832 Dundas W, at Euclid, 416-364-4785, campagnolotoronto.com. Housed in an abandoned Coffee Time franchise, former Four chef du cuisine Craig Harding and partner Alexandra Hutchison's way-casual 66-seat bistro brings Mediterranean glam to this otherwise charmingly dumpy strip. Best: to start, baskets of epi baguette with whipped butter; delicately battered artichoke hearts; fresh burrata with roasted olive-oil-soaked grapes; brodo-braised rabbit with wilted kale and toasted pine nuts; garlicky skewers of charcoal-grilled local lamb; slow-cooked casseroles of meaty cannelloni beans with smoked fall-from-the-hoof pork hock and pasta ends; to finish, salty caramel sticky toffee. Complete dinners for $55 per person, including tax, tip and a cocktail. Average tapas $12. Open for dinner Wednesday and Thursday 6 to 11 pm, Friday and Saturday 6 pm to midnight, Sunday 6 to 11 pm. Closed Monday, Tuesday, holidays. Licensed. Access: one step at door, washrooms on same floor. Rating: NNN
Butter Chicken Factory
556 Parliament, at Prospect, 416-964-7583. No longer Timothy's Tikka House, this spinoff of Saffron Tree and post-Debu Saha Biryani House specializes in just one thing - super-tender slow-cooked chicken in a rich tomato cream. Other north-Indian-style mains show just as much expertise. Delivery in the immediate area, too! Best: butter chicken three ways, including boneless breast or dark meat on the bone in mildly numbing tomato sauce punched with spice instead of whipping cream, sided, like all mains, with basmati rice dressed with caramelized onion and saffron oil; starters like the Sizzler, smoky tandoori chicken in yogurt marinade, skewered lamb kabobs, shell-on jumbo shrimp and blocks of char-blistered paneer; melt-on-the-fork aloo gobhi adraki, aka potato cauliflower casserole; explosive lamb vindaloo in nutty gravy; to sop, garlic naan. Complete dinners for $30 per person (lunches $20), including tax, tip and an Indian lager. Average main $13/$10. Open for lunch Monday to Friday 11:30 am to 3 pm, dinner Monday to Thursday 5 to 10 pm, Friday to Sunday and holidays 5 to 10:30 pm. Licensed. Access: barrier-free, washrooms on same floor. Rating: NNN
Porchetta & Co.
825 Dundas W, at Palmerston, 647-352-6611, porchettaco.com. Seating six at the most, ex-Drake and Canoe sous Nick auf der Mauer's already busy take-away specializes in just one thing: slow-cooked naturally raised Beretta pork shoulder marinated in garlic, olive oil and lemon zest wrapped in thickly sliced prosciutto and fatty fennel-cured pork belly. Best: from the three-item card, hefty porchetta sandwiches on toasted olive-oil-drizzled Portuguese sourdough buns spread with sinus-searing Dijon mustard or old-school tomato sauce; larger combo plates of pork and either roast potatoes, braised rapini or baked romano beans; chill-killing soups like creamy porchetta chowder thick with navy beans finished with bitter greens and truffled mayo. Complete meals for $15 per person, including tax, tip and a soda. Average main $9. Open Tuesday to Saturday 11 am to 9 pm, Sunday 11 am to 4 pm. Closed Monday, some holidays. Unlicensed. Cash only. Access: short ramp at door, counter seating, no washrooms. Rating: NNNN
1371 Dundas W, at Rusholme, 647-351-0423. Helena Kosikova's cozy 20-seat café on the hip Dundas West strip spotlights a short all-day card that's often gluten-free as well as vegan and always made from scratch and low in sodium. Best: to start, garlicky cream of tomato soup sweetened with yams and crushed cashews; multi-culti sandwiches like Vietnamese banh mi subs with marinated tofu, pickled daikon and fresh coriander on house-baked whole wheat buns; mains like buttery dairy-free fennel and baby pea risotto or leek ‘n' potato pot pie, both sided with house organic greens in classic balsamic vinaigrette; spelt Belgian waffles with whipped cream, stewed strawberries and maple syrup; to take home, wild blueberry scones and quinoa chocolate chip cookies. Complete meals for $15 per person, including tax, tip and a refilled mug of I Deal coffee. Average main $8. Open Wednesday to Sunday 9 am to 8 pm. Closed Monday, Tuesdays, some holidays. Unlicensed. Cash only. Access: barrier-free, washrooms in basement. Rating: NNN
324 Broadview, at Gerrard, 416-406-9906. Located in the prettiest building in Riverdale's Chinatown East, this friendly east-side take-away offers one of the best meal deals in town: super Saigon-style submarine sandwiches piled with veggies, Vietnamese cold cuts and incendiary chilies, all for around two bucks, tax included! Best: banh mi, lunch-sized sandwiches on flaky French roll stuffed with salty shredded chicken or pork, sweet lemongrass-scented Xiu Mai meatballs or slabs of dense tofu alongside sweetly pickled carrot and daikon strips, lengths of English cuke and the optional fire of minced Thai bird chilies; a large and extremely fresh selection of cellophane-wrapped prefab meals of spring rolls, shredded Asian-style deli meats and salads; to finish, crème-caramel-style flan or black-eyed peas in coconut cream. Complete meals for $5 per person, including tax, tip and a potent Vietnamese coffee. Average main $2. Open daily 8 am to 7:30 pm. Unlicensed. Cash only. Access: one step at door, washrooms in basement. Rating: NNNNN