Restaurant Awards Hall of Fame: Waterfront Wines

The pride of wine country keeps on dominating.

Restaurant: Waterfront Wines
Category: Best Okanagan
Record: 12 Gold Medals in row, 2009 to present

It’s hard to think of a region of Canada that’s had a more dynamic last two decades than the Okanagan. The wines have gone from pleasant curiosities to consistent world beaters and the food has been in quality lockstep: not a month goes by that we don’t hear of some chef leaving Vancouver for the valley so they can open their own spot, be closer to their suppliers (and actually consider buying a house). But you know what’s not dynamic? The Gold Medal winner. Mark Filatow cut his teeth under another local legend, Rod Butters, at the Wickaninnish and ultimately followed his mentor east. He opened the lowkey Waterfront in 2004 and within a few years his mix of precise cooking in a casual atmosphere paired with his deep knowledge of wine became the paradigm of what a modern restaurant in the new Okanagan should be. Except that whenever anyone else tries to follow that model, they have reliably fallen short of the standard that Filatow and his team continue to set. Who knows when this streak might end?

I have had the pleasure of working with many chefs over the years with events and winemaker’s dinners, and Mark has always been a favourite of mine to work with. He possesses a calm demeanour that is rare in his profession: his combination of having a great palate for food and being a trained sommelier is a winner, and he’s excellent at making dishes that complement and accentuate the wines he is pairing. A rare talent who is a pleasure to work with, ski with or crush riesling with.”—David Paterson, Tantalus Vineyards