Bar Isabel’s devilled duck eggs come with salt cod and blood sausage.
Bar Isabel 797 College, at Shaw, 416-532-2222, barisabel.com, @barisabel797 Bar Decibel, more like! Though ex-Black Hoof charcuterie king Grant van Gameren's latest taverna looks like it stepped right out of the back streets of Barthelona, its acoustics recall the nearest bowling alley. A small price to pay for some of the most skilfully executed tapas around. Best: devilled duck eggs with salt cod and morcilla blood sausage; the mixed charcuterie platter - water-buffalo slinzega, pork jerky, hunter's sausage and imported Iberico ham, say - with candied apple mostardo and warm salted sourdough; fried chicken over deep-fried eggplant drizzled in honey and chili flakes; grilled hanger steak with blistered shishito peppers, spring scallions in classic Romesco sauce on the side; salted chocolate mousse with buttery olive oil. Complete dinners for $55 per person, including, tax, tip and a glass of cava. Average tapa $11. Open for dinner Wednesday to Sunday 6 pm to 2 am, abbreviated menu Monday and Tuesday 8 pm to 2 am. Reservations recommended before 10 pm. Closed some holidays. Licensed. Access: barrier-free, washrooms in basement. Rating: NNNN
Tavoos 1120 College, at Dufferin, 647-352-7322, tavoos.ca The Pomegranate and Sherzade's Daniele Schrage and Ali Fashrashrafi bring Persian sophistication to one of the last ungentrified corners on the west side. An unusual menu, helpful service and massive portions lead to repeat visits. Forget dessert. The only thing you'll need after dinner is a nap! Best: to start, Zeitoon Parvardeh, a vegetarian caviar-like spread thick with crushed walnuts, pomegranate paste and tangy green olives; mains like Dizi Sangi, a humongous stew of lamb shank and chickpeas served two ways, first as strained broth then mashed on toasted barberry bread along with creamy yogurt, scallion and pickled eggplant; Kolleh Pocheh, a curried soup strewn with sundry sheeps' heads, hooves and tongues finished with pickled garlic, raw red onion and fresh lemon; to drink, strong Turkish coffee. Complete lunches/brunches for $20 per person, including tax, tip and a steaming glass of chai. Average main $10. Open Wednesday to Sunday 10 am to 4 pm. Closed Monday, Tuesday, holidays. Licensed. Access: barrier-free, washrooms in basement. Rating: NNN
Siddhartha Pure Vegetarian 1471 Gerrard East, at Rhodes, 416-463-9777 Sister to Gautama down the block, this Subcontinental all-you-can-eat buffet is one of the tastiest in Little India. And the only one that doesn't feature butter chicken. Likeable servers steer first-timers to the good stuff. Best: from the buffet, deep-fried veggie pakoras and samosas; veggie szubji like saag paneer swirled with yogurt; stir-fried cabbage with mustard seeds; spicy eggplant with potatoes and green chilies; paneer in sweet red tomato sauce à la butter chicken; sweet 'n' sour Manchurian-style meatless kofta meatballs; from the à la carte menu, fried lentil idly with fiery Sri Lankan-style sambar; the tandoori platter with smoky paneer, cauliflower and tofu on a bed of raw cabbage and red onion. Complete dinners for $25 per person (lunches $20), including tax, tip and a lime soda. Average la carte $10. Open daily for $10.99 lunch buffet 11:30 am to 3:30 pm, $13.99 dinner buffet 4 to 10:30 pm. Unlicensed. Access: two steps at door, washrooms in basement. Rating: NNN