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Best New Restaurants of 2010

Canadian Rockies: Habitat Restaurant

In a town where rustic is the rage, sleek Habitat Restaurant breaks new ground. The contemporary décor that features dark wood, soft seats and imaginative lighting would not be out of place in New York, although the mountain view is vintage Canadian Rockies. Also sophisticated is the East-meets-West menu that reflects chef Vincent Leung’s classical French schooling, training with chef Patrick Lin (of Toronto’s Senses Restaurant), and gastronomic journey through China, Japan and Thailand. At Habitat, Alberta rib-eye steaks can be ordered ‘natural jus’, or (better yet) with Szechuan chili pepper sauce. Salmon is a staple at local eateries, but here it is citrus cured and green tea and maple syrup glazed. Why settle for regular potatoes when you can get a tasty wasabi mash?

Grande Rockies Resort, 901 Mountain St., Canmore, AB; 403-678-8880; www.granderockies.com/habitat

Winnipeg: Segovia Tapas Bar and Restaurant

Winnipeg’s best new restaurant is the city’s only eatery exclusively dedicated to tapas. That vision has served Segovia Tapas Bar and Restaurant well, as diners line up each night at the Osborne Village hot spot. Ever since the 43-seat restaurant opened, tongues have been wagging over Chef Adam Donnelly’s innovative plates and the restaurant’s stunning interior. Segovia playfully salsas between traditional and modern both in the menu and in the décor. The menu features a mix of classic Spanish tapas and contemporary creations. Similarly, the lounge has a slightly “Old Spain” style with rustic wooden tables, while the chic dining rooms is decidedly current with a stencilled black wall and beautiful silver fireplace. The chef’s creativity shines with the ever-popular grilled hanger steak. These delicate pieces of meat are masterfully seared and paired with earthy beetroot. Tantalizing desserts, like churros with melted, orange-flavoured chocolate, are a gratifying finish to a Spanish feast.

484 Stradbrook Ave., Winnipeg, MB; 204-477-6500; www.segoviatapasbar.com

Toronto: Enoteca Sociale

Not content with cornering the market for authentic Neapolitan pizza, the owners of über-popular Pizzeria Libretto now lay claim to some of Toronto’s best homestyle Italian fare, period, at Enoteca Sociale. In an up-and-coming district just far enough from the city’s downtown core, this boisterous wine bar has gained a reputation for its inclusive atmosphere and chef Rocco Agostino’s lovingly nostalgic dishes, crafted to highlight seasonal, locally sourced ingredients. Plates are easily paired with well-priced vino from the restaurant’s long list—a state-of-the-art “Enomatic” system ensures a number of premium vintages are available by the glass—while an enticing selection of more than 30 Canadian and Italian artisan cheeses rounds out the experience.

1288 Dundas St. W., Toronto, ON; 416-534-1200; www.sociale.ca

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