La Palette, 256 Augusta, at College, 416-929-4900
Shamez Amlani's work with Streets Are for People! - the grassroots group responsible for organizing Kensington's overwhelmingly successful Pedestrian Sundays - often overshadows his career as a restaurateur. But his somewhat offbeat bistro has been as responsible for positive change in the Market as his social activism. Before La Palette opened at the top of Augusta, the north Market was a no-go zone. Today, it's crammed with several beaneries, notably Torito, Supermarket, Urban Herbivore, Big Fat Burrito and the revived Wanda's Pie in the Sky. As well, La Palette takes the tired stuffiness out of classic French cuisine and makes it accessible without ditching tradition.