Cafe 668 joins a wide range of Kensington eateries. We recommend these.
BAN VANIPHA (638 Dundas West, at Bellevue, 416-340-0491) This long-time home-style Thai and Laotian eatery has moved to high-profile digs just west of Chinatown. Pricier than similar spots, it delivers superior ingredients and style. Best: Mee Grob, deep-fried rice vermicelli tossed with chicken, shrimp and toasted coconut in a tart tamarind-lime dressing; Gai Hoey Bai Toey, garlic-marinated grilled chicken breast wrapped in pandan-leaf ribbons and sauced with soy, sesame oil and whiskey (!); Nham Vientiane, a salad of crispy spiced deep-fried coconut rice mixed with sour pork, coriander and mint; custardy crust-less coconut pie riddled with pumpkin. Complete dinners for $30 per person ($15 at lunch), including all taxes and tip. Open Monday to Saturday for lunch 11:30 am to 3 pm, and for dinner 5 to 10 pm. Closed Sundays and holidays. Fully licensed. Access: one step at door, washrooms on same floor. Rating: NNN
LA PALETTE (256 Augusta, at College, 929-4900) Funky low-key neighbourhood boite serving no-nonsense café classics that just happens to be French. Best: superb 10-ounce triple-A black Angus sirloin topped with sun-dried brandy butter and hand-cut Yukon Gold fries; herb-crusted New Zealand rack of lamb with silky yet textured mash and butter-brushed veggies; mixed grill -- deboned quail, pork tenderloin, chicken breast strips with cranberry compote and roasted spuds, snowpeas and peppers; $25 three-course prix fixe specials. Complete dinners for $35 per person, including all taxes, tip and a glass of wine or an aperitif. Open for lunch Wednesday to Friday 1 to 5 pm, for dinner nightly 6 pm to midnight, and brunch Saturday and Sunday noon to 5 pm. Bar open till 2 am. Fully licensed. Access: three steps at door, washrooms in basement. Rating: NNN
MUSA (847 Dundas West, at Euclid, 416-368-8484) Low-key neighbourhood noshery offering contemporary takes on casual Greek and Turkish dishes in a funky-fresh setting. Best: Keftades -- ground beef falafel patties zapped with cumin and onion, stuffed into a spelt pita piled with cucumber, tomato and romaine, sauced with Dijon and sided with first-rate hand-cut fries; seared and sliced free-range chicken in the same pita with red chilies, jalapeño, piquant kefalotiri cheese, sautéed onions and arugula; brunch-only bacon-spinach-potato frittata with designer greens. Complete meals for $20 per person, including all taxes, tip and a glass of wine or a pint. Open Tuesday to Sunday 11 am to 2 am. Closed Monday and holidays. Fully licensed. Access: one step at door, washrooms on same floor. Rating: NNN
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