateful for offerings from its wood-fired oven: roasted whole sea bass, tenderloin of beef, and king oyster mushrooms (and, for late-night snacks, there’s always that prosciutto and parmesan pizza at the bar)”.

Best West Side – Honourable Mention
Gold Wine List Award, Vancouver International Wine Festival

Executive Chef Quang Dang and Restaurant Director Owen Knowlton placed West as a finalist in the new neighbourhood category of Best West Side, recognizing their consistent achievement in fine dining for its food, wine, and service – while West’s wine program was also praised, capturing the Gold Wine List Award.

An online version of the press release and high-resolution images can be found in the Toptable Group media room at


One of Canada’s leading hospitality groups, Toptable Group has four elegant, yet approachable, restaurants in Vancouver and Whistler: Araxi, CinCin, Blue Water Cafe and West, as well as the chocolaterie, patisserie and café, Thierry.  More information can be found online at

Judy Ahola
Director of Communications
Toptable Group
604 836 8005

April Penney
Communications Coordinator
Toptable Group
604 786 0540