Owner/chef Carl Heinrich preps the charcuterie at Richmond Station.
1214 Dundas W, at Grove, 416-588-2299, thegroveto.com. Sorry, Maclean's, but ex-Globe chef Ben Heaton's west-side bistro isn't the best new resto in Little Portugal, let alone the country. However, a cozy 40-seat room, cool tunes and accommodating service are the perfect match for chef's accomplished but often fussy plates. Best: to start, dense, muffin-like soda bread; from an ever-changing carte, proper beef-Wellington-style meat pies stuffed with peppery house-made sausage and sided with mustardy piccalilli; seared sustainable Arctic char paired à la Portuguese with Manilla clams and house-cured bacon over pommes purées; beef two-ways - braised ‘n' shredded short ribs, grilled and blood-rare hanger - with poached leeks, pickled walnuts and superfluous Stilton foam; to finish, apple pie with custard for two. Complete meals for $65 per person, including tax, tip and a local beer. Average main $23. Open Tuesday to Saturday 6 to 11 pm. Bar till close. Sunday lunch from noon. Closed Monday, holidays. Licensed. Access: one step at door, washrooms in basement. Rating: NNN
1 Richmond W, at Yonge, 647-748-1444, richmondstation.ca. Ater winning season two of Top Chef Canada last February, ex-Marben toque Carl Heinrich returns with an upscale farm-to-table bistro in the Financial District. A timeless room, informed friendly service and Heinrich's inimitable way with comfort food classics make reservations near-essential. Best: to start, co-owner Ryan Donovan's charcuterie, spicy beef heart salami with juniper-scented lamb terrine, deep-fried headcheese and shredded duck rillettes; Station burgers stuffed with juicy shredded short rib on house-baked buns dressed with aged local and beet relish, skinny fries and roasted radish salads on the side; wild boar ragù over house-made orecchiette tossed with sautéed mushrooms and Monforte Toscano; pastry chef Farzan Fallah's deconstructed pumpkin pie with whipped butterscotch mousse and walnut brittle. Complete dinners for $50 per person (lunches $35), including tax, tip and a glass of wine. Average main $24/$20. Open Monday to Friday 11:30 am to 10:30 pm, Saturday 5 to 10:30 pm. Closed Sunday, holidays. Licensed. Access: barrier-free, eight steps to washrooms. Rating: NNNNN
3030 Dundas W, at High Pk, 416-769-5736, 3030dundaswest.com. Deep in the Junction, this cavernous gastro-pub/ live venue takes its suds very seriously. But it's ex-Grand Electric chef Adisa Brian Glasgow's ever-changing carte of $5 small plates that steal the show. Best: steamed Chinese buns stuffed with deep-fried daikon or grilled duck confit in sweet 'n' sour hoisin; pigtail torta sandwich in Ethiopian spices dressed with iceberg lettuce and pickled onion; butter chicken wings in cashew cream with raita and mango chutney; house-cured beef carpaccio with saffron aioli and deep-fried capers; grilled baguette with sautéed chicken livers in veal demi-glace; berry bread pudding with organic vanilla ice cream from Delight next door. Complete tapas dinners for $35 per person (à la carte brunches $25), including tax, tip and a pint of local microbrew. Average tapas $5. Open for dinner Tuesday to Sunday 6 pm to midnight, bar 5 pm till close. Brunch Saturday and Sunday 10 am to 3 pm. Closed Monday, some holidays. No reservations. Licensed. Access: barrier-free. Rating: NNNNN